• Advertisement

About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News

Remembering The Real Meaning Of Thanksgiving, Helping Others

Thanksgiving_The-First-Thanksgiving_cph.3g04961-EWe all know the mythology of Thanksgiving. A large group of people fled their homeland and landed in Massachusetts where local natives welcomed them. The natives and the Pilgrims made a bountiful feast and everyone was grateful.

This year as we celebrate Thanksgiving I feel we forgot what the holiday is really about, helping others in need.

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world and yet nearly 50% of our population is living in poverty. There is absolutely something wrong when more than 1-in-5 children are not sure when their next meal will be.

Many of these families cannot afford to purchase a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. For low-wage workers it would take a full eight-hours of work to pay for a traditional meal.

Are you willing to give up a full days pay for one meal if that would meant you have to give up three meals later in the week?

Now we have millions of women and children from around the world being forced to flee their war-torn homelands in hope of finding a safe place to raise their family. As the wealthiest nation in the world what is our response to these women and children? Sorry you’re not welcome here. Go seek help somewhere else.

Here is the thing; these women and children are fleeing their homes trying to get away from the terrorists who have taken over. The same terrorists that strike fear in the hearts of millions, thousands of miles away. Nobody wants extremists threatening their safety, whether they live in Syria or Syracuse.

After the recent attacks in Paris people are afraid. They are afraid that if we bring refugees here, terrorists will somehow slip through the cracks and destroy us.

Just in case you did not already know I am going tell you again. To become a refugee in the US takes 18-24 months of screening by the US government and international coalitions.

Even after the attacks in Paris, the President of France said he would bring in even more refugees. That is what strong leaders do. They do not run and hide while millions are suffering.

Some people have told me, “we need to take care of our homeless Veterans before we bring in any more refugees.” It is obscene the number of Veterans who are living on the streets and we as a nation must do better to help them. That being said, that does not mean that we should be turning away refugees. We are the wealthiest nation in the world and we can absolutely do both.

After you have eaten all you can, start planning what you can do to help others tomorrow. You can donate blood with the American Red Cross. You can take a truckload of food to the local food bank. You can go to the local homeless shelter and help serve food to the hundreds of people who are living on the streets.

As long as you get up and do something to help your fellow man you will find the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Be kind to strangers who look different than you, talk different than you, and need your help.


Before you go to dinner with your family, here are a couple of tips to talk about some of the major issues you are bound to come across this year.

If You Are Doing Any Type Of Campaign Organizing Beth’s Trainings Are A Must


Beth Becker of Becker Digital Strategies

Over the past six years I have been working with different unions and advocacy groups to spread their message across the vast reaches of the Internet. In fact I started the NH Labor News with the sole intent of showing the people of New Hampshire that Right To Work was wrong, to stand up and take action against the “Bully” O’Brien legislature.

From those humble beginnings, full of grammatical mistakes and typos, the NH Labor News has grown to over 3,000 Facebook fans, 6,000 twitter followers and has had over 650,000 website views.

Do you want to know how I did it? Do you want to build your organization’s digital empire to spread your message better? Do you want to use digital tricks to become a better organizer offline?


Becker Digital Strategies

Do what I did; take a class from Beth Becker.

Beth is goddess in the digital world. I could tell you all the places she has worked but this server does not have enough space. Lets just say that she has worked for everyone from a union local to Congressmen and literally everything in between.

Now Beth is taking her show on the road. Her first training class will be in Phoenix in early January.

I know what your thinking, I don’t live anywhere near Phoenix. That’s okay she will be in a city near you soon. Click here to sign up and receive updates about upcoming training classes.

(For those in NH specifically, Beth is already talking about coming up here for a week)

Right now Beth is traveling around giving two, 2-day classes.

The first class is an Introduction to Digital Space:

“This training will introduce organizers who aren’t comfortable or familiar with digital organizing to some of the basic strategies and best practices for email, data, social media and more.”

The second class is Social Media Strategy:

“We’ll dive into the pillars of building a social media strategy, best practices and case studies for a variety of platforms, content strategy, social advertising and analytics.”

If you work for a campaign, whether it is organizing bank tellers, paid family leave, or any political campaign these classes are a must and there is nobody better at teaching them than Beth Becker.

Sign up now to get email updates on upcoming classes.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, The Case To Push Right To Work Nationally

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Another day, another attack on working families.

The Supreme Court is about to hear a case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association that could overturn a nearly forty-year decision that allows unions to negotiate “fair-share” fees for non-union members who benefit from the union’s contract.

“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off-balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America—that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life,” wrote NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in joint statement.

For decades corporations have been trying to bust our unions in an effort to suppress workers and pocket more of the fruits of our labor. Twenty-five states have already passed, so-called Right To Work laws, that make it illegal for unions and employers to negotiate a fair share clause’s in their contracts.

Nearly forty years ago the right for unions to charge a fair share fee was challenged in the Supreme Court. In the case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the court upheld the union’s right to negotiate a fee from non-members who benefit from the contract.

For generations unions have protected workers and help to counterbalance the corporate race to the bottom. In free-bargaining states, workers on average, make $1553 dollars more annually.

“It’s abundantly clear that right to work laws are negatively correlated with workers’ wages,” said Elise Gould, Senior Economist with the Economic Policy Institute.

This case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is just another example of the extreme right wing pushing their anti-worker agenda on all workers. The case has been pushed by the Center for Individual Rights with strong support from wealthy businessmen and ultra-libertarians Charles and David Koch.

“The list of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting the Center for Individual Rights reads like a who’s who of the right’s organized opposition to labor,” wrote Adele M. Stan in the American Prospect.

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is also known for taking cases to the Supreme Court to overturn rulings on Immigration, Affirmative Action, and the Voting Rights Act. CIR quickly gained support from anti-worker groups including “the Cato Institute, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, and the Mackinac Center, a major force behind the 2012 anti-union legislation enacted in Michigan,” who filed amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff, Friedrichs.

The AFL-CIO and AFSCME also filed amicus briefs opposing this corporate funded attack on workers rights. Along with the AFL-CIO and AFSCME more than 70, civil and human rights groups, including the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Women’s Law Center, and GLAD, filed their own amicus brief opposing this attack on workers.

“For nearly 40 years, unions have bargained to further opportunity for women, people of color, and LGBT workers,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “At a time of increasing inequality, and when the odds are increasingly in favor of the wealthy and against the American worker, we urge the Court to adhere to its own precedent and reaffirm Abood so that unions representing all public sector workers, both members and non-members, may continue to effectively bargain for vital workplace benefits and protections.”

When workers stand together, we win. These attacks on our rights and freedoms have not gone unnoticed and will not stop us from continuing to organize to make the lives of working people better.

The Economic Policy Institute Unveils Their ‘Women’s Economic Agenda’

New ‘Women’s Economic Agenda’ focuses on closing the wage gap between men and woman while lifting the wages of all workers 


We need an economy that works for everyone not just a select few. Research shows that we are putting working women, specifically women of color, at a severe disadvantage.

We already know that women on average only earn $.70 cents on the dollar compared to men in the same job. The wage gap harms a woman’s chance of economic prosperity and slows economic growth.

The wage gap is closing, however this is not all good news. From 1980 to the present the wage gap has gone from 62% to 82% of men’s wages. On the surface this would appear to be great news, except that 40% of the gains, made by women to close the wage gap, actually came from the fact that men’s wages are falling. The average wage for men dropped from $20.13 in 1980 to $18.35 today.

Ensuring that all workers are paid equally for equal work is important, but that should not be due to the fact that men’s wages are falling. We need to lift all the wages of all workers together.

Today, the Economic Policy Institute released its Women’s Economic Agenda, a set of 12 bold yet achievable proposals that push the discussion about women’s economic security beyond closing the gender wage gap. While closing the gap between men and women’s wages is essential to bring genuine economic security to women and their families, policymakers must do more. Policies in the agenda include raising the minimum wage, ending discriminatory practices that contribute to gender inequality, providing paid family leave, and increasing access to high-quality child care. If implemented, these policies could raise women’s wages by as much as 70 percent.

“Raising wages and boosting economic security for women is an essential part of growing and strengthening America’s middle class,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who spoke at the agenda’s unveiling. “The proposals in EPI’s Women’s Economic Agenda would be powerful steps forward in the fight to level the playing field for women and families across the country.”

“The gender wage gap is only one way the economy shortchanges women,” said Alyssa Davis research assistant for the Economic Policy Institute. “Only when we take a holistic approach to women’s wages and seek to eliminate both the gender wage gap and the economic inequality gap will women reach their potential in the economy.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The full complement of policies in the Women’s Economic Agenda is:

  1. Raise the minimum wage—raising the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would boost wages for one-fourth of the workforce, or 35 million working people—56 percent of whom are women.
  2. Eliminate the tipped minimum wage—two-thirds of tipped workers are women, yet they still make less than their male counterparts. At the median, women tipped workers make $10.07 per hour, while men make $10.63 (including tips).
  3. Strengthen collective bargaining rights—women in unions are more likely to be paid higher wages and have access to benefits such as paid sick days and pensions.
  4. End discriminatory practices that contribute to race and gender inequalities—black women earn 65.4 percent and Hispanic women earn 56.5 percent of white men’s hourly earnings.
  5. Provide paid family leave—only 12 percent of private-sector employees have access to paid family leave. Without paid family leave policies, workers (particularly women) have difficulty balancing the demands of work and family.
  6. Provide paid sick leave—ensuring that working women can earn paid sick time would let them meet their responsibilities at work and at home without compromising their family’s economic security.
  7. Require fair scheduling practices—over one-third of women hourly workers in their prime childrearing years receive their work schedules with advance notice of one week or less.
  8. Provide accessible, affordable, high-quality child care and early childhood education—accessible child care would ensure that parents do not need to choose between leaving the labor force and affording quality child care
  9. Protect and expand Social Security—the average female retiree receives over $300 less per Social Security check than her male counterpart.
  10. Provide undocumented workers a path to citizenship—women are concentrated in many occupations likely to be held by undocumented workers.
  11. Support strong enforcement of labor standards—women are more likely than men to be victims of wage theft, and are a majority of workers who would benefit from expanded overtime protections.
  12. Prioritize wage growth and very low unemployment when making monetary policy—better wage growth is crucial to ensuring that gender and racial wage gaps close for the right reasons, with wages rising for all groups but more rapidly for groups currently disadvantaged in labor markets.

‘National Women in Apprenticeship Day’ A Huge Success


On November 5th, America celebrated the inaugural National Women in Apprenticeship Day. President Obama, along with over a dozen Governors and Mayors, made proclamations praising the Building Trades apprentice programs.

NH Gov Hassan NWAD Proclamation 11.3.15“We recognize the ways apprenticeships foster innovation and prosperity, and we recommit to encouraging and supporting those who offer and partake in them,” proclaimed President Obama.

Across the country, the Department of Labor and local union activists, organized events to focus on the benefits for women of becoming an apprentice.

“The success of National Women in Apprenticeship Day can be measured by the supportive proclamations from governors & mayors, by the reach of 2.2 million impressions on social media, by the celebratory events held all over the country, by the 200,000 cars every day who passed by two different Boston union’s billboards each day last week, and by the enthusiasm with which tradeswomen all over the US shared “selfies” and stories from the job,” said Elizabeth Skidmore, Business Representative for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

“Events like National Women in Apprenticeship Day make concrete the growing support for advancing women in the trades,” Skidmore added.

In Boston, the Women’s Bureau and Office of Apprenticeship co-hosted a conversation on Women in Apprenticeship. Public sector leaders from U.S. Department of Labor, EEOC, and state, city, and county officials discussed examples of successful apprenticeship programs and some challenges women still face in entry and retention in many occupational fields.

In Lowell, MA the Women’s Bureau and the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board convened a roundtable discussion focused on Apprenticeships in Manufacturing.

Some of the other events included:

  • In Berkeley, CA the Women’s Bureau collaborated on an open house called Celebrating Women in Apprenticeship, which showcased the federal role in promoting apprenticeship and enforcing equal employment opportunity for women and minorities within the building trades.
  • In New York City, the Women’s Bureau attended an event hosted by Nontraditional Employment for Women called “Advancing Women in the Trades: Building on Success” to help increase awareness of and access to nontraditional occupations among women.
  • In Denton, TX, Women’s Bureau spoke at the National Apprenticeship Week event hosted by Power Line Holdings (PLH) Group at Northwest Lineman College.
  • In Philadelphia, the Women’s Bureau spoke at an open house at the Finishing Trades Institute and the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund’s Career Fair, which featured guest speakers and previous apprentices.

tipxsThe main focus of the National Women in Apprenticeship Day is to encourage more women to become skilled laborers. 47% of the national workforce is made up of women, yet only make up 4% of the building trades workforce nationally.

Thousands of women are taking the first step towards pay equity, while climbing the economic ladder to the middle class, by becoming an apprentice in one of the many Building Trades unions.

Last year the Building Trades began training 430,000 new apprentices, up nearly 50,000 from the previous year. On top of that, women now make up over 9% of all new apprentices. The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues wants to raise that to “20 percent by 2020.”

There are a few of compelling reasons that women are choosing careers in the Building Trades.

  • The Building Trades offer women an opportunity to learn a valuable skill without years in college and the burden of thousands of dollars in student loans.
  • A women in the building trades has the potential to make $1.2 million dollars more in her lifetime than if she worked in a typical “woman’s” job such as childcare or food service.
  • Get paid while you learn. Apprentices on average earn more than $50,000 upon program completion, and have been shown to increase their compensation by approximately $300,000 over their lifetime compared to someone not completing an apprenticeship.
  • 90% of apprentice graduates enter and sustain meaningful employment.

All across the country, the unions of the Building Trades, are helping young workers find good careers in the Building Trades.

page_8plq95zy0z_1446225077Specifically here in New Hampshire a group of unions have come together to start a new program to give women a chance to see what a career in the Building Trades would look like. The program, Building Pathways, is a six-week class where participants get hands on experience learning about the different trade unions.

Last year, Annastashia Parke felt her life was headed in the wrong direction. She could not afford to attend college but knew she needed to do something more than working in a variety of low-wage jobs. She learned of the Building Pathways program, signed up, completed the pre-apprentice course and now is a second year apprentice with the Ironworkers Local 7 in Boston.

“I am a woman apprentice who is thrilled and grateful to be where she is,” she wrote. “Apprenticeships work; they are a pathway, unknown to many, and it’s about time we speak up!”

At Raising Wages Summit The “Voices Of Workers” Highlight The Struggles Of Working Families

The first ever New Hampshire Raising Wages Summit was held in Concord on Saturday. The summit, a policy discussion with a focus on the importance of raising wages, drew more than 200 people to hear a whole host of speakers.

The headliners, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, both spoke about raising the minimum wage and the affects of the proposed TPP on workers.

Interlaced between the headliners was what organizers referred to as the “Voices of Workers.” The Voices of Workers were short speeches from local workers and union activists.

Deb Howes, a Nashua teacher and American Federation of Teachers member, talked about the impact of our current low-wage employment system on the children in her classroom. She explained how living in poverty affects a child’s ability to learn, and chastised politicians who want to take away free lunch programs that ensure that children can get at least one healthy meal a day.

Howes is also the chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition that is currently building momentum against the proposed privatization of AFSCME custodians in the Nashua School District. At the summit Howes stated, “eliminating good paying jobs for low-wage contractors will only hurt our community.”

(video link)

The elimination of good paying jobs was the forefront of the Fairness at FairPoint campaign as International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communication Workers of America (CWA) members spent months on strike last winter.

James Lemay, an IBEW member and FairPoint employee spoke about how hard it was for workers during the strike. He talked about how the company did not seem to care about the workers or bargaining in good faith with the union, they only cared their stock prices and earnings statements.

After months on strike the IBEW and CWA reached an agreement with FairPoint and workers could finally go back to work.

(video link)

Janice Kelble, a retired postal worker and American Postal Workers Union member, talk about her struggles bouncing from job to job and the discrimination she endured as a low-wage worker.   Even though it has been a number of years since Kelble was living on minimum wage, the fact is that her story could have been told by any low-wage work struggling to survive on today’s poverty wages.

Kelble eventually got a job with the USPS service where she immediately joined the union, became a steward and began her unofficial career as an advocate for workers.

Kelble said she often wonders how different her life would have been if not for her good paying union job.

(video link)

As Kelble pointed out it has been many years since she had to survive on minimum wage, that is not the case for recent Manchester high school graduate Adol Mashut.

As an immigrant, a woman, and a recent graduate she has quickly learned how hard it is to live on minimum wage. Mashut struggles to balance her work and college classes in hopes to get a degree that will allow her to get a better paying job in the future.

Mashut is also the product of an amazing community outreach program called the Granite State Organizing Project. GSOP is a faith based, non-profit that helps immigrants and low-income families through mentoring and assistance. GSOP continues to push for policies that help working families like raising the minimum wage and expanding access to affordable healthcare and opposes policies like “title loans” that charge people upwards of 400% for an emergency loan.


(video link)

Mashut is working and taking classes in the hopes of acquiring a college degree, but college is not for everyone. Thanks to unions there is still a way for workers to learn a valuable skill and work their way into the middle class.

Samantha Novotny is starting her second year as an apprentice with the IBEW local 490 in Concord. “The union provides great classroom training as well as on-the-job training and work experience,” she said.

As she progresses in her apprentice training she will continue to gain more certifications and real world experience which will ultimately result in higher pay and the chance to start saving for her retirement.

Novotny recently became “sworn in” as an official member of the IBEW. “I truly feel that I am setting myself up for a long-lasting and successful career,” said Novotny.

(video link)


While many of these Voices of Workers’ stories were positive, the reality of low-wage workers is not as bright and shiny. Many are living paycheck to paycheck working 50 to 60 hours a week between multiple jobs with little to no hope for the future.

Millions of people across the country are living in poverty due to the fact that we have failed to ensure that their hard work will actually pay the bills.

As the 2016 elections continue to ramp up, we need to ensure that every candidate, from Presidential to State Representative to Mayoral will work to raise the minimum wage and help lift these workers out of poverty.


Please read our other stories about the Raising Wages Summit

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Addresses the NH Raising Wages Summit

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Inspires The Crowd At The NH Raising Wages Summit

Governor Hassan Will Continue To Fight To Raise Wages and Expand Middle Class Opportunity

How Raising Wages Effects Seniors and Social Security, a speech by NH Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards.



Senator Marco Rubio Can’t Do The Job He Already Has, Wants A New One

Marco Rublo  (Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

Marco Rublo (Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

This week Senator Marco Rubio is roaming around the Granite State interviewing for a new job, President of the United States. Why would we the people, want to hire him for a new job when he can’t even do the one he already has?

While Rubio is off gallivanting across the U.S. begging for money and meeting with potential donors voters, the Senate keeps trudging along. Even though the Senate moves at a snails pace, the job of a Senator is to be in Washington to represent the people who elected him and to vote on proposed legislation to make their lives better.

Being a Senator has its privileges. If you don’t feel well, you don’t have to go into work, but you still get paid. If your children are sick and you need to stay home to take care of them, you don’t have to go into work, but you still get paid. If your off campaigning in New Hampshire, you don’t have to go into work, but you still get paid.

“Unlike Marco Rubio, most working people can’t simply skip work because we quote “hate” our jobs. We don’t get to fly around the country, asking for a promotion, instead of clocking in and putting in an eight to ten hour workday. And if we did any of those things, we almost certainly wouldn’t get paid,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley.

It is hard for anyone to relate to Senator Rubio who fails to even make 70% of the 150 Senate workdays. That’s about 100 days less a year than the average full time worker. Add to that the fact that Senator Rubio makes a little more than six-times the U.S. median wage of $30,000 per year.

When Senator Rubio does show up to work he continues to tow the party line and keep his wealthy funders happy while hard working Americans, and aspiring Americans, continue to suffer.

“When he does show up, he acts against his constituents’ interests and the interests of middle class families here in New Hampshire nearly every time. He is simply pushing the same failed Republican playbook we’ve seen over and over again,” said NH State Representative Cindy Rosenwald of Nashua.

When Rubio was the new up-and-coming Latino Senator from Florida, Rubio was pushing a comprehensive immigration bill that would have helped the 11 million aspiring Americans finally get the pathway to citizenship they have been searching for. But when Rubio began to get his Presidential delusions of grandeur, he quickly reversed course and pulled his support of the bill he created.

Rubio also refuses to discuss increasing the minimum wage. “When it comes to raising the minimum wage – a common sense proposal that would help close the wage gap and help over 100,000 Granite Staters get ahead – Marco Rubio calls it “a waste of time,” said Rosenwald.

When it comes to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, Rubio says, ‘repeal it.’ Planned Parenthood, an organization that has provided healthcare to over 1-in-5 women, Rubio says ‘de-fund it.’

“Rubio joined Kelly Ayotte in voting against the Paycheck Fairness Act – legislation that would help make equal pay for women a reality,” added Rosenwald.

When it comes to Medicare, Rubio “claims that he would never do anything that hurt his mother. But he supports major cuts to Medicare that would leave seniors with fewer benefits,” stated Rosenwald.

The list goes on and on.

As a voter, you are the employment interviewer in this primary process.

Would you hire an employee: Who can barely make it to work 105 times a year. Who votes to take all of your hard earned money and gives tax breaks to those who already have so much. Who says raising the minimum wage is a “waste of time.” Who wants to gut Medicare and force millions of people off of their current healthcare to once again risk financial ruin by being uninsured. Who wants to take away a women’s Constitutional right to choose.

If you would hire someone with those qualifications, then Rubio just might be your man. The rest of us are going to keep looking.

Will You Pledge To End The Corrupting Influence Of Money In Politics?

“What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of big money in politics?”

NHR-Sign copyOur political system is broken. Our democracy is failing us, the people.  Our elected leaders in Washington are not listening to us, they are only listening to the special interest groups that are dumping billions of money into election campaigns.

The New Hampshire Rebellion has been pushing a non-partisan, grassroots campaign to help end the corruption in Washington, and they are now asking for our help!

New Hampshire, and similarly in Iowa, candidates are hosting events in our local communities on a weekly basis.  Some days it seems like you cannot drive across town without bumping into at least one Presidential campaign.  This is where you can help.

The next time you are at an event, or a candidate knocks on your door, as them to answer this one question:

“What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence
of big money in politics?”

The NH Rebellion is looking for people and candidates to take the pledge to end the corruptive influence of money in politics.

“I call on all candidates to champion the We the People reform agenda to restore government “of, by, and for the people.”

  1. Expose secret donors and require full transparency
  2. Ban bribes from lobbyists and government contractors
  3. Ban Super PACs and overturn Citizens United
  4. Establish small-donor, citizen-funded elections
  5. End gerrymandering and modernize voter registration
  6. Close loopholes and enforce campaign finance laws

To help kick start their pledge political activists and concerned citizens have crossed party lines to create a new video asking everyone to “ask the question.”

Will you take the pledge to end the corruption in Washington???

Senator Kelly Ayotte Is An Abysmal Failure On Women’s Health

Dont Take Away My Breast Exams - Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Dont Take Away My Breast Exams – Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Sen Kelly Ayotte Tries To Fool Us Into Believing She Supports Women’s Health

Today Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) tried to whitewash her dismal record on women’s health issues in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor, “My Turn: In breast cancer fight, early detection is crucial.”

Yes, we can all agree that women should regularly see a doctor for routine breast exams, pap smears, and other reproductive health issues, however this editorial focuses specifically on the need for women to get breast exams and mammograms for early detection of breast cancer.

“I’ve heard from many women in New Hampshire between ages 40 and 49 whose lives were saved because a mammogram successfully detected the presence of breast cancer before it was too late.

…I’m also supporting bipartisan legislation to make sure women and breast cancer patients have the information they need to make informed decisions about their health care,” wrote Ayotte.

That all sounds great except Senator Ayotte does not have a leg to stand on when it comes to supporting women’s health.  She has voted three times to defund Planned Parenthood, who provided over 3,500 breast cancer screening in 2013 and provided thousands of Granite State women.

We stand united with our allies at Planned Parenthood, champions of quality healthcare and a cornerstone of vital services to millions of Americans for decades. One in five women will rely on Planned Parenthood for health care in her lifetime,” Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The outrageous attacks on Planned Parenthood are nothing more than extremists’ attempts to advance their political agenda with complete disregard for the potential impacts on the health and well-being of the 2.7 million women, men and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood for basic preventive care,” added Henry.

Without quality healthcare routine preventative exams, like breast cancer screenings, are routinely pushed aside to save money.The good thing is that now, in part to the Affordable Care Act, many preventative exams are fully covered by your insurance. That must be why Sen. Kelly Ayotte is so supportive of the Affordable Care Act, which provides healthcare to 50,000 Granite Staters through Medicaid Expansion. Oh wait that’s right she wants to repeal the ACA leaving thousands of women without any healthcare at all!

Limiting access to healthcare, limits preventative care for all women.

It’s clear that when Ayotte talks about making ‘women’s health a priority’ she only means “some” women,” said Jenifer Frizzell, Vice President of Public Policy at Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.  

Kelly Ayotte seems to forget that access to lifesaving breast cancer screenings and mammography go hand in hand with access to health insurance. This is clear in her unapologetic crusade against the Affordable Care Act —  which has allowed thousands of New Hampshire women the ability to afford health care for the first time — and her efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides thousands of breast exams in our state,” added Frizzell.  

The added irony is that Kelly Ayotte introduced “legislation that would mint commemorative coins to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts to fight breast cancer.”   The Republicans in Congress have forced deep cuts to the federal budget which mandated cuts to hundreds of research programs. How much money was cut from the very program Senator Ayotte is now trying to fund with commemorative coins?

Protecting women’s health takes more than a commemorative coin. If Kelly Ayotte were serious about saving lives and making women’s health a priority, she would stop insulting New Hampshire women by pink-washing her record and support meaningful policies to improve health care in the Granite State,” said Frizzell.

No matter what Kelly Ayotte says, her record on women’s health issues is crystal clear. A abysmal failure.


See also: VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Wants New Hampshire  to #AskAyotte About Her Record on Women’s Health


Building Racial Equality In Our Schools

Some people say “racism is dead,” however that is a lie.

The outright discrimination of African-Americans is now illegal but that does not mean that racial discrimination does not still exist.  Just look at our public school system.  Do you think it is an accident that rich, white, sub-urban schools are better funded than the inner-city, mostly poor, where they majority of students are people of color?  No, it is not an accident.

Nationally we have seen states tightening their belts and squeezing their school budgets, forcing deep cuts and even school closures.  Class sizes in the inner-city schools are larger, the teachers – fresh out of college – are paid less, a large percentage students live in poverty, and people wonder why they are under-performing.

This week, the American Federation of Teachers released a report focusing on ways to bring racial equality to our public school system.

“Separate but equal is no longer the law of the land, but systemic inequity in education has relegated millions of children of color to under-resourced, struggling schools,” said AFT’s Executive Board.

Inequality in our schools leads to severe economic problems for the individual as well as the community.  Without a good education, individuals are forced to work in low-wage unskilled jobs that continue to keep them in, or on the edge of, poverty for their entire lives.  African-Americans earn on average “$224 a month less” than their white counterparts.

Robert Putnam, a Harvard University professor, talked about this in his book “Our Kids,” where he refers to it as the “opportunity gap.”  This means lower incomes for workers, lower tax revenues for cities and towns, and less spending in the economy.  Research shows that this leads to a societal loss of $529,030 per person (lifetime).  If nothing is done, this will lead to over $4 trillion dollars in lost revenue and lost economic opportunity.

AFT’s new report, Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity in Education, Economics and Our Criminal Justice System, highlights some possible ways to directly address racial inequality in our schools.

We envision an equitable education system that guarantees world-class, properly resourced public schools that provide wraparound services in every neighborhood, where young black male students have the opportunity to achieve by:

  • Ensuring the fair enforcement of discipline policies and practices to create supportive learning environments for black males.
  • Guaranteeing that all schools provide safe, welcoming and caring spaces for students and educators.
  • Working for policies and practices that favor education over incarceration and that decrease the disproportionately high number of black males dropping out of schools into jails.
  • Radically increasing the percentage of young black male high school graduates who are ready for college, career and citizenship.
  • Ensuring a diverse teaching force that includes black male educators as role models for African-American male students.

African-American’s face a 10% unemployment rate and a growing opportunity gap.  Before we can talk about closing the opportunity gap and getting more African-Americans into college, we first must help them graduate from high school.

Getting a good paying job and being a productive member of our economy begins with a strong public education.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement