Warwick teachers continue pickets over lack of contract
The Warwick Teachers’ Union gathered again outside of Warwick City Hall to picket in protest of their lack of a new contract. This is the second such demonstration this month, and this time they also drew the support of the Local 251 Teamsters union.
“Once again the Warwick Teachers’ Union is picketing City Hall because the mayor has failed to use his influence over the school committee and superintendent to get them to the bargaining table to reach a successor collective bargaining agreement [CBA],” said Darlene Netcoh, president of the Warwick Teachers’ Union, in a release.
Netcoh maintains that, despite Superintendent Thornton saying in a recent interview that the union was the one not responding to a request from the mayor to meet back at the negotiation table, these claims are not telling the full story.
“When the mayor last sent a letter to the parties, the union responded with an offer for specific dates to meet,” she continued in the release. “However, to prevent such a meeting from occurring, the school committee devised a way not to meet when they imposed ludicrous pre-conditions, such as demanding that negotiations be limited to one narrow issue and that the union drop all of its and arbitrations, which are the result of two years’ worth of violations of the CBA.”
Mayor Avedisian responded to the additional picket via email.
“The Warwick Teachers’ Union has every right to picket to draw attention to their positions,” he said. “I expect that interest arbitration processes will continue and there will be a written decision soon. Since the union was very clear that they want the process to be binding, I hope that they will accept the arbitrator’s ruling.”
Netcoh took another shot at Thornton in a follow-up message on Wednesday afternoon.
“I want to add, once again, that Phil Thornton goes to the Taj Mahal on Draper Avenue [referring to the Gorton Administration Building] and knows that he has the protection of a contract,” she said. “The teachers deserve no less.”