Newsmakers 3/22: Teacher Contracts
Chanel 12 WPRI Newsmakers
Guests James Parisi from the RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals and Timothy Duffy, former director of the RI School Committee Asssociation discuss teacher contracts.
Carcieri Vetoes Teacher Insurance Bill
For the past five months, the RIFTHP, the NEA/RI, RIDE, the Governor’s Department of Administration, the School Committees Association, and a host of other interested parties have worked diligently to craft legislation that would change the system of obtaining medical insurance for classroom teachers. Despite his designee’s active participation in reaching compromises, Governor Carcieri vetoed the legislation on July 9.
Initially, the bills introduced by Senator Gallo, S 777, Representative McNamara, H 5613, focused solely on teachers. At the urging of RIDE, the scope of the bill was to create a system of purchasing medical insurance for all school employees. The RIFTHP helped initiate the legislation and supported subsequent revisions to the bills. The legislation and veto message are available at here:
The amended bills would create a statewide labor-management committee, referred to as the Board of Trustees, comprised of twelve individuals. The 6 labor appointees would represent the RIFTHP (2), the NEA/RI (2) the Laborers (1) and AFSCME Council 94 (1). The 6 management appointees would represent the RI Association of School Committees (2), the RI Association of School Business Managers (2), and the RI School Superintendents’ Association (2).
The group would be assisted by a technical advisory committee that would include representatives of RIDE, the State Department of Administration, existing purchasing collaboratives and the League of Charter Schools.
The Board, with the assistance of the technical advisory committee, would be charged to develop a limited number of plan designs that would then be offered to school employees throughout the State. Plan designs currently in place in collective bargaining agreements would not be impacted by the bills. The bills specified that the amount of premium cost-sharing, the amount of payment for waiving medical insurance, and provisions for retiree medical benefits would still be bargained at the local level.
Governor Carcieri vetoed the legislation because it did not create a minimum employee cost-share in statute. He also objected to the Board of Trustees which included management representatives who are administrative school employees whose benefits plans would be designed by the Board.
The General Assembly may override the veto when they return to work later this month.