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RI Labor Promises to Work Together in Next Election (posted November 8, 2003)

Labor leaders are promising to work together in upcoming elections. Rhode Island AFL-CIO President Frank Montanaro and United Nurse and Allied Professionals President Linda McDonald appeared on the WPRI-TV show "Newsmakers" with Jack White and Ian Donnis, and McDonald said "we did not work as a united voice in the last election .... We are going to work as a collective force [in the future]."

Montanaro said that when labor unions weigh into electoral contests, "we can carry a 7 to 9 percentage point difference." However, when asked why labor had not elected their endorsed choice in recent gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, he pointed out that labor cannot overcome a divided party and needs candidates with a strong base.

Both labor presidents complained about blame for city and state budget problems being placed on unions. Referring to the dismal budget situation in the city of Providence, Montanaro proclaimed, "it is not the unions that put the city of Providence in serious trouble. It was backroom deals." Continuing, he said it was unfair to rectify this problem "on the backs of workers."

When asked about Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey's attempt to fire school crossing guards, Montanaro said "he doesn't have a right to walk in there and void a contract." Echoing that point, McDonald added, "the place to deal with this is the next collective bargaining agreement."
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services