Today is Columbus Day, the holiday honoring explorer Christopher Columbus. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why it’s the day political calendar signals crunch time in the Providence mayoral race.
As revelers feast on sausage and peppers and celebrate Rhode Island’s storied Italian-American culture on Federal Hill, the three candidates vying to be the capital city’s mayor will be stumping for votes.
Democrat Jorge Elorza plans to stand in front of Asa Messer Elementary School on Monday to unveil his vision for the city of Providence. His announcement outside the school he once attended comes after the Providence Teachers Union endorsed Independent Buddy Cianci on Saturday in the race for Providence Mayor.
The teachers union says Cianci understands the needs of the district.
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?
Teachers in Providence have voted to reject a new contract that would have done away with the district's "no-layoffs" policy. The agreement to outlaw layoffs followed a major outcry when Providence Mayor Angel Taveras fired all of the district's teachers in 2011, citing a budget crisis. The teachers were later rehired and a contract deal was struck.
Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi responded to the union vote rejecting a new three-year contract with the following statement:
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the union representing Providence teachers to control health insurance premiums paid by retired city teachers.
In an opinion authored by Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg, the court upheld a Superior Court decision that ruled that the union’s contract with the Providence School Board allowed the board to charge retired teachers more for health care premiums than active teachers.