Ian Donnis

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is getting ready to leave City Hall after a tumultuous few years. Taveras lost his bid to become governor, but he takes credit for helping to stabilize Providence's finances. The mayor talked about his record and what's next during a wide-ranging exit interview.

The incoming administrations are assembling their staffs (read on), as time ticks down for the Class of 2010. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and tips via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

In a boost for Gina Raimondo as she tries to gain support among union households, two of the most influential labor leaders in the state -- RI AFL-CIO president George Nee and Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island -- on Wednesday expressed their personal support for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

A labor dispute at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence has erupted over the layoff of 16 staff members. The layoffs, and the dispute, turn on the definition of a single word: deliveries.

Members of the Service Employees International Union local 1199 are picketing outside Women and Infants over the hospital’s decision to cut several cleaning, lab, and clinical staff. Union spokesman Patrick Quinn says his members dispute the hospital’s claim that the number of deliveries – and therefore the need for as many staff – has dropped below 8500 over the past year.

The state Labor Relations Board has slated an election for later this month so state-subsidized child care workers can vote on whether they want to join a union. The law allowing the workers to unionize was passed this year by the General Assembly.

By most measures, a September 1973 strike by workers at the Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin was a failure. By voting to end the strike, newspaper employees agreed to accept the very contract they had rejected two weeks earlier. Some members of the Providence Newspaper Guild lost their jobs. Publication of the Journal and Bulletin continued uninterrupted through the strike.

Governor Lincoln Chafee has nominated Congressman David Cicilline's district director, Chris Fierro -- an early supporter of Chafee in 2010 -- to chair the Rhode Island Board of Review.

Fierro, a former state rep from Woonsocket with strong ties to labor, faces Senate confirmation. The governor's office says the job will pay between $77,810 and $88,177.

Per news release:

With the aftermath of this week's Boston Marathon attack remaining in the forefront of headlines, we're keeping the focus on politics in my Friday column. Thanks for stopping by; as always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

A bill to extend binding arbitration to teacher contracts -- which last hit the House floor during the 2011 legislative session -- is coming back to the Statehouse.

Binding arbitration legislation sponsored by state Representative Anastasia Williams (D-Providence) is slated for a House Labor Committee hearing Tuesday (following the House session, or about 4:30/5 p.m.) in Room 201. A vote is not expected to take place following the hearing.

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, is pouring cold water on one theory making the rounds -- that the House of Representatives will approve binding arbitration as part of a deal for the state Senate to pass same-sex marriage legislation.

The premise is a little funny on its face, since organized labor is a strong supporter of both issues. Still, stranger things have happened in the annals of Rhode Island politics.