Why would any responsible public official agree to language like this?
In a letter to Mayor Jorge Elorza, Council Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi wrote that he is concerned that a “me, too,” clause in the teachers’ contract could result in teachers getting whatever raises the firefighters ultimately agree to.
In his July 21 letter, Igliozzi writes, “Should the city reduce the number of fire platoons in exchange for a 5 percent salary increase in fiscal 2016, it is highly likely that the parity clause would be activated.”
Igliozzi says a 5-percent increase would cost the city an additional $10 million.
The mayor’s office argues that the parity clause wouldn’t kick in because any raise the firefighters receive could be interpreted as compensation for working additional hours. In other words, the whole thing would likely wind up in court.
But that’s not really the important point. The destructive foolishness is already obvious in agreements that pay teachers as if it doesn’t matter what they teach. Linking pay for employees in one occupation with pay for employees in a completely different occupation is ridiculous. If Providence found that it couldn’t attract or retain qualified firefighters without a significant increase in pay, why should that have any bearing whatsoever on the pay of kindergarten teachers?
That sort of economic illiteracy should be a deal breaker in any contract.