Rhode Island lawmakers pass bills on firefighter OT, continuing contracts

  • Source: Providence Journal - Metered Site
  • Published: 05/10/2019 12:00 AM

Rhode Island’s public employee unions have again scored a victory in the state’s Democrat-dominated General Assembly. In a series of final votes on Thursday, state lawmakers approved bills to mandate time-and-a-half pay to firefighters who average more than 42 hours a week and to lock in the wages and benefits in expired teacher and municipal public employee contracts until a new contract is in place. The continuing-contract bill cleared its final hurdle on a 24-to-8 Senate vote, with Sen. Valarie Lawson, the East Providence high school teacher who doubles as the $32,859-a-year vice president of one of the unions pushing the bill — the National Education Association of Rhode Island — voting for it again, while two other senators recused, citing a potential conflict-of-interest. Even Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere, of Westerly, broke ranks with his fellow Republicans to vote for the firefighter overtime bill.


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