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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.

Amy Poehler And Tipped Workers Call For One Fair Wage in NY

 Cuomo can cut sexual harassment in 1/2 in restaurant industry by raising the subminimum wage for workers, 82% of NY restaurant workers report being harassed

Coalition of allies include other tipped and low-wage workers, nail salon technicians, car wash workers

NEW YORK, NY – On Tuesday, tipped wage workers joined actor/producer and former waitress/server, Amy Poehler, at a marquee event with labor leaders and elected officials to call for One Fair Wage in New York. Restaurant servers, nail salon technicians, and car wash workers shared their personal stories about economic instability, including their #MeToo experiences, and how it’s #TimesUp on the subminimum wage.

One Fair Wage is a national campaign to bring New York in line with seven other states that pay tipped workers their state’s general minimum wage on top of their tips. In New York, tipped workers make a subminimum wage ranging from $7.50 – $8.65, relying on tips to bring them up to the state’s general minimum wage, which ranges from $10.40 – $13.00, depending on the region. One Fair Wage states have more robust wages, sales, establishment, and employment growth than their counterparts, and workers report significantly lower rates of harassment.

In his January State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the NYS Department of Labor will hold hearings to examine establishing One Fair Wage. Hearings have been scheduled for March-June.

“In many cities and for many years I worked for tips as a waitress to support myself. This is why I stand with workers for One Fair Wage in New York. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our economic stability in order to preserve our self-respect. Time’s up on profiting off of women while refusing to pay them a fair wage,” said Amy Poehler, actor/producer and former waitress/server.

“The current broken two-tiered wage structure in New York puts women restaurant workers at the mercy of their customers and co-workers,” said Saru Jayaraman, President and Co-Founder of ROC United, and author of Behind the Kitchen Door: The People Who Make and Serve Your Food. “With just a small change in policy, Governor Cuomo can cut sexual harassment in half for a majority female workforce, without sacrificing economic growth. One fair wage is good for workers and good for business.”

Jayaraman recently appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher to discuss the issue, and attended the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler as part of the #TimesUp campaign to end sexual harassment across industries.

“Tipped workers, who are majority female and disproportionately women of color, receive a lower minimum wage and struggle with economic instability and sexual harassment. This two tiered wage system is a legacy of slavery and must be abolished. New York needs to  put an end to the subjugation of women, and workers of color in particular, by establishing One Fair Wage now,” said Erika Alexander, actress and activist.

With nearly 13 million employees, the restaurant industry is the single-largest source of sexual harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with a rate twice that of the general female workforce. According to the EEOC since 2010 (and as of 6/2016) ‘employees have filed 162,872 charges alleging harassment’ with employers paying out $698.7 million in penalties. There are 395,680 tipped workers in New York, 76% of whom work in the restaurant industry, and 82% report being harassed on the job.

Seventy percent of restaurant servers are women, who experience a disproportionate amount of sexual harassment as a result of the broken two-tiered wage system. Relying on tips to make a living wage forces workers to tolerate sexual harassment from customers in return for “gratuities,” and they often receive additional pressure from management to dress in a revealing way to attract larger tips.

“When I was a server, I was sexually harassed repeatedly, like when a male customer once said to me, ‘hey big titty black girl, got enough milk in those jugs for my coffee?’ I reported it to my manager, but he told me to suck it up. I refused and kept complaining, so he gave me fewer shifts and eventually forced me out. Women should not have to use our bodies to serve food to put food on our own tables, and that’s why I support One Fair Wage,” said Shanita Thomas, restaurant worker and member leader at ROC United.

“My income naturally fluctuates when working for tips. So I enter each shift trying to make as many tips as possible by catering to customers as much as I can, which often means I have to put up with sexual harassment. No worker should be forced to have to fake giggle to a customer who has had one too many or put up with customers who make lewd comments about my “sexy” body to earn a living. Unfortunately management plays into this behavior, often encouraging workers to double down on their sex appeal. I used to work in an establishment that exclusively hired female servers, and at staff meetings we were blatantly told to wear more makeup. One Fair Wage has a unique effect on restaurant servers because it frees workers’ dependence on subjecting themselves to sexual harassment in order to secure a livable wage,” said Gemma Rossi, New York City restaurant worker for 15 years.

“As a Manhattan restaurant owner, anti-sexual harassment trainings and increasing the wages of our servers and kitchen staff has made my business stronger, my employees happier and less stressed in their environment, and everyone’s livelihoods stabler and more secure. As a result, our low turnover rate is the envy of our peers: while the national average is 70% per year, ours is less than 10%. One Fair Wage has done wonders for California’s restaurant industry. It can do the same for New York State,” said James Mallios, owner of Amali restaurant.

“Why do we want one fair wage? Because our industry is different in that it varies during seasons. During winter time business goes down and there aren’t enough clients coming in, which means not enough tips to even make minimum wage. If we don’t have a stable wage, we are unable to pay our bills, rent, we can’t provide a good education for our kids. We need a different system… We need there to be a change in order for our industry to be better and the workers can have a dignified and healthy life. We need something different, something new, a way to transform our industry because right now we are exposed to a lot of wage theft so we need this change in order for us to have economic stability,” said Araceli, nail salon worker and member of the NY Nail Salon Worker Association

“It is painful for me to watch my husband get up so early to go to a job that pays poverty wages,” said Federica Martinez, wife of a car wash worker. “It’s not right that he makes a subminimum wage because of the trip credit rule. This is not just about car wash workers. We all have a stake in making sure everyone gets the wage they deserve.”

Sexual Harrassment and Tipped Work

According to a 2014 study conducted by ROC United, a key leader in the One Fair Wage campaign, women dependent on tips are twice as likely to experience sexual harassment than women who aren’t. A 2016 follow-up study in D.C. found that over 90% of restaurant workers surveyed experienced some form of sexualized behavior while at work. A similar 2016 study in Boston found that 35% of tipped workers had been sexually harassed by customers, over twice as many as other workers in the same survey.

Restaurant workers of all genders report harassing behavior:

·      66% from restaurant management

·      78% from customers.

·      80% from co-workers (cooks and back of house staff)

·      37% of tipped workers are mothers

·      18% are single mothers

Many restaurant workers tolerate harassment from customers so that customers pay tips, as well as being harassed from managers to get better tips by “dressing sexy” or who ask for sexual favors in exchange for better shifts, and from colleagues (cooks and back-of-house) staff who make the food that customers base their tips on. A shocking example: a manager or colleague will grope a female server. If the server says no, managers will give servers punitive shifts (morning shifts when there are fewer customers) or cooks will purposely mess up food that will make customers unhappy.

NY vs. One Fair Wage States

  • In New York over 17% of tipped workers of color live in poverty, twice the rate of the overall workforce.

  • OFW would reduce food stamp usage by 22% in New York.

  • In OFW states poverty rates are 10% lower than in New York

  • In OFW states full service restaurants opened and operated at a rate nearly double that of New York, which only had an increase of 4.88%.

  • In OFW states, the median wage for restaurant tipped workers is $11.44, compared to $10.88 in New York.

  • Tipped-wage workers in OFW states report making as much, or more, in tips than tipped-wage workers in New York.

  • The average tip rate in New York is 15.6%.

  • Restaurant employment rates are equal or higher in OFW states. From 2011-2016, full service restaurant employment (FSRE) grew by 20.4%, compared to 20.13% in New York.

  • New York, home to one of the largest restaurant industries in the country, had a projected restaurant sales increase of 3.6%, a rate lower than the individual rates of 6 of the 7 OFW states.

  • The National Restaurant Association predicts that the industry will add 1.6 million jobs over the next nine years, helping boost New York’s restaurant workforce by 6.1%

  • Over 80% of tipped restaurant workers in New York experience sexual harassment at work, and over half report that this is a weekly or daily occurrence.

  • Only 42% of workers surveyed reported that employers ensured their wages were brought up to the regular minimum wage.

  • Most tipped workers participate in a tip pool; the vast majority of workers has no say in the allocation of tips, and many do not know how tips are allocated.

  • Tipped workers experience wage theft associated with the tipped wage system both due to misapplication of service charges and failure to pay overtime.

Additional Information

In his January State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the NYS Department of Labor will hold hearings to examine raising the subminimum wage and establishing One Fair Wage in New York, saying:

“New York continues to be a national leader in fighting for justice for working men and women, and by providing a platform for New Yorkers’ concerns to be heard, we are furthering our efforts to deliver fair wages for all. I am urging those impacted by this proposal to register, attend a hearing, and help us move this state one step closer toward a better, more just New York.”

Hearings have been scheduled for March-June.

The ONE FAIR WAGE Coalition includes: Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice, A Better Balance, AlignNY, Citizen Action of New York, Community Service Society, Enlace, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Judson Memorial Church, Make the Road New York, Metro Justice, National Employment Law Project, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, New Economy Project, NY Communities for Change, NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, Planned Parenthood of NYC, PowHerNY, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, ROC-NY, RWDSU, SEPA Mujer, Tompkins County Workers Center, Women’s Equality Party, Women’s Organizing Network, Workers United NY NJ, 32BJ SEIU.

NH House Finance Committee Denies NH Retirees a Cost-of-Living Adjustment

Concord – Today the NH House Finance Committee voted 14 to 10 to kill HB1756-FN, a bill that would provide a long overdue COLA to the 28,000 currently retired public employees. Several Republican members of the committee provided reasons for this decision that were based on misunderstandings of the NH Retirement System, false realities, and unfounded claims that the State has no responsibility for all public employees.

“We are incredibly disappointed in today’s vote. For decades, the NH Legislature recognized its responsibility to its state and municipal retirees,” explained William McQuillen, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire and Chairman of the NH Retirement Security Coalition. McQuillen when on to explain, “Until eight years ago, the legislature always put aside party politics to honor the dedication and hard work our retirees had given to the state. It is inexcusable for this House Finance Committee to set aside its responsibilities, yet again, when our retirees always held up their end of the bargain.”

The last time NH retirees received an automatic COLA was 2010.  There will not be another COLA granted to retirees until the NH legislature does something about it.Rich Gulla President of SEIU Local 1984 reiterated this point, “Our retirees have gone eight long years without a COLA. When began their careers there was an understanding their hard work would be recognized in their retirement. The 14 members of the House Finance Committee who voted against HB1756-FN turned their backs on NH’s retirees today and that is shameful.”

HB1756-FN will head to the full NH House in the upcoming weeks. There is still time for the NH Legislature to do the right thing and stand up and stand with the 28,000 retired state and municipal members.

Is it still OUR House of Representatives?

Tomorrow we find out whether New Hampshire’s “citizen legislature” really represents the citizens.

The latest number is: 170 NH House members have pledged to uphold the policies of “Americans for Prosperity.”  Even if those policy positions conflict with the wishes of the citizens they represent.

Don’t know about AFP? According to a post on their website, they are “the political arm of the Koch brothers’ conservative network.”  Which means they represent the interests of a couple of billionaire guys from Kansas – not Granite State voters.

Why would New Hampshire elected officials pledge to do what the Koch brothers want?  Could it be: to avoid being targeted in their reelection campaigns? In 2016, AFP campaigned against about a dozen Republican candidates for NH House.  Why?  According to AFP’s state director, “We’re interested in what the output of the policy pipeline is.”

Here in New Hampshire, voters want this type of special-interest politics to end.  More than half of voters in both parties view “Big Money in Politics” as a major problem.  (Only about 6% think it’s “not a problem.”)  Only 12% of voters in both parties think voters have more influence than special interests.

If you were a “citizen legislator” who knew more than half your voters thought something was “a major problem” – wouldn’t you try to do something about it?

Apparently not, in this NH House, in this particular session.  Every single campaign finance reform bill has come out of committee with an ITL recommendation (“Inexpedient to Legislate”).  All of them.

The House has already voted to kill HB 1773, which would have established a system for public funding of elections.  (How bad is the #BigMoney problem in New Hampshire? Half of Republican voters want public funding for elections.  68% of independent voters and 70% of Democratic voters want it.  New Hampshire voters want public funding for elections. But that bill is already dead for the session.)

Every other House campaign finance reform bill is scheduled for a vote tomorrow (or scheduled to be killed through the Consent Calendar).  And right now, it looks like the House is going to accept all those committee Inexpedient to Legislate recommendations.

“Citizen Legislature”? Or “output of [the Koch brothers’] policy pipeline”?

If you have some time today or tonight, you might want to give your House Representative(s) a call.  Contact information is here (or here, if you want to look up Representatives by town).  Please don’t call from work; do this on your own time.

Ask your Representative(s) who they represent.

Then ask them how they’re going to vote tomorrow.

  • HB 1524 will add New Hampshire to the list of states asking Congress to approve a constitutional amendment to limit the influence of Big Money on politics, and send that amendment out to the states for a ratification vote.
  • HB 1667 would ban unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns.
  • HB 1368 would close the LLC loophole (which allows individual donors to evade contribution limits just by creating a LLC and donating through that).

Surely the NH House could pass something on that list?  (Even if it’s opposed by those two billionaires from Kansas?)

We’ll know tomorrow if New Hampshire still has a “citizen legislature.”

Or if, as the vast majority of us believe, special interests have more influence than voters.

 

Leo W Gerard: Trump’s Infrastructure Con

The administration’s infrastructure proposal, released this week, is a shift from Donald Trump’s campaign pledges, a shirk of the fundingburden, and a stop to government construction projects serving the public good.

Candidate Trump boasted that he would double what his opponent Hillary Clinton said she’d spend on infrastructure. But the scheme released by the Trump administration this week not only fails to do that, it would rob vital and cherished social safety net programs to pay for a pittance of improvements.

It is nothing but a con.

During the campaign, in August 2016, candidate Trump said his infrastructure plan would be bigger and better than his opponent’s. “I would say at least double her numbers, and you’re going to really need a lot more than that,” Trump said in an interview on the Fox Business Network.

Clinton said she would increase federal spending on infrastructure by $275 billion. The Trump administration this week proposed $200 billion in federal spending on the likes of roads, bridges, water systems and airports over the next decade.

That’s $75 billion less than Clinton. And, Clinton said hers would be in addition to current spending. Trump slashes traditional infrastructure spending in his budget. He snatches $178 billion over a decade from existing transportation programs. The Center for American Progress calculated that altogether the Trump budget cuts $281 billion from traditional infrastructure programs over the decade.

That means the administration actually intends to spend $81 billion less on infrastructure than would otherwise be allocated. That’s not bigger and better. It’s smaller and worse.

Administration apologists contend that Trump’s 200 billion in federal infrastructure dollars will be matched by $1.3 trillion in private, state and local investment, for a grand total of $1.5 trillion. This would shift the burden from the feds to state and local governments and private investors.

The time-honored deal was 80 percent federal dollars matched by 20 percent local. The infrastructure con would flip that, forcing state and local governments to pony up 80 percent of the cost to win 20 percent from the feds.

This comes after Republicans passed a tax break for the rich and corporations that eliminates the deduction citizens previously received for their state and local taxes. That makes it harder for states and cities to raise taxes to pay for infrastructure.

In addition, it’s not like states and cities are swimming in cash. In many, state lawmakers quarrel for months over what to cut. In some, politicians who slashed essential programs like education faced citizen backlash.

This responsibility dodge was explained last month to the U.S. Conference of Mayors by D.J. Gribbin, Trump’s special assistant for infrastructure. He said, “What we really want to do is provide opportunities for state and local governments to receive federal funding when they’re doing what’s politically hard, and increasing investment in infrastructure.”

Of course, federal officials are ducking what’s politically hard by failing to increase investment in infrastructure. Instead, they’re telling mayors and governors to do it.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says that investment should be $4.59 trillion by 2025. Even if this con job managed to rustle up every cent of the demanded $1.3 trillion matching investment, the total would be $3 trillion less than the amount that the ASCE calculates is necessary to avert serious economic consequences, including $3.9 trillion in losses to GDP and 2.5 million lost jobs.

Not all of the matching money would have to come from cities and states under the infrastructure scam. Some of it could come from private investors who would then own what were once public assets, like airports.

This is a shift from federal investment for the public good to corporate investment for private profit.

For 200 years, economic development, national defense and public health have been the pillars supporting federal investment in infrastructure, not profit.

Under this new plan, the ability of a city or state to provide its own money or garner private investment accounts for 70 percent of the proposed formula for selecting projects. So, it’s not how important the construction would be to public health, like improving the Flint, Mich., water system or how crucial it would be to economic development in struggling states like West Virginia or whether the proposal would assist in transporting heavy military hardware.

No, the new criteria would be whether Wall Street would make sufficient return on investment. This infrastructure program would provide a path to filling corporate coffers with more billions to top off those that the GOP granted businesses and the wealthy in the recently passed Republican tax plan. Without that $1.4 trillion in tax handouts, the federal government could properly pay for infrastructure repairs.

Sadly, this proposal is an abandonment of Trump’s campaign pledge to honor the enduring covenant between the U.S. government and the American people. The covenant began in 1935 with the initiation of Social Security and expanded over the decades with the launch of Medicare and Medicaid.

It was an agreement that if Americans pay into the system their entire working lives, the government will ensure they won’t face destitution in their dotage, and that in the richest country in the world, the most vulnerable citizens will not be rendered homeless, hungry and terminally ill for lack of medical care.

The budget proposal that accompanied the infrastructure plan calls for $1.8 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, the SNAP benefit that feeds impoverished pregnant women and infants, and other programsthat Americans consider sacred.

Trump himself told the Wall Street Journal in January that he intended to take money from such programs to pay for the $200 billion in infrastructure spending.

Candidate Trump also told workers in Monessen, Pa., in June of 2016, “A Trump administration will also ensure that we start using American steel for American infrastructure . . . It will be American steel that will fortify America’s crumbling bridges . . . It will be American steel that rebuilds our inner cities . . .We are going to put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country.”

But the administration’s proposal sidesteps that pledge, neglecting to close gaping loopholes in existing made-in-America requirements for federally-financed projects while at the same time specifically opening more yawning exemptions.

That doesn’t Make America Great Again. It Makes China Great Again.

The introduction to the infrastructure proposal says this: “Our nation’s infrastructure is in an unacceptable state of disrepair, which damages our country’s competitiveness and our citizens’ quality of life. For too long, lawmakers have invested in infrastructure inefficiently, ignored critical needs, and allowed it to deteriorate. As a result, the United States has fallen further and further behind other countries. It is time to give Americans the working, modern infrastructure they deserve.”

All of that is true. Unfortunately, the scam that follows that preface utterly fails to give Americans the working, modern infrastructure they deserve.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin: NH Retirement System and Gutting The Department Of Labor

February 20, 2018 – Bow, NH

A busy week in the State House, though a relatively quiet one when it comes to legislation of direct concern to AFT-NH. In terms of actual legislation, the Senate passed SB 441, which requires school districts to create policies upholding the finality of grades assigned by teachers. Except in limited cases (technical or clerical error), this would make teacher-assigned grades the final word, preventing administrators from altering grades of athletes or certain vociferous parents. Consider it a rare recognition of the professionalism of our public school teachers!

SB 441 now moves onto the House, which on Thursday upheld via voice vote the recommendation of the Labor Committee that HB 438 be rejected (“inexpedient to legislate” is the formal term).   HB 438 would have prohibited any public employer from withholding voluntary union dues. There was no substantive reasoning offered for such a prohibition, and the House acknowledged the sagacity of the Labor Committee in rejecting the bill. A similar bill, HB 1803, would bar any withholding by public employers for any non-governmental entities. The bill had its hearing in front of the Executive Departments and Administration Committee this past week, and featured testimony from United Way, labor unions, and other organizations who utilize payroll deduction by public employers. HB 1803, along with a number of bills concerning the NH Retirement System, has now been sent to a subcommittee hearing to be held on Tuesday, February 20, before coming back before the entire committee for a vote and final recommendation to the House. Similarly, HB 1754, to restructure the NH Retirement System into a direct contribution system, has had its hearing and work session in the Executive Departments and Administration committee, and awaits a final committee recommendation to the House. Based on the hearing as well as the report of the Decennial Commission on the NH Retirement System, we hope and expect the committee to recommend that HB 1754 be deemed “inexpedient to legislate.” We will keep you posted. Please be sure to read the latest NH Retirement Security Coalition Legislative Recap to monitor all retirement bills.

Elsewhere, the Labor Committee held a two-hour hearing on HB 1762, which would gut the Department of Labor’s ability to enforce youth employment laws, require safety plans, and protect wage earners from employers who underpay or refuse to pay employees in a timely or accurate manner. The prime sponsor had few specifics to offer as to why these changes are needed beyond vague references to having spoken with some employers, and subsequent witnesses shed little additional light. Restaurant owners want the power to mandate tip-sharing so as to steal money from high tip-earners and funnel it to others who might not earn much in the way of tips, thereby ensuring the employer need not pay up to the minimum wage of $7.25/hour. It is odd to see those who normally advocate that “what I own I can keep” can suddenly become advocates of redistribution and “share the wealth.” Of course, this is only when the sharing involves workers and benefits the employer.

HB 1762 will be finalized by the Labor Committee next week (February 21), most likely coming out of committee significantly amended. The nature of that amendment is yet to be determined, but it will still amount to little more than applying lipstick to a pig—you can disguise but you cannot change to actual intent of this proposed legislation. It is anti-worker and is almost peculiarly written to benefit restaurants, taverns and those places with tipped employees and a desire to hire youth employees.

Two final items. SB 193 remains in front of the Finance Committee-Division II and the expectation is that there will be amendments offered to more tightly limit the pool of eligible students. The goal of proponents is to at least get their foot in the door, or as is often stated in the House, “the camel’s nose under the tent,” for once a program is launched it is difficult to later abolish it. Lastly, the Labor Committee voted 12-9 and the Education Committee voted 11-9 to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1405 and HB 1277 respectively. HB 1405 would have provided access to unpaid FMLA leave to those school personnel working 900 hours or more, meaning it would have offered unpaid leave to para-educators who are often part-time and do not work in summers. Although the leave is unpaid and thus costs the District nothing, the majority on Labor deemed it unacceptable, perhaps because those who work part-time are not deserving of family leave? As for HB 1277, the bill had little likelihood of passage anyways, and it allows districts to non-renew without explanation teachers for their first five years. There is no sound pedagogical reasoning for this amount of time, especially since after three years a teacher needs to renew certification and is classed as “highly qualified,” but the budgetary flexibility this provides won out. One need not wonder why it is becoming more and more difficult to recruit and hire new teachers.

I close with a request that each reader take a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Florida high school shooting this past week. Students, coaches and teachers all died at the hands of the gunman, and we are once again left with feelings of deep sadness, bewilderment and frustration. “Why is this happening?” and “Why can we not stop these shootings?”   There are no easy answers, but we all bear a small degree of responsibility as members of this society to try to find those answers.

 

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

 

Attached is the pdf version for you to download and share. 

Sec Julian Castro Keynotes NH Young Democrats Granite Slate Awards Celebration

Largest annual event honored work of Congresswoman Shea-Porter, Zandra Rice Hawkins, Senator Dan Feltes, Rep. Amanda Gourgue, and Doug Marino

Manchester, NH– On Friday night, a record crowd of 250 came to the New Hampshire Institute of Art to celebrate the New Hampshire Young Democrats annual awards. Keynoting the event was Secretary Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former San Antonio Mayor. Castro spoke of the importance of younger people organizing and being involved in the democratic process by running for office. Castro’s Political Action Committee, Opportunity First, aims at electing younger leaders to local and state office across the country.

“The past year has been a time of incredible energy and growth for the New Hampshire Young Democrats. We are thrilled about this year’s Granite Slate Awards turnout and the broad support we are attracting. All of this year’s awards winners and Secretary Castro understand the importance of advocating for policies that make New Hampshire a better place for young families to live and work and for supporting the next generation of leaders. It is clear that there is enthusiasm around electing young leaders at every level of the ballot and we are ready to recruit, train and elect them,” said New Hampshire Young Democrats President Lucas Meyer.“Tonight’s award winners have worked to make New Hampshire a tangibly better place and we are proud to honor their achievements.”

“There is no doubt that young people are ready to step up and fight for the change they want to see in their communities. Through our growing membership and the energy not just in the room Friday night, but across the entire state, we’re ready to help elevate the next generation of leadership,” said New Hampshire Young Democrats Executive Director Amelia Keane.

This was the largest fundraiser ever held by the New Hampshire Young Democrats. New Hampshire was the first state chapter to have a full time, paid, Executive Director and worked to elect 15 young Democrats in the 2017 city elections, including an all young democrat slate of first time candidates in Nashua for alderman/woman at large. Currently there are 19 candidates pledged to run this year for the New Hampshire House and Senate, with aggressive recruitment still underway.

List of award winner:
Young Democrat of the Year Award: Doug Marino, UNH student and activist leader
C. Arthur Soucy Achievement Award: State Senator Dan Feltes
Progressive of the Year Award: Zandra Rice-Hawkins of Granite State Progress
Honorary Young Democrat Award: Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter
Grassroots Pioneer Awards: Ben Telerski (Nashua South High School), Jordan Shefferman (Portsmouth High School), Justin Smith (Mancheter Memorial High School), Jennifer West (Dartmouth College), Garrett Muscatel (Dartmouth College), Olivia Teixiera (St. Anselm College), and Menatallah Bahnasy (Philips Exeter Academy)

Campaign Workers Guild Announce Two More Collective Bargaining Agreements

Just days after organizers with the Randy Bryce for Congress campaign became the nation’s only current electoral campaign staff union, the Campaign Workers Guild on Thursday continued building power and won its second major collective bargaining agreement with Jess King, a progressive candidate for Congress. The contract was unanimously ratified by Jess King for Congress organizers, and added major momentum to the new national labor union’s push to organize and represent every professional campaign staff member in the country.

“We’re thrilled to see organizers across the country responding to our call for unionization,” said Meg Reilly, spokeswoman for the Campaign Workers Guild. “For too long, electoral campaigns talked the talk when it came to treating workers with respect, but failed to do right by their own staff. We’re proud to see candidates like Randy Bryce and Jess King buck that trend, and stand up for fair and safe working conditions for all organizers.”

“Candidates and campaigns preach progressive values, but it can be hard to live those values in our work when campaigns are so short term and uncertain,” said Julia Eddy, Fundraising and Finance Associate for Jess King. “This union allows us to have the same guarantees as other union workers even in an unorthodox working environment. I’m especially proud of the focus this union has on sexual harassment policies and protecting workers from both harassment and retaliation.”

Today, CWG announced their third agreement with Chris Wilhelm, a progressive candidate for Montgomery County Council. The contract was unanimously ratified by Chris Wilhelm for County Council workers, and added major momentum to the new national labor union’s push to organize and represent every professional campaign staff member in the country.

“Campaign workers for the Chris Wilhelm for County Council campaign now have a grievance procedure and the right to progressive discipline, which would have been unheard of in the campaign world just a week ago,” said Meg Reilly, spokeswoman for the Campaign Workers Guild. “The fact that workers on races from County Councils to Congress have unionized is a testament to how universal this movement is. Campaign workers across the country are standing up for fair and safe working conditions.”

“Democratic campaign workers are drawn to the industry because of our desire to help working people and there is no better way to support working people than joining a union. There is no limit to what can be achieved through solidarity,” said Brian Wivell, Field Director at Chris Wilhelm for County Council and new member of the CWG.

Granite Staters Host Unofficial Hearing Against Offshore Drilling

Opponents urge protection of people, wildlife, communities, and businesses in Rye

RYE, NH — On Wednesday, February 21, the public is invited to attend and speak at an Unofficial Public Hearing about a recent federal proposal that would open up 90% of the nation’s coastline—including all of New Hampshire’s shores—to oil and gas drilling at the Rye Public Library 581 Washington Road in Rye, NH. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and attendance is free.

The proposal, issued by the Department of Interior earlier this month, threatens the fishing, tourism, and recreation economy worth millions. It has met with steep opposition from New Hampshire’s elected leaders, as well as Seacoast fishing businesses, homeowners, and tourism industries. The public meeting scheduled by the federal agency in Concord will not allow spoken public comment. Only information about their drilling plans will be available.

Sponsors include New Hampshire Sierra Club, Conservation Law Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, Surfrider, 350 New Hampshire, Natural Resource Defense Council, and Resolve Seacoast.

WHAT:  The Unofficial Public Hearing Opposing Offshore Drilling

A Public Hearing style meeting of the people concerned about the offshore drilling proposal by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the US Department of the Interior hosted by local community groups.

WHEN: February 21, 2018 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

WHERE: Rye Public Library 581 Washington Road Rye, NH 03870

WHO: The meeting is free.

VISUALS: The brief presentation at the beginning of the meeting will give an overview of the federal proposal to allow drilling.

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES:Press conference with local voices opposed to offshore drilling is planned on March 5, 2018 in Concord at 11 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building, as well as sign waving outside the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hearing at the Holiday Inn Downtown Concord on Main Street starting at 3 p.m.

 

Shea-Porter And Committee Democrats Urge Majority To Hold Hearings Examining School Shootings

“We stand ready to lead and do our job with regard to this difficult subject.”

WASHINGTON – All 17 Democratic Members of the Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letterto Chairwoman Virginia Foxx requesting hearings before the full Committee to examine school shootings. This request comes after Wednesday’s preventable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where at least seventeen students and faculty died as a result.  In response Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has called on Congress to hold hearings on this issue.

“[Secretary DeVos] stated pointedly that ‘we have got to have an honest conversation, and Congress has to lead on this.’ Madame Chair, we are wholly in agreement with Secretary DeVos in this respect,” the Members wrote. “We stand ready to lead and do our job with regard to this difficult subject.”

Despite more than 230 school shootings since the December, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Committee has not held a hearing to address this public health crisis since February 2013. Democrats are urging the Chairwoman to show leadership on the issue and schedule hearings.

“Children and families across the country rely on their leaders in Congress for much more than thoughts and prayers,” said Shea-Porter on the House floor yesterday. “They need us to take action to keep them safe.”

The full text of the letter is enclosed below:


Dear Chairwoman Foxx:

We write to request hearings before the House Education and the Workforce Committee regarding school shootings.  As you know, per House Rule X, our Committee has jurisdiction over “education … generally.”  More specifically, the Committee Rule 2 (a) clarifies our oversight over “school safety” and other issues.

Wednesday’s preventable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, resulted in the deaths of at least seventeen students and faculty.  Sadly, since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School five years ago, more than 430 people have been shot in over 230 school shootings.   Despite the sobering reality, our Committee has not had a hearing to address this public health epidemic since February of 2013.

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos remarked during a radio interview that “Congress needs to be holding hearings on these issues.”  Secretary Devos called for us to examine this issue and “impact the future.”  She stated pointedly that “we have got to have an honest conversation, and Congress has to lead on this. It’s their job.”

Madame Chair, we are wholly in agreement with Secretary DeVos in this respect.  We stand ready to lead and do our job with regard to this difficult subject.  To that end, we respectfully ask that you schedule hearings to examine the issue of school shootings.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)

Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12)

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester (DE-AL)

Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02)

Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53)

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)

Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11)

Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03)

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08)

Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01)

Congressman Jared Polis (CO-02)

Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (NMP-AL)

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41)

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24)

AT&T Wireless Workers in Southeastern States Reach Agreement on New Contract

 

Over 12,000 Communications Workers of America (CWA)-represented AT&T wireless workers from nine southeastern states and the U.S. Virgin Islands won increased wages, more job security and rollbacks of offshoring and outsourcing in a tentative contract agreement reached last night.

“I am proud of our bargaining committee and the CWA members from across the country who supported their efforts with rallies and picketing events,” said Richard Honeycutt, Vice President of CWA’s District 3. “We are continuing to set new standards in the wireless industry and we are demonstrating that the best way for working people to achieve better pay and fair treatment on the job is by joining together in a union.”

The four-year proposed agreement provides 10.1% in raises over the course of the contract and shifts $2,500 from commission to base pay for retail workers. The agreement sets guarantees for the portion of customer service calls that will be handled exclusively by wireless workers who are CWA members in the nine states covered by the agreement: Alabama Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Highlights include:

  • A guaranteed increase in the portion of customer service calls handled exclusively by wireless workers who are CWA members;
  • Job security language that guarantees a job for workers whose store or call center is closed or whose job title is eliminated;
  • $2,500 shifted from commission to base pay for retail workers, making pay more stable;
  • Greater ability to use sick days without risk of discipline;
  • Limits on the types of monitoring and surveillance of retail and call center workers so that evaluation is fair and equitable;
  • Safety equipment for warehouse workers; and
  • Increase in on-call pay for technicians.

The agreement comes on the heels of a similar agreement which was ratified last month by AT&T wireless workers in 36 additional states and DC.


About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 working men and women in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.

cwa-union.org @cwaunion

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