• Advertisement

About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

Bass, Boehner Share Stage In New Hampshire, Share Agenda In Washington

CONCORD, N.H. – As Congressional candidate Annie Kuster meets with seniors to discuss her commitment to protecting and strengthening Medicare during her district-wide “Standing Up For Seniors” tour, Congressman Bass will be behind closed doors at a private fundraiser with Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Speaker Boehner, who presides over a historically dysfunctional Congress that has spent two years failing middle class families, has been an outspoken supporter of the Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it, and that Congressman Bass has consistently supported.

“It’s fitting that Congressman Bass and Speaker Boehner are sharing a stage in New Hampshire since they share an agenda in Washington,” said Annie Kuster. “Bass and Boehner both support a reckless plan that would end Medicare as we know it, hurting New Hampshire seniors, while giving millionaires new tax breaks they don’t need and America simply can’t afford.”

“After closed-door fundraisers with Paul Ryan and Speaker Boehner, it’s obvious that Republican leadership views Congressman Bass as a reliable vote and key ally in their effort to turn Medicare into a voucher program that would cost New Hampshire seniors an additional $6,400 out of pocket each year.”

This morning, Kuster launched a “Standing Up For Seniors” tour that will take her across the Second District to meet with Granite State seniors and discuss her commitment to protecting and strengthening Medicare and Social Security. She kicks off the tour today with events in Salem and Nashua.

NHLN Election Coverage: Ann Kuster to Launch “Standing Up For Seniors” Tour

Kuster to Launch District-Wide “Standing Up for Seniors” Tour

Events in Nashua, Salem, Concord, and Peterborough 

CONCORD, N.H. – Congressional candidate Annie Kuster will meet with seniors to discuss her commitment to protecting Medicare and Social Security during a district-wide “Standing Up For Seniors” tour beginning Monday, October 8th.

Throughout the week, Kuster will meet with seniors in Nashua, Salem, Concord, and Peterborough.

“Standing up for seniors means standing against those in both parties who would cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits our seniors have earned through lifetimes of hard work,” said Kuster.

“At a time when some in Washington, including my opponent Congressman Bass, have supported efforts to end Medicare as we know it, we need leaders who are committed to protecting the benefits our seniors have earned. I’m looking forward to meeting with seniors across the district to hear their stories, listen to their concerns, and talk about my plan to protect and strengthen the vital programs they count on.”

Kuster has made protecting Medicare and Social Security key issues in her campaign. Her commitment to preserving both programs earned her endorsements from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) and the Alliance for Retired Americans.

With her mother, former New Hampshire State Senator Susan McLane, Kuster wrote a book on Alzheimer’s entitled “The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer’s With Love and Laughter.” Following her mother’s death in 2005, Kuster and her father, former Concord Mayor Malcolm McLane, toured senior centers and retirement communities around the state to discuss aging and Alzheimer’s issues with caregivers and health care providers.

Kuster Raises Over $720,000 In Third Quarter

CONCORD, N.H. – Congressional candidate Annie Kuster again showed growing momentum with the announcement that she raised over $720,000 in the third quarter of this year. The strong fundraising numbers demonstrate that Kuster will have the resources to get her message of changing Congress to voters across the district.

“I am grateful to the thousands of Granite Staters who have given their time and resources to this campaign. From day one, this has been a grassroots effort powered by ordinary people from all across New Hampshire who know that I will be a tireless advocate for hardworking middle class families,” said Kuster.

Kuster received donations from 15,000 individuals between July 1 and September 30, and over 26,000 individual donors during the course of the campaign. During the third quarter, 82% of funds raised were from individuals, with an average contribution of $38.

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on September Jobs Report

 

From WIKIPediaThis morning’s jobs report confirms that the economy is finally beginning to build some momentum, as we work to dig out of the devastatingly deep hole that President Obama inherited from George W. Bush and a generation of flawed policies.  Now we need the President and Congress to build on this momentum and keep their focus on job creation, including by passing the American Jobs Act.

Thanks to the policies of President Obama and Vice President Biden, we have avoided what could have been the Second Great Depression. Instead, we have seen two and a half years of private sector job growth, culminating in more than 5 million new private sector jobs since early 2010. With the upward revision to July and August job figures, significant growth in household employment, and some wage growth, the September jobs report provides some grounds for optimism.

At 7.8%, unemployment remains far too high, but for the first time since 2009, it is below 8.0%. The monthly unemployment rates for Latinos and African-Americans ticked down in September, but remain unacceptably high, at 9.9%% for Latinos and 13.4% for African-Americans. Teen unemployment fell slightly to 23.7%, still too high.

President Obama and Vice President Biden have rightly pushed the American Jobs Act, an important measure that would create millions of new jobs and offer needed impetus to an economy that is still weak, years after the Bush crash.

A durable recovery and long-term shared prosperity require workers empowered to bargain collectively so that they can benefit from their increased productivity.

Wednesday’s debate underscored that on November 6th, we face a clear choice about the future of our country. The austerity and deep spending cuts proposed by Governor Romney will gut essential services and leave the most vulnerable worse off – all to pay for tax cuts for the richest 2%. In contrast, President Obama has laid out a concrete plan for shared prosperity policies based on investing in America and restoring our democracy. The labor movement is committed to the policies of ‘Prosperity Economics’ — reforms that will unite and strengthen America by creating jobs, promoting economic security and rebuilding our democracy.

Before Romney Fired Big Bird, NH House Speaker Bill O’Brien Tried to Banish Him

Matt Sayles/AP/File

Extreme NH House Leadership voted to abolish funding for public television

CONCORD, NH – More than a year before GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney publicly vowed to fire Big Bird and his friendly Sesame Street crew,  the New Hampshire House voted to abolish state funding for public television in New Hampshire.

On February 15, 2011 the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to pass HB 113, prohibiting the use of state funds for New Hampshire public television, by a margin of 263-102.1 The State Senate later tabled the bill.

Click here to see which legislators voted to abolish state funding for Big Bird, who appears on NHPTV six days a week.2 For more legislator vote records, visit the GSP State House Report Card of more than 200 roll call votes organized by issue and legislator, online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

IBEW Union Members Ratify Contract at NH Electric Co-op and Avoid Strike

Plymouth, NH – Union members at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative have ratified a new 5 1/2- year contract agreement that provides wage increases and preserves a defined benefit pension plan for current and new employees. Today’s ratification vote prevents a looming strike at the utility that serves some 83,000 homes and business across 115 towns and cities.

This morning’s vote at NHEC’s Plymouth headquarters followed a week’s contract extension requested by a federal mediator. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #1837 represents approximately 85 employees at the company. These dedicated men and women have received near universal praise for their outstanding work, particularly following storm-related power outages.

“While I’m pleased that we were able to reach agreement with the Co-op on a new contract, I’m disappointed that the Company chose to paint our union members as greedy and uncaring about their customers,” IBEW Business Manager Dick Rogers said. “They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Earlier this week, NHEC President/CEO Fred Anderson and company spokesman Seth Wheeler issued deliberately misleading statements to media outlets about concessions made by employees in 2009. While it is true that union members weren’t forced to accept the same pension cuts as NHEC’s non-union employees, IBEW voluntarily agreed to major concessions at that time, accepting 20 unpaid furlough days and significant layoffs. The company’s willful deception left IBEW members hurt and angry in the days leading up to today’s vote.

Kimberlyn Davis, the wife of Lineworker Don Davis put the feelings of many NHEC families and customers into words when she wrote her letter to the Laconia Citizen newspaper:

“When everyone else is told to “stay inside” and “be prepared” by the weather man, it is our husbands and fathers who put on their boots and the warmest clothes they have and head out into the middle of the night to go walk the power lines that run through the woods to find the problem, cut down trees that are dangerously laying on wire which could recoil as soon as the cut is made, climb utility poles in severe weather conditions as all power lines don’t just run along the roadside and bucket trucks can’t go everywhere. “They do all of this with ice coating the trees which causes the potential for a limb to snap off or a tree to tip over due to the weight of the ice.

“That is just one scenario but those are the fears that we wives and families face every time our loved ones walk out that door in the name of NHEC.”

“Now that I’ve given you that scenario think about every holiday, every family event, any vacation planned, or just having a relaxing weekend at home. There is no such thing for these guys.”

“I know this has been a difficult time for IBEW members at NHEC and I’m glad we can put this chapter behind us,” IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan said. “They now can continue their excellent service to NHEC customers and their communities.”

“On behalf of all our IBEW members, we want to thank the Union Negotiating Team for all their hard work in nearly 20 bargaining sessions going all the way back to April,” Rogers said. “Their efforts are greatly appreciated,” Ryan added.

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is a member-owned and controlled distributor of electricity where approximately 85 members of IBEW Local 1837 are employed helping deliver electricity to a wide swath of New Hampshire. At the Co-op, IBEW Local 1837 represents employees including District Representatives, Working Foremen, Lineworkers, Operations  Coordinators, Line Design Technicians, Auto Mechanics, System Electricians, Meter Technicians, Warehouse Workers and other Technicians.

Report Shows High Cost of a Defined Contribution Plan for New Hampshire Taxpayers

New Data Highlights the Benefits of the Current Public Employee Defined Benefit Plan for New Hampshire’s Economy

New Hampshire – A new actuarial report commissioned by Speaker O’Brien’s own study committee on Defined Contribution plans, demonstrates how catastrophic this idea would be for New Hampshire taxpayers.  The number one key finding of the Segal firm’s study is that total pension funding costs will rise if a DC plan is implemented.

Speaker O’Brien asked for this study because he did not like the information presented by the Retirement System’s own actuarial firm Gabriel Roeder & Smith (GRS).  Unfortunately for the Speaker, Segal stated they agree with GRS “that the proposed DC plan is more expensive than the DB plan.”

“It is disturbing the way that Speaker O’Brien has tried to twist information about the New Hampshire Retirement System in order to mislead New Hampshire voters,” said SEIU President Diana Lacey,  “The Republican legislature can’t escape the simple fact that their Defined Contribution plan is vastly more expensive and would increase the unfunded liability.”

“The Legislature already downshifted over $60 million dollars to local communities with last year’s pension legislation,” said AFT President Laura Hainey.  “Now, Speaker O’Brien wants to increase the burden even more on cities, towns, school districts, and ultimately local property taxpayers.”

There is also a new study on the economic impact the Retirement System has on New Hampshire’s economy.  The National Institute on Retirement Security found that pension expenditures by retirees support over 6,000 jobs and result in over $800 million in economic activity in our state.

“Not only is a Defined Contribution plan bad policy for New Hampshire taxpayers, it would also be a tremendous blow to our economy and small business, “said NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray.  “Speaker O’Brien wants to put New Hampshire small business jobs at risk just to score cheap political points.  Our state frankly deserves better.”

New Findings On NH Retirement System Say: Changes Will Increase Costs

Do you remember SB 229? Let me refresh your memory from April 6th 2012.  AFT- NH wrote

The Senate passed and sent over to the House SB229 -FN : (2nd New Title) establishing a commission to make recommendations on whether the New Hampshire Retirement System should be replaced with a defined contribution plan for all new hires and to study the impact such change would have on the retirement system. The title of this bill is clear and AFT-NH and the NHRSC support the Senate position that this issue be studied further and all stakeholders be brought to the table before any additional action is taken on a Defined Contribution Plan.

In SB229 the legislature would create a Defined Contribution (DC, 401K style) plan for all new employees after Nov 1, 2013. The committee was created and they hired The Segal Company to consult on the changes proposed under SB229.  The results were probably not what the NH House leadership wanted to hear.

First the confirmed what we have been saying all along.  A defined contribution will cost more money than a defined benefit plan.

“Total pension funding costs will rise as the State implements the DC plan for new hires.”

The two actuarial studies, one of them commissioned by Speaker O’Brien, have now demonstrated the basic fact that the proposed Defined Contribution plan is more expensive for the state then the current Defined Benefit plan.  Segal confirmed that the minimum cost for the state to implement a DC plan, with lower benefits than a DB plan, is $237 million.

The Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company (GRS) study that stated

“In all areas, over time, transition to the proposed Defined Contribution plan will be more expensive for the employees and employers than maintaining the current Defined Benefit plan

I am sure this is not what Rep Neal Kurk wanted to hear.

The Segal report for Speaker O’Brien also states the proposed legislation results in “cost shifting to future generations”.  The impact of opening a Defined Contribution plan would have devastating consequences for the Retirement Systems Unfunded Liability.  Gabriel, Roeder & Smith (GRS) conducted the initial review of the Defined Contribution legislation, and found that there would be an additional $1.2 billion increase in the Unfunded Liability associated with closing the Defined Benefit plan.

I am also sure there will be much more about these results from other public service unions.  When we know more, you will know more.

NHLN Election Coverage: At Debate, Ovide Lamontagne Called Out on His Extreme Medicare Plan

Lamontagne Ducks Question about His Support for Turning Control of Medicare over to Tea Party Legislature

HENNIKER – During a debate today at New England College, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne once again tried to duck from his extreme plan to block grant Medicare and turn over control to state legislature, saying that it was a “federal issue.” However, a debate panelist noted that Ovide’s own website says he would do just that. Ovide did not give a direct response, once again trying to mislead New Hampshire seniors about his true plans for their health care.

 

As the Nashua Telegraph wrote, “Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne Thursday tried to distance himself from his own support for the state to eventually manage Medicare coverage for seniors.” (http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/statenewengland/977934-469/lamontagne-tries-to-distance-himself-from-support.html)

 

“Ovide is desperate to hide his extreme ideas to dismantle Medicare from Granite State seniors,” said Matt Burgess, Maggie Hassan’s campaign manager. “His plan to turn Medicare into a block grant would mean the Tea Party legislature would control the program, putting our seniors’ health at risk. Ovide has also supported Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, costing seniors $6,400 more a year and leaving them at the mercy of insurance companies. While Maggie Hassan has the right priorities, believing Medicare should be protected and strengthened, Ovide’s extreme, out-of-touch policies would hurt New Hampshire seniors and take our state backwards.”

 

Ovide Lamontagne has regularly advocated for policies that dismantle the Medicare system.  Ovide voiced early support for Paul Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, ending the system as we know it.[i]  In February of this year, Ovide wrote in an article for the ‘Union Leader’ saying he would seek a block grant for Medicare.  His op-ed is available on his website.[ii]  A block grant for Medicare would mean that New Hampshire would opt-out of the existing Medicare program, giving control of the program to the state legislature to create its own plan, forcing New Hampshire seniors to abandon their current Medicare coverage and join the as-yet-undefined state plan.  The NH State Committee on Aging has called the plan a “potential disaster.”[iii]

 

Maggie Hassan disagrees with Ovide’s extreme plan to opt-out of Medicare.  Instead, Hassan firmly believes that we should preserve and protect the existing Medicare program. As governor, Hassan promises to veto any effort by the state legislature to seek a block grant for Medicare.

 

[i] Supports Paul Ryan’s voucher program to end Medicare as we know it [NH Farm Bureau, 8/2010]
[ii] Ovide will seek a block grant for Medicare [Union Leader, 2/10/2012, available at Ovide2012.com]
[iii] ‘For seniors, a potential disaster’ [Concord Monitor, 3/24/2012]

CWA For American Airlines Will Finally Get To Vote

The Communications Workers of America commends the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. For passenger service agents at American Airlines, who have been fighting for a union voice for 15 years, this is extremely good news.

Today’s unanimous decision dismisses claims by American Airlines that have blocked the democratic election rights of nearly 10,000 passenger service agents for far too long.

The appeals court found that the lower court “erred in exercising jurisdiction.” Now, the National Mediation Board can go forward with the election process that had been wrongly denied American Airlines passenger service agents since they filed for union representation in December 2011. Those employees finally will have the opportunity to exercise their legal right to vote on union representation.

The same American Airlines executives who took the airline into bankruptcy with $4 billion in the bank, which now has grown to $ 8 billion, also spent millions trying to stop workers from exercising their democratic rights.

Passenger service agents look forward to the NMB setting a new election date as soon as possible.

“This was a big step towards being able to negotiate instead of having them dictate terms to us,” said Janet Elston, a veteran of 28 years as an American Airlines gate agent based at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. “It’s been grueling, it’s not easy, but it will be worth it once we have an election.”

Ted Tezino, who has worked for 11 years at American Airlines’ Southern Reservation Office, noted the bankruptcy has made their situation as employees clear;

“The company is not on our side, and it’s time to stand up for ourselves,” Tezino said.

This is a great step forward for the workers at American Airlines, across the country.  Workers will not get the chance to have a voice in their workplace and work towards bettering the lives the people who work so hard to make American Airlines run.

 

Good News For The Middle Class In NH Congressional Races

Today the University of New Hampshire Survey Center released their most recent Granite State Poll on the congressional candidates.  For months we have been saying how close these races are going to be.

In NH-02 this could not be more true.  The latest poll shows Annie Kuster up by only two points (36% to 34%).  Annie is running a strong campaign and her hard work is continuing to show.  As in every race the undecided voters are the most important part.  People who align with a party tend to vote for their party the majority of the time, and this poll will confirm that.  The big thing to notice is that Charlie Bass is losing the battle over the undecided voters. With 28% still undecided this will be the difference in this election.

Screen Shot of the Granite State Poll

“When undecided voters are asked which candidate they are leaning toward, Kuster gets the support of 42% of likely voters, Bass  gets 41%, 2% prefer some other candidate, and 16% remain undecided.  Bass had led by 5 percentage points in August.”

This sudden change in Congressman Bass’s support could be in part to his favorability rating.

“Currently, 35% of 2nd CD voters have a favorable opinion of Bass, 43% have an unfavorable (opinion) of him…”

In the NH-01 there is a much different story.  Carol Shea-Porter is crushing Congressman Guinta in this poll.

“Shea-Porter is favored by 46% of likely voters, Guinta by 35%, and 18% are undecided..”

Screen Shot of the Granite State Poll

This is vastly different from the last Granite State Poll of Congressional Candidates in August. Since August Congressman Guinta has lost eight full points. Carol Shea-Porter is heading into October with a huge majority in the polls. I firmly believe this is due to the Congressman’s favorability rating.

“38% of 1st District likely voters have a favorable opinion of Guinta, 39% have an unfavorable opinion of him…”

This is the second time is his two year term that he has had a higher unfavorable opinion. The same thing happened in July of 2011. That was when the Federal Government almost shut down over the debt ceiling not being raised.

Our choice this election has been clear.  Vote for those who will stand up for the middle class or those who want to continue the race to the bottom.  I am glad to see that New Hampshire voters are also beginning to notice as well.

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

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

    Join 12,447 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement