opinion

Your opinion of fire fighters’ picketing of the mayors’ conference?


By PBN Staff
Posted 6/15/09

Vice President Joe Biden and the rest of the Obama Administration’s delegation to the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting canceled their scheduled appearance due to picketing by Providence’s fire fighters union.

The picketing stems from a continued impasse with Mayor David N. Cicilline over contract negotiations between the city and the union.

Is the choice by the fire fighters to picket during what is surely one of the city’s most visible moments a shortsighted and selfish display, or a necessary challenge to the city’s attempts to break it?

5 comments on this story | Add your comment
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fmo@neliunapr.com

I don't think your question was fair. It only asked about what the firefighters' actions. This is certainly not the first time in the last seven years they have done this. The Mayor should have expected this and worked to solve the problem after the "Hilary" debacle. It seems as if the Mayor whose poll numbers are down is using this issue to work the citizens into blaming the firefighters union for tax increases.

Monday, June 15, 2009 | Report this
WelchInc1@me.com

To me, the firefighters lost big time. The mayor didn't cave and I suspect the firefighters lost a lot of public support. The mayor has said that more than 50% of the firefighters make more than $150,000 a year and contribute no copay for their health insurance. Further, he said, a number of firefighters are retired on more than 100,000 a year pensions. If true, how many taxpayers in Providence sympathize with them wanting even more at a time when most people are having a rough time financially?

Bill

Portsmouth.

Monday, June 15, 2009 | Report this
thorathome

The Providence firefighters, and especially their leadership, lost a huge opportunity to gain good will and support throughout the State. During this economic downturn, when everyone is trying to improve local business, a statesman-like response from the firefighters would have made them heroes, probably on a national scale. National leaders would have descended on Providence with their staffs and travel budgets. They Conference would have been hailed as a success. “And how about those firefighters?” As it is, the firefighters took a local issue, spread it on the national news, cost the State real dollars not spent in Providence, and appeared both mean-spirited and self-centered.

Yes, the firefighters’ union has a right and an obligation to its members to get the best contract possible. And the City has a duty to its taxpayers to keep costs down. Negotiate a solution. Please.

But damaging this Conference, a national showcase for Rhode Island, while robbing State and local businesses of conference spending, served no one. Who’s the loser here? Providence businesses, the State’s reputation, and primarily, the firefighters, themselves.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Report this
Leslie

Another question could be asked... Do you think the Obama administration acted appropriately in not attending the mayor's conference during these times of difficulty for cities' mayors? Does any union no matter how legitimate or illegitimate their cause have the power to lead this administration around by the nose? And now that there will be a mayors' conference in Washington to make up for this one...who will pay for that duplication of spending?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Report this
lioni1@aol.com

The Providence firefighters union, especially their leadership, made a major mistake. They shamed themselves and embarrassed the city. Of course, almost all of them do not live in the city!

It was both mean-spirited and self-centered. It displayed the lack of loyality to the city...not to this Mayor or any other - to the CITY!

They damaged the city they are supposed to protect. and showed their true colors. Very bad decision.

The Obama Administration has lost great credibility by its lack of courage and failure to fullfill its responsibilities by it's weak and cowardly act of caving to the obsolete and irrelvant "do not cross the picket line".

Monday, June 22, 2009 | Report this
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