National Teachers Union Leader Visits Providence, Amid Local Union Strife

Jun 8, 2018

Randi Weingarten, leader of the American Federation of Teachers, was in Providence this afternoon. The union leader toured a public elementary school and high school. She’s urging support for a statewide bond to pay for school building repairs.

During her visit to Mt. Pleasant high school, Weingarten criticized Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza over a teacher contract dispute between his office and city teachers that has dragged on over the last year. She accused Elorza of being inflexible in his approach to working with teachers.

“Accountability is not barking orders at someone else,” said Weingarten. “Accountability is not pointing your finger at somebody else and say go do it. We’ve been through that for the last decade or so in the United States and it didn’t work.”

Teachers in Providence have been working without a contract since August 2017. Teachers have been vocal in their frustration, even protesting Elorza at public events. The union and mayor’s office last met in May.

“We continue to have conversations and negotiate with the teachers union,” the Mayor’s office said in a statement. “We will continue to work towards a resolution that works for the city and our PPSD community.”