American Federation of Teachers

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As the nation pays its final respects to Antonin Scalia, the brilliant legal scholar and conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice, one interest group breathing a sigh of relief is organized labor, particularly the public employee unions.

That’s because one of the crucial cases likely to be affected by Scalia’s passing is the future of public employee unions. Under a California legal joust that was decided in favor of the unions in the lower courts, a union’s right to charge dues to members who are not union members, but are part of a collective bargaining unit, was up in the air.

Update: The Providence Teachers Union announced its endorsement of Buddy Cianci today. The unions representing firefighters and police have also endorsed Cianci. In once of those grand ironies that limn Rhode Island politics, the police union has endorsed a two-time felon over a judge, Jorge Elorza.

So it looks like Providence mayoral campaign politics reared its head in the negotiations between the union representing public school teachers and the administration of Mayor Angel  Taveras?

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The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board is criticizing Gina Raimondo over a move to drop the most successful hedge fund in the state pension plan. The hedge fund is run by a trustee of a conservative New York think tank criticized by teachers’ unions.

The hedge fund Third Point LLC offered a 25 percent return to Rhode Island’s pension fund over the last year. That’s far better than the 14 percent earned by the pension fund as a whole. Yet the state Investment Commission, which is chaired by Raimondo, voted last week to divest its holdings in Third Point.