EngageRI creates new political dynamic in state

‘I am not sure why anyone running a nonprofit…would involve themselves in the political process.’

A new dynamic is emerging in Rhode Island politics. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



POLITICS

EngageRI creates new political dynamic in state

‘I am not sure why anyone running a nonprofit…would involve themselves in the political process.’

Posted 1/16/12

(Corrected, Jan. 19)

A new dynamic is emerging in Rhode Island politics.

Businesses and social-service agencies that enter the political arena by supporting actions that local unions oppose, such as pension reform, should be prepared for consequences when labor leaders call on the-rank-and-file to retaliate.

But they also have a backer with strong financial muscle in Engage Rhode Island, whose political clout will be fully tested in the 2012 elections.

Pension reform last year brought with it not only heightened talk of COLAs and 401(k) plans, but also formation of the highly visible, business-backed EngageRI to support the effort. In response, local unions whose leaders believe their members were shortchanged mobilized.

As a result, at least two key players in EngageRI at least initially saw their revenue streams narrowed after they publicly backed pension reform: Collette Vacations and Crossroads Rhode Island.

The National Education Association, the parent group of NEARI – the educators union with local chapters in 34 school districts and colleges/universities in Rhode Island – chose to award its national contract for travel services to a business other than Collette, which had held it for several years. The change came about two months ago “based on [Collette’s] anti-labor stance in Rhode Island,” the NEARI said on its website (www.neari.org).

Collette, located in Pawtucket with 328 employees, is a member of EngageRI and two Collette leaders were on its board of directors: Dan Sullivan, CEO and president of Collette; and John Galvin, chief financial officer, who is treasurer of the EngageRI board.

Robert A. Walsh Jr., executive director of the 12,000-member NEARI, said the national union took this step because of the “corporate entity’s” active involvement in EngageRI.

“It is not an unreasonable response,” Walsh said. He noted no one is asking local NEA members themselves to boycott Collette or any other business, nor has the union urged an end to charity donations for any particular agency. “Our folks can make their own judgments,” Walsh said.

Sullivan declined comment to Providence Business News on the loss of the contract.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN and two panels of successful female executives, business owners and entrepreneurs as we delve into what women should do to advance their careers, and become leaders in the corporate world and their own enterprises.
  • Book of Lists Party
    Save the date - January 15, 2015 for PBN's Book of Lists Party at the Providence ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement