"..It is not because of our creative ideas, it is not because of the merit of our positions, it is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the union that can most effectively represent them, the union that can protect their rights and advance their interest as education employees."
The NEA Counsel Bob Chanin
This is the sentiment of the National Education Association. It is the culture of NEARI as exemplified in the Leidecker case that found him guilty of cyberstalking state lawmaker Representative Douglas Gablinske as well as when another NEARI member, Louis Rainone threatened Representative Jon Brien with bodily harm following a court hearing for Liedecker in the aforementioned case.
The idea of power and bullying is not the purview of just the NEA. In a now famous quote, Phillip Keefe, President of the RI Alliance of Social Service Employees International Union (SEIU), threatened the non-profit organization Crossroads Rhode Island - an agency that helps the homeless - when it was reported that there was an aggressive campaign by public employee unions to discourage their members from contributing to the organizaiton. Mr. Keefe said
"Tell them to get used to it. You want to play hardball and that's what happens".
Well, now we can add to the list of bullying Senator Frank Ciccone (D-Providence and No. Providence). Newspaper accounts of his actions, while trying to intimidate Barrington police who had pulled Senator Dominick Ruggerio over for driving while under the influence, continue to highlight the tactics used by Labor Unions. Senator Ciccone a field representative, employed by RI Laborers' District Council, is reported to have threatened the officers with Senator Ruggerio's legislative power as it relates to their public pension.
Projo's Edward Achorn wrote a telling editorial on the interconnectedness of Senators Ciccone, Ruggerio, Tassoni and the Labor Unions. You can read it here. You can also see Senator Tassoni's response to Mr. Achorn's editorial here on the RI Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc., a RI AFL-CIO Newsletter.
The unions have the power in RI because they make up a significant part of the legislature in Rhode Island. See the profile pages on this website to see if your Representative or Senator is one of them.