• Advertisement

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.

Mayor-Elect Joyce Craig Announces Inaugural Plans

MANCHESTER – Mayor-elect Joyce Craig today announced details of plans for her inauguration as Manchester’s 48th Mayor. 

Craig will take the oath of office as Mayor of Manchester on Tuesday, January 2nd at the Radisson Hotel located at 700 Elm Street, Manchester. The inaugural ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will include the swearing in of other city officials, including Aldermen, School Board Members and Ward Officials. John Clayton, Executive Director of the Manchester Historic Society, will serve as master of ceremonies. The event is free and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Following the inauguration, Mayor Joyce Craig will preside over meetings of the Aldermanic Board and School Board at City Hall.

Mayor-elect Craig also announced the formation of her Inaugural Committee, which is working to organize and plan the inauguration. The committee will be co-chaired by Elizabeth Hitchcock, Paul LeBlanc, Arthur Gatzoulis, and State Representative Mary Heath, all of Manchester.

Liz Purdy will serve as a senior advisor to the Inaugural Committee. Purdy has experience running Gubernatorial Inaugural activities for both Governor John Lynch and Senator Maggie Hassan.

The Inaugural Committee will host the Inaugural Ball on Saturday, January 13th at the Radisson in Manchester.

To keep the public informed about inaugural activities, Craig has launched a new website www.craiginaugural.com, which also provides online ticketing for the inaugural ball.

Protecting The Program That Helps Low-Income Families Get Prescriptions For Little-to-No Cost

Image by Oliver.Dodd on FLICKR CC

A healthy, productive workforce relies on access to medical services, including affordable prescription medications.

In 1992, the 340B drug discount program was established to lower costs for providers who mainly care for needy, economically disadvantaged, or uninsured patients. Under the law, pharmaceutical manufacturers discount prescription drugs to health care providers that receive federal grants or are non-profit hospitals that meet specific program standards. Congress envisioned that these providers would use the savings to help deliver discounted and vital drugs to underserved populations.

Unfortunately, the program has deviated from its original intent and is sorely lacking in accountability and transparency. Instead of helping lower-income, uninsured patients afford prescription drugs, we now see large health care manipulating the program for their own financial benefit.

While providers who receive federal grants, such as Ryan White HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and Title X family planning clinics, must use their revenue to help the vulnerable populations they serve. Large hospitals argue that they are not explicitly required under the 340B program to use the income they derive from the program to benefit low-income or vulnerable patients, and so they frequently don’t. A 2016 analysis of charity care provided by hospitals enrolled in the 340B drug discount program found that 340B hospitals have charity care rates below the 2.2% national average for all hospitals, and more than one-third (37%) of 340B hospitals provide charity care that represents less than 1% of their total patient costs.

And business is booming for hospitals using the 340B program as a revenue-generating line item. Between 2014 and 2016, the 340B drug discount program expanded 125%, and 340B hospitals are the major drivers behind this. Approximately 45% of all Medicare acute care hospitals nationwide are participants in the 340B drug discount program. In 2016, sales at the 340B price were estimated to be $16 billion, and research forecasts the program will exceed $20 billion by 2019 and $23 billion by 2021—all this growth despite an overall decrease in the number of uninsured patients and lower charity care burdens for hospitals.

The core mission of the 340B drug discount program is to help vulnerable people afford their prescriptions. The current trajectory of this program is unsustainable.

If we are going to ensure patients continue to receive access to the affordable prescriptions, Congress needs to act fast to fix the 340B drug discount program. Improvement to the 340B program center on transparency and accountability: participants in the program must be required to provide discounted medicines from the 340B program to vulnerable patients.

If Congress fails to act, patient costs and hospital profits will continue to swell. And our communities, state, and nation will all be left off with poorer health because of it – an option our workforce can’t afford.

Shaheen Urges FCC Chairman Pai to Consider Importance of Net Neutrality Rules for Small Businesses

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, led several of her colleagues in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, emphasizing the importance of net neutrality regulations to small business interests. The senators urged Chairman Pai to fully consider the impact of any regulatory changes on small businesses before voting on any changes. The other senators signing the letter include fellow Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee members Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

“In advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) upcoming vote on proposed changes to the existing net neutrality rules, we are writing to emphasize the importance of an open and free Internet to the nation’s small business community,” wrote the senators. “The structure of these crucial regulations must maintain a level digital playing field for businesses of all sizes and we implore the FCC to fully honor the unique challenges that small businesses face in an online market and reject changes that could disadvantage this important sector of our economy.”

The senators continued, “The concept of a fair and open Internet prevents discriminatory practices that could favor larger companies online – like higher costs for faster delivery speeds or prioritization of provider content.  Small businesses are particularly dependent on high quality Internet services in order to increase their consumer base and expand their operations and are much less likely to have the resources to invest in this kind of ‘pay-to-play’ system… As the lynchpins of many local communities, small businesses deserve our support.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen joined a letter led by Senator Hassan to Chairman Pai expressing concern over reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking process and called on the Chairman to delay the planned December 14th vote to roll back net neutrality rules until an investigation of the state of the record is conducted.

Small Business Letter - FCC - 12.8.17

GAO Report Confirms Dangers in Poultry Processing Plants

USDA Multimedia by Lance Cheung.

As Chicken Council Pushes for Fewer Regulations, Investigation Reveals Lax Enforcement of Existing Rules

Earlier this year, the National Chicken Council petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eliminate the processing line speed limits imposed on poultry processing plants.  This request sparked outrage from Mark Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) who represents workers inside these processing plants.

“With the health and safety of over 250,000 thousand hard-working poultry workers in mind, 70,000 of whom are members of our union family, we write to urge you to reject a petition submitted by the National Chicken Council (NCC) to run food processing lines with no speed limits,” wrote Perrone in a letter to Acting Deputy Undersecretary Rottenberg. “For the sake of keeping hard-working families safe – whether they’re preparing, buying, or eating chicken – the USDA must reject this petition.”

“According to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) data, in 2015 the meat and poultry industry had the 8th-highest number of severe injury reports of all industries. In 2016, we reported that workers in meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants continue to face hazardous conditions, including sharp knives used in close quarters, slippery floors, and chemical exposures. In the 2016 report, we found that additional data are needed to address these hazardous conditions and recommended that DOL improve its data on musculoskeletal disorders and sanitation workers in the meat and poultry industry,” wrote the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Today, GAO released their findings related to the health and safety of workers in poultry processing plants and the results show significant problems for workers in these facilities.

“The hard-working people who work in poultry plants have some of the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in America,” said Perrone. “This report sadly confirms that many of these skilled professionals who keep our food safe are struggling to keep themselves safe at work. They have earned and deserve better.”

  • This GAO report confirms the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t consider worker safety when allowing new and dangerous chemicals to be used in poultry plants, and that OSHA can’t or won’t adequately protect poultry workers from injury.
  • The GAO also found a pattern of poultry companies repeatedly denying access to federal safety and health inspectors, leaving workers in at least 15 plants across the South working in potentially dangerous environments.
  • This report supports findings by Oxfam that poultry workers struggle to get adequate bathroom breaks, even to the point of endangering their health.
  • Other GAO reports in 2005 and 2016 also found significant problems with safety and health in the poultry industry.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry plants.

“The dangers endured by poultry workers that are highlighted in this report also underscore why a recent request by the National Chicken Council to increase line speeds defies common sense and is being clearly driven by greed. We urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take this report seriously and reject that request so that poultry workers and the food we all consume can be kept safe,” Perrone concluded.

 

Read the full GAO report here.

Senator Hassan Names “Might Max” As Her Granite Stater Of The Month

Senator Hassan Delivers Senate Floor Speech Announcing Max Mendez of Merrimack as Granite Stater of the Month for December

New Hampshire Eight-Year-Old Battling Leukemia Started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive”

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan spoke today on the Senate floor, where she announced that Max Mendez, an eight-year-old boy from Merrimack who started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive” while battling leukemia, is her “Granite Stater of the Month” for December.

After Max received toys from Boston Children’s Hospital as a reward for his courage during treatment, he started the “Mighty Max Mega Toy Drive” with help from family and friends to help resupply the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s hematology and oncology unit with presents for brave young patients like himself. For more information on the toy drive, visit: facebook.com/mightymaxtoydrive/

Click here for video or see below for Senator Hassan’s remarks:

Mr. President, it is my honor to announce our latest Granite Stater of the Month, an inspiring, resilient, and generous young man from Merrimack, New Hampshire. Max Mendez, an 8-year-old boy, also known as “Mighty Max” and “Professor Max,” has battled leukemia for over a year, and he has proven to be a shining example of the values that make the Granite State – and all of our communities – strong.

As Max began treatment last year – procedures, blood draws, and tests at Boston Children’s Hospital – he was often recognized for his courage and grit. The hospital had a supply of toys and after these procedures he would often be rewarded with one them. Max received so many toys that he started to donate some of them to other kids, and realized that giving toys felt even better than receiving them. In the face of his own severe health challenges, Max started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive” to help supply the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s hematology and oncology unit with presents for brave young patients like himself.

In true Granite State fashion, Max and his family received invaluable support from their community, including friends, local businesses, schools, sports teams, and the local police department. Max’s community donated toys, offered space as collection sites, and delivered donations to Max and the Mendez family. With extra help from his sister, Mckayla, and the Lyna family who helped advertise the toy drive and store donations, Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive received roughly 3,000 toys ahead of the holiday season this year.

Mighty Max, the Mendez family, and all of the Granite Staters who supported the toy drive demonstrate the spirit that makes New Hampshire such a strong, resilient state. While battling leukemia and enduring painful treatments, Max found it in himself to bring joy to others who face similar challenges, and his entire community – including people Max will never meet – is stronger because of his generous spirit and hard work. Max is an inspiration for all of us during this holiday season and beyond, and I am proud to call him our Granite Stater of the Month.

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Call On Trump Administration to Reinstate Birth Control Coverage for Millions of Women

In letter, Senators urge Trump Administration to rescind President Trump’s action allowing employers to roll back health care coverage for women

WASHINGTON – This week, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 36 of their colleagues in calling on Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to rescind President Trump’s interim final rules (IFRs) issued on October 13, 2017, enabling employers and universities to interfere with their employees’ and students’ access to preventive health care by allowing them to choose not to cover birth control for religious or moral reasons.

In the letter, the senators highlighted the enormous economic benefit of requiring health plans to cover preventive services, including birth control for women, without out-of-pocket costs.

“This requirement has helped 62.4 million women have coverage for birth control. As a result, they have been able to make decisions about their reproductive health care that strengthen their economic standing and allow them to decide if and when to start families,” wrote the senators. “These IFRs also allow employers and insurance companies to once again discriminate against women by requiring them to pay more for the health care they need compared to their male counterparts.”

The senators also noted that repealing the contraceptive coverage provision goes against the original intentions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which created explicit provisions to guarantee women access to preventive services.

“Congress specifically included the Women’s Health Amendment in the ACA to ensure that the legislation would end the “punitive practices of insurances companies that charge women more and give [them] less in a benefit” by guaranteeing women access to preventive services,” the senators wrote. “The IFRs fail to recognize this clear congressional intent to place medical experts’ recommendations over political ideology.”

See full text of the letter below or click HERE:

20171205_BirthControlIFR

Mark Fernald: Voodoo Economics

Supply-Side Economics: Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me; Fool me Three Times?  You Have Got to be Kidding.

Since the Reagan Administration, the Republican Party has been enraptured by what the first President Bush called “Voodoo economics:”  the ‘theory’ that tax cuts pay for themselves by boosting economic growth and tax receipts.

Republicans have acted on this misguided theory over and over, with the same results:  record-high deficits, soaring debt, and reduced economic growth in the long run.

The Reagan tax cuts caused huge deficits.  In the short term, the economy grew, as the borrowed money sloshed around the economy.  It was ‘morning in America.’  Or, as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan put it, we borrowed a trillion dollars from the Chinese and threw a party.

When the party was over, we endured the severe recession of 1989-1991.  Nearly every major bank in New Hampshire failed.  The re-election campaign of the first President Bush failed along with the economy.

Our next Republican president, George W. Bush, copied the Reagan playbook:  huge tax cuts for the rich, a temporary rise in the economy, followed by the Great Recession.

Recent Democratic administrations provide the counterpoint to “voodoo” supply-side economics.

In 1993, President Clinton signed a tax increase on the rich.  Republicans claimed a tax increase would throw us into recession.  Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the Clinton plan.  What followed was the longest and strongest economic boom in American history, and the first balanced budget in a generation.

During the Obama administration, many of the George W. Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire, particularly the tax cuts for the wealthy.  Under Obama, we experienced nearly eight years of steady growth, during which time the unemployment rate and the deficit were cut by more than half.

The last 37 years of economic history present us with two stark choices:

  • Republican tax cuts, huge deficits and a temporary boost to the economy, followed by a bust.
  • Democratic tax increases on the wealthy, followed by steady growth, falling deficits, and no bust.

Incredibly, Republicans appear to be poised to repeat the failed policies of the past.  Their dream is a tax cut bill that gives its biggest gifts to large corporations and the wealthy, while increasing the deficit by “only” $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.

The point in reviewing economic history is not that all deficits are bad.  Temporary tax cuts, and temporary deficits, are standard macroeconomic practice when the economy is weak.  When tax cuts are permanent, so are the deficits, but the boost to the economy is temporary.  Increased government borrowing to fund the deficits pushes interest rates up, making business investment more expensive.  Short-term deficits can boost the economy out of recession, but long-term deficits harm the economy in the long run by crowding out private investment.

It is true that tax cuts could be paired with spending cuts.  But consider this:  excluding spending for Social Security and Medicare (which is increasing as the Baby Boomers retire), federal spending is a smaller part of our economy than at any other time over the last four decades.

Republican faith in tax cuts and ‘supply-side’ economics is so strong, it has killed off the traditional Republican fear of deficits.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Democrats claimed that deficits did not matter, passing one unbalanced budget after another.  The stagflation of the 1970s followed.

Republicans won the debate about deficits in the 1970s.  Deficits do matter.  But here’s the irony.  Democrats started talking about fiscal responsibility.  When they gained control in Washington, they acted to reduce the deficit.  Republicans kept railing against deficits, but when they gained control of Washington, in 1981 and again in 2001, fiscal responsibility went out the window and the deficit soared.

The current Republican plan began with a good idea:  a revenue-neutral simplification of the tax code that reduces deductions and loopholes, and lowers tax rates.  That good idea has been swamped by the mania for tax cuts, with no regard for the deficit.  If the Republican plan passes, we will cut taxes for the big corporations and the wealthy by at least $1.5 trillion, and we will borrow every penny needed to pay for those cuts.

We have a lot that needs fixing, including the tax code.  Unfortunately, we are stuck with this Congress until 2018.  They don’t do balanced budgets.  They don’t do hearings.  They don’t listen to experts.  They don’t do science. They do tax cuts for the wealthy, no matter what the cost.

 

Mark Fernald is a former State Senator and was the 2002 Democratic nominee for Governor.  He can be reached at mark@markfernald.com.

VoteVets Announces Endorsement Of Maura Sullivan In NH’s First Congressional District

Portsmouth, NH – The largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets PAC, is today endorsing Maura Sullivan for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.

“Maura is the embodiment of service to others, and dedication to country and community,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chair of VoteVets. “Right now, we’re lacking two huge things in Congress – people who put others above themselves, and people with the knowledge and experience to make sure America is safe, in this time of growing chaos.  Maura has both those qualities, in spades. The people of New Hampshire are going to be so proud to call her Congresswoman, and we’re proud to endorse her.”

Regarding this significant development for the campaign, Maura Sullivan issued the following statement:

“My fellow servicemembers in the Marines and their families inspired my commitment to public service when I was a young Marine Lieutenant.  Since then, I have been proud to work on behalf of fellow veterans, servicemembers, and their families: as a Marine in Iraq and East Asia; as a student advocate; and then in the Obama Administration, at our cemeteries and memorials around the world, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and at the Pentagon.  I saw how deeply it matters who’s in elected office. People deserve leaders that wake up each day to advocate for them, put them first, and deliver results to make their lives better.  Now I plan to work hard to earn every vote to go to work for the people of New Hampshire. Among many lessons, my time in the Marines taught me the virtue of listening — how important it is to understand directly from people on the frontlines what matters to them. I am focused on listening to people throughout the First District, and building a campaign and a candidacy that addresses our community’s needs. I am thrilled to have VoteVets support in that effort.”

According to her biography, Maura has dedicated her life to serving our country and fighting for the people and causes she believes in. Maura began her service when she attended college at Northwestern on a Navy/Marine Corps ROTC scholarship and calls becoming a Marine, “the best decision of my life.” As a Marine, Maura spent two years stationed in East Asia before deploying to Fallujah, Iraq. While serving in Iraq, Maura was continuously inspired by the brave and selfless young Americans with whom she served, but she was also struck by how service members, particularly women, were paying the consequences for poor decisions made by out-of-touch leadership in Washington.

After returning home and earning graduate degrees in Business and Public Policy at Harvard, where she also worked on behalf of military veterans and their families, Maura served in the Obama Administration in several capacities: as a Commissioner on the American Battle Monuments Commission, where she represented the United States Government at memorials to fallen U.S. servicemembers spanning the globe; as an Assistant Secretary in the crisis-stricken Department of Veterans Affairs, where she was integrally involved in a variety of reforms, fighting to provide veterans with improved access to health care; as a senior aide to the Secretary of the Navy, working on gender integration in the Navy and Marines, as well as family, mental health, and LGBT policy reforms; and as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense, advising on communications strategy while also working to improve policies on maternity leave and child care.

After her service in the Obama Administration, Maura and her fiancé Marc put down roots in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to raise a family. Maura is running for Congress because our country faces a crisis of leadership that is putting our national and economic security at risk.

Founded in 2006, the mission of VoteVets.org Political Action Committee is to elect Veterans to public office, with a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and hold public officials accountable for their words and actions that impact America’s 21st century troops and veterans. Though VoteVets.org PAC is non-partisan, candidates it backs must support VoteVets.org‘s core mission and beliefs.

Rights and Democracy To Host 2nd Annual Assembly and Celebration

WHEN: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1-6PM

WHERE: LEBANON HIGH SCHOOL
(195 HANOVER ST., LEBANON, NEW HAMPSHIRE)

RSVP Here http://www.radnh.org/assembly2017

LEBANON, NH – Hundreds of Rights & Democracy members from across Vermont and New Hampshire will gather on Dec. 10th for the organization’s annual membership assembly and celebration.

RAD members will celebrate key victories in each state as well as Washington, DC and will look to the movement organizing that lies ahead in 2018 and beyond.  That organizing will include the adoption of a multi-issue People’s Platform for each state.

Members will also discuss organizing campaigns that center on building a rural agenda in both states – from raising the minimum wage to decarceration to universal health care, among other topics.

Other highlights of the day’s events include a special “bird dog” training to show members how they can use direct action to hold their elected officials accountable, a potluck meal, as well as “Resistance Bingo,” and breakout sessions on core issue campaigns in each state. (RSVP For Birddog Training)

Before the event, there will be a special training “Resistance Through Bird Dogging Powerholders” run by three national trainers who have been helping organize the national resistance to the GOP and Trump agendas to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act and enact a tax bill that will make cuts to Medicaid and Medicare to give tax breaks to millionaires. That training will take place from 10:30AM – 12:30PM at Lebanon High School.

In just two years, Rights & Democracy has gone from being a scrappy startup grassroots organization with a handful of key Vermont leaders and staff to a bi-state organization with 12,000 members and a vision to change the world.

Here are a few of our key New Hampshire success stories from our first two years:

  • Developed a robust canvassing operation to knock on 60,000 doors in the 2016 elections in support of Sen. Maggie Hassan in a tight race for US Senate, and brought thousands of our members who came in the door supporting Bernie Sanders to stay involved by defeating Donald Trump and Kelly Ayotte in incredibly tight races.
  • Launched the Transgender Organizing Leadership Development (TOLD) project that has been a leading voice for transgender nondiscrimination in New Hampshire. Nearly 500 people turned out in Manchester’s Victory Park in the Summer of 2017 to stand in unity for LGBTQ+ protections in the coming legislature.
  • Mobilized thousands of Granite State residents to take direct actions – like our “die-in” when US Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (who has since resigned!) visited the state. Other actions included calling on Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to push back against the Trump administration’s most horrific proposals to kick millions off health care.
  • Defeated yet another misnamed “right to work” legislation push that would undermine worker protections in New Hampshire.
  • Won legislation to allow acupuncture to treat addiction, thanks to a grassroots advocacy effort led by Elizabeth Ropp, RAD NH leader and acupuncturist. The law allows frontline workers to use ear acupuncture to treat addiction to heroin or fentanyl, also known as auricular acupuncture or acu-detox.
  • Worked with the Monadnock Progressive Alliance, which is now an affiliate of RAD, as a way to build a truly progressive movement in the region’s communities.  RAD-NH’s long-term goal is to develop and invest in similar local organizing teams throughout the state.
  • Connected with voters in two special elections in New Hampshire, which helped to elect Democrats to the NH legislature in districts that have, in previous elections, supported Republicans and even voted for Trump in 2016.
  • Provided our key allies with support around clean elections, universal health care, immigration rights, reproductive freedom and more.

After the membership assembly, Rights & Democracy will celebrate with its inaugural Human Rights Awards. These awards are to designed to lift up the important work in both Vermont and New Hampshire that are making a difference in the lives our communities.

The inaugural awards will be presented to the following individuals and organizations:

VERMONT

Migrant Justice is a Vermont-based organization of dairy farm workers which organizes to advance human rights. The Milk with Dignity agreement reached on October 3, 2017 between Migrant Justice and Ben & Jerry’s — an agreement three years in the making — continues to make waves across the country as one of the most significant wins for worker’s rights in 2017– at a time when rights are under attack.  The news quickly caught the attention of major media outlets, from the New York Times to the AP to Vermont Public Radio and was also picked up in major media outlets throughout Latin America.

Vermont Racial Justice Reform Coalition is a coalition of organizations which led  a grassroots effort to successfully pass a far-reaching Racial Justice Reform Law  which sets forth guidance to “establish a panel to review and provide recommendations to address systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of criminal and juvenile justice”.

RAD VT’s Health Care Justice Heroes: Starting in the Spring and continuing in the Summer of 2017, leaders of Rights & Democracy, including nurses and people directly affected by the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, began participating in rapid response civil disobedience direct actions to push back on the Trump Administration and GOP leaders in the US Senate and House. These brave acts, along with organizing across the country, help prevent deep cuts to Medicaid and millions of Americans from losing their access to health care.

Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC), a youth slam poetry group created by Burlington and South Burlington High School students class of 2018 Kiran Waqar, Hawa Adam, Lena Ginawi, and Balkisa Abdikadir, is dedicated to social justice through poetry. Tired of having their voices ignored by older generations, they turned to slam poetry to be heard and to make a change. Since forming, these girls have competed at international levels, won numerous awards, performed widely, and help lead several local and national initiatives to increase cultural understanding, fight against racism and promote women’s rights.

Vermont Women’s March Core Organizers: Vermont’s solidarity rally with the Women’s March on January 21, 2017 was organized by a group of dedicated women organizers including RAD’s own Elise Greaves, Katie McCarty, Michelle Mraz, Bonnie Acker, along with Melinda Moulton, Cara Nelson, Marie Lallier, and Katie Titterton. The rally drew an estimated 25,000 people becoming the largest political rally in Vermont’s history.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire Labor Movement for defeating “Right To Work in NH”: A grassroots effort defeated the Republicans first priority of passing so-called “right-to-work” legislation after winning the Governor’s seat and retaining majorities in the NH House and Senate. Despites having all the odds against them, the labor movement and allies led a push to defeat the bill in the House. RAD NH was proud to have contributed strategic field outreach in this NH Labor Movement struggle to defeat Right To Work against all odds

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA): A grassroots advocacy effort led by Elizabeth Ropp, RAD NH leader and acupuncturist.  The law they won for ear acupuncture to treat addiction allows frontline workers to use ear acupuncture to treat addiction to heroin or fentanyl. Known as auricular acupuncture or acu-detox, this is one treatment that practitioners insist can help recovering addicts deal with the painful symptoms of withdrawal and the accompanying stress.

Freedom NH and the Transgender Organizing & Leadership Development: RAD NH and Freedom NH have been working together to pass comprehensive legislation to protect trans folks from discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. Although our opponents in the State House tabled our bill in 2017, we’ve built impressive grassroots momentum around the issue and have started a statewide conversation about LGBT+ rights that is unprecedented in New Hampshire’s state history. In 2018, RAD NH and Freedom NH will again be introducing an identical nondiscrimination bill and will be working to pass it during the upcoming legislative session.

New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition and the tireless work of Dean Lemire on a grassroots level: for helping hundreds of people get into recovery through an all pathways approach, creating needle exchange programs and providing test kits to test level of Fentanyl. As we struggle for more public health solutions for these epidemics, Dean and the work of the coalition is doing critical work saving and turning lives around in our communities.

National COSH on OSHA, Bureau of Labor Statistics Nominees: Transparency Saves Lives

 Advocates call for “open source” policy on workplace fatalities and renewed action on silica, temp workers

SAN DIEGO: As the U.S. Senate prepares for a hearing on nominees to head the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, safety advocates are calling for the two agencies to boost efforts to save lives in U.S. workplaces by collecting and disseminating full information about on-the-job fatalities.

“Transparency saves lives,” said Jessica Martinez, co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH.) “The more we know about how and why workers are dying on the job, the more we can do to prevent future tragedies.”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing this coming Tuesday, December 5th at 10:00 am ET to consider the nominations of FedEx safety executive Scott Mugno to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health and William Beach of George Mason University to serve as Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“Every day, workers are at risk because of hazards that can be controlled and prevented,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, also a co-executive director of National COSH. “It’s time for OSHA and BLS to adopt an open source policy and tell us all they know about workplace fatalities. That includes identifying – and publicizing – what goes wrong when workers lose their lives because employers fail to provide safe working conditions.”

The BLS conducts an annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), which publishes aggregate information about worker deaths, but does not includes names of workers, employers or additional details. In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, BLS identified more than 4,800 fatalities due to traumatic events in U.S. workplaces. U.S. OSHA is responsible for investigating workplace deaths.

National COSH is also urging senators to ask Mugno about his plans to limit worker exposure to silica dust and whether he will continue OSHA’s initiative to offer enhanced protection for temporary and contract workers.

Background on silica:

  • Millions of workers every year are exposed to silica dust, a known carcinogen and primary cause of silicosis – a potentially fatal lung disease. OSHA issued a new safety standard in 2016 that limits exposure to silica dust and will save an estimated 700 lives each year.
  • Industry groups have urged Congress to reverse the new standard, issued after years of careful research, with thousands of pages of testimony from scientists and labor and industry stakeholders. OSHA is currently limiting enforcement of the new standard to those employers not acting in “good faith.”

Questions for Scott Mugno on Silica Dust:

What are his views of this life-saving regulation?
What are his plans to carry out inspections and enforcement?

Background on temporary workers:

  • Temporary workers, who represent about two percent of the U.S. workforce, accounted for 17 percent of fatalities from workplace trauma in 2015.
  • Temp and contract workers often do not receive adequate training and have little or no job security.  These and other factors combine to make temp work more hazardous than permanent, full-time employment.
  • In 2013, OSHA began an initiative to protect temporary workers, holding both host employers and contract agencies responsible for following safety laws, including the duty to provide a safe workplace.
  • In September 2017, Patrick Kapust, OSHA’s deputy director of the Directorate of Enforcement Programs, told the National Safety Council: “We are continuing this initiative. We are trying to get forth that staffing employers and host employers both have joint responsibility for their workplaces.”

Questions for Scott Mugno on Temporary Workers:

Does he support OSHA’s temporary worker initiative?
Will he continue the emphasis on joint responsibility for both host employers and contract agencies?

“Nominations to these crucial positions deserve a rigorous review by the U.S. Senate,” said Martinez, “because so much is at stake for American worker and our families.”

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,495 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement