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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.

After Continued Violence, UFCW Calls for National Summit on Justice

Public Letter in New York Times Calls on Leaders to Convene, Media to Broadcast a National Conversation

UFCW_logo.svgWashington, D.C. – With acts of violence against police officers and African Americans shaking our nation, today the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union placed an open letter in the New York Times calling for a national and public summit on justice in America.

The UFCW letter was submitted before the deaths of three police officers in Baton RougeSunday morning. It pleads with our nation’s elected officials, civil rights leaders, police and justice officials to jointly address the division and violence we are witnessing. It also asks our nation’s broadcast and cable networks to air this discussion in prime time to help unite the country.

“Even before yesterday’s horrific killings, our hope was that this open letter would encourage Americans to come together and face what divides us,” said Marc Perrone, International President for the UFCW and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. “For the sake of all our children, we must believe in a better America. We cannot continue to allow hate to determine who we are and who we can be.”

Excerpts from the ad are below:

“As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.

“It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.

“To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.”

Read the full letter here.

###

UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW www.ufcw.org

Activist For Postal Legislation Seeks The APWU Presidency

Jerry Stidman

Jerry Stidman

Jerry Stidman a member of the American Postal Workers Union from Terre Haute, Indiana ramps up his campaign to gain their national presidency.  Stidman, a leading activist for a vibrant public post office with an all-union workforce will champion a positive message for change.

The APWU represent over 200,000 active and retired postal workers.  These postal employees work in the clerical, maintenance, and motor vehicle service areas of the post office.

Stidman said, “We will work to improve working conditions on our workroom floor.  Strive to improve wages and benefits for all of our members.  We will reach out to Congress to launch pro labor legislation.”

He has authored petitions that have been signed by hundreds of thousands of people from across the USA. Most of his petitions are about improving the US Postal Service and present a pro-labor message.  Stidman is also the founder of a popular series of social media pages titled “Save Our Post Office.”

“I believe there is an open window to change the public dialog about the post office.” Responded Stidman, “My administration will work to engage media in new and creative ways.”

To learn more about Jerry Stidman visit www.stidmanforpresident.org.

jerry Stidman banner

Ayotte Skips Town For Two Month Vacation Leaving Critical Work Undone

Kelly Ayotte (Gage Skidmore Flickr CC)

Kelly Ayotte (Gage Skidmore Flickr CC)

No Funding Given to Fighting Zika Virus As Congress Breaks for Summer

Ayotte chose to play politics over combating a global health threat

Concord, N.H. — Today, Kelly Ayotte is skipping out of Washington, D.C. for the longest Senate recess in 60 years, leaving mountains of critical work left undone.

Instead of addressing Zika and advancing a bipartisan compromise to protect American women from this public health emergency, providing emergency funding to combat the opioid crisis, giving the President’s Supreme Court nominee his due consideration, filling any of the other vacancies on the federal bench that are hampering the American judicial system, expanding criminal background checks to cover gun purchases online and at gun shows, passing the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, or any number of other critical priorities for hard-working families, Ayotte’s Republican Senate is instead taking a two month paid vacation.

Not only is Ayotte taking the longest Senate recess in decades, but her Senate as a whole is set to work the fewest days this year of any in 60 years. On top of that, Ayotte has skipped nearly half of her Homeland Security Committee hearings since going to Washington.

“Granite Staters don’t get 2 month paid vacations this summer, and neither should Kelly Ayotte–especially not while she leaves such critical work unfinished,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Kelly Ayotte should do her job and fight for the priorities that matter to the people of New Hampshire, not her party bosses and special interest backers.”

“Kelly Ayotte would rather not act on a global health crisis affecting millions of women and children than fund reproductive care for women,” said Kayla McCarthy Montgomery, Advocacy and Organizing Manager of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “Her failure to adequately address Zika funding mirrors her long history of voting against women’s health. Ayotte has voted six times to restrict patients from breast cancer screenings, birth control, and HIV testing at Planned Parenthood health centers. She has had a long history to putting politics over women’s health in New Hampshire, and with her failure to act on Zika, she’s affecting women across the globe. Meanwhile, thousands have been diagnosed in the United States alone, with the numbers growing daily. Kelly Ayotte and GOP leadership have failed to step up and stop this crisis.”

The public health community has spoken with one voice: family planning — including birth control, access to contraception, and sexual health education — must be part of combating Zika. Family planning is the primary strategy recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce Zika-related pregnancy complications.

  • The World Health Organization Director General has said, “the response now requires a unique and integrated strategy that places support for women and girls of child-bearing age at its core.”
  • The president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said plainly: “Immediate efforts to improve access to contraception and prevent pregnancy will help us to avoid the long-term effects associated with the Zika virus.”
  • ACOG continued: “The Zika virus outbreak is a stark reminder that birth control is essential preventive medicine, and is one of our most effective weapons in our war on Zika.  Congress should treat Zika like the emergency it is and swiftly enact a bill, free from tradeoffs and offsets.”
  • Peter Shin, MPH, a public health professor at George Washington University said: “When they’re taking money away from Planned Parenthood, they’re basically taking it away from young, high-risk women.”

 Once again Ayotte puts partisan politics of the people she swore to represent.

NH State Employees’ Association (SEIU Local 1984) Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

 The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors voted yesterday to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, based on the recommendation of the organization’s Political Education Committee (Poli-ed).

“The Poli-Ed committee voted unanimously in favor of Secretary Clinton’s endorsement earlier this week,” said Committee Chair John Hattan.  “The committee members agreed that Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, shares our priorities and values and is the right person for the job.”

“We will be fully supportive of Clinton,” said SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President, Rich Gulla. “Many of our members will be actively campaigning for her. This is an extremely important election as so much is at stake for middle class families.” 

“Our priorities of stopping economic inequality by making sure everyone who works hard receives a livable wage; creating not only new jobs, but good paying jobs with benefits; making higher education affordable for all; making sure that everyone has access to quality healthcare; and making sure that everyone can retire with dignity, are all shared by Hillary Clinton,” said Ken Roos, First VP of the labor organization. “That’s why we are going to bat for her.” 

The political endorsement policy of the 10,000-member organization requires the Poli-ed to vet and vote on endorsements in national, state, and local elections. Both Clinton and Sanders met with the committee earlier this year. The committee’s recommendations then go to the Board of Directors for final approval.  The organization does not base its endorsements on political party affiliation. It endorses candidates who support working people – the fiber of our nation.

The organization had supported Bernie Sanders as their candidate of choice in the NH primary.  The NH union now joins the over two million other working men and women represented by SEIU across the nation in their support of Hillary Clinton for President.

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Endorse Governor Maggie Hassan for U.S. Senate

“The election this November will determine if America has a Congress willing to do its job and make the decisions that will keep us safe and help people who work for a living in this great country, or continue to be a road block to getting things done,”
said Harold Schaitberger, General President of the IAFF. 

NORTH HAMPTON – Praising her record of working across party lines to help keep New Hampshire communities safe, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire today endorsed Governor Maggie Hassan for United States Senate. The PFFNH represents more than 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics. 

“The election this November will determine if America has a Congress willing to do its job and make the decisions that will keep us safe and help people who work for a living in this great country, or continue to be a road block to getting things done,” said Harold Schaitberger, General President of the IAFF. “The fire fighters and paramedics of the Granite State are confident that Maggie Hassan will continue to get things done that make a difference for all Americans — protecting the rights of workers, making our jobs and country safer, and securing pensions that have been earned over a lifetime of work.”

“Firefighters do their job each and every day, just as Governor Hassan continues to do her job,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. “Over her years serving in New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan time and again has brought people together and put New Hampshire families first. We need Maggie in the U.S. Senate so she can continue growing the middle class and a smarter economy for New Hampshire’s future. We look forward to helping Maggie take her bipartisan approach to Washington, D.C. on behalf of working families.” 

“I am proud to once again have the support of New Hampshire’s fire fighters as we continue working to together to keep our communities healthy and safe,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Every day, too many of our fire fighters see the horrible impact that the heroin and opioid crisis is having on our communities, and I have been working with those on the front lines to ensure that they have the tools and resources they need to stem – and ultimately reverse – the tide of this horrible epidemic. In the Senate, I will keep working with members of both parties to help end this epidemic, support our fire fighters and public safety officials and keep our communities safe.”

As Governor, Maggie Hassan has worked to strengthen the safety of New Hampshire’s communities and ensure that fire fighters, paramedics and other safety officials have the support they need and deserve. She put forward a comprehensive plan to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic and has signed into law many of the measures she proposed to strengthen the state’s response and help save lives – including increasing access to Narcan, cracking down on fentanyl, providing millions of dollars in additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery programs, expanding drug courts and supporting effective law enforcement efforts such as Granite Hammer. She has also brought members of both parties together to make critical investments in school safety improvements, resources for fire fighters and safety officials and other priorities to keep our communities safe through two bipartisan balanced budgets. 

Maggie Hassan will take her bipartisan approach and commitment to problem-solving to the United States Senate to secure emergency funding for the heroin and opioid epidemic and continue working to support our public safety officials.

Executive Council Approves Blood Testing In Response To Contaminated Water

Water Glass DrinkStatement from Governor Hassan on Executive Council Approval of PFC Blood Testing Contract

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement on a bipartisan vote by the Executive Council to approve contracts for the Department of Health and Human Services blood testing program in response to water contaminated by perfluorochemicals (PFCs) at the Pease International Tradeport and in municipalities in southern New Hampshire: 

“The quality and safety of drinking water is critical to public health and safety, and those who have been exposed to these emerging contaminants in their water understandably have many concerns about their own health and the health of their children. A blood testing program is an important part of a comprehensive response to contaminated water, which also includes providing bottled water as appropriate, working on site remediation and long-term water treatment solutions, evaluating the health risks associated with these emerging contaminants and communicating with the medical community. I am grateful that the Executive Council has approved this important contract so that we can begin this new blood testing program, and I will continue pushing state agencies, the EPA and other federal partners to respond aggressively to contaminated water.”

Those interested in registering should visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/pfcs/index.htm for information on registering for PFC blood testing. Residents with questions about the PFC blood testing program are encouraged to call the DHHS Public Inquiry Line at 603-271-9461.

Rep. Peter DeFazio Introduces Legislation to Curb Speculative Wall Street Trading and Bolster Main Street

Rep. Peter DeFazio

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today introduced legislation that would levy a 0.03 percent tax on transactions of stocks, bonds and derivatives to discourage the same speculative financial trading that led to the 2008 Wall Street collapse and 2010 ‘Flash Crash’.  Revenue could be directed to programs that strengthen Main Street American families. 

The Putting Main Street FIRST Act: Finishing Irresponsible Reckless Speculative Trading would provide billions of dollars in revenue each year by taxing three basis points, or three pennies for every hundred dollars, on most financial trading including stocks, bonds, and other transactions.  According to the Joint Committee for Taxation, the tax would raise $417 billion over ten years, which could be used to fund national priorities such as free higher education or job-creating infrastructure repair.

The legislation is supported by the AFL-CIO, Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the Communications Workers of America, and Public Citizen. 

“Thanks to the reckless greed of Wall Street over the past few decades, the American economy is a grossly unbalanced playing field,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “The only way we can level it is if we rein in reckless speculative financial trading and curb near-instantaneous high-volume trades that create instability in the stock market and our national economy. These financial practices have no intrinsic value, and exist to make a quick buck for already-wealthy speculators. If we want to give middle-class families a fair shot at a strong economy that works for all Americans, we need to put Main Street FIRST.”

“The ‘Putting Main Street First Act’ will help encourage long-term investing, fund badly needed public investment and make our tax code fairer for working people,” said AFL-CIO Director of Policy Damon Silvers.

“Given the massive costs of the financial crisis and its devastating impact on families across the country — and on the wealth of minority communities in particular — it is long past time for Wall Street to pay its fair share in taxes, said Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform. “We applaud Representative DeFazio’s financial transaction tax proposal; a Wall Street speculation tax would not only help move our financial markets away from dangerous high-frequency trading, but also raise significant revenue to address unmet needs.”

“This tax is a great way to raise money for the federal government by making the financial sector more efficient,” said Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “The cost of the tax will be fully covered by the savings from reduced trading. This means that the ordinary investor will be left unharmed by this tax. The only people who feel the impact will be the short-term traders and the financial intermediaries.”

“Our Take on Wall Street coalition is determined to end to the finance industry’s practice not paying its fair share of taxes and sticking working families with the bill. We’re proud to join with Congressman DeFazio in putting working families and Main Street first, by setting a small fee on the billions of dollars of Wall Street trade that happen every day. Not only would this raise more than $400 billion to help families and communities, it would put the brakes on risky Wall Street behavior that threatens our economy,” said CWA President Chris Shelton.

“This bill is good policy and good precedent,” said Lisa Gilbert, Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division. “Not only would taxing Wall Street trades grow revenue, it would stop the sorts of high-speed trading that adds volatility to our markets and increases costs for everyday investors and the public. Reining in Wall Street by stopping dangerous speculation is the right thing to do, and Public Citizen applauds Representative DeFazio and other champions for their support of this critical reform.”

Unions Representing Healthcare Workers Petition for Workplace Safety

US_Dept_of_LaborWASHINGTON— Today, a coalition of unions—including the AFL-CIO; American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Government Employees; Communications Workers of America; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Service Employees International Union; and the United Steelworkers—petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor to take a significant step toward safety by promulgating a comprehensive workplace violence prevention standard to protect all workers in healthcare and social service settings. Because we represent workers in the healthcare and social assistance sectors, we all know there is an immediate need to address the preventable and often tragic workplace-related assaults and associated injuries that occur too often in these settings.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that between 2005 and 2014, the rates of injuries that resulted in lost time for private sector healthcare and social assistance facilities increased by 64 percent and rates for private sector hospitals increased by 110 percent. And 52 percent of all the incidents of workplace violence reported to the BLS in 2014 came from the healthcare and social assistance workforce. These numbers highlight the urgent nature of having comprehensive standards for workplace violence prevention.

“Workers should never face violence in the workplace, but for healthcare workers it’s a too-common reality. We are calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create national employment standards so that workers have meaningful protections on the job. Our union and our rank-and-file activists have worked tirelessly for months raising these issues and now—in collaboration with unions that represent healthcare workers, including National Nurses United—to craft this proposal. We hope to see it enacted without delay,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

“Workplace violence is not part of the job. Our healthcare workers on the frontline of patient care in numerous hospitals and other settings need a strong federal OSHA standard to protect them from workplace violence and assaults,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

“This rule is urgently needed to stop the appalling spiral of injuries and fatalities in healthcare and social services, and to protect our members, and all workers,” said Teamsters General President James. P. Hoffa.

“The American Federation of Government Employees represents more than 100,000 nurses, doctors and frontline healthcare providers across government. Their safety, and the safety of all healthcare workers, is critically important. We strongly urge the Department of Labor to adopt a national standard for reducing workplace violence across the healthcare system and ensuring safe working conditions for all healthcare providers.” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.

“The intensification of violence against healthcare workers is alarming because it is preventable,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. “Our union is proud to stand in solidarity calling for an enforceable OSHA standard to prevent workplace violence and protect all healthcare workers as they care for their patients.”

“Our members deserve to go to work every day and be safe. Our union strongly advocates OSHA develop a comprehensive workplace violence standard for healthcare and social assistance workers. Such a standard would provide needed protections from workplace violence and lead to improved working conditions for millions of U.S. workers,” said Chris Shelton, president, Communications Workers of America.

UPDATED: Ted Gatsas Releases His New Education Plan Expecting People To Ignore Manchester’s Education Problems

The Manchester School District is underfunded and overcrowded but Ted Gatsas is praising it in his candidacy for Governor

Today, Ted Gatsas, current Mayor of Manchester and candidate for Governor of New Hampshire, released his “Comprehensive Plan for Education in NH.” Education is always a crucial part of any campaign for Governor. Gatsas’ plan focuses on  “choice” and “funding.”

Ted GatsasLike many Republicans, Gatsas is pushing more school voucher programs to allow tax dollars to be used to pay for private schools giving parents a “choice” in their child’s education. At the same time he is talking about the unbalanced funding problems plaguing school districts throughout the state.

The irony is the two are directly connected and conflict each other. By taking taxpayer money away from public schools this further reduces the amount of money available to public schools.

Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern, was quick to criticize Gatsas’ new plan.

“Ted Gatsas’ education proposals threaten to cut funds for our public schools, stifle innovation and invite dysfunction and controversy — just like his failed record as Mayor has resulted in deep budget cuts to Manchester schools, increased class sizes, and prompted surrounding communities to withdraw from the School District,” said Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern. “As Governor, I will work to keep New Hampshire moving forward by strengthening our schools, our workforce and our economy.”

“Mayor Gatsas’s legacy of deep cuts to public education has led to layoffs and increased class sizes—which, in turn, have meant higher property taxes for city residents as surrounding communities have left the Manchester school system. Our state can do better than that, and we must,” said Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor. “As Governor, I’ll work with mayors and local officials to deliver a world-class education to every New Hampshire student, beginning in preschool and culminating at graduation with career-ready skills relevant to our innovation economy.”

 Van Ostern and Connolly was not the only one to blast Gatsas on his double speak about supporting eduction.  Former Alderman, school board member and mother of children in Manchester public schools Joyce Craig, spoke out against Gatsas’ new plan. 

“If Ted Gatsas’ new ‘education policy’ looks anything like his actual record on education, we can expect proposals that result in cuts, layoffs and struggling schools. Gatsas’ tenure as mayor and chairman of the school board have led to a loss of over $10M of tuition revenue from Auburn, Candia and Hooksett, large class sizes, and fewer course offerings.  While some good things are happening in Manchester public schools, this loss of tuition revenue has resulted in an increase in taxes for Manchester property owners.  If the solution is simple, why hasn’t Mayor Gatsas worked with state and local officials to improve education for all students in Manchester? Ted Gatsas should get it done in Manchester before he starts proposing statewide programs.”

Over the past few years, the city of Manchester has been plagued with funding issues and overcrowding.  In 2012, NHPR reported that some classrooms had more than 40 students, ten more than allowed by the teacher’s contract allowed at the time.  The overcrowding forced the towns of Hookset and Candia to leave the Manchester School District resulting in a $300,000 loss in revenue to the school district.

“We had students sitting on the floor with a clipboard,” Jim O’Connell, the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization at Hillside Middle School told the New York Times. “It’s one degree separated from a 1700s classroom with chalk and a slate.”

The Manchester schools are grossly underfunded. “The district’s growth has not kept up with its tax revenues, and Manchester now has some of the state’s lowest per-pupil spending, at $10,283.77 per student (the state average is $13,159.15)” wrote the NY Times.

Would the Gatsas plan to overturn the Claremont Decision that provided a foundation for all public school funding in New Hampshire, help all the schools in the state? How will his plan to take taxpayer money and give it to charter schools or religious institutions help the students who remain in the public school system? Do we want the problems plaguing the Manchester School District to become the problems of all school districts in NH?

 

Post updated to include statement from Mark Connolly

VA Employees Advocate Says Trump ‘Dead Wrong’ on Privatizing the VA

AFGE President: Trump plan would betray veterans and break country’s promise to military

VA AFGE ProtestsWASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s plan to shut down the VA health care system and hand veterans a voucher to use only for-profit health care is an outrageous betrayal of our nation’s promise to care for the men and women who have borne the battle, the head of the union representing more than 230,000 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs said today.

“Donald Trump wants to throw veterans to the wolves,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Private health care for veterans would be an expensive disaster, and no one should be fooled into believing otherwise.

“The VA system provides the best possible health care to veterans at the lowest possible cost. Veterans know this and that’s why they overwhelmingly want to keep the VA health care they have,” Cox said. “Trump’s claims that privatization would improve care and cut costs are dead wrong. He is writing a blank check to huge hospital corporations to profit off the suffering of veterans.”

All independent assessments agree that the VA’s health care is best for veterans on both cost and quality. Veterans themselves overwhelmingly want their health care to come from the federal government, not private hospitals. Every single Veterans Service Organization outside the Koch Brothers-backed sham group is opposed to privatizing the VA.

“Donald Trump needs to learn that VA health care is a serious issue, not something he can embrace one day and dismantle the next. Just last fall he opposed VA privatization, today he supports it on a whim. One has to wonder if he has any idea of the consequences of depriving veterans of the integrated care system on which they rely or any idea of the enormity of the loss to the nation’s health care education system that closing the VA would entail. The irresponsibility of supporting the dismantling of the VA system is staggering,” Cox said.

Cox, who cared for veterans as a VA psychiatric nurse for 20 years, says the VA is working hard to resolve the staffing shortages and wait times that emerged in 2014, hiring 14,000 health care workers and overhauling its patient scheduling system. In the past two years, 97 percent of appointments in the VA were completed within 30 days, with an average wait time of 6.5 days to see a primary care doctor – compared to 19.5 days on average for non-VA patients in the private sector.

“We need to continue investing in the VA, not sell it off for parts,” Cox said. “Veterans who fought to defend our freedoms overseas shouldn’t have to come home and fight with for-profit health care corporations for the care they earned.”

If Trump were serious about caring for veterans, he would invest in the only health care system that is tailored to veterans, that is better than all others, and is working every day to become even stronger, Cox said.

“The VA is not just a health care system, but a community that unites veterans across all wars, ages, and backgrounds. This community heals veterans in ways no private hospital can,” he said. “Health care corporations need to look elsewhere for customers. They should not profit off the wounds of war.” 

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