About NH Labor

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.

Granite State: Political Influencers Moving In because we’re ‘Manageable in Size’

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Can’t help but see similarities between the Free Staters and Peter T. Paul, the California mortgage guy who seems to be trying to buy a seat in Congress for his friend, Dan Innis.

Here’s how the Free Staters describe why they chose New Hampshire to be their Petri dish:

On October 1, 2003 we announced that our participants had chosen New Hampshire as the future Free State. New Hampshire’s small population factored heavily in the selection process. Our research showed that 20,000 activists can heavily influence states, like New Hampshire, with populations of less than 1.5 million and our early movers report that even a few hundred can make a significant difference.

And here’s Peter Paul, explaining to the NH Business Review why he is getting into New Hampshire politics:

As for his Super PAC, Paul said he has never been involved politically before. “I prefer to watch.” So when he “dipped his toe” in the political waters at the end of January by setting up the NH Priorities PAC, a $500,000 Super PAC, it was primarily to help Innis… The PAC is also considering donating to like-minded candidates in more local races, such as the state Senate. “I like New Hampshire,” Paul said. “Because it is more manageable in size.”

So far, Paul’s PAC has reportedly spent more money than Innis’ actual campaign has – $226K spent by the PAC, compared to $187K spent by the campaign. The Washington Post calls it a “Must-have accessory for House candidates in 2014: The personalized super PAC.” So let’s follow that money. Where did it come from?

  • “Where did Peter T. Paul get his money? The man whose name adorns the UNH business school is a financier who helped create securitized low-doc loans.” Read the NH Business Review story here.
  • Read the NH Gazette story “Vulture Capitalism Comes Home to Roost” here.

“Small population.” “More manageable in size.”

That’s what they think about New Hampshire. That’s why they’re here.

Really?

 

 

Hat-Tip to Arnie Arnesen for writing the Op-Ed on Peter Paul. 

For more on the Free State Project read Matt Murray’s editorial in the Nashua Telegraph or the Concord Monitor

LETTER: Combat Veterans Are Furious Because Scott Brown Is Disingenuous About Afghanistan Service

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letters to the editor

Boston, MA—As Scott Brown launches a “Veterans for Brown” group, Massachusetts veterans are reaching out to New Hampshire veterans to inform them that Brown continues to exaggerate and misrepresent his “service” in Afghanistan.  Since Brown declared that he “served in Afghanistan” while debating Elizabeth Warren in 2012, the truth has come out regarding Brown’s actual military record—that he never served in combat in Afghanistan, as his statement suggests.

“Scott Brown’s shameless self-promotion of his ‘service’ overseas is offensive to veterans everywhere. He alleges that he served in combat, but the truth is, he avoided it entirely,” said Bill Dooling. “Scott Brown only requested to perform his two week National Guard training in Afghanistan so he could use it to score political points to help his campaign. In reality, Brown’s trip to Afghanistan was nothing more than a publicity stunt – that’s why he leaked it to the press himself. It’s an insult to combat veterans that Brown keeps trying to paint himself with the same brush and uses his alleged ‘service’ in the way he has.”

“There is nothing that Scott Brown won’t do or say for Scott Brown—even if it means passing off his ‘service in Afghanistan’ as something that it most definitely was not,” said John Hurley. “Brown could not have been more ostentatious the way he turned a normal two-week training period into a complete media circus. He simply did not serve in combat, and the way he explains his service is meant to mislead voters and veterans. Even the Boston Globe editorialized against Brown, saying he was wrong to state that he ‘served in Afghanistan.’ It makes me sick.”

“I don’t know a single non-combat veteran who would try and pass himself off as a combat vet the way that Scott Brown does on a regular basis,” said Doug Clifford. “The guy requested to go to Afghanistan for training—which is highly irregular. Then he leaked it to the press. He’s made a mockery of the seriousness of entering a combat zone so that he could gain a political advantage in Massachusetts. He needs to be called out, so that New Hampshire veterans know exactly who they are dealing with if they choose to support Scott Brown.”

Signed,

Bill Dooling Vietnam Veteran ( Pleiku,1968-69) 1Lt. US Army (Ret)

Doug Clifford, Sgt. U.S. Air Force, Vietnam service, September, 1968 – September, 1969

John Hurley, 1LT, U.S. Army, Vietnam veteran (Mekong Delta, 1967-1968)

Beware Of The Free Staters Running For Office

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In case you missed it, the Nashua Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1tJQE9j) and the Concord Monitor (http://bit.ly/1tJQPRU) both ran an Op-Ed written by me, about the Free State Project and Dan Hynes a “Free State Mover” who is running for the NH Senate in Merrimack, Amherst, and Milford.

Here is an excerpt from the Op-Ed. Please visit one of these two site to read the full editorial.

You see, New Hampshire is the focus of a unique political experiment, started in 2001 by then-Yale University doctoral student Jason Sorens. His idea was to get 20,000 activists to move to a single state with a small population and an easily-accessible government.

As he said in his introduction to The Free State Project: “Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

Snowplowing? Bridge safety? An adequately-funded judicial system? Public colleges? These things are nowhere on the Free Staters’ priority list.

Free Staters – at least those in Keene – seem more interested in marijuana and videotaping the city’s parking enforcement officers.

Congresswoman Kuster Urges Acting VA Secretary Gibson to Address Systemic Issues of Integrity at VA

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) questioned Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson about his plan to restore integrity to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Mr. Gibson was chosen to head up the VA after former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amidst reports of extreme mismanagement at VA medical centers across the country. Congresswoman Kuster was one of the first members of the Committee to call for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation, and during today’s hearing she pushed Acting Secretary Gibson to immediately address the issues that led to his predecessor’s resignation.

“For the past few months, witnesses have testified before the Veterans’ Affairs Committee about the appalling conditions at some of our nation’s VA medical centers, including long wait times, manipulated wait lists, and lying, deceitful employees who put their own monetary interests before the needs of our nation’s veterans,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “This mismanagement is absolutely unacceptable, and today I urged Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson to outline his plan to restore integrity to the VA so nothing like this can ever happen again. First and foremost, the VA must completely overhaul its system for awarding bonuses, and must fire any employees who made veterans wait for care in order to receive higher bonuses – and I was proud to cosponsor legislation that would give the VA power to do just that.”

“Our veterans put their lives on the line to fight for the American ideals we Granite Staters all hold dear. We owe every one of our veterans an extreme debt of gratitude, and they should never – under any circumstances – have to wait for the care they need and deserve. I hope Acting Secretary Gibson takes my concerns to heart, and does everything in his power to ensure that every employee has both the resources and the intent to do what they were hired to do – provide our nation’s veterans with excellent, high quality physical and mental health care services.”

Since allegations of long wait times at the Phoenix VA were first discovered by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Kuster has joined her fellow Committee members in leading an investigation into any and all allegations of mismanagement at VA centers across the nation. She has repeatedly called for increased oversight and immediate action at the VA to prevent any further mismanagement, and was one of the first members to call for a thorough, nationwide audit to uncover any other instances of abuse.

Kuster has also provided strict oversight over the VA medical centers serving New Hampshire, and she has called on the New England VA Network Director to conduct a complete review of wait times and to provide whistleblower protection for staff who come forward with information about mismanagement. She also held a roundtable discussion with Veteran Service Organizations and veteran leaders to hear about their experiences at the VA medical centers, and she continues to monitor their care in New Hampshire.

AFL-CIO President Trumka On The 5th Anniversary of Last Minimum Wage Increase

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Today is a reminder of what is possible with just an ounce of political will.  If our leaders have the courage, they can lift millions of hardworking Americans out of poverty by raising the minimum wage. It’s a tragedy that workers have been trapped in a poverty-level minimum wage for five years. It must not go a day longer.

We are working harder than ever, while our wages are flat or falling. Over the past five years, the cost of living has continued to increase across the country, while the federal minimum wage has stayed flat. Raising the minimum wage is a critical and simple way to address a crucial underlying weakness in our economy. It will create jobs, grow our economy and increase the purchasing power of millions of workers.

The movement to raise wages is happening all around us. States are doing it. Cities, counties and little towns are doing it. Smart business owners are doing it. It’s time for Congress to get it done.

The NH State Employee’s Association (SEIU 1984) Announce The Endorsement Of Jennifer Daler For NH Executive Council District 5

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Jennifer DalerThe SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors announced its endorsement of Jennifer Daler in the race for the open Executive Council seat in District 5. Daler lives in Temple and is running to represent Executive Council District 5, which includes 33 communities, extending along the state’s southern border, from Richmond and Swanzey in the west to Nashua and Hudson in the east, and as far north as Hillsborough and Dunbarton.  The Executive Council seat opened up when Debora Pignatelli announced she would not be seeking re-election.

After interviewing and reviewing records of the candidates, the organization’s Political Education Committee selected Daler, a former state representative, as the candidate who will best represent the district’s constituents and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members.  Originally elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006, Daler’s special election win in 2011 became a pivotal point in helping turn the tide against the attacks on working families of the Bill O’Brien-led legislature.

“We believe Jen’s experience in the House will serve her well on the Executive Council, as she understands the value of civility and the importance of working together,” said Ken Roos, chair of the committee. “In addition, we know she is committed to making the best use of our tax dollars and keeping our economy moving in the right direction.”

While serving in the House, Daler worked hard for our most vulnerable citizens, serving on the Health and Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.  Daler fought for working people across the state by voting against the right to work for less bill, which drives wages and benefits lower for those families that work hard and struggle to keep their homes.

“In 2011, at a critical time for our state, Jen prevailed in a tough House district despite facing crushing attacks for her stand against right to work for less,” Roos said. “She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and we’re confident she’ll always put our families ahead of partisan politics.”

The five-member Executive Council is a critical body for SEA members and their families.  The council votes on all state expenditures over $10,000, approves all appointments of civil commissions, judges and commissioners and directors in state government. Each council district represents around 250,000 voters and is elected every two years.

Committee members said Daler is the candidate that best represents the organization’s electoral vision for the state – the Granite Strong Vision. This vision is comprised of ten points SEA/SEIU 1984 has identified as essential for the success of the state’s working families. The points are:

  • Good full-time jobs
  • Robust small and large business environment
  • Quality, affordable and accessible health care
  • Quality, affordable public education from early childhood through post-secondary
  • Clean air and water
  • Public safety
  • Strong infrastructure
  • Strong consumer protections
  • Worker rights and protections
  • Strong safety net for our most vulnerable

Guest Column: The Age Of A Fractured Political System

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Dr. Thomas J. Mackell, Jr.By Thomas J. Mackell, Jr., Ed.D.

This is an age of fractured jobs, a fractured economy, fractured families, a fractured political system, a terribly fractured American Dream and where the political protagonists, our elected leaders, are in need of spinal transplants.

The soon-to-retire greying generation is experiencing no pensions. Those pensions are promises that will not be kept, leaving thousands of employees in dire straits when they are most vulnerable. Roller-coaster retirement accounts subject to the whims of the market. Longer life spans and higher health care costs. Children in college. Young adults with staggering student-loan debt who are financially incapable of purchasing a home. Aging and ailing parents. A will to work but fewer jobs to be had.

America is dying for a champion who makes preserving the middle class a top priority. They want somebody who can level the playing field so that Main Street doesn’t always come second to Wall Street. Someone who is not running networks of oligarchs who take advantage of our weakened campaign finance laws to manipulate the democratic process in pursuit of their self-interests.

This is the scenario as we head into the 2014 Congressional elections with predictions that Republicans will hold the House of Representatives and, perhaps, gain control of the Senate.

If that happens, forget a Congress that looks out for the little guy.  In conjunction with a non-caring Congress, today, unfortunately, the concept of freedom has come to mean the freedom of the wealthy to do whatever they want, without regard to the consequences for the rest of us. In reality, the 1 percent has undertaken a serious effort to buy elections.

At any kind of gathering whether it be at work or at home, Americans are expressing disappointment about the way things run in Washington. They don’t see them dealing with the multitude of problems facing our nation. Their approval rating is at an all-time low. Many citizens say they see no value in bothering to vote.

Clearly, the constant bickering between the Republicans and Democrats is wearing thin on Main Street and leads to a notion of false equivalency. The Pew Research Center says that Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the last two decades.

The GOP has done all it can to undercut the Obama presidency. Democrats had to fight back. The line is drawn in the sand which has resulted in blind allegiance or blind hatred.

But let’s put the blame where it belongs: on the Republican side of the aisle. The Republicans must end their internal civil war between the moderates and the Tea Party aficionados.

Recently, a number of the members of Congress who have announced their plans to retire have expressed their frustration with the cantankerous environment in Washington and their inability to get things done.

When even the pols start complaining, you know that things are really bad. If they can’t find solutions then we are, truly, in deep trouble.

Despite this horrendous dilemma, failing to vote surely will make things worse. We have a solemn obligation to go to the polls. Neglecting the most fundamental responsibility of citizenship invites complacency and encourages political abuse. Showing up on Election Day proves we are in the game, that we care and that we want to see change.

There are areas of this country where people have been removed from the ranks of eligible voters and GOP operatives are doing all they can to suppress participation by traditional Democratic constituencies.

Today, the American workplace is plagued with wage theft, disrespect of culture, pressure, unsafe environments, unbridled automation and more. Everything solid is melting into air. This should not be tolerated in modern America. We must vote our pocketbook to protect our livelihoods and our well-being.

We must encourage our union memberships, thoughtful young folks and retirees to go out on Election Day and exercise their right to vote. They must be engaged in their communities and serve as an example to those who might stay away. Staying home is not an option. It will only continue and calcify this dangerous divisiveness.

Dr. Thomas J. Mackell, Jr. is Senior Consultant to the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO for political, legislative and public affairs.

Save The MET: Metropolitan Opera’s Management Threatens To Lock Out Workers

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Save The Met IATSE 1Statement by Joe Hartnett, Assistant Dept. Director Stagecraft for I.A.T.S.E.

On Metropolitan Opera Management’s Threat to Lock out Performers and Backstage Employees

We want the show to go on. Our bargaining teams are very serious about hammering out an agreement with opera management. Several negotiating sessions have been scheduled over the next week. Management and their legal team have drawn red lines through our contracts, but seem to have very little understanding about what items cost or even how the opera functions backstage.  This has slowed contract talks.

A lockout would be an opera tragedy, likely resulting in a lost season and a long-term loss of operagoers and subscribers for years to come. A lockout would not only leave theater seats empty in Lincoln Center — it would result in movie theaters going dark around the globe where the Met is simulcast.

Most of all, a lockout would be an indication of management’s failure to manage productions and manage negotiations. We all should be working together to save the Met, not locking out artists and shuttering this opera house.

Joe Hartnett, I.A.T.S.E’s Assistant Department Director of Stagecraft, is coordinating negotiations for the six IA locals at the Metropolitan Opera.

Shaheen Meets With NH Business Leaders To Promote Women Entrepreneurship

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At Senate Small Business Committee Hearing, President & CFO of Portsmouth’s Absolute Resource Associates discusses ways to promote female entrepreneurship, endorses Shaheen legislation to grow women-owned small businesses

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted Susan Sylvester, President & CFO of Portsmouth’s Absolute Resource Associates at a Senate Small Business Committee hearing to discuss policies to promote female entrepreneurship and small business job creation. Sylvester, who has grown her business with the help of small business contracts with the federal government, also endorsed Shaheen’s legislation, the Women’s Small Business Procurement Parity Act at this afternoon’s hearing. That bill would provide tools available under other contracting programs to help federal agencies meet the goal of awarding 5 percent of all federal contracts to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs).    

“Women continue to make great strides in our economy, but they still only represent about 30 percent of small business owners,” said Shaheen. “That must change.

“It was great to host Sue this afternoon so she could share her valuable insight as a successful small business owner. Now we must act so that other women can replicate her experiences and success as an entrepreneur.”

Shaheen continued, “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in New Hampshire. Over 96 percent of employers in New Hampshire are small businesses, and two out of every three jobs are created by small business in the United States. So if we can help small businesses grow, we can help create jobs and grow the economy.”

“Our company, Absolute Resource Associates, has a long and successful relationship with the SBA, a relationship which began the day we bought the company back in 2000,” said Susan Sylvester, President & CFO of Portsmouth’s Absolute Resource Associates. “Without these programs, our company would not have had the ability to do the good work we do and create the 15 jobs we have created, so far. I support efforts to enhance the WOSB program by putting it on par with other contracting programs, including Senator Shaheen’s Women’s Small Business Contracting Parity Act.”

Absolute Resource Associates has also participated in the SBA 7j training programs and has benefited from its designation as an Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB). The company has tripled in size since 2000, now employing 22 people.

Earlier this year, Shaheen held a roundtable in Lebanon to discuss efforts to encourage female entrepreneurship and small business growth. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Shaheen has made supporting small businesses in New Hampshire a top priority while also promoting efforts to increase the number of women business owners.

Governor Hassan Signs Paycheck Fairness Bill Into Law, Advocates And Legislators Applaud

Gov. Hassan Signs Paycheck Fairness  (image by Kary Jencks, NH Citizens Alliance)
Gov. Hassan Signs Paycheck Fairness  (image by Kary Jencks, NH Citizens Alliance)

Gov. Hassan Signs Paycheck Fairness (image by Kary Jencks, NH Citizens Alliance)

 Paycheck Fairness Act to become law January 1, 2015 

CONCORD, NH – Today Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed SB 207 and HB 1188, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act into law. The Paycheck Fairness Act will eliminate loopholes, increase transparency in wages, and ensure that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.

“Ensuring that women and men can earn equal pay for an equal day’s work isn’t just an issue of fairness, it’s essential to our economic future. I am proud to sign this common-sense, bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the economic security of hard-working Granite Staters and eliminate an unnecessary strain on New Hampshire families,” said Governor Maggie Hassan in a written statement.

“While paycheck fairness legislation remains stalled in our nation’s capital, here in New Hampshire we’ve shown once again that we can come together to expand middle class opportunity and move our economy forward. I want to thank Senator Larsen, Speaker Norelli and legislators from both parties for coming together to pass the most significant piece of legislation for women in New Hampshire’s workforce in over a decade,” concluded Gov. Hassan.

“Thank you to ​Governor Hassan, ​House Speaker Norelli​, and the members of the Legislature​ for reinforcing New Hampshire’s commitment to the fundamental principle of an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay. ​The enactment of this new law affirms that we must ​continue our efforts to close the wage gap in New Hampshire,​” said Senator Sylvia Larsen.​ “With Governor Hassan signing SB 207 in law, New Hampshire ​is sending a crystal clear message that the ​State of New Hampshire is on the side of all workers guaranteeing a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.​”​

Senate Bill 207 was cited by Senate and House Democrats as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session. SB 207 sponsors include all Senate Democrats along with House Speaker Terie Norelli, Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro). HB 1188 sponsors included Rep. Chuck Weed (D-Keene), Rep. Michael Cahill (D-Newmarket), Rep. Larry Phillips (D-Keene), Rep. Doug Ley (D-Jaffrey), Rep. Marcia Moody (D-Newmarket), Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth).

“It’s distressing that, in the year 2014, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. National studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation,” said Larsen.​

“However, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will give women hard-working in today’s economy, the much-needed tools they need to combat the wage gap,” concluded Senator Larsen.​

NH Citizens Alliance for Action, Granite State Progress, and the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative applaud Governor Hassan for signing SB 207 and HB 1188, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act into law.

“Ensuring equal pay for equal work is integral to the economic security of individuals and families,” said Kary Jencks, Executive Director of NH Citizens Alliance for Action. “On behalf of our 20,000 members, NH Citizens Alliance commends Governor Hassan and her progressive colleagues in the state legislature for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and their continued efforts to build a New Hampshire that works for all of us.”

“Granite State Progress is proud to have worked with leaders like Governor Hassan, Senator Larsen, and Speaker Norelli to ensure that New Hampshire’s Paycheck Fairness Act became law,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “We commend the bipartisan support of our legislature to ensure the adoption of this legislation, and encourage our federal delegation to follow suit. This law will give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps and help create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated.”

“The New Hampshire Women’s Initiative is proud to have played a role in championing SB207,” said Mary Jo Brown, Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative. “We applaud the collaboration and consensus this bill promoted, and look forward to future work that will advance gender equality in both economic, social and political arenas.”