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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.

AFT-NH Red Alert: Standing Up Against Timberlane Regional School District Budget Cuts

AFT - NH Red Alert

A special message from AFT-NH

aft sqaurePLEASE ATTEND THE 2015 DELIBERATIVE SESSION

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 7:00 pm
at the Timberlane Regional High School Gymnasium
Registered voter check-in will begin at 6:00 pm in the TRHS Cafeteria

The Timberlane Regional School District is under attack at the deliberative session on February 5th.  Students and staff will suffer serious consequence if this cut passes. The District is comprised of the following towns: Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown.

We know based on public comments made by Arthur and Donna Green (budget committee and school board members) there will be a motion to cut the proposed school budget by at least $2.8 million or more.

The naysayers rely on the fact that we won’t show up—but we will when the education of our children is at stake.

If you live in the Timberlane Regional School District, PLEASE attend your deliberative session and support the school budget. Some of the threatened cuts suggested run so deep as to significantly impact programs, loss of positions and user fees for bussing, music and athletics.   The proposed budget has already been significantly reduced resulting in only a 0.58% increase. Yes- just above a one-half percent (1/2%) increase. There is no room for a cut of this magnitude without a diminishment of programs and significant loss of teaching and paraeducator positions.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and colleagues and ask them to attend the meeting! Your voice matters and you can control the destiny of your schools and protect public education in your town.

Please reach out to your local union leadership in the Timberlane Teachers’ Association and the Timberlane Support Staff Union on ways you can help.

Stand Up For Your Schools!

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Worker Wins Update: From the Casino to the Classroom, Workers Earn Critical Victories

AFL-CIO_Headquarters_by_Matthew_Bisanz2

WASHINGTON, DC– Workers across the country have stood up in the past month to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Casino Workers Hit Jackpot With Major Organizing Wins: More than 12,000 workers have organized through UNITE HERE in 2014, surpassing a goal of 10,000 set during the union’s convention. These victories include workers at hotels, airports and casinos around the country.

Nurses Win the Right Prescription for Higher Pay: Approximately 18,000 nurses in California will receive a 14 percent raise over the next three years, additional workplace protections and improved employer 401(k) contributions after reaching a tentative contract agreement with Kaiser Permanente this month. As part of the agreement, Kaiser has committed to hiring hundreds of new RNs and to providing training and employment opportunities for RN graduates.

Seatbacks, Tray tables, and Solidarity All Up for Delta Flight Attendants: Earlier this month, Delta flight attendants filed approximately 12,000 election request cards with the National Mediation Board, formally requesting a union representation election that could result in more than 20,000 workers joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). If successful, this win by Delta flight attendants would represent the largest ever organizing victory by transportation sector workers.

Bluegrass State Workers See Green With Minimum Wage Increase:Members of the Louisville Metro Council voted to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2017, making Louisville the first city in the South to raise their minimum wage, and the 12th city to raise it in 2014.

Louisiana Hospital Employees Serve Up a Big Plate of Respect: Shortly before the Christmas holiday, approximately 250 Sodexo cafeteria staff members at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport have joined AFSCME Local 2649, citing a lack of respect on the job and an opportunity to improve working conditions.

Silver Airlines Flight Attendants Strike Gold Through Organizing: Flight attendants from Silver Airways, a Fort Lauderdale, FL based airline partnered with United, voted to join the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA earlier this month. Flight attendants will now work on improving working conditions and safety standards through a new contract.

Big Easy Hospitality Workers Score Big Organizing Win: Late last year, approximately 900 employees at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino organized with UNITE HERE and entered contract negotiations. This win doubles the amount of organized hospitality industry workers in New Orleans.

Today’s Lesson: How to Raise Wages for Professors: Earlier this month, over 400 part-time adjunct professors have voted to form a union at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The newly unionized professors cited raising wages, job security, and benefits as reasons for organizing.

Sysco Drivers Deliver Better Working Conditions Through Organizing Campaign: Last month, more than 400 Sysco drivers, warehouse workers, fleet and facility maintenance workers, and shuttle yard drivers organized in response to unfair working conditions and uncertain job security.

Weekly List Of Open Communication Jobs From UnionJobs

Union Jobs Logo 400x400

Union Jobs headerJANUARY 29, 2015 WEEKLY SUMMARY OF COMMUNICATIONS POSITIONS POSTED AT UNIONJOBS.COM

AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
Program Coordinator, Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department  District of Columbia
Senior Field Representative, Campaigns Department  Arizona, Colorado
Strategic Campaigns Coordinator, Organizing Department  District of Columbia
Development Manager, Digital Strategies Department  District of Columbia
Senior Fellow, Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department  District of Columbia
Assistant Director, Information Technology Department District of Columbia
Campaign Coordinator – Ohio, Campaigns Department Midwest Region  Ohio
Popular Education Coordinator, Campaigns Department  District of Columbia
Communications Coordinator, Communications Department (MW Region)  Michigan
Organizing Field Communications Assistant, Organizing Department  District of Columbia

AEA (Actors’ Equity Association)
National Director of Governance, New York City  New York

AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees)
Technological Education Specialist  District of Columbia

AFT Connecticut
Union Communications Internship, Rocky Hill  Connecticut

CCEA (Clark County Education Association)
Political Data Analyst, Las Vegas  Nevada

CIR/SEIU (Committee of Interns & Residents)
Physicians’ Union Campaign Communications Coordinator, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City California, New York

CNA/NNU (California Nurses Association (CNA) / National Nurses United (NNU) AFL-CIO)
Social Justice Videographer, Oakland  California

CPD (Center for Popular Democracy)
Executive Director, Common Good Ohio, Cleveland  Ohio
Campaign Manager, Fed Up: The Campaign for a Strong National Economy, Washington, DC or New York, NY  District of Columbia, New York

FMSMF (The Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund)
Network Engineer, Studio City  California

ITPI (In the Public Interest)
Communications Coordinator/Writer  District of

MNA (Massachusetts Nurses Association)
Associate Director/ Communications Specialist  Massachusetts

NELP (National Employment Law Project)
Grants and Funding Appeals Writer, Washington DC, or New York, NY  District of Columbia, New York

New Jersey State AFL-CIO
Young Workers Outreach Facilitator (Part Time), Trenton  District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

NNU (National Nurses United)
Educator – Immediate Opening, San Francisco Bay area  California

NYHTC (New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council)
Video Communications SupervisorNew York

OCEA (Orange County Employees Association)
Communications Organizer
, Santa Ana  California

PSC/CUNY (Professional Staff Congress, AFT Local 2334)
Union Newspaper Editor, New York  New York

PWF (Partnership for Working Families)
Administrative & Executive Assistant, Oakland  California

RTF (Raise the Floor Alliance)
Campaign Coordinator, Chicago  Illinois

SEIU (Local 1)
Communications Specialist, Detroit or Cleveland  Michigan, Ohio


SEIU (Local 32BJ)
Communications Specialist: Connecticut & Hudson Valley, Hartford  Connecticut

SEIU (Local 99)
Membership Database Specialist, Los Angeles  California

SEIU (Local 503, Oregon Public Employees Union)
Political and Policy Strategist, Long Term Care  Oregon

SEIU (Local 509)
Member Action and Resource Director
, Boston  Massachusetts

SEIU (Local 521)
Communications Specialist, San Jose  California
Campaign Researcher, San Jose or Fresno  California
Temporary Campaign Researcher (term one year), San Jose  California

SEIU (Local 721)
Communications Specialist  California

SEIU (SEIU 775)
Political and Communications Specialist, based in Seattle  Washington

SEIU (Local 1021)
IT Team – Database Specialist, Oakland

SEIU (1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East)
Professional & Technical Specialist, Greater New York Metropolitan Area  New York

SEIU (1199SEIU Training & Employment Funds)
Communications Manager  New York

UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union)
Bilingual Campaign Communications Specialist  District of Columbia
Senior Strategic Targeting Coordinator, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

UFT (United Federation of Teachers)
Social Media Coordinator, New York City  New

UNAC/UHCP (United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals)
Temporary Communications Specialist – Organizing, Southern California area  California

UPTE-CWA (University Professional and Technical Employees-Communications Workers of America)
Systemwide Director  California

WIN (Workers Independent News)
Digital Media Specialist, Madison  Wisconsin
Affiliate Relations Director, Madison  Wisconsin

Working America (a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO)
Writer  District of Columbia
Digital Communications Organizer District of Columbia

Working Families (Pennsylvania Working Families)
Pennsylvania Communications Director, Philadelphia  Pennsylvania

Workmen’s Circle
Social Justice Social Media Assistant, New York City  New York

GLU (Global Labour University at Penn State)
Master’s Program in Global Workers Rights, State College Pennsylvania (National search)


PSI
(Public Services International)
Sector Officer – Local and Regional Government, PSI Head Office  Ferney-Voltaire, France

Safety Groups Call for OSHA Reforms

NCOSH 300X250

Workers and Public Should Have Enhanced Access

to Review Commission, says National COSH

NCOSH 300X250LONGMEADOW, MA – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) has filed a petition before the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), calling for greater worker and public participation in Commission proceedings.

“Workers know best how to prevent the hazards that cause injuries, illnesses and death on the job,” said Mary Vogel, Executive Director of National COSH. “To make sure our workplaces are safer, workers’ voices must be heard loud and clear. And we need to shine as much light as possible on what is too often hidden from view – the unsafe practices that put workers at unnecessary risk on every shift, day and night, every day of the week.”

“For 44 years, the OSH Act has explicitly given workers the clear right to be involved when employers appeal OSHA citations,” said Eric Frumin, Health and Safety Director for the labor union coalition Change to Win. “As conditions change and employers try to narrow worker participation, the Commission must keep its rules current and preserve this fundamental right.”

“When employees appear before the Review Commission, they should get a fair shake and be full participants,” said Randy Rabinowitz, Co-Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Law Project.

According to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 4,400 workers died in 2013 following on-the-job incidents. BLS data shows more than 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2013, and a University of California study estimates more than 50,000 U.S. deaths annually from long-term illnesses related to workplace exposure.

The Review Commission, created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, hears appeals of OSHA violations and penalties issued against employers following OSHA inspections. With OSHA doing nearly 40,000 inspections annually, the Commission hears some 2,700 employer appeals every year. Many of these cases involve critical issues for the workers affected. The outcome can literally determine whether workers will suffer serious injury or die if employers don’t fix the violations.

The OSHRC is currently considering revisions to its procedural rules. In a petition filed Friday, Jan. 23rd by the Occupational Safety and Health Law Project, National COSH joined North America’s Building Trades Unions, Change to Win and the United Steelworkers, calling for specific changes to enhance worker and public participation.

National COSH and its partners in this petition filing are calling for:

An expanded definition of “affected employee”

As of now, only a worker who is directly employed by an employer with a case before the Review Commission can participate as a party to OSHRC proceedings. With more and more companies using temporary and contract workers — who may be “directly” employed by a different company such as a staffing agency– National COSH and fellow petitioners argue that OSHRC should allow full participation by any worker at a multi-employer worksite who is affected by the hazard or violation under appeal.

This is similar to the existing standard used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when assessing safety hazards at construction sites, which typically involve multiple employers.

A consistent right for workers to select their own representatives at Review Commission hearings

Although the OSH Act allows employees the right to select individuals or organizations to represent them during Commission proceedings, this provision of Federal law is not always honored in practice. “OSHRC judges,” the petition states, “have expressed skepticism, if not downright hostility, to the individuals who have sought to represent workers before OSHRC, or have imposed unreasonable limits on a representative’s participation.”

The petitioners seek to clarify that the Review Commission’s existing rules allow a worker to choose an attorney, pastor, community organization, union or other representative to act on their behalf, with no limits placed on participation by chosen representatives.

More sunlight on Review Commission proceedings:

Under current Commission rules, any statement or information offered during settlement talks regarding major cases before the Review Commission is treated as confidential, regardless of the source of the information.

This overly restrictive confidentiality rule, petitioners point out, is narrower than Federal Rules of Evidence.  It has the unfortunate side effect of preventing workers from using information obtained outside of Review Commission proceedings as part of ongoing efforts to improve workplace conditions. As petitioners argue, employees

“[L]earn about everyday working conditions, hazards employees face and violations during their daily work activities. They… have a right to demand improvements in working conditions and to bargain with employers to gain safer workplaces. They also have a right to communicate with the public in their efforts to improve their working conditions.”

“No worker should be silenced just because his or her employer tries to hide unsafe practices behind a cloak of so-called ‘confidentiality’ while trying to settle an OSHA citation,” said Vogel. “As the Review Commission seeks to update its procedures, the common sense reforms we are suggesting will help it function more effectively for all parties and uphold the public’s interest in creating safer workplaces.” 

National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace.  “Preventable Deaths 2014,” a National COSH report, describes workplace fatalities in the United States and how they can be prevented. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org.  Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.

Public Employees: Speak Up Knowing You Are Protected!

NH House Committee Hearing (Image by Christopher Schmidt CC on FLIKR)

Written by
Terri D. Donovan, Esq.,
Director of Collective Bargaining and Field Services
American Federation of Teachers-NH

NH House Committee Hearing (Image by Christopher Schmidt CC on FLIKR)

NH House Committee Hearing (Image by Christopher Schmidt CC on FLIKR)

All of a sudden there are many meetings in our cities, towns and school districts consumed with budget hearings and deliberative sessions where funding decisions will be made about our schools and vital public services. You read the headlines. The loud voices to slash budgets seem to be heard above all. Will you sit on the sidelines or speak up about important public services and your schools?

You go to work every day and teach your students, plow the roads, answer a burglary call or respond to a house fire. You wonder do these naysayers really know what is happening every day in your workplace. Do your fellow community members realize the pride you take in your work? Or are you just a line item in a budget?

This time of year there are many questions from our members and other public employees if they are allowed to speak at a public meeting. If they speak, can they be disciplined? Fired? The answer is NO. As a public employee in NH you have a right to free speech. Just because your paycheck is from a city, town or school district does not diminish your right to be heard.

If you are covered by a union contract you have protections. In fact, AFT-NH Local #6214, Pittsfield Town Employees, filed an Unfair Labor Charge at the NH Public Employees Labor Relations Board in 2012 which addressed a gag order which had been imposed by the Pittsfield Board of Selectmen. The gag order was passed when union members spoke out against an egregious budget cut and actions taken to implement this cut. The Selectmen retracted this order shortly thereafter but the Union pursued the claim to stand up for public employees’ free speech rights. The NH PELRB was clear in supporting public employees in their rights to speak public about their collective bargaining agreements and their working conditions.

The NH PELRB ordered the following, “The Town shall cease and desist from any activity, including the development and enforcement of any policy, that would prohibit bargaining unit employees’ communications with the public or media on the issues related to collective bargaining or the terms and conditions of their employment.”

Also as a public employee in New Hampshire you have unique statutory protection under Chapter 98-E, Public Employee Freedom of Expression. If your employer is a county, city, town, school district, SAU, precinct or water district you are protected.

 98-E:1 Freedom of Expression. – Notwithstanding any other rule or order to the contrary, a person employed as a public employee in any capacity shall have a full right to publicly discuss and give opinions as an individual on all matters concerning any government entity and its policies. It is the intention of this chapter to balance the rights of expression of the employee with the need of the employer to protect legitimate confidential records, communications, and proceedings. 

Please check for important meetings in your city and town. Deliberative sessions and budget hearings are happening now! You may not be comfortable speaking but jot down a few notes so you feel more comfortable. Speaking from the heart and with sincere concerns will resonate with fellow community members. Your opinion does matter to them. Be sure to avoid disclosing any confidential information you may know as a result of your work. You should rely on your Union to advise when it is appropriate in the collective bargaining process to speak out publicly. Once a contract is presented to the voters for approval, it is very important for you to reach out for support in the community.

You can speak to what you would believe to be the impact of budget cuts and speak proudly of the work done in your district or municipality. When you speak out you offer encouragement and support for others in the community to also have their voices heard.

Please don’t be silenced!

 

 

 

Senator Shaheen Says “We Cannot Play Politics With Dept. Of Homeland Security Funding”

Image from Senator Shaheen's Website

At New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center (NHIAC), Shaheen highlights importance of homeland security resources for public safety and preparedness

(Concord, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this morning toured the New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center (NHIAC) to highlight the importance of approving homeland security funding for the remainder of this fiscal year in the interest of public safety and preparedness. While congress is currently facing a February 27th deadline to fund the Department of Homeland Security, certain lawmakers are threatening to add extraneous legislative riders to a funding bill that could lead to a potential agency shutdown.

At this morning’s tour, Shaheen was briefed by New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes, New Hampshire State Police, Division Director Colonel Robert Quinn and New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Perry Plummer on the capabilities of the center, which provides strategic and tactical information regarding threats facing New Hampshire and its citizens.

“We cannot play politics with homeland security funding,” said Shaheen. “The work being done at the New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center and by the entire New Hampshire law enforcement community is so important for keeping New Hampshire and its residents safe. And it’s a perfect example of why these resources are so critical.

“In the coming days and weeks I’ll continue highlighting why we must pass a clean funding bill for the remainder of this fiscal year, and I hope lawmakers will refrain from using this bill as a vehicle to score political points on entirely unrelated issues,” she added.

This morning’s visit comes following Shaheen’s recent appointment as Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security. The Homeland Security Subcommittee oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its related agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others. The Subcommittee also supports the DHS’ efforts to protect the nation’s security against terrorism and other hazards in five core issue areas:

  • preventing terrorism and enhancing security.
  • securing and managing U.S. borders.
  • enforcing and administering federal immigration laws.
  • safeguarding and securing cyberspace.
  • ensuring resilience to disasters.

Richard Trumka on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Union Membership Report

union_yes_sign_616

Today’s release of the annual union membership numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in this economic recovery, people are either seeking out good union jobs or taking matters into their own hands by forming unions to raise wages and ensure that new jobs are good jobs.

In 2014, workers made great strides and confronted great challenges, including major organizing wins at American Airlines, multiple state legislative victories on the minimum wage and innovative campaigns conducted by carwash workers, among others. We recognize, however, that right-wing billionaires’ extremist politics, a rapacious Wall Street and insufficient advocacy from political leaders thwarted further progress.

In the State of the Union this week, President Obama celebrated the fact that our economy has benefitted from 58 consecutive months of job growth and reiterated the need for laws that strengthen unions and give workers a voice. But the most important question is not simply how many jobs we’re creating, but are we creating jobs that raise wages for all? A strong recovery must be built on family-sustaining, not poverty-level jobs. Today’s news confirms what most of us already knew: workers are finding good union jobs despite political ideologues — and jobs are coming back as the economy slowly rebounds, but neither are nearly enough.

Key trends include:

  • Union density edged up for workers 16 to 24 from 4.2 to 4.5%
  • Public sector union density growth largely due to women
  • Union density growth in Leisure and Hospitality
  • Union membership increased among Latino men
  • Largest growth, 1.8% among Asian American women
  • Union membership increased for Black women and men
  • Black men and women remain the groups with the highest union density

Noteworthy 2014 Worker Wins

  • More than 92,000 workers chose to join AFSCME, including 20,000 home health care workers who were recently the target of Harris v Quinn. This was double AFSCME’s organizing goal for the year.
  • 14,500 customer service agents who work for American Airlines voted for union representation with CWA after the merger with US Airways. This victory was especially significant for 9,000 former American Airlines agents who have been part of a 19-year long organizing effort.
  • Workers at an Alabama Copper parts plant voted to organize as members of the United Steelworkers despite extensive political intimidation and efforts by Governor Robert Bentley to dissuade workers from unionizing.
  • Mechanics, technicians, and maintenance personnel at the Red River Army Depot near Texarkana, TX successfully organized into the IAM.  This victory follows successful campaigns by workers earlier in the year where 925 employees joined the union at the Corpus Christi Army Depot in Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • Nurses and hospital workers voted to form unions at two hospitals in Connecticut. The workers, who will be represented by AFT Connecticut, had to overcome attempts by hospital administrators to intimidate the workers.

Governor Hassan Declares State of Emergency, Closes State Government on Tuesday in Advance of Winter Storm

Maggie Hassan

Governor Also Encourages Granite Staters to Avoid Travel and to Take Precautions

CONCORD – In advance of a major winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds, Governor Maggie Hassan today declared a State of Emergency and announced that state government will be closed on Tuesday, January 27, for personnel not essential to public safety, public health or the storm response.

“In advance of the major winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall and high winds, we have been working with state emergency management officials, other state agencies, local communities and utilities to take every precaution to ensure the safety of our people and communities,” Governor Hassan said. “I am declaring a State of Emergency and closing state government tomorrow for personnel not essential to public safety, public health or the storm response, and I encourage private companies and local governments to do the same.”

 “With possible whiteout and blizzard-like conditions throughout the day, Granite Staters should stay at home if at all possible and avoid the roads, as they will be dangerous,” Governor Hassan said. “People should make sure that they have emergency supplies and are prepared to stay at home for one or two days, and I ask you to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or people with disabilities, throughout the course of the storm.”

The state Emergency Operations Center will open at midnight and remain open as long as necessary depending on the duration and severity of the storm, and National Guard personnel have been notified to be ready to assist with storm response as well.

Governor Hassan and state emergency management officials have been communicating directly with local emergency response agencies, school districts and utilities. Widespread power outages are not expected, but the utilities have emergency plans in place and extra response crews on standby.

State public safety and emergency management officials are working with local entities to open warming stations and shelters as needed. For more information about shelters, including the closest pet-friendly shelter, residents can contact 2-1-1 NH toll-free by dialing 2-1-1 in state or 1-866-444-4211 from out of state.

The storm will begin tonight, with the heaviest snowfall expected between midnight tonight and noon tomorrow, with up to one or two inches of snow per hour. Visibility will be low, with possible whiteout conditions throughout the day, and winds are expected to exceed 50 miles per hour.

By 7 p.m. Tuesday night, the southeastern part of the state could receive 14-20 inches of snow, while central New Hampshire could receive 10-14 inches and northern New Hampshire up to 10 inches. In addition to a blizzard warning for eastern Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford Counties and winter storm warning for all other counties except for northern Coos, the National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood warning.

In addition to stocking up on emergency supplies, such as water and canned food, in advance of the storm, New Hampshire residents are encouraged to take the following precautions:

  • Monitor weather conditions via news media, NOAA weather radio or Internet sources.
  • Avoid road travel if at all possible during the storm to allow public works crews to clear and treat the roads.
  • Anyone who has to drive should slow down, allow extra space between vehicles and follow all traffic signs and notices. Drivers could experience sudden whiteout conditions during high wind gusts and should be prepared to be stranded in cold temperatures.
  • Keep vehicle fuel tanks at least half full.
  • Monitor snow loading, especially on flat roofs.
  • Be a good neighbor and check on the well-being of relatives and acquaintances, especially the elderly or others with special needs.
  • If the power goes out:
    • Use flashlights and battery-powered lanterns, not candles, for emergency lighting.
    • Operate emergency generators safely, with exhaust directed away from buildings.
    • Never use outdoor cooking appliances indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Report the outage to your electric utility.
    • Stay clear of downed wires. Always assume downed power lines are live.

Additional information, including safety and preparedness tips, is available at http://www.nh.gov/readynh/.

Building a Better Budget Examines State Budget Priorities, State Tax System; Strategies to Strengthen NH’s Middle Class

Taxes Cartoon

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) today convened Building a Better Budget: Meeting Today’s Needs, Preparing for Tomorrow to provide a forum for dialogue around how to build a budget that allows the Granite State to create, maintain, and restore the public structures that are vital to a vibrant economy.

“New Hampshire’s budget is a statement of priorities, a reflection of the values that we hold as a state, as a society, as a people,” said NHFPI Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “It is time to begin a thoughtful dialogue around how the state sets priorities and how we can ensure that New Hampshire is a place where everyone has access to opportunities to thrive and prosper.”

The event opened with a panel discussion which examined several key elements of New Hampshire’s state budget, with an emphasis on current and long-term needs pertaining to transportation, higher education, mental health, and income support programs. Panelists included Christopher Clement, former commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Transportation; Amy Messer, legal director, Disability Rights Center; Kristyn Van Ostern, associate vice chancellor and chief financial officer, Community College System of New Hampshire; and Ife Floyd, policy analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

A second panel of national tax policy experts examined New Hampshire’s revenue system and offered insights into how other states approach taxation and practices that would make the Granite State’s revenue system more sound and more fair. Panelists included Norton Francis, senior research associate, Urban Institute; Carl Davis, senior policy analyst, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; and Dan Bucks, former director for the Montana Department of Revenue.

The nearly 140 participants, which included New Hampshire legislators, nonprofit and community leaders, and concerned citizens, were provided with an opportunity to engage in dialogue around how New Hampshire could build a budget that better meets the needs of low- and moderate-income families and individuals struggling to get by.

The event concluded with a keynote address by Anna Chu, director of the Middle-Out Economics project at the Center for American Progress, who illustrated how a strong and stable middle class is the key driver of economic growth and outlined strategies to help New Hampshire support its middle-class and increase economic opportunities for all Granite Staters.

NHFPI’s second annual policy conference, Building a Better Budget was made possible with the support of lead event sponsor the National Education Association-NH (NEA-NH) and the following partner organizations: Child and Family Services, American Federation of Teachers-NH (AFT-NH), New Futures, Full Circle Consulting, Louis Karno and Company, and Kieschnick Consulting Services.

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org.

 

McCain Amendment to Keystone Pipeline Bill Blasted as a Job Killer by Sea Captains’ Union

John McCain (Image by Gage Skidmore CC Flikr)
John McCain (Image by Gage Skidmore CC Flikr)

(Image by Gage Skidmore CC Flikr)

 International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots Asks:       If Keystone is a “Jobs Bill” Why Would Congress Want to Send 400,000 Maritime Jobs in 26 States Overseas? 

WASHINGTON  –  S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, has been described as a “jobs bill” by the pipeline’s proponents since Keystone XL was first proposed, but a new amendment introduced by Arizona Sen. John McCain would turn S.1 into a “job killer” of epic and irreversible proportions.  The McCain amendment would gut a significant part of the Jones Act, a set of laws dating back to the 1920s that has helped build and maintain a domestic shipbuilding industry. Maritime unions and maritime industry groups are now mobilizing against the amendment’s passage. Among those actively opposing passage are the Maritime Labor Alliance and its coalition of maritime unions, and others in maritime and transportation labor, along with the Shipbuilders Council of America and the American Maritime Partnership.

“In Washington sometimes up is down and offense is defense, but an amendment that seeks to eliminate highly-skilled steady middle-class jobs employing hundreds of thousands of our countrymen should never be called good for America,” said Captain Don Marcus, who serves as the President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, a union representing sea captains and deck officers on U.S. flagged vessels. “This is beyond hypocrisy,” he added.

McCain’s amendment, which has nothing to do with a pipeline that traverses the largely landlocked states of the Great Plains, seeks to repeal the build provisions of the Jones Act, the cabotage laws that require ships plying domestic waters to be built in the United States.

If S.1 is passed with McCain’s amendment included, it would decimate the nation’s shipping industry, eliminating as many as 400,000 U.S. jobs spread over 26 states, lead to the closing of shipyards and related industries, reduce GDP by an estimated $36 billion and erase $24 billion in American workers’ wages and benefits, according to figures compiled by the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department.

Using Florida as an example, 21,890 shipyard jobs generating $1.6 billion in annual economic activity would be at risk, including more than $1 billion in labor income, according to the U.S Maritime Administration.

The economic threat to their state’s largest private sector business is why Mississippi Senators, Republicans Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, have publicly opposed McCain’s amendment. Shipbuilding represents 23,450 jobs in Mississippi. The industry’s economic impact to the Gulf Coast state’s GDP is $2 billion, according to figures from the American Maritime Partnership.

Senators from across the aisle, including Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), oppose the change to the Jones Act.  Both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have significant shipbuilding industries.

The parties that would most benefit from this amendment are heavily subsidized foreign shipping competitors not subject to U.S. laws, regulations, environmental standards and taxes.  Inexplicably, Senator McCain and his supporters would rather see fuel and cargo hauled in U.S. waters on tankers and freighters built overseas and operated by foreign crews rather than American-made ships staffed by U.S. citizens. “It’s outrageous that John McCain is doing this,” said Marcus.

Beyond the threat to the domestic economy, this amendment would also threaten national security by destabilizing the military’s strategic sealift needs. The Jones Act ensures that the U.S. has a reliable source of domestically built ships and skilled American crews available for its military and humanitarian aid operations. “Without the sealift capability and American maritime jobs provided by the Jones Act and the Maritime Security Program,” said Marcus, “the U.S. Armed Forces would be forced to rely on foreign-flag ships and crews with unknown loyalties to transport critical military cargo and personnel to overseas operations. Bad idea.” Among the groups that have voiced opposition to the McCain Amendment is the Navy League of the United States.

For more information on the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, please visit www.bridgedeck.org

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