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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.

Daniel Weeks Speaks At Rivier University About Poverty And Democracy (10-21-14)

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Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 6.48.34 AMNH Reformer Addresses Rivier University About Poverty And Democracy After Visiting 30 States By Greyhound Bus On $16/Day

Daniel Weeks’ Atlantic and UNH publications based on poverty-line research across USA

NASHUA, NH – To understand poverty and its complex relationship to American democracy, New Hampshire political reformer Daniel Weeks traveled some 10,000 miles through 30 states by Greyhound bus interviewing citizens in poverty and maintaining a poverty-line budget of $16 per day. On Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 4pm, Weeks will present his findings at Rivier University’s Benoit Educational Center in a public lecture (details here).

Weeks completed his research as a fellow of the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and with support from the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH. His research was published as a 2014 series for The Atlantic, in Business NH Magazine, and featured on NHPR’s “The Exchange” and other programs.

The “Poor (in) Democracy” project explores the complex relationship between institutional poverty and political power, including how economic inequalities enter the political sphere and undermine political equality; how political arrangements deepen and entrench poverty; and what it means in real life to be poor and (seek to) participate in democratic life. The work concludes with a menu of cross-partisan governmental reforms aimed at combatting poverty by strengthening American democracy.

In an effort to deepen his experience of American poverty, Weeks maintained a poverty-line budget, eating a restricted diet and spending nights in public parks and homeless shelters, on buses or bus stations, and in home-stays over his six weeks on the road. From benches on Capitol Hill to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, from the desert colonias of New Mexico to Skid Row in L.A., Weeks’ profiles and careful analysis help put a human face on poverty and political inequality in the age of Obama.

Since completing his travels, Weeks now serves as Executive Director of Open Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit working to reduce the influence of private money in politics and expand political voice and participation for under-represented people in New Hampshire.

For more information, please visit: www.PoorInDemocracy.org.

Kuster Clear Winner of NH1 Debate; Garcia Reveals True Tea Party Colors

Ann kuster head shot LG

Concord, NH – This evening, Congresswoman Annie Kuster emerged as the clear winner of the first NH1 debate of the season. Throughout the debate, Kuster highlighted her work to fight for the priorities Granite Staters care about – creating more jobs and opportunities for our workers, making college more affordable for our students, and fighting for our nation’s veterans. Garcia, on the other hand, was put on the defensive during the entire debate as she stuck to her Tea Party playbook, and continuously demonstrated support for shockingly extreme policies that would hurt Granite State families.

“During tonight’s debate, Garcia revealed her support for extreme, Tea Party policies that would hurt Granite State families across the board,” said Kuster campaign spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer. “From doubling-down on her wish to repeal the Violence Against Women Act, dismissing it as ‘only a catchy title’ and a waste of resources – and showing an alarming lack of knowledge about what repeal would actually mean for victims of domestic abuse – to outright lying about her plans to abolish the Department of Education and eliminate federal student loans, to her commitment to banning abortions even in the cases of rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother, Garcia’s policies would be devastating for Granite State families.”

Kuster Calls on Garcia to Pledge to Fight for Expanded Passenger Rail in Nashua


image004Nashua, NH – This morning, Congresswoman Kuster, local elected officials, and business leaders met in Nashua to pledge support for passenger rail to Nashua and beyond, if the feasibility study results in a positive recommendation. The group sent a clear message that we must improve the state’s transportation infrastructure to create a better business environment and expand New Hampshire’s economy – and any candidate running for federal office should support these efforts.

On October 9th, at the Nashua Chamber of Commerce’s Candidates Forum, Tea Party candidate Marilinda Garcia demonstrated a shocking lack of knowledge about the possible expansion of passenger rail into Nashua and beyond. When asked about the project, which is widely recognized as one of the single most important issues facing the Nashua region and which experts say could provide a significant boost to the local economy, Garcia said she was unfamiliar with the project, and told the moderator she needed to “get back to you about that.”

Garcia’s unfamiliarity with the project is particularly interesting, considering that while serving in the state legislature, she repeatedly voted to block the rail project from moving forward. Garcia has a history of voting against projects her constituents support; she famously blocked casino gambling in the state despite the fact that 81 percent of her Salem constituents were in support.

But Kuster knows how important passenger rail is to the Nashua and state economy. Today, Kuster presented leaders and reporters with an open letter calling on Garcia to pledge to fight for federal funding if the project is deemed feasible:

A Pledge to Fight for the Nashua Economy

An Open Letter by Congresswoman Annie Kuster

When I first came to office last year, I saw that many hardworking New Hampshire families were still hurting from the economic downturn. I knew we needed to shore up our local economy, so that here in the Granite State – regardless of what happened nationally – our families’ economic security would be protected.

That’s why I’ve made numerous visits to Nashua, New Hampshire’s economic engine. I’ve visited businesses throughout the community, hearing directly from owners and employees about how Congress could help them grow. 

What I’ve heard from Nashua business leaders, though, may be surprising. Obviously cutting taxes and easing regulatory burdens continues to be a top priority, but the most common feedback I’ve received from business leaders in Nashua is that we must improve the state’s transportation infrastructure if we want to create more jobs.

Nashua is New Hampshire’s innovation hub – new businesses pop up all time, and the city is helping lead our state’s manufacturing renaissance. But without proper infrastructure, these companies won’t be able to access the workers, suppliers, and customers they need to be successful.  That’s why business leaders throughout the Southern Tier are looking to their political leaders to push for one of the most important economic development projects of our time:  the expansion of passenger rail into the Granite State.

Expanding rail has the potential to infuse billions of dollars into our economy, and create thousands of new jobs. Nashua companies facing hiring difficulties will be able to attract new talent, and expanding businesses will be encouraged to set up shop here. What’s more, commuter rail would help ease our heavily congested roads, and make it easier for companies to ship their products in a timely manner.

Expanded passenger rail enjoys widespread support throughout the Southern Tier, and a feasibility study is currently underway to determine the best course of action for implementation. However, we can’t just sit and wait for the project to be approved – I want to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as the study is completed.

That’s why I’ve been taking steps in Congress to push forward programs that would help make the rail project possible. I’m working with Republicans and Democrats to create a new infrastructure bank, which would leverage private funds for investments in infrastructure—at no cost to taxpayers. And I’ve held roundtable discussions and meetings with businesses like Parallel Wireless, BAE, and Cirtronics to learn how rail would benefit them.  I know what this project means to Nashua, to the Southern Tier, and to the entire Granite State economy, and I’ve been laying the groundwork to move it forward during my past two years in office.

That’s why I was honestly shocked to hear my opponent’s response to questions about commuter rail during a recent Nashua Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum. Not only did she refuse to pledge support for the project, she claimed to have no knowledge of it! This absolutely floors me. As someone who has been hearing from our state’s business leaders for years – since before I even came to office – about the critical importance of commuter rail to our economy, how can a candidate running to represent the Granite State in Congress claim to have no familiarity with this vital project? 

If you dig a little deeper into my opponent’s record, you’ll see that while serving in the state legislature, she actually voted repeatedly to block the commuter rail project from moving forward. So it seems that perhaps she was being a bit disingenuous when claiming to have no familiarity with the project.

But lets’ give her the benefit of the doubt. As she said during the forum, “no one is an expert on everything.”  But here’s what I want to know – now that Rep. Garcia has presumably been filled in on the details, will she now pledge to fight for federal funding for the rail project?

Marilinda Garcia claims she’s running for office to support Granite Staters’ best interests, and we all know that the number one priority Granite Staters care about is job creation. This project, if deemed feasible, could create thousands of new jobs. Knowing that, will she admit she was wrong to vote against this project, and join me in pledging to help bring commuter rail to Nashua?

I call on Marilinda Garcia to prove that she’s running for office for the right reasons:  to fight for the things that Granite Staters care about and support a project that would create thousands of jobs for New Hampshire. If the feasibility study shows that this project makes sense, I call on Marilinda Garcia to put the New Hampshire economy before her extreme ideology and pledge to stand with me to fight for rail funding in Washington. I eagerly await her response.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is running for reelection in the Second Congressional District of New Hampshire. She is running against an extreme Tea Party candidate, Marilinda Garcia.

Frank Guinta Says He Wants To Make Cuts To Social Security, Repeal ACA And Block Student Loan Refinancing Legislation

Guinta 2010 (Image Jason Meserve)

Former Congressman Frank Guinta affirmed that he still plans to cut seniors’ benefits in an interview with the Concord Monitor last week, saying that “Republicans are going to want” to adopt a benefit-cutting measure, Chained CPI, in the next Congress.

“New Hampshire seniors beware: Frank Guinta has a plan to cut your earned benefits,” said Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly. “Instead of ending tax breaks for Big Oil and huge corporations, Guinta would balance the budget on the backs of our seniors. His extreme Tea Party platform would not only punish seniors, but also the hardworking Granite Staters who pay into this system with the expectation that their earned benefits will be there when they need them.”

Disturbing facts about Guinta’s benefit-cutting proposal to adopt Chained CPI:

  • Guinta’s proposal would hit beneficiaries harder as they age.
  •  Since women live longer than men and the cuts accelerate over time, women would be hit especially hard.
  •  Under Guinta’s proposal, a senior who retires at 65 would lose almost $14,000 by age 85, and $28,000 by age 95.
  •  By the time retirees reach 85, their benefits would be cut by an average of $1,147 per year.
  • A 92-year-old would lose an entire month’s income from his or her annual benefits.
  •  Guinta’s proposal would cut almost 14 weeks’ worth of food from a 75-year-old’s budget, and almost 24 weeks of food from an 85-year-old’s budget.
  •  Even Guinta’s hyper-conservative pal Grover Norquist opposes the proposal, saying that it’s “a very large tax hike over time.”

Unlike Guinta, Carol Shea-Porter opposes the benefit-cutting chained CPI proposal, and successfully fought to eliminate it from President Obama’s budget proposal.

But wait there is more!

In the interview with the Concord Monitor Guinta stated  “he’d oppose any measure to eliminate student loan debt and saddle taxpayers with that cost instead.”  The current proposal by Senator Warren and co-sponsored by Sen. Shaheen would allow students to refinance their federal student loans.  This does not shift the burden to the taxpayers, it stops the government from collecting over $60 billion in profits off the backs of our college students.

Guinta is still denying climate change science that has the support of 97% of the scientific community. “I’m not sure the science is accurate or complete on this issue.”  As a politician who has received major funding from the Big Oil and the Koch Brothers he would know better than 97% of the scientific community.

Guinta also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Guinta said he would vote to repeal it, but he does support the provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions and that allow people to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.” Of course he wants to keep the part that has unmatched support by both sides.  Even though Frank Guinta wants to repeal part of the law, and keep part of the law, the Republicans in the House have not submitted any legislation to do that. They continue to waste our taxpayer dollars voting for a repeal that will never get passed the Senate or the President who signed the bill.

The ACA is working. It is saving the government money, including the $600 million in savings from Medicare alone.  The NH Department of Insurance just announced that over 20,000 people have signed up for healthcare who did not previously have any coverage.  So again the ACA is not perfect but it is working. We need to make it better not destroy it completely.  If Congressman Guinta wants to repeal it so bad, he should be the one to tell the 20,000+ people who got healthcare for the first time, that he is taking that away from them to ensure that millionaires and billionaires continue to pay less in taxes than average Americans.

Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association Endorse Maggie Hassan


DSC_0236Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan for Her Record of Supporting Public Safety in the Queen City

Fourth Public Safety Organization to Endorse Governor Hassan for Re-Election

Manchester—Praising her strong leadership and record of fighting for the priorities that help keep New Hampshire’s largest city safe, the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association endorsed Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Hassan’s strong leadership and proven record of protecting our communities make her the clear choice on public safety in this election,” said MPPA President Ken Chamberlain. “We are proud to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election and know that she will always work to bring DSC_0229together members of both parties to get things done to strengthen public safety and ensure that our law enforcement officials have the support we need to protect the people of Manchester.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to have earned the support of the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association again this year as we work to keep Manchester safe and solve problems the New Hampshire Way,” said Governor Hassan. “Maintaining the safety of our communities and citizens is the most important job of state government, and through our bipartisan budget, we’ve made critical investments in protecting our communities, without a sales or income tax. We maintained drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, restored the CHINS program, and through our bipartisan health care expansion plan, thousands of people will have access to substance and alcohol treatment coverage for the first time.”

“But my opponent is pushing a so-called ‘plan’ that’s straight out of the Bill O’Brien playbook and would blow a $90 million hole in our state budget, placing critical investments in public safety at risk. We have come too far to let my opponent take us backward, and together we’ll continue to keep New Hampshire safe and move our state in the right direction,” added Governor Hassan.

Through her bipartisan budget, Governor Hassan fought to protect critical investments in public safety – without a sales or income tax. The Governor restored the CHINS program, invested in drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, and launched Media Power Youth, a public-private initiative to increase media literacy and reduce and prevent youth violence.

The Governor also worked across party lines to strengthen community-based mental health services and pass a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that is providing coverage for mental health and substance use treatment to thousands of hard-working Granite Staters, strengthening the safety and well being of our communities.

The MPPA is the fourth public safety organization to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election, joining the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Police Association.

Marilinda Garcia Suggests Cutting Funding From The CDC Durning Ebola Crisis

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Garcia Says We Should Not Provide More Funds for CDC Efforts to Contain Infectious Diseases Like Ebola  

Concord, NH – When asked where she could cut funding in order to balance the budget at a recent candidates forum, Tea Party candidate Marilinda Garcia said we should cut more funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the agency currently helping lead the response to the Ebola virus outbreak.

“We’re very concerned by Rep. Garcia’s plans to cut funding for the CDC and halt ongoing efforts to contain and prevent the Ebola virus from spreading in the United States. We believe this is a grave public safety hazard, and this is just another example of Rep. Garcia’s extreme, Tea Party agenda getting in the way of doing what’s right for our Granite State families,” said Kuster campaign spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer.

Republicans in Congress have already slashed the CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH) budgets by $585 million and $446 million, respectively, over the past four years. This has a direct impact on the agencies’ ability to respond in a rapid and comprehensive way to public health crises.

Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified in a Congressional Committee hearing that these cuts have “in an acute and a chronic, insidious way eroded our ability to respond in the way that I and my colleagues would like to see us be able to respond to these emerging threats…particularly for responding on the dime to an emerging infectious disease threat.”

Congresswoman Kuster believes that while we must spend our tax dollars responsibly, we cannot expect our public health infrastructure to effectively protect us when we do not adequately fund these agencies, and that we should be doing more to proactively prevent the spreading of Ebola in the U.S.

New Hampshire Can’t Afford Scott Brown’s Energy Policies, Shaheen Releases New Web Ad

Image from NextGen Climate NH
Image from NextGen Climate NH

Image from NextGen Climate NH

Brown’s Energy Agenda: Billions in Subsidies for Big Oil Billionaires, Fewer Jobs and Higher Costs for New Hampshire

Manchester — With just weeks until the November election, the Shaheen campaign is releasing a new report that highlights how New Hampshire can’t afford Scott Brown’s energy agenda. Brown’s agenda would benefit big oil and gas, an industry that has funded his campaign while he voted to protect billions of dollars in tax breaks, but would result in higher costs for New Hampshire consumers and fewer jobs.

“Scott Brown’s energy agenda is wrong for New Hampshire. Brown’s policies would mean fewer jobs and higher costs for New Hampshire consumers while his Big Oil supporters continue to reap record profits supported by billion dollar subsidies that he has repeatedly voted to protect,” said Harrell Kirstein, Shaheen Campaign Communications Director.

Brown’s energy agenda includes:

  • Increasing natural gas exports, which will result in higher energy prices for consumers and employers.
  • Cuts to LIHEAP, the Low Income Heating Assistance Program, which allows tens of thousands of New Hampshire households to heat their homes.
  • Opposition to the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill that would have saved billions, created jobs, and lowered pollution.
  • Denying the existence of man-made climate change, even though New Hampshire is already seeing the consequences.
  • Supporting billions in tax breaks for Big Oil – the same industry who has given nearly half a million dollars to fund his campaigns.

“Brown’s agenda is just further proof that he is out for the big oil and gas companies at the expense of people across the state,” added Kirstein.

To read the Shaheen campaign’s report, click here 

Today, the Shaheen campaign is releasing a new ad highlighting how Scott Brown gave billions in special breaks to Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that send American jobs overseas, hurting people in New Hampshire. The ad follows a report the campaign released this morning that details how Scott Brown’s energy agenda would increase energy costs for New Hampshire consumers and cost American jobs.

“Scott Brown’s votes to protect the big oil and corporate interests that fund his campaigns and line his pockets are hurting people here in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen Campaign Communications Director Harrell Kirstein.  “Brown gives billions to Big Oil, Wall Street, and outsourcers while people in New Hampshire need help.”

In Massachusetts, Scott Brown voted to protect billions in special tax breaks for Big Oil companies, who have donated nearly a half million dollars to his campaigns and have spent $2.6 million supporting Brown’s run in New Hampshire.  Brown also worked to weaken Wall Street reforms and save the big banks $19 billion. He even voted for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and against bipartisan tax cuts for small businesses.

Since losing in Massachusetts, Brown collected more than a quarter million dollars as a board member of a company that outsourced jobs. Brown signed official documents endorsing the company’s outsourcing strategy. Those documents were dated just two days before Brown became a Senate candidate in New Hampshire.

“Is Scott Brown really for New Hampshire now?” asks the ad. “Scott Brown has changed his address but he is still working for the big guys, not New Hampshire.”

Jeanne Shaheen has always put families and businesses here in New Hampshire first. She led the fight to pass the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act, which cut taxes for small businesses, increased business’ access to credit, and helped New Hampshire companies export their products overseas. The bill has helped countless New Hampshire businesses expand and create new jobs but as a Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown voted against it.

UnionJobs.Com List of Open Communications Positions (10-16-14)

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AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
Development Manager, Digital Strategies Department  District of Columbia
Digital Strategies Fellow, Digital Strategies Department  District of Columbia
Strategic Campaigns Coordinator, Organizing Department  District of Columbia
Safety and Health Fellow, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department  District of Columbia
Corporate Research Analyst, Office of Investment  District of Columbia
Campaign Coordinator, Campaigns Department Ohio

(Council 3)
Database Analyst and IT Coordinator, Baltimore  Maryland

(American Federation of Teachers)
Communications Director, Local 400, PFT (Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers)  Pennsylvania
Human/Civil Rights Advocacy Director, Human Rights and Community Relations Department District of Columbia
Senior Associate/Writer, Communications Department District of Columbia

California Labor Federation

Communications Specialist  California

(California Nurses Association (CNA) / National Nurses United (NNU) AFL-CIO)
Web Editor, Oakland  California

(Center for Popular Democracy)
Fair Workweek Campaign Coordinator, New York City,  New York

(Florida Education Association)
Director of Information Technology, Tallahassee, Florida  (National Posting)

(Laborers International Union of North America)
Media Outreach Manager, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

(National Nurses United)
Video Specialist, Oakland  California
Educator – Immediate Opening, San Francisco Bay area  California
Communications Specialist, Oakland California

(National Treasury Employees Union)
Media Specialist (Posted: 9/24/2014) District of Columbia

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

(Project for International Accompaniment and Solidarity)
2014-2015 Fellow  Bogota, Colombia

(El Proyecto de Acompañamiento y Solidaridad Internacional)
Becario 2014-2015, (español) Bogota, Colombia

Public Citizen – Global Trade Watch

Communications Officer  District of Columbia
National Field Director  District of Columbia

(Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)
Video Specialist – Communications & Marketing Department, Los Angeles  California

(1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East)
Communications Specialist, Boston  Massachusetts
Web-Graphic Designer, Baltimore  Maryland

(Local 32BJ)
Communications Specialist: Mid-Atlantic Region, Philadelphia based Pennsylvania
Regional Communications Manager: New York  New York

(Local 284)
Communications Director, Minneapolis Minnesota

(Local 721)
Communications Specialist  California

(SEIU Healthcare 775NW)
Communications Specialist, Seattle  Washington

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

(United Federation of Teachers)
Digital Content Specialist, New York  New York

United NY

New Media Associate, Manhattan New York

Working America
(a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO)
Health Care Outreach Associates, Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Greensboro, NC; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Orange County, CA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC  (National Posting)

NH CD01: A Clear Choice For Granite Staters

Carol Shea Porter - Frank Guinta

Carol Shea Porter - Frank GuintaThis election, voters in New Hampshire’s in the First Congressional District once again have a choice between two candidates that we know very well: Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta.

The two candidates have faced each other in the same race for the last three election cycles.

Carol is a true fighter for the middle class: pushing for stronger labor laws, a higher minimum wage, and access to healthcare for all Americans.

Frank is a self proclaimed “Tea Partier” who opposes any increase in the minimum wage, wants to “reduce government regulations” that help protect our environment, and would take away a woman’s right to choose.

Carol has the endorsement of workers organizations like the NH AFL-CIO, the State Employees Association, The American Federation of Teachers -NH, and the National Education Association of New Hampshire. Carol has also been endorsed by Planned Parenthood for her opposition to the attacks on women’s rights, the Human Rights Campaign for protecting the rights of the LBGT community, and the Sierra Club for her work protecting the environment.

On the other hand, Frank has been endorsed by the Koch brothers funded Americans For Prosperity and the Association of Builders and Contractors. Frank and the ABC held up construction of the Manchester Jobs Corps building because they were opposed to a federal agreement that would have protected construction workers and ensured that they were paid a fair wage.

Carol has voted time and time against proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare – programs that Americans have paid in to, their entire working lives. Vote after vote, Carol has defended the promises of retirement security that Americans have relied on since 1935. Protecting Social Security is one of the cornerstones of Carol’s service in Congress, and that’s why she has been endorsed by the New Hampshire Alliance For Retired Americans.

Frank, on the other hand, supports Paul Ryan’s plan to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Carol has defended the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from threats to close it. She was also very vocal in her opposition to last October’s 16-day government shutdown.

There is no doubt that Frank would have voted with the extremists in Congress to shut our government down. And Frank has already promised he would join the faction that keeps forcing the House to waste resources voting on Obamacare (at least 60 times so far).

Once again, Granite Staters in the First District have a very clear choice between candidates.

  • If you want a fighter for the middle class who opposes corporate PAC money, vote for Carol Shea-Porter.
  • If you want someone in Washington who will vote for his corporate funders and against the middle class, then Frank Guinta fits the bill.

Myself, I will be voting to re-elect Congresswoman Shea-Porter.

AFT Announces Winners of 2014 Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism


WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers announced today the winners of its second annual Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism, a competition among AFT state and local affiliates to shine a light on innovative, inspiring and collaborative solutions to tough problems.

Two first-place prizes were awarded: Milwaukee Area Technical Federation, AFT Local 212, won for its solution to lagging graduation and course completion rates, while the other prize will be shared by the United University Professions and the New York State Public Employees Federation for their successful campaign to save Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., from privatization and to promote investment in the facility and actually expand healthcare in Brooklyn. The AFT’s Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism—which was created in partnership with the Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT Innovation Fund—comes with $25,000 for each of the two winners.

“These unions thought outside the box and worked with community partners to come up with innovative, and ultimately successful, solutions to seemingly intractable problems,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Solution-driven unionism is about fighting for ideas that help the people we serve and that help our communities thrive.”

AFT Local 212 and Milwaukee Area Technical College:
Working Together to Enhance District and Community Engagement

Milwaukee Area Technical College’s graduation rate had been under 50 percent, and its course completion rate at about 65 percent, when members of the Milwaukee Area Technical Federation, Local 212, developed a program to enhance student and teacher engagement in the learning process as a means to improve student completion. Among other successful solutions over the past several years, the program created more ways for students to engage with faculty and community. The Center for Engaged and Service Learning, for example, provides many opportunities for students to do service work in the community.

From 2008-2011, MATC had an increase of 378 graduates, to 2,394 students, and is on schedule to graduate 3,900 by the year 2020. The overall course completion rate (defined as the percent of students completing a course with a C or better) rose between 2009 and 2012, with the most significant improvement for courses in the 200-level transfer courses.

MATC President Vicki Martin praised union-management collaboration, noting the expansion and impact of engaged and service learning as a way to enhance student success. “Results show that this work is a shining example of how great things can be achieved when we work together for the common good of students and the community that we serve,” Martin said.

The Campaign to Save Downstate Medical Center

For more than two years, members of the United University Professions and the New York State Public Employees Federation worked to keep the State University of New York’s University Hospital at Downstate Medical Center from being privatized. University Hospital is the state-run teaching hospital connected to Downstate’s medical school and treats nearly 400,000 patients each year, regardless of patients’ ability to pay. Privatization threatened the healthcare safety net for an extremely poor and diverse population, along with the jobs of 3,000 people represented by the United University Professions.

UUP and PEF realized that the fight to solve the problem of healthcare in Brooklyn required a strong alliance with patients, medical students, parents, alumni, faith and business groups, and other unions and community allies. As a result, they created the Coalition of Faith, Labor and Community Leaders, which organized mass rallies, legislative meetings, community forums and a media campaign.

The unions also devised the “Brooklyn Hospitals Safety Net Plan,” which called for developing decentralized, comprehensive ambulatory care centers staffed by retrained personnel from the inpatient services of Downstate and 14 other Brooklyn hospitals. These outpatient centers would serve about a half-million underserved, underinsured or uninsured Brooklyn residents and are intended to be a national model for training medical residents in comprehensive ambulatory care. Funding could well be secured from a Medicaid waiver, and the unions will be helping to oversee the plan’s implementation.

Downstate Medical Center remains a public, full-service hospital for the residents of central Brooklyn. SUNY Downstate, including the medical school, remains viable. While approximately 65 positions were cut, the campaign was successful in preventing even greater job losses and maintaining access to healthcare for all who need it.

“UUP and PEF were instrumental in creating a community effort to ensure that those who have the least continue to have access to high-quality healthcare in their neighborhood. This was a monumental, but ultimately successful, effort by the unions and their indefatigable community partners,” Weingarten said.

This is the AFT’s second annual Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism. The 2013 winners were the New York Performance Standards Consortium—39 diverse New York state public high schools that received waivers from four of the state’s five standardized exams to emphasize project-based instruction—and AFT Connecticut, for its cost-saving Health Enhancement Program.

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