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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.

Sanders Support For The LGBT Community Goes Back More Than 30 Years

Pride Rainbow Flag - Gay - LBGTQ

“I am grateful for those elected officials that stood with me when it wasn’t easy to do.”

By Mo Baxley,
Long time leader and activist in the LGBT community

On June 26, 2015, we made history when the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton in Obergefell v. Hodges. We now live in a nation where gays and lesbians can marry the person they love.

Although we still have work to do including ending discrimination against transgender people, the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was a beautiful victory in a long, hard-fought struggle fueled by the most powerful force in human existence: love.

The long road to marriage equality really began during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Our community learned in the most abrupt, excruciating way the cost of being unable to marry. Partners of AIDS patients were often ejected from hospital rooms, forbidden to see their loved ones or make health decisions.

mo head shot (2)

Mo Baxley

Then, after watching their love ones die, surviving partners were further traumatized. Because they had no legal rights, many people were evicted from the homes they shared with their late partners, had community property and money taken from them, and were denied the basic dignity of grieving and participating at their loved ones’ funerals.

I lost friends during this time. Their memory has been a driving force in my personal fight for marriage equality and LGBT rights. The fight has never been easy but it has always been a fight worth wagering. There was opposition every step of the way and always the voices telling me, it could not be done. They said it would never happen, it was unrealistic, a pie in the sky fantasy. But that’s what they always say isn’t it, the voices of “can’t” and “don’t try”. They told me of the harm I was causing and had dire warnings of the elections that would be lost. The ground we would lose, how things would get worse. I never listens to those who tell me not to fight for what I believe in because they’re wrong. The was only one way for us to lose the fight and that was not to wage it to begin with.

I remember the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, those of us in LGBT community did not have many friends. Only a few brave souls outside our community were willing to stand with us. At a time when an entire generation of gay men were being struck down in the prime of their lives, we desperately needed allies. We had very few.

It was so bad, that here in New Hampshire and in statehouses across the country, we had to fight against bills that proposed to forcibly quarantine HIV-positive people. I remember fighting the bill that would make donating blood a class B felony and a State Senator saying he didn’t mind if we donated our blood as long as we gave every last drop. This is the treatment we got from elected officials.

At the same time across the Connecticut River, then-Mayor of Burlington Bernie Sanders was banning housing discrimination against gays and lesbians, and signing city proclamations for Burlington’s Gay Pride march.

Later, in Congress, he was one of only 67 members to vote against the Defense of Marriage act, with 342 members of Congress voting for it and President Clinton signing it into law. I remember how he called out another member of Congress on the House floor when that member, Duke Cunningham, used a homophobic slur in reference to LGBT people serving in the military. I remember when Vermont passed civil unions and how he supported that earth shattering first step. Bernie Sanders was one of the first Senators to come out publicly in support of full marriage equality.

Rep Duke Cunningham and Rep Bernie Sanders spar of the use of homophobic slurs on the floor of the House

I am grateful that all our candidates have evolved on the issues, that’s not something to make light of. But I am more grateful for those elected officials that stood with me when it wasn’t easy to do so.

It is true that Bernie Sanders’ primary focus over the course of his career has been economic issues (which of course touch the LGBT community as well). But at the end of the day, Bernie has always done the right thing by our community. He has never voted the wrong way on the issues affecting us. He has never advocated for policies that have caused immeasurable harm to our community, like Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Bernie Sanders has stood with the LGBT community for over 30 years. But more importantly, Bernie Sanders stood with us when it really mattered. When it was not sexy or cool. When it was politically dangerous. When we desperately needed friends, he was there. He has always been ahead of his time.

The cascade of support for our community in recent years could not have happened without the foundation of courage and support by allies who were ahead of their time, like Bernie. The victories we celebrated could not have been won, If we hadn’t tried if we believed the voices that told us it couldn’t be done.

I know I speak for many in the LGBT community when I say am grateful for the many millions of people across this country who have evolved on issues of marriage equality and LGBT rights including Secretary Clinton who began supporting marriage equality in 2013

But when it comes to deciding who should hold the presidency, we should not play out the story of the Prodigal son. We should vote for a candidate who shares our values, is a visionary, who has political courage, and has shown superb judgment, as proven by history. That candidate is Bernie Sanders.

Former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous Endorses Sanders

 

MANCHESTER, N.H. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders Friday picked up the endorsement of former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous.

“Bernie Sanders has been principled, courageous and consistent in fighting the evils that Dr. King referred to as the ‘giant triplets’ of racism, militarism and greed,” Jealous said. “Bernie Sanders has the courage to confront the institutionalized bias that stains our nation. Bernie Sanders is the type of leader we can trust to fight for the future of all our nation’s children as if they were his very own. It is for all these reasons that I am proud to endorse Bernie Sanders for president of these United States.”

Jealous was the youngest-ever president of the century-old NAACP, serving from 2008 to 2013. He’s credited with leading the storied civil rights group back to prominence.

“I think the proposals that we have brought forth in this campaign are proposals that will go a very, very long way to improving the lives of people of color in this nation,” Sanders said. The senator cited raising the minimum wage, ensuring pay equity for women, creating millions of decent paying jobs, Medicare for all and tuition-free public colleges and universities among the plans he’s put forward that would directly impact communities of color.

Jealous will travel to South Carolina on Saturday for a series of campaign stops and events

Huff Post: “Hillary Clinton refuses to rule out any and all benefit cuts to Social Security”

PCCC: “It is an absolute must for a Democratic nominee who claims to be progressive to take Social Security cuts off the table.”

PCCC & Social Security Works Launch Online Ad Buy in NH

Today, after Sec. Hillary Clinton’s campaign made clear for the first time that she will not commit to never cut Social Security, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Social Security Works have launched an online ad buy in New Hampshire to increase pressure on Clinton to make that explicit promise before Tuesday’s primary.

Minutes ago, the Clinton campaign told the Huffington Post, “She has no plans to cut benefits.” The Huffington Post accurately reported, “Hillary Clinton refuses to rule out any and all benefit cuts to Social Security.”

The PCCC and Social Security Works in response announced an online ad buy statewide across New Hampshire today. The Facebook and Google ads will target likely Democratic voters, including Clinton’s supporters.

Stephanie Taylor, Co-founder of the PCCC issued the following statement:

“Hillary Clinton says she has ‘no plans’ to cut Social Security — but George W. Bush had ‘no plans’ to invade Iraq. That is not a promise, and our grandparents and veterans need a promise.

“It is an absolute must for a Democratic nominee who claims to be progressive to say clearly and unequivocally that they will never cut Social Security benefits. Bernie Sanders has made that commitment. Hillary Clinton should make that commitment before the New Hampshire primary so Democrats can focus on expanding benefits.”

Statement from Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works:

“The American people stand united against cuts to Social Security benefits, all Americans. Ninety-four percent of Americans stand against benefit cuts. We need Hillary Clinton to promise to never cut Social Security benefits, no cuts, no buts, now or ever.”

Neither group has endorsed a candidate for president.

Facts on Social Security:

  • Two thirds of American seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income.
  • The average benefit received by women in 2014 was $13,016—just $1,346 over the federal poverty limit for an individual.
  • The average Social Security benefit is just $16,092 a year, less for African Americans and Latinos. This barely clears the poverty line.
  • 94% of Americans oppose cuts to Social Security, and vast majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support expansion.

hrc-social-security-google-ad

See all the ads

Thousands of people have also signed a petition in the last 24 hours calling on Sec. Clinton to promise never to cut Social Security: ExpandSocialSecurity.org.

See the initial challenge to Sec. Clinton by PCCC on Fox & Friends Feb 2nd

 

 

Days Ahead of Primary, Fight for $15 Spreads to New Hampshire

Fight For $15 - Rally and March - 04/15/15 Image by Barry Solow FLIKR CC

Fight For $15 – Rally and March – 04/15/15 Image by Barry Solow FLIKR CC

Fast-food cooks, cashiers in Granite State to wage first-ever strike for $15, union rights before GOP debate in Manchester

With 45% of N.H. workers paid less than $15/hour, underpaid workers to push candidates from both parties to back $15, union rights

Manchester, NH — Just days before the New Hampshire primary, cooks and cashiers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and other chains will walk off their jobs for the first time across the Granite State on Saturday to demand $15/hour and union rights. With voters in the state citing the economy as their top concern, fast-food workers also announced that they will protest with other underpaid workers outside the GOP debate in Manchester Saturday evening to stress that the 45% of workers in New Hampshire who are paid less than $15/hour are a voting bloc that cannot be ignored. 

The workers’ strike follows a wave of walkouts coinciding with presidential primary debates in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Iowa, and comes as low-paying jobs are dragging down communities across New Hampshire: 45% of workers in the state, or some 281,000, are paid less than $15/hour, making the need to raise pay a major issue in the run-up to the primary.

“My three young kids are growing so quickly, and on $8 an hour I can’t even afford jackets for them in the winter,” said Megan Jensen, who is paid $8/hour at KFC in Manchester and who will be a first time voter in the New Hampshire primary. “I’ve never walked off the job before, but I can’t wait any longer for fair pay. Everyone deserves at least $15/hour and the right to a union, and candidates who are flying into New Hampshire this week need to know that we are taking this demand to the polls.” 

Fast-food workers started organizing in New Hampshire after seeing how workers in neighboring Massachusetts have won pay increases and made $15/hour a top-tier political issue by joining together and going on strike. Workers at a string of Boston-area hospitals including Boston Medical CenterTufts Medical Center, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital have won pay raises to $15/hour in recent months. In July 2015, 35,000 home care workers across Massachusetts won an unprecedented statewide $15/hour minimum wage through a contract negotiated with Gov. Charlie Baker. And in January, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour during his State of the City address in January.  

Fast-food workers started organizing in New Hampshire after seeing how workers in neighboring Massachusetts have made $15/hour a top-tier political by joining together and going on strike. In January, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour during his State of the City address. Workers at a string of Boston-area hospitals including Boston Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital have won pay raises to $15/hour in recent months. And in July 2015, 35,000 home care workers across Massachusetts won an unprecedented statewide $15/hour minimum wage through a contract negotiated with Gov. Charlie Baker.

Saturday, Feb. 6: Schedule of New Hampshire Fight for $15 Strike Actions and Events

Ongoing Media Availability

Striking fast-food workers available throughout the day for interviews. Contact Jack or Anna above to arrange.

2:00pm ET Strike | Wendy’s 675 South Willow St., Manchester, NH 03103

Striking New Hampshire fast-food workers available for interviews. Strike to feature compelling visuals.

6:00pm ET Protest | Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03102

Massive crowd of underpaid workers will march to St. Anselm College to protest at the GOP debate.

Striking fast-food workers will be joined by child care and other underpaid workers from across the state who are fighting for $15/hour and union rights: 

“Child care workers and parents are struggling to get by on low wages, and our children are paying the price,” said Jen Cole of Pittsfield, NH, who’s paid $13.25/hour after working in child care for nearly 20 years. “When I started in child care, my husband and I relied on food stamps and Medicaid to care for our three kids. Politicians talk a lot about protecting our kids’ future, but they’re not doing enough about it. In 2016, I’m looking for the candidates who support $15 and affordable care for all working people.”

Wherever 2016 candidates go this election season, fast-food and other underpaid workers are following to demand $15/hour and union rights. Days before the Iowa caucus, fast-food workers walked off the job for the first time in the state, drawing widespread attention hours before a GOP debate in Des Moines. Earlier this year, a walkout by hundreds of fast-food workers in Charleston prompted a statement of support by the Democratic National Committee and an impromptu visit from  Sen. Bernie Sanders, who grabbed a bullhorn and  praised the strikers just moments before he took the floor for that night’s Democratic debate. And in November, following a nationwide strike in 270 cities and an evening protest outside the GOP debate in Milwaukee, the first question directed at candidates that night asked them to respond to the demands of fast-food workers seeking $15 and union rights. 

The Fight for $15 strikes in key primary states shows the political power of underpaid workers who, just three years ago launched their movement for higher pay and union rights in New York City. By repeatedly going on strike and raising their voices, fast-food, home care, child care, and other underpaid workers have made income inequality a dominant theme in the 2016 presidential race. Entrance polls from Iowa revealed that inequality weighed heavily on voters’ minds, and candidates are responding: In June, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told fast-food workers at a national convention in Detroit, “I want to be your champion,” and said that “what you’re doing to build the Fight for $15 movement is so important.” In recent months, Clinton has held round-table meetings with home care and child care workers fighting for $15/hour and union rights. Prominent elected officials including U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison have called for raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. And the Democratic National Committee voted in August to make $15/hour an official part of its 2016 platform. 

Workers will also continue to collect signatures on their Fight for $15 Voter Agenda, a five-point platform that launched late last year and calls for $15 and union rights, affordable child care, quality long-term care, racial justice and immigration reform—issues identified by underpaid workers as key factors in whether they will go to the polls for a candidate. They will put politicians on notice that, as a voting bloc, workers paid less than $15 could swing elections all across the country.

A recent poll of workers paid less than $15/hour commissioned by the National Employment Law Project showed that 69% of unregistered voters would register to vote if there were a candidate who supported $15/hour and a union; and that 65% of registered voters paid less than $15/hour would be more likely to vote if there were a candidate who supported $15/hour and a union. That’s 48 million potential voters paid less than $15 who could turn out if there were candidates who backed higher pay and union rights.

Deceptively Named Federal Employee Rights Act is “Venomous Attack” on Federal Workers, AFGE Says

AFGE David CoxAnti-labor bill would strip federal employees of their most fundamental workplace rights

WASHINGTON – Legislation introduced in the House would strip federal employees of their basic workplace rights and disempower the people who care for our veterans, inspect our food, and deliver our social security checks, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today.

“This is yet another in a long line of systematic attacks on working-class and middle-class Americans at the local, state and federal levels,” Cox said. “The sole objective of these anti-labor actions is to make it as difficult as possible for working people to join unions and to diminish basic rights and protections that all employees deserve.”

H.R. 4461, the Federal Employee Rights Act, introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia, would substantially eliminate the federal worker voice and make it much harder for federal employees to join a union.

“This legislation has a very misleading title and is being introduced under the false premise that federal employees are forced to pay union dues. Only federal employees who choose to join the union pay union membership dues,” Cox said.

“This is just the latest in a string of venomous attacks targeting the federal workforce: stripping VA employees of their due process rights, removing civil service protections for DoD workers, doubling the period in which new employees can be fired without cause.

“When you take away an employee’s basic rights to representation and due process, you end up with a system in which employees are fearful of coming forward to expose waste, fraud and abuse at their worksites. These types of poisonous proposals will result in higher rates of employee turnover and make it that much harder for agencies to recruit the best and brightest employees to deliver critical programs and services that Americans rely on.” 

NH Senate Passes Bill To Expand Renewable Energy In NH

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Bill will allow New Hampshire to continue to expand renewable energy by raising the cap on net metering

Senate Democrats praised the passage of legislation to ensure the growth of renewable energy in New Hampshire during today’s Senate session. SB 333 raises the cap on group net metering and SB 378 ensures that space under the group net metering cap is being taken up only by those who are participating in the program, not speculators trying to game the system. 

“Passage of this critical legislation is great not only for our growing renewable energy market, but also for our economy and all electric ratepayers,” said Sen. Molly Kelly, author of the original group net metering law enacted in 2013. “Even though we have only had group net metering for a few years, renewable energy, particularly the solar market, has exploded across New Hampshire thanks to this program. It is critical for us to raise the cap to ensure the sustained growth of solar and other renewable energy sources here in New Hampshire that not only save Granite Staters money, but sustains thousands of good-paying jobs.”

“In the rapidly-growing renewable energy market, making changes to a vital program like group net metering is no easy task. But SB 333 and SB 378 offer meaningful progress to allow our renewable energy market to grow,” said Sen. Dan Feltes, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I urge our colleagues in the House to move quickly to pass SB 333 and SB 378 to continue the growth of renewable energy and our green job sector.”

“It was only a year ago that utilities testified that they were nowhere near the metering cap,” said Sen. Donna Soucy, prime sponsor of SB 378. “But the market has grown so rapidly that we needed to address the group net metering cap as soon as possible, as we did with SB 333. Part of the reason why we reached the cap so quickly was due to speculative developers taking up space under the cap while not yet providing service to customers. SB 378 addresses these concerns and ensures that families and businesses that the program was designed to benefit can take advantage of this rapidly-growing market.”

Governor Maggie Hassan also praised the passage of SB 333.

“Solar is one of many clean energy resources in New Hampshire that contributes to a diverse and reliable energy supply, and businesses and families across the state are utilizing solar to lower their energy bills and to increase their energy independence. The success of New Hampshire’s clean energy economy is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change, and New Hampshire recently ranked as one of the top-five renewable energy states,” stated Hassan. 

“We must continue to build on this progress, and lifting the cap on net metering is essential to those efforts. I commend the Senate for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure, and I encourage the House to take similar action as quickly as possible so that we can continue our efforts to build a more innovative and more affordable energy future,” added Hassan. 

ICYMI: NH Republicans Confirm What We All Know: Trump/Cruz Nomination Would be “Devastating” to Ayotte

Concord, N.H. – WMUR’s Primary Source ran an interesting item today: a recent Republican study confirmed New Hampshire Republicans’ fears—Kelly Ayotte is in deep trouble if Trump or Cruz — the current frontrunners — win the presidential nomination. After seeing the study, one Republican insider stated the obvious, noting that a Trump or Cruz nomination would be “devastating” to Ayotte and New Hampshire Republicans.

 Meanwhile, Ayotte has continued to decline to criticize Trump and has said she would support Trump or Cruz as her party’s nominee. 

Click here for the full WMUR column or see excerpt below:

With the final countdown to the leadoff presidential primary well underway, several Republican sources have told New Hampshire Primary Source that there is concern in high places of the party about the effect certain presidential candidates would have on down-ticket state races in November. 

Sources say a pro-Republican group has completed a study predicting how U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte as well as a Republican candidate for governor and the rest of the ticket – down through the state House of Representatives – would fare under scenarios with each of the leading presidential candidates plugged in at the top of the ticket.

The findings, sources say, aren’t pretty if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz were the GOP nominee.

The study showed a Trump-led ticket, for instance, would lose Ayotte’s seat, the governor’s race, and majorities in the state Legislature. The Republican membership of the state House of Representatives would drop from the current 239 to about 150. 

That would be, as one party insider put it, “devastating.”

The study was completed late last year and has been a subject of quiet discussion at the State House for about a month now. 

Who did the study? That’s unclear at the moment, but several sources say it was by a legitimate pro-GOP conservative group that in 2014 accurately forecast that the Republicans would win about 240 New Hampshire House seats. They won 239.

“We The People” Convention Adds More Speakers

NH RebellionJim Gilmore, NH Gubernatorial and
Congressional Candidates, others to speak at
“We the People” Convention starting today in Manchester NH

The NH Rebellion three-day “We the People” Convention kicks off today in Veterans Park, Manchester with additional speakers, including

  • Presidential candidate Gov. Jim Gilmore, confirmed to speak at 2:30 pm today;
  • NH gubernatorial candidate Rep. Frank Edelblut (R- Wilton NH), confirmed to speak at 1:45 pm today;
  • NH gubernatorial candidate Mark Connolly (D, former NH Deputy Secretary of State), confirmed to speak at 10:00 am tomorrow;
  • NH gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern (D, Executive Councilor), confirmed to speak at 10:30 am tomorrow; and
  • Democratic candidate in NH first Congressional District, businessman Shawn O’Connor, confirmed to speak at 2:15 pm tomorrow.

“In this campaign we have seen how the media and their pollsters have controlled the debate process and limited voters access to the candidates by continuous coverage of celebrity candidates and the highest bidders,” said Gov. Jim Gilmore. “While individuals are limited in their personal contributions, access to the debates has been controlled by the corporate media with few limitations.  Now it’s time for the New Hampshire voters to reject the attempt to narrow their choices and speak.”

“The powerful interests have plenty of champions already – it’s time we stood up for the people of New Hampshire and of our country,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern.  “Together, we’ll build a state and a country where everyone has the chance to get ahead, not just those at the top who rig the game in their favor.”

Hundreds of Granite State #FightBigMoney activists are expected to attend today’s session of the Convention, which also features:

  • at 2:00 pm: a keynote address by Richard Painter, who served as associate counsel to President George W. Bush and is now a professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota Law School, and author of “The Conservative Case for Campaign-Finance Reform” (op-ed in Wednesday’s New York Times)
  • at 5:00 pm, remarks by John Pudner, the conservative political consultant who helped Dave Bart unseat Eric Cantor who now heads “Take Back our Republic”;
  • at 7:00 pm: dinner with “Law & Order” star Sam Waterston, interviewed by veteran reformer Nick Nyhart;
  • at 8:00 pm, the comedy show “Jimmy Tingle for President” with top political humorist and former 60 Minutes II correspondent Jimmy Tingle;
  • at 3:00 pm: remarks by former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Count John Broderick and Tiani Coleman, head of NH Independent Voters;
  • at 4:15 pm: remarks by former Republican Congressional candidate Mike Peabody of “Issue One”;  and
  • at 12:45 pm: a roundtable discussion with former state Sen. Jim Rubens, chair of the NH Liberty Caucus Aaron Day, and NH Rebellion activist Brian Tilton.

Full Convention schedule for today available at http://www.nhrebellion.org/friday_schedule

As-updated schedule for Saturday and Sunday available through the links at  http://www.nhrebellion.org/convention.

The Convention is being held in a huge heated tent across the street from the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH.

National groups cosponsoring the Convention include: Avaaz, Common Cause, Every Voice, Franciscan Action Network, Free Speech for People, Issue One, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Represent.US, the Stamp Stampede and Take Back Our Republic.

The NH Rebellion is best-known for its cold-weather “Walks for Democracy.” To date, more than 2,000 activists have walked a total of 30,000 miles to bring attention to the corrupting influence of large campaign contributions.  The movement was inspired by the efforts of the legendary New Hampshire reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who walked across America beginning in 1999 in support of campaign finance reform.

“This is going to be a ‘Big Tent’ event – quite literally,” explained NH Rebellion Executive Director Dan Weeks.  “We’re bringing together people who hold all kinds of political viewpoints in one big heated tent just in time for the New Hampshire primary. Despite all the differences between the parties, this is one issue just about everybody agrees on.   Our polling shows that 96% of New Hampshire voters believe money has too much influence over politics.” 

“Our members have been working for two years to make campaign finance reform the number one issue in our presidential primary,” Weeks said.  “The more money that has been poured into this election cycle, the stronger our grassroots movement has grown.  People are sick and tired of thinking that our politicians only represent the big donors, and that our government doesn’t belong to the people anymore.”

NH Rebellion members have attended hundreds of events during the primary season, asking each presidential candidate “What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?”  Candidates’ replies are available at www.QuestionR.us

The group also sent each campaign a formal questionnaire, asking for support of six solutions to restore democracy detailed in the group’s We the People Pledge www.nhrebellion.org/pledge and members have met with several of the presidential candidates and campaigns.

“Last year’s midterm elections broke all kinds of records. Here in New Hampshire, spending by campaigns and outside groups added up to more than $106 million.  This election, we’re expecting that number will double or even triple,” Weeks added.  “Candidates who think they have to raise that kind of money from large donors, in order to be competitive, are going to pay attention to what their donors want in return.  That’s how our government gets bought.  And voters have a right to be angry about that.”

“It’s time to fix the problem, and reclaim our democracy,” Weeks said. 

 

Union-Busters Cry “State Sovereignty” As Judge Overturns Right To Work Ordinance

Anti-union group raises ‘state sovereignty’ cry over judge’s ruling against county ‘right to work’ ordinances in Kentucky   

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Right to work is wrong for KentuckyPredictably, the union-busters are in high dudgeon over Federal District Judge David Hale’s ruling that, in effect, invalidated a dozen county “right to work” ordinances in Kentucky.

One of those conservative, anti-union groups griped that the ruling “not only pushes aside the will of the people as expressed through their Legislature, it completely negates the intention of this nation’s founders in establishing a Constitution that empowers sovereign states and their citizens.”

“Will of the people expressed through their Legislature?”— In 2014, a slew of Republicans running for the state House of Representatives made RTW a central issue in their campaigns. They promised to vote in a RTW law if they flipped the Democratic-majority House. (The Senate is Republican).

I can’t think of a better example of “the will of the people” than an election.

Well, the Democrats went into the 2014 election with a 54-46 House majority. After the votes were counted, the House was still 54-46 Democratic.

“A Constitution that empowers sovereign states and their citizens?” – The U.S. constitution does indeed grant states important powers. But the United States is a federal republic. The constitution has a supremacy clause (Article VI, Clause 2) that says: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

In other words, federal law trumps state or local law. Ultimate sovereignty lies with the central government, an issue the Civil War settled.

I wouldn’t for a minute accuse this anti-union group of being pro-slavery or pro-segregation. But before the Civil War, white supremacist Southern politicians, editors and other leaders said slavery was legal in their states under a national constitution that empowered “sovereign states” and their citizens, meaning white folks. 

Likewise, Southern white supremacist supporters of Jim Crow laws—which denied the vote to African Americans and created a system of racial apartheid throughout the old Confederacy—trotted out the “sovereign states” line.

Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Says Judge’s Ruling Against County Right To Work Ordinance A Victory For Kentucky’s Working Families

“These illegal ordinances would have affected all working people, union and non-union, by decreasing wages, lowering median household incomes, increasing poverty and undermining workplace safety” 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Bill Londrigan

Bill Londrigan

Federal District Judge David Hale’s decision striking down Hardin County’s “right to work” ordinances was a victory for Kentucky’s working families, says Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

“These illegal ordinances would have affected all working people, union and non-union, by decreasing wages, lowering median household incomes, increasing poverty and undermining workplace safety,” he added. 

In short, these ordinances are wrong,” he added. “The courts rejected out-of-state special interests’ attempt to take over local governments by pushing a radical outside agenda.”

In January, 2015, nine unions filed suit against Hardin County’s RTW ordinance, arguing that federal labor law permits only states and territories to pass RTW laws. Eleven other counties approved similar ordinances and Hale’s ruling, in effect, invalidates them, too. 

Both sides stated their cases before Hale in Louisville in August, 2015. He ruled in favor of the unions on Feb. 3.

“We would like to thank all of the working families and elected officials that fought hard against these illegal ordinances,” Londrigan said. “The Kentucky AFL-CIO and hardworking Kentuckians will continue to fight for fair wages, more good jobs and more investment in education – and fight hard against unfair, illegal and unnecessary legislation.

“It is unfortunate that out-of-state special interests wasted taxpayers’ money with these attacks on Kentucky workers by pushing a radical out-of-state agenda. Our mission is to improve the lives of all working Kentuckians and raise the standard of living for all Kentuckians. We salute the working people of Hardin County for taking a stand against out-of-state corporate interests.”

The pro-RTW Americans for Prosperity Kentucky contributed a $50,000 grant to a legal defense fund for counties that faced legal action for passing RTW ordinances, according to Kevin Wheatley of cn/2 Pure Politics.

Buddy Cutler

Buddy Cutler

Buddy Cutler of Louisville, attorney for the unions, said Hale’s opinion was solid, well-reasoned and followed established law. “It is a victory for working people that honors Congress’ intent and implements the wise federal labor policy that companies and unions should be free to negotiate contracts without undue interference from local officials.”

Hale said the National Labor Relations Act “preempts the right-to-work, hiring-hall, and dues-checkoff provisions of Hardin County Ordinance 300.” He also ruled that “Section 14(b) is the only exception to NLRA preemption of the field of labor relations, and it does not extend to counties or municipalities. Because Ordinance 300 does not fall under § 14(b)’s narrow exception, sections 4, 5, and 6 of the ordinance are preempted and thus invalid.”

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