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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

New Report Shows The Underlying Issues In The American Workforce

Over the last forty years we have lost millions of high paying manufacturing jobs. Many of these jobs did not require any advanced degrees and any specialized training was down by the employer or the union.

At the same time parents began pushing their children to go to college because in the 1980’s college educated workers were in short supply and were paid accordingly.

Now almost every employer is requiring some level of college education to even be considered for employment. This has created a new problem, underemployment.

Everyone knows about unemployment, the percent of workers who are unemployed and are currently seeking employment. Currently we have a national unemployment rate of 5.5%. Considering that in October of 2009, deep into the great recession, our national unemployment peaked at 10%, 5.5% means we have made great progress.

But have we really? Yes, the number of unemployed people in the U.S. has been cut in half but that is not the entire story.

During the recession when millions were out of work, struggling to pay their bills, people would take any job they could. People with bachelors’ degrees were working at McDonalds just to pay their outrageous student loans. This is what we refer to as underemployment, where a worker is employed in a job below their education and skill level.

underemployment_headerToday, PayScale Inc released a new report, “Underemployed: The War on the American Worker,” highlighting America’s underemployment problem.

“There are many economic indicators followed by business and policy leaders to gauge the health of an economy. One notable such report is the monthly jobs report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which includes unemployment figures. However, unemployment only tells part of the story. At PayScale, we believe another crucial indicator is underemployment – people who are either working at jobs that don’t leverage their education or seeking full-time work, but are working part-time. Therefore, we created our latest report tying underemployment figures to educational choices, jobs, and gender,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Economist, PayScale.

To conduct their research PayScale interviewed nearly one million people over a two-year time frame starting in March of 2014.

underemplyment_chart05aPayScale found that 46% of those surveyed consider themselves underemployed. Of these respondents, 76% say they are not using their education or training while 24% say they are working only part-time but would like full-time work.

“There are two underlying themes in this report: The importance of education and the persistence of the gender gap. The report notes underemployment decreases as educational attainment increases. Also, in addition to a pay gap and an opportunities gap, we see the gender gap materialize in underemployment as well: Women report a greater percentage of underemployment than their male counterparts,” added Bardaro.

Education level does make a difference. PayScale found that Medical Doctors have the lowest level of underemployment at 30%. That is a vast difference when compared to the 50% who claim to be underemployed with an Associates Degree.

The report shows that just over 40% of those with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) report being underemployed. Of the underemployed MBA degree holders, 90% reported they are not using their education and training.

underemplyment_chart10When we break down the numbers by gender, women have a slight edge over men in underemployment. 49% of woman report being underemployed compared to 42% of men. Women are also 7% more likely to be underemployed due to working part-time when they really want to be working full-time.

“These statistics may be a reflection of the gender opportunity gap,” wrote PayScale. “According to PayScale’s research, as employees climb the corporate ladder, men are often promoted more quickly than women, and women generally report more negative feelings about job satisfaction, job stress, and communication with their employers. (Learn more about the gender opportunity gap and the gender pay gap in PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap.)”

You can find out more about PayScale’s report here.

Upcoming Vote To Restore Planned Parenthood Funding Shapes NH Governor’s Race

Approximately 1 in 5 women have relied on a Planned Parenthood health center at some point in their lifetime.

planned-parenthood-logoEarlier this week, the New Hampshire Executive Council meeting agenda was announced. On June 29th, Executive Councilors will vote on whether or not to restore funding to Planned Parenthood health centers throughout New Hampshire.

The lines are quickly being drawn as Colin Van Ostern urged his fellow Councilors to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.

“For nearly a year, New Hampshire women and families have been deprived of significant funding for critical medical care for birth control, cancer screenings, and annual exams when the Executive Council voted to restrict funding for Planned Parenthood,” said Colin Van Ostern, Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor. “It’s well past time to vote yes, and approve these funds, and stop playing politics with women’s health.”

“I will vote to approve funding for women’s health care on Wednesday and I encourage Councilor Sununu and his colleagues to vote yes, as well,” Van Ostern concluded.

Van Ostern has consistently been an outspoken advocate for Planned Parenthood and against any attempts to take away women’s reproductive rights. He has made women’s health a priority by working to restore funding for Planned Parenthood three of the past four years. In 2015, he was recognized by NARAL Pro-Choice NH for his work on this issue and was named the state’s “Champion for Choice.”

Executive Councilor and candidate for NH Governor, Chris Sununu is also weighing his decision on the upcoming vote. However, WMUR tweeted that Sununu has no comment on the upcoming Planned Parenthood vote and said, “He hasn’t seen the contract yet.”

Considering that Sununu voted to defund Planned Parenthood last year and the Republican Party as a whole is against Planned Parenthood, I expect he will vote against it as well.

Mayor Ted Gatsas, who is also running for Governor, was quick to show his misguided opposition to Planned Parenthood in a statement urging Chris Sununu to oppose the contract.

“I have consistently opposed public funding for Planned Parenthood and believe that there are many community health organizations that can provide alternate, high quality health care options for women. As governor, I will ensure that Planned Parenthood does not receive tax dollars.”

Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, was quick to point out how as Mayor, Gatsas has failed the people of Manchester when it comes to providing quality healthcare.

“For fifty years, tens of thousands of New Hampshire women, men, and young people have chosen Planned Parenthood of Northern New England as their healthcare provider, while Ted Gatsas has been working against public policies and programs that improve their health and safety.

“Under Ted Gatsas’ tenure as Manchester mayor, the City has consistently had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state and the Manchester Health Department even shut down its STD/HIV clinics. Now Gatsas wants to further deny women, men and young people life-saving medical services such as cancer screenings, breast exams, access to contraception and STI testing and treatment.”

“Ted Gatsas is campaigning to spread his dangerous anti-women’s health agenda across the state and it is clear that the reproductive health of women and families and the public health of our communities is at great risk.”

“When it comes to funding for critical women’s health services Ted Gatsas is on the wrong side of public opinion, the wrong side of public health, and the wrong side of history. New Hampshire voters are watching and they will remember in the fall,” Frizzell concluded.

Thousands of working women rely on Planned Parenthood to provide quality, low cost healthcare in the Granite State. This should not be a partisan issue. These Councilors should put the health and safety of the people they swore to represent above partisan political bickering.

We urge all of the Executive Councilors to vote to restore funding to Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire.

 

 


Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be hosting a “rally in pink” to urge Councilors to restore funding to Planned Parenthood prior to the Executive Council meeting on June 29th at 9am.
(More details on PPAF’s Facebook Event)

Also take a few seconds to sign the petition urging Executive Councilor to restore funding for Planned Parenthood health centers.


 

Disappointment Over SCOTUS Immigration Tie Highlights Call For Senate To “Do Your Job”

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

The Supreme Court splits on DACA and DAPA, highlighting the urgent need to confirm a ninth Supreme Court Justice.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas, the case challenging expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). This means that the Fifth Circuit’s decision upholding the preliminary injunction against these initiatives will stand.

This ruling does not impact the original DACA program launched in 2012.

“One of the reasons why America is such a diverse and inclusive nation is because we’re a nation of immigrants,” said President Barack Obama. “Our Founders conceived of this country as a refuge for the world. And for more than two centuries, welcoming wave after wave of immigrants has kept us youthful and dynamic and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character, and it has made us stronger.”

“But for more than two decades now, our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken. And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be,” Obama added.

Confirming that this ruled does not affect the original DACA program and in an attempt to ease people’s minds, Obama continued:

“I know a lot of people are going to be disappointed today, but it is important to understand what today means. The deferred action policy that has been in place for the last four years is not affected by this ruling. Enforcement priorities developed by my administration are not affected by this ruling. This means that the people who might have benefitted from the expanded deferred action policies — long-term residents raising children who are Americans or legal residents — they will remain low priorities for enforcement. As long as you have not committed a crime, our limited immigration enforcement resources are not focused on you.”

“The decision is a huge disappointment for immigrant families and their defenders. It’s bad for American communities, workers and the economy,” wrote the Immigration Policy Council. “We will continue to explore all available legal avenues and will urge the government to do the same. Ultimately, the nation needs a permanent solution to our outdated immigration system, and that must come from Congress. The fight will continue.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a setback for all those who have fought for more humane and rational enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “While we are deeply disappointed by the Court’s failure to reach a decision, we will redouble our organizing efforts to defeat the obstructionist, anti-immigrant forces behind this lawsuit and ensure that all working people can assert their rights on the job and in the community without fear of deportation.”

“This decision will further motivate a resilient community that is a vibrant and vital part of our labor movement. We continue to urge the Administration to use its discretion to protect those courageous immigrant workers who are exercising their workplace and civil rights,” added Trumka.

Locally, elected leaders and advocates spoke out against this decision.

“Today’s SCOTUS un-decision comes as a hard blow to the millions of immigrants that could have benefited from DAPA and the extension of DACA,” said Eva Castillo, Program Director for the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. “We will not stand still, we will continue to push back against anti-immigrant politicians and what they represent.”

“In November our vote will speak loudly against all candidates that stand for hatred, xenophobia and racism. That is our pledge,” Castillo added.

In 2015, Senator Shaheen joined more than 30 Senators and 180 Members of the House of Representatives, in an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court before the case went to trial.

“Families shouldn’t live in fear that at a moment’s notice a father, mother or child could be separated from their loved ones,” said Shaheen. “The Supreme Court’s order today is extremely disappointing and demonstrates why having only eight justices on our nation’s highest court hurts our country.”

“This order ignores the clear intent of Congress to grant the executive branch the discretion to establish and enforce immigration policy. Our country is at its strongest when we are open, inclusive and embrace all people. DAPA and expanded DACA would be good for families, our communities, and our economy and I am deeply disappointed that partisan opposition has prevented these initiatives from going forward.”

“It’s now up to us in Congress to work together to advance immigration policies that will keep families together and strengthen our nation,” Shaheen concluded.

Action at Ayotte Do your Job 2

This split decision only further highlights the need for the US Senate to hold confirmation hearings on a new Supreme Court Justice.

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland 100 days ago and some Senators, including New Hampshire’s own Kelly Ayotte, are refusing to hold confirmation hearings on Garland.

“Kelly Ayotte’s refusal to do her job has now hit the 100 day mark as she keeps a Supreme Court seat open for Donald Trump to fill with an anti-choice justice,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “100 days later, New Hampshire voters still want Ayotte to do her job and give the President’s nominee fair consideration.”

“Granite Staters have had enough of Kelly Ayotte’s political obstruction and reckless support for a misogynist presidential candidate who would appoint judges to the Supreme Court to turn back the clock on women’s rights,” Miller added.

“Today’s decision is a shattering blow to millions of families and a painfully clear illustration of why we need a fully staffed Supreme Court in order to address the most important issues we face as a country,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of the People for the American Way. “Without issuing a real opinion or providing any reasoning, our hobbled Supreme Court has allowed a single district court judge to implement a twisted ruling that will have a profound impact on the lives of families all across the country. The Court has provided no guidance to lower courts while simultaneously impacting millions of people’s lives.”

The People for the American Way have been leading the charge for the Senate to confirm a new Justice. Baker continued by blasting Ayotte for failing to uphold her Constitutional duty to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice.

“This isn’t how our system of justice is supposed to work. Yet Republicans including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who are eager to force their ideology into law by any means necessary, have refused to perform their most basic responsibilities and give fair consideration to a pending Supreme Court nominee. This is the result of a broken system of government, and make no mistake, Republicans have broken it on purpose.”

Governor Maggie Hassan, who is running against Ayotte, highlighted Ayotte’s failure to do her job and confirm a new Justice.

“Earlier this week, the American Bar Association affirmed what members of both parties have said to be true: Judge Merrick Garland is exceptionally qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States and his nomination deserves fair consideration,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Unfortunately, Senator Kelly Ayotte continues to side with her party leadership in obstructing the Supreme Court confirmation process – despite the fact that a majority of Granite Staters support considering Garland’s confirmation now.”

“As this irresponsible blockade of the Supreme Court confirmation process marks 100 days, I call on Senator Ayotte to drop the partisan politics, do her job and stop putting her political party before justice for Granite Staters,” Hassan concluded.

The Supreme Court has shown twice now that they cannot function properly with only eight Justices. The Senate must do their Constitutional duty and confirm a new Justice.

Sanders Supporters Attempt To Change Super Delegates Votes Through NH Democratic Convention

NH Convention 2016

Democrats line the street leading up to Bedford High School where the NH Democratic Party held their convention today.

An attempt by Bernie Sanders supporters, to change the New Hampshire Democratic Party platform regarding super delegates, failed at today’s NH Democratic Party Convention.

As the Democratic National Committee rules allow, super delegates freely choose whom they will support, regardless of whom the voters of their state voted for in the primary.

Secretary Clinton collected hundreds of super delegates before many of the primary votes were cast. Most of NH’s super delegates became outspoken surrogates Hillary throughout the primary.

After Sanders beat Clinton, 60%-38% in the NH Primary, voters began to call for the super delegates to change their position and support the candidate that the voters overwhelmingly supported.

At today’s convention, delegates were given the final copy of the party platform that included a resolution to pursue changes to super delegates in the 2020 primary. To many of the delegates this was not enough, but the convention rules, once adopted, would not allow for any amendments to the state party platform from the delegates on the floor.

Prior to the adoption of the convention rules, NH State Representative Peter Bixby offered up his own rule changes. The change was pretty basic, allow delegates to amend the resolutions, or the party platform, from the floor.

If this rule change would have passed, the New Hampshire Democratic Party could have passed a resolution similar to the one passed in Maine, which would have forced more super delegates to cast their vote for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention next month.

Both rules changes failed to get the required votes (140-293, 175-297). Unlike the convention in Nevada where a similar resolution was defeated by a voice vote, NH delegates cast their votes in a standing count.

Though Sanders supporters did not get the result they wanted, they process was done professionally. Rep. Bixby even commended Michael Rollo, the rules committee chair, for the way he handled the proposed amendment and the voting process.

After this amendment to the rules failed, the proposed resolutions and party platform were adopted by the convention body without any discussion.

The only question left is what are Sanders and his supporters going to do now?

Will Sanders go to the National Convention and endorse Hillary Clinton? Will he succeed in changing the National Party Platform to remove super delegates from future primary contests? Will those Democrats who supported Sanders in his campaign come together with Clinton supporters to ensure that Donald Trump does not become president?

Lastly, what will happen to all of the Sanders supporters who supported his strong progressive democratic policy ideas but do not call themselves Democrats? What will they do in the general election between Trump and Clinton? Will they keep pushing the Clinton campaign to take a stronger position on Wall Street reform and money in politics? Or will they end up supporting Donald Trump, the man who epitomizes everything that Sanders stood against?

The Sanders campaign scooped up nearly 40% of the overall Democratic voters in his run for the President. Without their support, Hillary Clinton will not be elected, and we will forced to endure four years of Donald Trump.

Shawn O’Connor’s Campaign Filing And Caucus Announcement Shocks Democrats

Just in case you did not hear the news this weekend, Shawn O’Connor has filed his candidacy for US Congress to represent New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.

However to the surprise of many, O’Connor filed to run as an Independent.

O’Connor was first out of the gate to announce his candidacy for Congress. He announced his run as the first Democrat to challenge Congressman Frank Guinta in March of 2015.

He made his announcement to run as an Independent on WMUR’s Close Up, that aired over the weekend adding that he will caucus with whoever is in power when he gets elected. This means he will caucus with Republicans or Democrats.

O’Connor, who said he was “proud to” endorse Senator Sanders campaign for President also stated that he was “firmly in the Sanders – Elizabeth Warren camp of the Democratic Party.”

If O’Connor really was firm believer “in the Sanders – Warren camp of the Democratic Party” why would he ever say he would caucus with the Republicans? The answer is simple. O’Connor does not care about either party. He is trying to buy his way into power by buying a seat in Congress.

Oconnor approval ratingsO’Connor claims that polling supports his campaign for Congress even though polling from UNH in April shows that 86% people “don’t know enough about him” and that his favorability actually went down from previous months.

Just as O’Connor made outrageous claims that Carol Shea-Porter was spreading a whisper campaign against him. Now he is claiming that the New Hampshire Democratic Party is blocking his campaign by not allowing him to speak at their upcoming convention. I guess when you threaten them with lawsuits they tend not to want to invite you to their party.

The fact is that O’Connor is a carpetbagger who moved to New Hampshire from New York City a few years ago with the sole purpose of running for Congress. He has donated a million dollars to his own campaign to buy his seat in Congress.

He is a greedy, power hungry opportunist evident by the fact that he probably knows he will lose the primary to Carol Shea-Porter so he is now running as an Independent. An Independent who stated he will caucus with whoever is in power to get better (more powerful) committee positions and assignments.

O’Connor has completely gone off the rails and as every day that goes by his entire campaign shows that he is only interested in one thing, buying his way into Congress.

As A Sanders Supporter, It Is Time To Come Together And Unite The Party Behind Clinton

In the beginning of 2016 I said I was leaning towards Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary. As New Hampshire’s First in the Nation primary grew closer, I knew that Bernie was my choice. He is a true progressive and was willing to take on the political establishment as well as the corporate establishment that continually buys our elections.

When Bernie first hinted at running, he was meeting with people here in New Hampshire. His message was broad but easy to understand: Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and reverse the offshoring of American jobs by our previous failed trade agreements. Institute a national healthcare system that took for-profit corporations out of the process. Invest in our future by rebuilding our infrastructure, putting millions of Americans to work. Raising the minimum wage to “15 bucks and hour.” Addressing the growing problem of income inequality. And reigning in the Wall Street gamblers who wrecked our economy and made trillions in profits from the taxpayer funded bailouts.

These were the same issues Senator Sanders has been fighting for with other progressives in the U.S. Senate. His honesty and integrity is one of the reasons people began to “Feel the Bern.”

As I said before, I did not think that Bernie would win the Democratic Primary against Secretary Clinton but it was vitally important for him to try.

As a candidate he took his progressive message all across the country, holding some of the largest campaign rallies in history. His message resonated with millions of working families and slowly the polls began to show it.

Democrats, including Secretary Hillary Clinton began to adopt Bernie’s powerful messaging. Hillary began to shift to the left on issues like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the fight for $15. She talked about taking on Wall Street and overturning Citizens United to rid our political system of the corrupting influence of money in politics.

This is why it was so important for Bernie to run. He moved the very centrist Hillary Clinton to a place where us liberal progressives want our Democratic candidate to be.

I still support Bernie and I think he may even take the California primary but we all know that unless Bernie wins California by 30 points he will not have enough delegates to win the nomination. Yes, I know all about the Super-Delegates and they are not pledged until they vote in the convention. Let’s be honest, these surrogates for Hillary are not going to change their mind and suddenly vote for Bernie.

Before Bernie makes his final curtain call in the primary he has one more thing left to do.

He must announce his support for Hillary as the nominee and encourage all of his devoted followers to join him in supporting her.

I know there are serious differences between them and you know what, in every Presidential primary there are significant differences between the candidates. There are always wedge issues that create competition between the candidates. The important thing to remember is that when the primary is over that we open our hearts & minds and come together to ensure a Democrat wins the election.

The Republicans have already chosen their candidate; A lying con-man who has filed for bankruptcy multiple times, wants to register and ban Muslims, and evict 11 million aspiring Americans. These are just a few items from his extreme agenda.

We cannot let Donald Trump become the President of the United States. We must come together to ensure that President Trump never becomes a reality.

We need to come together now and push back against Trump. A party united that will stand strong against the Republicans. A party untied that will fight to elect more progressive Democrats all the way down the ticket.

If we stay divided, like some are suggesting, we will lose the Presidency and with Republicans in control of Congress we could lose everything we have worked so hard for over the last ten years.

The time is now for Senator Sanders to make a strong statement of support for Secretary Clinton and begin the process of bringing the party back together.

The New Book, Nation On The Take, Shows The Real Corruption In Washington

The New Book Show Just How Corrupt Washington Has Become, How Corporations Are Fleecing American Taxpayers, And What We Must Do To Take Our Democracy Back.

Our system of government has been corrupted by money. This corruption goes much deeper than just funneling millions of dollars into election campaigns from Super PACs and billionaires like the Koch Brothers.

A new book, “Nation on the Take,” takes an in-depth look at how big money has stolen our democracy.

The real corruption lies in how legislation gets tanked or amended by Congressmen at the will of the corporations.

nation-on-the-take-issue-oneThis could be something as simple as, naming a specific manufacturer in the proposed legislation, thereby guaranteeing that all the money from the government contract goes directly to them.

Or, it could be something much larger.

Lobbyists convinced Congress (with campaign donations) to include language in the Affordable Care Act that would prevent Medicare from negotiating prescription drug prices. This small amendment to the ACA allows Big Parma to continue to price gouge the American taxpayer for years to come.

In 2013, the U.S. paid “40% more than Canada” on prescription drugs and “twice as much as many European countries including France and Germany.”

Healthcare is not area of the government that lobbyist have bought and paid for legislation to protect their profits or steamroll the American people.

Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman, the authors of Nation on the Take, show examples ranging from Wall Street reform, climate change, and EPA health regulations.

“This marriage of great wealth and political influence has strangled the political process, leaving us unable to address our most pressing problems as a nation, from climate change to the wealth gap. It defines the terms of our daily concerns: from the cars we drive to the air we breathe, even to the bodies we occupy.”

Just when you have read enough to take the book and toss it across the room in disgust, Potter & Penniman sweep in with solutions on how we can take our government back.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all agree that our government has been hijacked by Big Money and it is time for us to take it back. It is not going to be easy but nothing worth doing is ever easy. It will take time and dedication if we want to take back our democracy.

 

You can read an excerpt and pick up, Nation on the Take: How big money corrupts our democracy,  by going here.

 

Massive Strike Against Verizon Ends As Tentative Agreement Is Reached

Union to take down pickets.
Company agrees to add good union jobs on the East Coast.
First contract for retail wireless workers.
Improves workers’ overall standard of living.

2015-07-25_Mass_Rally_Stand_Up_To_VerizonFor over six weeks now, 40,000 Verizon workers have been on strike. They have been standing in opposition to proposed cuts and potential plans to offshore American jobs.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez along with federal mediator Allison Beck, stepped in to help me help resolve this massive strike.

“I’m encouraged by the parties’ continued commitment to remain at the bargaining table and work toward a resolution,” Secretary Perez said. “We will continue to facilitate conversations to help the unions and the company reach an agreement.”

On the 44th day of the strike, Perez announced that a tentative agreement has been reached between Verizon, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions, and management,” said Perez. “The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.

“This tentative resolution is a testament to the power of collective bargaining. I commend the leadership of Verizon, CWA, and IBEW for their commitment to resolving these difficult issues in the spirit of constructive engagement,” Perez continued.

Perez concluded by stating, “I expect that workers will be back on the job next week.

CWA praised the announcement and the tentative agreement. The agreement includes provisions that include improving working families’ standard of living, creating good union jobs in our communities and achieving a first contract for wireless retail store workers.

“The addition of new, middle-class jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and our country as a whole. The agreement in principle at Verizon is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America. “This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class.”

“This tentative contract is an important step forward in helping to end this six-week strike and keeping good Verizon jobs in America,” said Lonnie R. Stephenson, President of the IBEW. “We will be sharing the details of it with our members for approval in the immediate days ahead.

“My thanks to our members, along with those of the CWA, who made numerous sacrifices to finally come to this point,” added Stephenson.

“Our members look forward to returning to work serving their customers, working under a strong pro-worker and pro-jobs contract,” Stephenson concluded.

The strike against Verizon was not only about the contract for the 40,000 unionized workers at Verizon, it was about taking a stand against corporate greed for all working families.

“We thank the members of CWA and IBEW. They negotiated well with Verizon and elevated working people throughout the country. We applaud them for their solidarity and hard work,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

Some say that unions are relics of the past and are no longer needed. This agreement shows that unions are the only ones to stand up for working families against the greed of Corporate America.


Author’s Note:

United_we_bargainI am pleased to write this story and congratulate all of the members of the IBEW and CWA who stood strong for 44 days. A long term strike like this can take a serious toll on workers’ families and tests the strength of their resolve.

Your strength and perseverance prevailed. Now Verizon Wireless workers all across the country will see the benefit of a strong labor contract.

Non-union workers will also see how standing together against corporate greed is the only way we are going to rebuild a strong middle class.

United we bargain, divided we beg.

Vast Differences Between Republicans And Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates On Raising The Minimum Wage

Republican Candidates For Governor Of New Hampshire, Reject Overwhelming Voter Support For Raising The Minimum Wage.

Whether or not to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire will undoubtedly be one of the biggest issues in this year’s Gubernatorial race. Large majorities of both, Republicans and Democrats, support raising the minimum wage. However as we have routinely seen in the New Hampshire Legislature, the elected representatives have made raising the minimum wage a completely partisan issue.

On Thursday, WMUR reported that all of the Republican candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, State Senator Jeanie Forrester and State Representative Frank Edelblut—oppose the establishment of a state minimum wage, despite the fact New Hampshire is tied for the lowest minimum wage in the country at $7.25-an-hour.

“State Sen. Jeanie Forrester said clearly during her economic rollout news conference on Monday that she opposes the establishment of a state minimum wage,” wrote John DiStaso.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas “does not believe in increasing the minimum wage nor establishing a state wage,” spokeswoman Alicia Preston told WMUR. Gatsas voted against raising the minimum wage when he was a State Senator in 2007.

State Representative Frank Edelblut “opposes raising the minimum wage and voted against establishing a state minimum wage in the current legislative session,” added DiStaso.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu is attempting to play both sides.

“I oppose establishing a state minimum wage. I am open to a responsible increase in the federal minimum wage, provided there is a strong economic and moral case for it,” Sununu told WMUR.

Given the current political environment in Washington against raising the minimum wage, Sununu can safely say that he is “open” to an increase at the federal level knowing it will probably not happen anytime soon.

“The Republican candidates’ steadfast opposition to establishing a minimum wage highlights how vastly out-of-touch they are with New Hampshire’s working families,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Everyday Granite Staters are hurting, but Republicans continue to stick with the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past. It’s clear the GOP primary is deteriorating into a race to see who can run the farthest to the right, and they’re all tied.”

The Democratic candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, former State Securities Bureau Chief Mark Connolly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand—all support establishing a state minimum wage.

“New Hampshire has the lowest minimum wage in the country. As governor, I’ll fight to establish a state minimum wage that rewards hard work and grows our economy,” said Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern.

“A full-time employee making the federal minimum wage earns just over $15,000 a year—it’s simply not enough. I strongly support establishing a state minimum wage in New Hampshire, because every Granite Stater deserves to be paid a fair, living wage for their hard work,” said Mark Connolly.

minimum wageAcross the board, 76% of Granite Staters surveyed supported raising the minimum wage. Even more astounding is that 59% of New Hampshire Republicans surveyed said they would support current proposals to raise the New Hampshire minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage is not a partisan issue nationally or here in New Hampshire. Nationally, 63% of those surveyed support a $15 minimum wage by 2020, and 71% support the elimination of the tipped minimum wage.

Research from the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute shows that just increasing the state’s Minimum Wage to $9 an hour would benefit over 76,000 people. That money would almost immediately be pushed right back into our local economies as low-wage workers spend almost everything they bring home in their paycheck.

“No matter who wins the primaries, voters will have a clear choice this November between a Republican who opposes raising the minimum wage and a Democrat who supports it,” Buckley added.

The US International Trade Commission Shows The TPP Is Bad News For Working Families

A New Report From The US International Trade Commission
Shows The TPP Is Not Worth Passing 

ITC-International-Trade-Commission-logoYesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released their findings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To nobody’s surprise the results are not good.

The TPP would not deliver the economic benefits promised by the U.S. Trade Representative. Instead, the report shows that the deal would be disastrous, increasing the U.S. trade deficit by over $21 billion per year and harming employment in key industries.

Basically they found that miniscule gains would be made in most of the sectors of the economy. By miniscule I mean that after 15 years the TPP would increase our GDP by a whopping 0.15%.

Most alarmingly, the ITC report projects that the TPP would increase the U.S. trade deficit in both manufacturing and the services sector. According to the report, once fully implemented, the TPP would decrease manufacturing output by over $11 billion per year and would decrease U.S. employment in manufacturing by 0.2%.  The report also highlights concerns that the TPP would put call center jobs at particular risk of being offshored.

The weak economic projections in the ITC report are especially notable given that ITC’s track record is one of being overly optimistic about the effects of free trade deals on American workers and our economy.

These results are not surprising to many of the labor groups who have been against this multi-national trade agreement since it was announced.

“This ITC report is so damaging that any reasonable observer would have to wonder why the Administration or Congress would spend even one more day trying to turn this disastrous proposal into a reality,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Even though it’s based on unrealistic assumptions, the report could not even produce a positive result for U.S. manufacturing and U.S. workers.”

“One of many shockers is just how meager the purported benefits of the TPP are. A mere .15% of GDP growth over 15 years is laughably small—especially in comparison to what we’re being asked to give up in exchange for locking in a bonanza of rights and privileges for global corporations,” added Trumka.

“Even though the report fails to account for currency manipulation, wage suppression and the negative impacts of uninspected food imports and higher drug costs, the study still projects the TPP will cost manufacturing jobs and exacerbate our trade deficit,” Trumka concluded.

“This report validates that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not worth passing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “This report, as mandated by law, indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.”

Trumka and the AFL-CIO are not alone in their condemnation of this report. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers highlights that includes many of the same provisions, currently in our international trade agreements, that fail to protect basic labor rights.

“The ITC, which historically has overestimated the benefits of trade agreements, predicts that the TPP will increase our nation’s trade deficit in manufacturing. This means that the corporate driven, secretly negotiated TPP will lead to the export of good paying manufacturing jobs to countries like Vietnam that lack basic human rights,” said International President Robert Martinez, Jr., of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). “For ordinary Americans struggling to get by this will result in more unemployment and continued downward pressure on wages and benefits.”

“The IAM has repeatedly called for the inclusion in the TPP of the International Labor Organization Conventions, which explicitly define basic labor rights. Unfortunately, the TPP labor chapter contains the same ineffectual provisions as in other U.S. trade agreements and fails to provide effective mechanisms to deal with countries lacking fundamental labor rights, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Mexico. That Malaysia, a country cited for human trafficking while focused on rapidly developing its aerospace industry, would be include in the TPP repudiates any notion that the agreement sets a new standard for international labor rights.”

“While the ITC has found that the TPP might increase U.S. GDP by a meager 0.15 percent by 2032, this is of little solace to the working families that will be devastated by the agreement’s numerous flaws. The IAM strongly urges Congress to reject the TPP and focus on a trade policy that benefits America’s working families.”

“The ITC has a long history of being overly optimistic about our trade deals. Yet, even the ITC’s rosy projection paints a picture of the TPP that would be bad for American workers,” said Shane Larson, Legislative Director of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).  “Across the electorate and throughout the country, the public is coming out strongly against the TPP and for good reason. The TPP was based on a trade model that has led to lost manufacturing jobs, lower wages, and increased trade deficits. It’s no surprise that those outcomes are what the TPP will deliver.”

The TPP will be hot button issues during this coming election. We have already seen this in the Presidential primary process. People all across the country are challenging candidates to stand up in opposition to this disastrous trade deal now.

“The American public has made clear its overwhelming opposition to the TPP and the approach to trade it embodies, and now this report makes it even more clear why lawmakers of both parties should stand with the American people and loudly oppose the TPP,” Larson stated.

“This year voters across the country are clearly making trade an issue. Most Washington policymakers and politicians are out of touch with the lives of average Americans. The American public is sick and tired of economists projecting fantasies of prosperity for them when it’s primarily multinational corporations that benefit. On Main Street and in workplaces all across America, working Americans know firsthand the consequences of what economists experience in theory,” added Gerard of the USW.

“But in the end, this may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement. It is clear that the TPP will be DOA if Congress ever decides to bring it up,” Gerard stated.

This report clearly shows that the drawbacks to the TPP far out weight the meager benefits promised the US Trade Representative and the White House.

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