Strike in Chicago echoes labor, Dem tension in Rhode IslandSeptember 14th, 2012 at 11:40 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
This sound familiar? Harold Meyerson writing for The Washington Post:
At stake in the conflict is not only the future of education reform but also the role of unions within the party and, by extension, the nation. Emanuel’s clear desire to reduce the teachers union’s role in the city’s schools is hardly his alone. It’s shared by other Democratic mayors such as Los Angeles’s Antonio Villaraigosa. Still other heavily Democratic cities, such as San Jose, Calif., have reduced their employees’ pension benefits. What’s brewing is a battle between Democratic Party management (chiefly mayors, backed by a significant portion of the public) and Democratic Party labor, also backed by a significant portion of the public. If there’s a win-win scenario out there, the party and its publics would do well to find it.
I’d add a few local mayors to Meyerson’s mix of Democrats those who clash with their teachers unions – Providence’s Angel Taveras, who’s spoken with Emanuel in recent months about their similar fiscal problems, as well as Cumberland’s Dan McKee. And it’s not limited to mayors – there’s also Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, a Carcieri holdover unpopular with the unions whose portfolio includes the troubled Central Falls schools that drew President Obama’s attention.
Nor is it limited to education. Democratic Treasurer Gina Raimondo, backed by Chafee and General Assembly Democrats, pushed through sweeping pension changes opposed by labor. Her predecessor, Democrat Frank Caprio, saw public-sector unions desert him and back Chafee in 2010. And union officials vented their frustration last year when Democrats Gordon Fox and Teresa Paiva Weed blocked tax increases.