Letter: Union took the right actions for its members

Posted 10/1/20

In last week’s Phoenix, there was an editorial criticizing the Bristol-Warren Education Association for taking legal action against the Bristol-Warren School District to delay the reopening of …

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Letter: Union took the right actions for its members

Posted

In last week’s Phoenix, there was an editorial criticizing the Bristol-Warren Education Association for taking legal action against the Bristol-Warren School District to delay the reopening of schools due to numerous health and safety issues, and while that criticism came as no surprise to anyone due to the newspaper’s history of anti-union views, it was interesting to note that the editorial chose to criticize union leadership instead of the union as a whole.

And while the newspaper went to great lengths to separate union leadership from rank and file members, let me make it perfectly clear — when you attack one public employee union member, you attack all public employee union members, whether that member is a part of union leadership, a veteran union member, or a brand new union member.

As a union, all members are considered equal, and that not only goes for teachers, but for police officers, firefighters, public works employees, and anyone else who falls under the umbrella of unionized public employees.

The Bristol-Warren Education Association had a very valid reason to take legal action against the district, as the health and safety of its members is of paramount importance, and even though the court ruled against their motion for injunctive relief, I applaud the union leadership for standing up for their members. And while the union may have been unsuccessful in their legal action, that is not their only recourse, as in just over a month, voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes in the election, and hopefully the voters will send a strong message of support for our teachers and students and vote for those candidates who support and value teachers and who support a safe and healthy environment for every student, teacher, and staff member in our schools.

The ongoing pandemic has taken the lives of over 200,000 Americans, and to let that number rise unnecessarily due to forcing teachers and students into an unsafe and unhealthy school environment is reckless and dangerous, and should not be allowed to continue until those health risks are addressed and mitigated by Bristol-Warren School District leadership.

Mike Proto
Bristol

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.