Carcieri: fine teachers for work-to-rule

The bombast in East Providence this week seems like a taste of things to come, and this inclusion in the budget will pour more fuel on the fire.

From Ray Henry of the Providence AP, via the Boston Globe:

A budget plan that Governor Don Carcieri submitted this month to close a massive deficit includes a provision making it illegal for teachers to protest during contract negotiations by performing strictly to the terms of their contracts, for example, by refusing to host after-school clubs or chaperone school dances.

It raises a legal question: Can people be fined for strictly doing their jobs? Carcieri's administration believes the answer is yes.

"Not all of your obligations are covered in a contract," said Peter McWalters, commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. "Some of them are covered in professional standards and some of them are covered by the nature of you signing on to being a certified teacher."

Besides prohibiting teachers from striking, Carcieri's proposal would ban teachers from conducting deliberate work slowdowns or doing the bare minimum required under their contracts, commonly called working to rule. Violators would be fined two days' pay.

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