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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

LiUNA Calls On Congress To Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

 Supreme Court Split Decision on Immigration Underscores Importance of this Election and Urgency for Congress to Act on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

(Terry O'Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America - LiUNA)

(Terry O’Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America – LiUNA)

Washington, D.C. (June 24, 2016) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on the Supreme Court’s split decision on the President’s Executive Order to provide relief to immigrant families:

The Supreme Court’s inability to make a decision; thereby blocking any potential relief for immigrant families, underscores the importance of this election at all levels of government. The next President of the United States will have the critical job of filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court—a seat that will be the deciding vote on critical issues that have an impact on families, workers, and our nation for years to come.

President Obama’s Executive Order was a temporary solution that was put forth after the U.S. House rejected the Senate’s bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation. LIUNA was proudly founded in 1903 by immigrant workers and we have long been a proud and united advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. The current system is broken and leads to unfair results in far too many cases; including tragic family separations and worker exploitation. It is outrageous and perplexing that while this Congress cannot get comprehensive immigration reform done, it is able to get expansion of exploitative H2B visa programs passed.

It’s up to Congress to right the injustices in our current immigration system and it’s urgent that they do so. The 2016 elections, which are around the corner, will set the stage for action on immigration and many other issues critical to our members. LIUNA strongly supports candidates like Secretary Hillary Clinton for President of the United States, who will champion working class families, fight for immigration reform, and put the right person on the Supreme Court so that America continues to be a country that provides protection from exploitation and grants every person the opportunity to prosper from hard work.

The Alliance For Retired Americans Blasts Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” Plan

(HTTP://ABETTERWAY.SPEAKER.GOV)

(HTTP://ABETTERWAY.SPEAKER.GOV)

Ryan’s “Better Way” for Health Care Would be Dangerous for Seniors and Inferior to Current Medicare System

Seniors Would Have to Wait Until 67 for Coverage 

The following statement was issued today by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s release of “A Better Way” health care plan: 

“U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan calls his health care plan ‘A Better Way,’ but it is far inferior to the current system and dangerous for Americans.

“Seniors should not be misled. The Speaker wants to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and change the program away from guaranteed benefits to a system of ‘premium support.’

“Premium support is a paltry substitute for the earned health care benefits that Americans have paid into throughout their lives and which they have a right to once they turn 65. 

“Ryan also wants to double down on one of the weakest parts of the current Medicare system. He would have Medicare adopt the so-called ‘competitive structure proven successful by Medicare Part D.’ Of course Part D has done nothing to rein in skyrocketing prescription drug prices for taxpayers or retirees and includes unnecessary giveaways for private insurance companies.

“If the Ryan plan were to be adopted, seniors would pay through the nose – with both their physical health and their financial health.”

AFL-CIO and Gamaliel Network Finalizing Formal Partnership

Gamaliel Network

(Washington, DC) – Today, the AFL-CIO and the Gamaliel Network solidified their dedication to empowering working people to fight for equality by publicly announcing they will enter into a formal partnership agreement.

The Gamaliel Network was founded in 1986 to train community and faith leaders to build political power and create organizations that unite people of diverse faiths and races. Our mission is to empower ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives. 

The agreement is an important step between the interfaith national community organizing network and the country’s largest labor union federation. It will advance the advocacy and organizing work the groups already do to ensure diverse communities have the opportunity to successfully participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives. The official agreement is expected to be signed in the next couple months. 

“The AFL-CIO is dedicated to working with and empowering communities of faith and people of color,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre. “Working with such a devoted national faith network will ensure we are able to help more people become involved in various areas that impact their economic stability. Collective action is the key to improving workplaces, communities and our national economy and we have the power to change the economic rules.”

“Government must be restored into the hands of workers and not the social elite, and racism must be dismantled as excellence and equity are pursued,” said Gamaliel Network Chair Rev. John C. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D. “Clergy must not allow themselves to be muted and locked out of the political conversation, and those who do speak must speak without an evangelical bias.

The AFL-CIO is a union federation with 56 unions representing 12.5 million working men and women. We work to ensure that all people who work receive the rewards of their work—decent paychecks and benefits, safe jobs, respect and fair treatment.

Three Gubernatorial Hopefuls Face Off for First Time

Forum-062016-120SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Hosts Candidate Forum for Members 

Earlier this week, the three Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates met on the same stage for the first time.  Colin Van Ostern, Steve Marchand and Mark Connolly participated in a town hall style forum hosted by the State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984.  The Forum took place at NHTI in Concord and was open only to union members and their families. 

Members of the union asked questions the candidates each had the opportunity to answer. Candidates were asked what they would do, if elected, about issues that are important to the state’s public workers. Topics included high student debt, revenue shortages, infrastructure challenges ranging from bridges to passenger rail, and retiree health benefits.

“This was a great opportunity for members to hear from the candidates face to face,” said Rich Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “This sort of interaction with the potential new Governor will allow members to make a more informed decision when they head to the polls this fall.” 

Member reaction to the Forum was positive and many stated they liked some of what each candidate had to say. “This experience has given me more knowledge about my choices in the election of our next Governor, and will help me make a decision about who I support in the upcoming race” said Cheryl Towne, a member of the union. “Each of the candidates came across well and they all seemed capable of the job.  I was very happy to have had this opportunity, I know this doesn’t happen easily and I thank the union staff and members who made this event possible,” she added. 

“I think it is very important for public employees to get to know all of the candidates,” said Towne. “After all, the person who wins this race will be our ‘boss’ and they will be the one putting together the next state budget. I like hearing that they have been listening to our issues. I thought they answered our questions with ease and showed they were very knowledgeable about our concerns.  Their budget will fund the services that we provide and drive policies that affect the delivery of services, as well, so we need to learn as much about the candidate’s as possible.”

“All three of them have great vision for what New Hampshire should look like going forward,” said Diana Richard, Chapter 16. “Because there were a lot of similarities between all three of them, it’s going to make the choice very difficult on who would do the best job as governor.”

Candidate Mark Connolly agreed that the forum was a positive experience. “Monday night’s SEA Candidates Forum offered an important and thoughtful debate, and I was excited to join state employees to directly discuss the issues that matter to them and to working families across the Granite State,” he said. “As Governor, I look forward to partnering with SEA and its members to continue building a government that works for all of us. Together, we’ll push for more secure retirements for public employees and forward-thinking state budgeting, and we’ll keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction.” 

Executive Councilor Van Ostern also commented on the event. “It was a privilege to meet and learn from the hardworking members of SEA,” said Van Ostern. “I’m proud to have stood with state employees against so-called right to work legislation and as Governor, I’ll work with state employees to continue moving New Hampshire forward.” 

Candidate Marchand also spoke highly of the evening. “I appreciate the opportunity to speak with public employees in New Hampshire. We need to be honest about the need for additional revenue to make the public investments which attract private investment, young talent, and new jobs to New Hampshire. Maintaining a high-quality public sector workforce is a critical part of that vision,” said Steve Marchand.  “As Governor, I am committed to strengthening and valuing the partnership with our public employees essential to making New Hampshire an amazing place to start a family, and start a business.”

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is currently planning a similar forum for the Republican Gubernatorial candidates to take place later this summer.

VA Employees Hold Dozens of Rallies Across the Country to Protest Proposed Closing of Veterans Hospitals

AFGE VA ProtestsAFGE members organize 38 rallies outside VA hospitals this week and next

WASHINGTON – Veterans Affairs employees are holding dozens of rallies outside VA hospitals this week and next to protest plans to privatize veterans’ health care and shut down VA hospitals and medical centers.

The Commission on Care, a group that was created by Congress to recommend ways of improving veterans’ health care, is close to finalizing a set of recommendations that would significantly weaken the VA’s world-class health care system and pave the way for privatization and future closures of VA medical centers, sending veterans to for-profit hospitals for care.

The rallies are being organized by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 230,000 VA doctors, nurses, psychologists, benefits specialists, and other workers across the country who provide health care and other vital services to our military veterans.

“Even though the vast majority of veterans oppose privatizing the VA, there are many people who would benefit financially from dismantling the VA and forcing veterans into a network of for-profit hospitals and insurance companies,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr., who was a VA registered nurse for 20 years.

The Commission on Care includes four high-level private hospital executives who would profit from privatization and not a single mainstream veterans service organization. Actual veterans groups are unanimously opposed to any proposal that would privatize veterans’ health care.

“VA employees across the country are speaking out against these corrupt business interests with a clear message: it’s time to put people ahead of profits,” Cox said.

“Veterans should not be reduced to a line item on a budget sheet. They have served our country with honor and distinction, and their medical care shouldn’t be left to the whims of profiteers and claims adjusters.”

AFGE locals have organized 38 rallies to date in 19 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Photos from some of the rallies can be viewed by clicking here.

The VA is working hard to resolve the staffing shortages and wait times that emerged in 2014, hiring 14,000 health care workers and overhauling its patient scheduling system, Cox said. In the past two years, 97 percent of appointments in the VA were completed within 30 days, with an average wait time of 6.5 days to see a primary care doctor – compared to 19.5 days on average for non-VA patients in the private sector.

“Our country makes a solemn promise to every man and woman who volunteers to serve in our military: that they will be treated with dignity and respect when their service is complete,” Cox said.

“One of the best ways to honor our veterans is to ensure they continue to have access to specialized, quality health care through the VA’s integrated network of medical centers and clinics.”

Social Security And Medicare Report Shows We Need To Rein In Pharmaceutical Costs

2016 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports Highlight Need to Expand Social Security and Rein in Out of Control Pharmaceutical Corporations

Today the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their annual report. The report showed some things we already knew, the Social Security trust fund is holding steady and will continue to pay full benefits for almost 20 more years.  They also showed that big pharma is fleecing Americans with out of control prescription drug prices.

“Both Social Security and Medicare face long-term financing shortfalls under currently scheduled benefits and financing. Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce the long-term financing shortfall of both programs,” wrote the Social Security Administration. “The Trustees recommend that lawmakers take action sooner rather than later to address these shortfalls, so that a broader range of solutions can be considered and more time will be available to phase in changes while giving the public adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.”

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, issued the following statement:

 “The Social Security Trustees reaffirmed that Social Security can pay full benefits until 2034. After that, it can pay three-quarters of benefits. This is unchanged from last year’s report.

“The Medicare Trust Fund for hospital care has sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2028, two years sooner than projected last year.

“The message we must take is that it’s time to expand Social Security. There are several bills already pending in Congress that would expand Social Security benefits and adopt a more accurate formula for determining cost-of -living increases. Economists, public opinion surveys and our members’ own experiences all indicate that Social Security benefits are becoming a larger portion of Americans’ retirement income. The minimum benefit will need to be increased to keep most retirees out of poverty.

“We can also significantly strengthen Medicare by tackling skyrocketing prescription drug prices, which are increasing at more than twice the rate of inflation. Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013. We need to stop the profiteering and monopolistic behavior by pharmaceutical corporations to save both retirees’ and the taxpayers’ money.

“Nothing in today’s reports justifies Paul Ryan and the Republican Congressional leadership’s stated goal of cutting Social Security or Medicare by privatizing the systems or raising the retirement or eligibility age.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka took the opportunity to show that Hillary Clinton is “committed to strengthening Social Security,” while Donald Trump “can’t be trusted to protect” Social Security and other programs.

Today’s reports provide reassuring news for retired and disabled workers, their families and all Americans working toward a secure retirement. But fully funding Social Security’s modest benefits into the indefinite future in the face of a growing retirement income crisis is not enough; and the Medicare report establishes the precipitous growth of prescription drug prices as a major driver of healthcare costs. These represent some of the most important issues at stake for working people in this election.

Hillary Clinton is committed to strengthening and expanding vital programs working people rely on while Donald Trump can’t be trusted to protect them. We will stand with leaders like Hillary Clinton so together we control the cost of prescription drugs and improve benefits to ensure that future generations get the retirement security they need and deserve.

Van Ostern Breaks Records Fundraising

Van Ostern Is The First Non-Incumbent Democrat Ever To
Raise More Than $850,000
At This Point In The Race

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, Democrat Colin Van Ostern voluntarily reported more than 4,300 contributions totaling a record-setting $850,000+ raised. At this point in the race, this is the largest filing ever for a non-incumbent Democrat.  

“I’m proud of the nearly 4,300 contributions from thousands of supporters who have donated to our campaign to keep New Hampshire moving forward,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic candidate for Governor. “Our record-breaking fundraising report shows that our grassroots campaign will have the resources we need to win in November. Together, we can build a stronger economy for everyone — not just those at the top.”

Unlike other candidates, Van Ostern isn’t self-funding his campaign. Instead, he’s relying upon his broad grassroots support with 71 percent of contributions being $100 or less and 73 percent of total contributions coming from Granite Staters. Van Ostern has more than a half million dollars cash-on-hand.

With a full majority of New Hampshire Democratic state lawmakers, the backing of some of the state’s largest progressive organizations, and thousands of grassroots activists, Van Ostern has the support and resources he’ll need to win in November.

Recently, Van Ostern was the first candidate to voluntarily commit to disclosing his campaign finances in June, instead of August, citing the need for transparency in the lead-up to the September primary. After initially resisting, some other candidates agreed to the new timeline.

Senator Ayotte Targeted For Choosing Monsanto $$$ Instead of Food Safety and Constituents Health

tell_Senator_Ayotte_it_doesnt_pay_2_take_Monsantos_Money_2016Concord, NH – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is being featured on a new billboard advertisement highlighting the amount of campaign money she has accepted from the agri-giant, Monsanto.  Ayotte, running in a tough re-election against Governor Maggie Hassan (D-NH), has taken more than $10,000 from the St. Louis-based biotech seed and chemical giant despite overwhelming support in New Hampshire for genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling. 

The billboards are traveling around New Hampshire this week, stopping in Manchester, Portsmouth and Nashua. The campaign is sponsored and paid for by Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots community of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects the natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families. 

In a statewide survey conducted in 2013, 90% of people polled in New Hampshire believed that they have the right to know if their food contains GMO’s.  This mirrors national polls that consistently find 90% of Americans support on package labeling of GMO food. 

AyotteMonsantoShillBucks_Food_Democracy_Now_2016“New Hampshire consumers are looking to Senator Ayotte to stand up for our right to know what is in the food we feed our families,” said Gene Jonas, owner of Hungry Bear Farm in Wilton, New Hampshire. 

Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now! explained why his group has chosen to target Senator Ayotte. “Despite the overwhelming support for GMO labeling in her state and across the country, Senator Ayotte continues to do Monsanto’s bidding. In March, she voted for a bill being pushed by them that would have taken away states rights to pass common sense GMO labeling laws.” 

Supporting a strong national GMO labeling standard does not require Ayotte to take a position on the question of the health or environmental implications of GMOs.  Mandatory labeling of GMOs, such as the Vermont law scheduled to go into effect on July 1, will not ban GMOs, increase hardship to farmers or reduce the number of offerings at the grocery store. 

As the clock ticks down to implementation of the Vermont law, Monsanto and other big food and agriculture groups continue to pressure Congress to stop Vermont’s historic labeling law from taking effect. Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are attempting to negotiate a compromise before Congress breaks for recess. 

“Food Democracy Now! is asking New Hampshire voters to contact Senator Ayotte and urge her to oppose any federal mandate that would delay implementation of the law in Vermont or preempt the rights of other states,” said Murphy.  “Congress should not replace existing clear, on-package labeling laws with a national standard that would allow producers to label GMOs with intentionally deceptive “QR codes”, telephone call-in numbers or a symbol.”

Labor Leader Joe Casey Launches Bid For New Hampshire State Senate Seat

Joe CaseyRochester, NH – Joe Casey, a respected and well-known community leader here in Rochester, announced his plans to seek the open District 6 seat being vacated by Senator Sam Cataldo.

“I am running for the State Senate to make real difference for working families and small businesses in the Granite State. We need to create good jobs by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, building new clean energy projects like solar, wind, hydro, and improving our education system,” said Casey. “Whether as an advocate for workers, a coach, or as a construction worker and labor leader, I’ve spent my life working hard, fighting for what I believe in, and helping others. In the Senate, I will work to do the same for District 6 residents, and all of New Hampshire.”

Joe has been a passionate advocate for New Hampshire’s working men and women for decades. As a labor leader, Joe partnered with the National Electrical Contractors Association to build New Hampshire’s biggest and most successful state-of-the-art apprenticeship training center for aspiring electrical workers. Thanks to Joe’s leadership, hundreds of local young people have learned a high-skilled, good-paying trade, and are able to provide for their families. Understanding that the Granite State economy is driven by working families, and that a skilled workforce is necessary for our communities to thrive in the 21st century, Joe will focus on building a strong economy that lasts for New Hampshire, along with the specific concerns of his soon-to-be constituents.

“I look forward to continuing to listen to the residents of Alton, Barnstead, Farmington, Gilmanton, New Durham, and Rochester about the issues that concern them the most,” continued Casey. “But at this point, it’s imperative that our next State Senator must work in a bipartisan manner to combat this horrible heroin and opioid crisis, support job-creating businesses and their workers, help to make sure that all hard-working Granite Staters have the skills and education they need to get ahead and stay ahead, fighting for quality education for our children, and prioritizing rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges. ”

Joe Casey was born and raised in Dover, and has lived in Rochester for 13 years. His family has a long history of public service, with his father serving as the state’s Commissioner of Labor. Joe has served on the NH Personnel Appeals Board, Job Training Grant Committee, NH Electricians Board, and Governor Hassan’s Energy Transition Team. He lives in Rochester with his wife Belinda. They have four children.


About District 6

District 6 is comprised of six cities and towns in Strafford and Belknap Counties in the eastern part of New Hampshire. Closely divided politically, it was won by Governor Hassan in her 2012 campaign by six points. With a strong advocate for working people on the Democratic ticket, this seat will be hotly contested as a strong pickup opportunity for the Democratic caucus.

Boeing’s Shameful Attacks On Its South Carolina Employees’ Rights Will Not Go Unchallenged

Boeing Dreamliner

Washington, DC – Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, and Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, issue this statement in response to Boeing’s latest tactics aimed at squashing attempts by its employees in South Carolina to select the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers as their collective bargaining representative. 

“Boeing’s sinister claims that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is somehow jeopardizing aerospace jobs as it opposes a job-killing flag-of-convenience airline is both factually inaccurate and a cynical attempt by the company to deny its employees in South Carolina the benefits of collective bargaining.

“The IAM and the entire labor movement is opposing Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) entry into the U.S. market because the airline’s application for a permit before the U.S. Department of Transportation violates our air services trade agreement with the European Union (EU). By headquartering NAI in Ireland instead of Norway, the company is attempting to avoid strong labor laws and current collective bargaining obligations in its home country. NAI’s operating plan centers on hiring Asian flight crews under Singaporean or Thai employment contracts. The fact that this scheme will undermine labor standards and collective bargaining rights in violation of Article 17 bis of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement is the basis for our opposition to the company’s application.

“If NAI’s application is approved, the carrier will gain an unfair competitive advantage over airlines that play by the rules – most of which are significant and longstanding Boeing customers. NAI’s parent company, Norwegian Air Shuttle, already flies to the U.S., using Boeing aircraft, and can continue to do so and expand flights under its existing operating authority. NAI’s application has absolutely nothing to do with buying more Boeing airplanes but has everything to do with setting up a corporate shell to eviscerate labor standards, undercut fair competition and destroy middle-class U.S. airline jobs.

“Boeing’s attack on the IAM is especially outrageous given that the union has led the way in advocating for policies that have expanded Boeing’s reach into new markets and created jobs. The Export-Import Bank, which Boeing has said is vital and essential to its future, would be shuttered if not for the efforts of the IAM and the broader labor movement.

“Finally, the NAI battle has been going on for well over two years. If this application was so important to Boeing, why did it wait until now to take a public position? Clearly these public relations tactics are about dissuading South Carolina workers from joining the IAM and demanding better wages, benefits, job protections and working conditions. These shameful tactics should be dismissed as more anti-union saber-rattling by this corporate giant.”

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