RI labor movement


Once again, a Providence mayor is ensnarled in a bitter battle with a city employee union, in this case, the firefighters. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if the capital city should go back to the future with city workers.

Before you start that barbeque and get into your favorite beverages, treat yourself to a visit to the Museum of Work and Culture, where the spirit of Labor Day is celebrated every day.

On Monday, the museum tucked away in Woonsocket’s historic mill district, holds its annual Open House. Admission is free on Labor Day.

The museum is one of the few in the U.S. that documents and celebrates working people, unions  and their struggles. It is also a repository for the French-Canadian immigrant experience in the Blackstone Valley.

Eighty years ago, Rhode Island Democrats took over state government with one fell swoop in a coup that became known as the Bloodless Revolution. The event has set the template for Rhode Island politics ever since.

In just 14 minutes at the State House on New Year’s Day, 1935, the Democrats took control of the General Assembly, replaced the entire Rhode Island Supreme Court,  consigned to the dustbin of history more than 80 boards and commissions and fired Republican appointees who had run state government forever.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo is meeting with Rhode Island business leaders as she shapes her new administration. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay hopes the business hierarchy steps up to help her.

Raimondo is taking over a state government that is much better off than the one Gov. Lincoln Chafee inherited from Don Carcieri four years ago. Unemployment was 11.4 percent; now it’s at 7.4 percent. The state budget deficit is much lower and cities and towns are not hovering over bankruptcy. Even Central Falls is out of receivership.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.