RIPR News
2:30 pm
Wed September 5, 2001

No New Talks in Narragansett

Narragansett – Narragansett teachers returned to picket lines on Wednesday, the first scheduled day of classes. No new negotiations between teachers and school administrators were scheduled. The next time teachers and school officials are expected to meet is Friday in court.

A judge has scheduled a hearing in Washington Superior Court Friday morning to decide whether teachers are conducting an illegal strike and should be ordered back to work. Narragansett school officials expected to receive that order.

?It would take a fool to argue that it is not an illegal act by the teachers to strike. And that?s exactly what this is, a strike,? said Stephen M. Robinson, the Narragansett School Committee?s chief negotiator.

Robert Walsh, Executive Director of the National Education Association of Rhode Island countered, ?We think it would be premature to characterize this as irreparable harm. The students will still get their 180 days whether or not school starts on Monday or a week from Monday or two weeks from Monday.?

Union leaders plan to ask the judge to order both sides to resume negotiations. Narragansett School officials say there's been no progress in recent talks. Robinson said the School Committee wants to enter non-binding arbitration instead.