RI’s government unions second-strongest in the United States

November 1st, 2011 at 6:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Rhode Island’s public sector remains one of the biggest strongholds of organized labor in the United States, a key reason supporters of the Raimondo-Chafee pension bill are facing a stiff challenge in trying to get the legislation passed through the Democratic-dominated General Assembly.

As of last year, 67% of the roughly 62,000 government workers in Rhode Island were covered by union contracts, according to data provided to WPRI.com by the Bureau of National Affairs, a private research firm in Virginia.

The public-sector unionization rate in Rhode Island was second-highest in the country in 2010, topped only by New York, where 73% of government employees were covered by collective-bargaining agreements, according to BNA.

The national average was far lower, with 40% of public-sector workers nationwide covered by union contracts. Third-ranked Connecticut was close behind Rhode Island at 66%, followed by No. 4 Massachusetts at 64%, according to BNA.

While two-thirds of government workers in Rhode Island are represented by a union, their private-sector counterparts are unlikely to be. Only 16% of the state’s total work force were union members in 2010, federal data shows.

(flyer: Rhode Island Retirement Security Coalition)

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8 Responses to “RI’s government unions second-strongest in the United States”

  1. Mr. Fish says:

    It’s too bad our General Assembly still caters to the Ed Cooneys and Laurie White’s of the world and not the guys down at the loading dock or the girls working in the ER. This is a blue collar state, but our legislators think that by going “Bush-Lite” we will be OK. Never worked, never will. Time to look at the numbers kids.

  2. GaryM says:

    Ted,

    This begs the question, why does NY State have one of the best funded state pension systems in the nation, and RI sits at the extreme opposite end in the toilet? After all, NY faced the same ups and downs in the markets as we did.

    It does appear to go beyond union control and probably has more to do with the average RI citizen being so tolerant of crooked behavior in their political system.

    RI is simply too small and has too many “friends of friends” than any other state.

    1. Cosmo says:

      Yep…”I know somebody” should be the state motto.

    2. Jim Donahue says:

      This has been the case for decades. The Mafia never went away they put on suits and were elected.

      Col. Walter Stone of the RISP testifying before the McClellan Committee”

      Certainly if we had the cooperation of the citizen, we could cope with the situation, but when you don’t have it, certainly you can’t,” Stone testified. “Law enforcement on a state and local level I would say is not in any position to compete with them (the Mafia).

    3. skippy says:

      WHY? because NY police not only deal drugs but other things like gun running and protection rackets, no one can shut them down..this is where your suits went…aka, mafia

  3. Tough Love says:

    When the money is not there, the existence of Unions means SQUAT.

    And guess what …. there’s no money.

    A union defeat of the reforms will mean just that … SQUAT …. there will still be no money and 50+% pension haircuts.

    Greed HAS consequences.

  4. rob says:

    RI has always been known for corruption and still is. The mob has always ran the unions and that special hand shake with the politicians made the deals! It will never stop. It has is roots enbedded so deep it feels like it can never be up-rooted. The job situation in this state is only for freinds and family. The average tax payer is not allowed! And some police have been protecting some unlawful behavior for friends they do know, not all, but there is a few!

  5. [...] addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};New York is the only state in the nation where government employees are more unionized than here in Rhode Island. Last week’s item [...]