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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

Frank Guinta Violates FEC Regulations Yet Again, Triggers New FEC Complaint

The New Hampshire Democratic Party Files
FEC Complaint Against Frank Guinta

Concord, N.H. – On Monday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding Mr. Guinta’s violation of the terms of a Conciliation Agreement he had signed with the FEC just last year, and violation of federal law against using campaign funds for personal use. 

Guinta Is A Damned Liar

Front page editorial from Joseph McQuaid, Publisher of the Union Leader.

In the original FEC ruling, the FEC determined the money Guinta “loaned to his campaign,” was actually his parents money thus making the donation an illegal campaign contribution.

For years, Guinta lied to the people of New Hampshire about where they money came from. He repeatedly claimed he forgot about a savings account with over $350,000 in it. Later he claimed the money was a “family pot” that he was free to use.  The people of New Hampshire did not believe him and the FEC proved through their investigation, that he was lying.

The FEC and Guinta entered an agreement that the Guinta campaign would have to refund the $355,000 dollars to his parents and pay a minimal fine of $15,000.

According to the NHDP’s new complaint, the NHDP is alleging that the Guinta campaign gave some of the money intended to be returned to Guinta’s parents, to himself.

Former State GOP Chair, Fergus Cullen, was the first to highlight that Guinta put the money into an account within his control and listed the money deposited as an asset in his FEC disclosure statement.

“We think it’s important for the voters of New Hampshire to know that Frank Guinta continues to engage in this type of behavior, which is in violation of the law, and a violation of the agreement that he voluntarily entered into,” said former NHDP Chair Kathy Sullivan. 

Noting his vantage point as a former member of Congress, Paul Hodes stressed that “it’s really rule number one” for candidates not to mix campaign and personal funds.

The disturbing nature of these violations is the flagrant disregard for the law over several years and campaign cycles. “This is a pattern,” added NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley. “Frank Guinta and his campaign spokespeople have lied over the past four cycles. Why does anyone believe that the people of New Hampshire can trust anything that Frank Guinta says?”

Please see below for a copy of the complaint filed on Monday.

Link to Dan Tuohy’s Granite Status: Guinta’s most recent financial disclosure raises questions as noted in the complaint.

nhdp-guinta-fec-violation-1

nhdp-guinta-fec-violation-2

Congresswoman Annie Kuster, A True Fighter For America’s Veterans

Congresswoman Kuster’s Work for Veterans Praised in New Television Ad

In her second television ad of the 2016 cycle, a Nashua veteran praises Congresswoman Kuster’s work to secure affordable housing and jobs for homeless veterans in New Hampshire.  

In the ad, titled “Thank You,” John Elsten discusses his military experience and his living situation during his unemployment.  A Vietnam veteran, he was forced to sleep under bridges and in alleys in downtown Nashua after losing his job.  He was able to secure housing through the VA Supported Housing program, a rental assistance voucher program through the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that Congresswoman Kuster has worked to expand.  While touring a shelter in Nashua, Congresswoman Kuster met John, who was living and volunteering at the shelter.  She has made expanding affordable housing for homeless veterans in Nashua, Keene, Plymouth, and throughout New Hampshire a key part of her work to support Granite State veterans.

“I was heartbroken when I heard about John’s struggle, as well as the struggles of so many veterans like him, to find affordable housing and employment,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I fight every day to help veterans like John who have given so much to our country.  We have a solemn responsibility to support the brave men and women who have served our country, and that includes ensuring they have a roof over their head, as well as gainful employment and accessible health care.”

Click here to watch the ad

Addressing the problem of veteran homelessness is no small task. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that nearly 40,000 are homeless on any given night.  Specifically in New Hampshire, HUD estimates that there are between 123-138 homeless vets, many who are forced to live in temporary shelters.

Part of ending homelessness for our veterans in providing them with sustainable employment after they return. As the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans notes, “military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment. NCHV strongly believes that all programs to assist homeless veterans must focus on helping them obtain and sustain employment.”

About 1.4 million other veterans “are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing,” NCHV added.

Rep. Kuster talks with student veterans and higher education administrators today in Concord.

Rep. Kuster talks with student veterans and higher education administrators in Concord.

In January of 2016, Kuster met with student veterans and higher education administrators from across New Hampshire to discuss the importance of supporting veterans as they pursue higher education following the completion of their service. This discussion allowed Congresswoman Kuster to learn more about the work being done by New Hampshire colleges to implement education benefits, as well as to hear directly from student veterans about how she can best support them through her work in Congress.

“When our brave men and women return from their service in the Armed Forces, we must ensure that they have access to the tools they need to complete their education and to compete in today’s workforce,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “During today’s conversation, we were able to bring together student veterans and representatives from some of the Granite State’s top institutions of higher education to discuss how we can help returning veterans pursue their college education here in New Hampshire. We are lucky to have such a dedicated group of higher education leaders here in the Granite State who have done an incredible job supporting veterans seeking college degrees.”

As a member of the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Kuster has long worked to ensure that veterans have access to the resources necessary to support their transition back into civilian life and to pursue higher education after completing their service. Kuster has supported legislation for student veterans throughout her time in office, including the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013, which proposed allowing veterans to pay in-state tuition for out-of-state schools. This legislation passed the House of Representatives, and its provisions were later passed into law as part of another bill. 

In February, Kuster was pleased to announce that three bills she cosponsored had passed in the House of Representatives.

  • H.R. 2360, the Career Ready Student Veterans Act, will help ensure that educational and training programs serving our nation’s veterans meet state accreditation standards, protecting the quality of education provided for veteran students.
  • H.R. 2915, the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act, will direct the VA to identify suicide prevention programs that are proven to be most effective for female veterans in order to ensure the unique needs of women veterans are more effectively addressed.
  • H.R. 3036, the National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Act, will designate the September 11th Memorial at the World Trade Center as a national memorial, thereby awarding a grant of up to $25 million per fiscal year for the maintenance of the site.

To some politicians, taking care of our veterans is nothing more than lip service. They say they support veterans while they made deep cuts to social programs that help thousands of veterans avoid homelessness and help keep them from falling into poverty.

Congresswoman Kuster does not just talk about supporting veterans; she is fighting to ensure that we end veteran homelessness and provide the best opportunities for our veterans throughout their entire lives.

Business Economist And Industry Shill Now Chair Of Health Economics At UNH

unh-peter-paul-schoolThe University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics just hired one of the business industry’s biggest shills in the fight against raising the minimum wage.

Dr Joseph Sabia

Professor Joseph Sabia

Professor Joseph J. Sabia has been well quoted in newspapers for his work opposing the minimum wage. Lobbyists for the National Restaurant Association, the Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and the National Federation of Independent Business also use Sabia’s work to convince lawmakers to oppose any wage increases by saying it will kill jobs and hurt low-income workers.

The New Hampshire Union Leader just printed one of Sabia’s hit pieces in the editorial section of Friday’s paper. The editorial, “Another View — Joseph J. Sabia: The $15 minimum wage is an empty promise to the poor,” attempts to prove that raising the minimum wage will hurt New Hampshire families. He says that poor people are just lazy and there is not connection between the minimum wage and poverty.

A $15 minimum wage has been championed as an anti-poverty measure. But the majority of poor people do not work and will not benefit from a higher minimum wage. According to 2014 Census data, less than 40 percent of poor individuals actually work.”

This 40% lie has been busted by a variety of economic institutions. The Economic Policy Institute published a report in 2015 addressing this claim specifically and found that over 63% of those living in poverty do work.

Despite what some policymakers and pundits might have us believe, a significant share of the poor work. This means that policies that boost employment and wages are important and underappreciated tools for reducing poverty. To boost wage-growth and reduce poverty rates, a policy agenda must include provisions to raise the minimum wage, raise the overtime threshold, eliminate wage theft, and strengthen workers’ collective bargaining rights,” wrote Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

rick-berman

Richard Berman, Lawyer and Lobbyist

Professor Sabia and his work also have direct ties to Rick Berman’s public relations firm. Berman’s firm is widely known for their work pushing Right to Work, creating misleading -borderline untruthful- information about the minimum wage, and helps corporations like Wal-Mart block unionizing efforts.

In 1991, Berman founded the Employment Policies Institute that began lobbying against raising the minimum wage. “Berman also founded the Center for Consumer Freedom, which lobbies for meat, drink and tobacco industries, and the Center for Union Facts, which lobbies against unions,” wrote Ben Schiller at Fast Company online.

Sabia has been doing anti-minimum wage research for years at different colleges and universities across the country. Most recently he was at San Diego State University where he pumped out reports with grant money from Berman’s public relations firm.

Eric Lipton of the New York Times wrote about this in 2014:

Joseph J. Sabia, an associate professor of economics at San Diego State University, who has collected at least $180,000 in grant money from Mr. Berman’s group over the last eight years to deliver seven separate reports, each one concluding that increasing the minimum wage has caused more harm than good — or at least no significant benefit for the poor.

As noted above, in 1991, Berman created the Employment Policies Institute or EPI as they like to call themselves. If the acronym EPI rings a bell, that is what Berman wants. They did it intentionally to confuse people the Economic Policy Institute that has been publishing detailed economic reports for over 30 years and “whose staffers are very unhappy with the alphabetical confusion.”

The Employment Policies Institute is a wholly disingenuous group funded by companies that stand to lose from minimum wage increases,” wrote Ben Schiller at Fast Company online.

Why do Sabia and Berman’s Employment Policies Institute create these reports? To get them directly into the hands of the lobbyists who work for the corporations that fund Berman’s public relations firm.

What is clear is that the reports by the Employment Policies Institute are a critical element in the lobbying campaign against the increase in the minimum wage, as restaurant industry groups, in their own statements and news releases, often cite the institute’s reports, creating the Washington echo chamber effect that is so coveted by industry lobbyists,” continued Lipton of the New York Times.

You see the Employment Policies Institute is just another one of Berman’s nonprofit businesses in name only, as they do not have any employees. Berman’s public relations firm completes all of the work that is sent out by the Employment Policies Institute. Berman then bills “EPI” for his services and boom, corporate money laundering complete.

This arrangement effectively means that the nonprofit is a moneymaking venture for Mr. Berman, whose advertising firm was paid $1.1 million by the institute in 2012, according to its tax returns, or 44 percent of its total budget, with most of the rest of the money used to buy advertisements.

Berman has even created a new app for IPhone and Android to help employers fight against minimum wage increases.

If companies are worried that they might be forced to actually pay their workers enough to live, they have a willing ally in the Employment Policies Institute… Wage Engage allows business owners to track minimum wage legislation in states relevant to them, and to offer their opinion about the impact of such increases,” added Schiller(Read more about “Wage Engage”)  

Peter T Paul (UNH Photo Services)

Peter T Paul (UNH Photo Services)

Sabia was hired as Professor of Economics & Forrest D. McKerley Chair of Health Economics at the Peter T Paul College of Business and Economics. The school was recently renamed after UNH Alum and wealthy California businessman Peter T Paul after a very sizable donation to the school. In addition to having the school named after him, Paul also is a member of the school’s Board of Directors.

Many people do not know much about the man the school is named after. Paul founded Headlands Mortgage known for creating and selling “Alt-A” mortgages that many attributed to the financial collapse in 2007.

Headlands Mortgage, which he founded in 1986, called them Alt-A loans: Alternative “high-quality” loans. The California-based company examined the worth of the home and the down payment, the amount of cash in the bank, and the credit history, but was looser on income verification,” wrote Bob Sanders of the NH Business Review.

Paul sold his lucrative mortgage company to GreenPoint for “$473 million” reported Sanders.After selling GreenPoint, Paul started Paul Financial, which flourished and later failed, resulting in large losses for himself and his borrowers. And it became the target of a class-action truth-in-lending suit that was settled last November for $1.75 million.”

Then Paul decided he wanted to get more involved in New Hampshire politics. Paul created a Super PAC to support his friend and former UNH Business School Dean, Dan Innis in his run for Congress in 2014.

Mother Jones reported, “Paul created a super-PAC, New Hampshire Priorities PAC, and financed it with $562,000.

In 2014, Innis lost his primary bid for Congress to the corrupt Congressman Frank Guinta. This year, Innis chose to run for New Hampshire State Senate and guess whom he is bringing with him? 

“I am excited for the opportunity to refocus NH Priorities PAC on state races during the 2016 election cycle. In particular, the PAC will be focusing on recruiting and supporting candidates for the Executive Council, State Senate, and House of Representatives who are committed to offering fiscally responsible solutions to the issues impacting our great state,” wrote Peter T Paul on the NH Priorities PAC website.

So why do I find this newly hired economist to the University of New Hampshire so dubious? Because the minimum wage is one of the biggest issues driving this election cycle.

We have a Presidential election between Hillary Clinton, who supports a minimum wage increase and Donald Trump who says workers are already paid too much.

We have a US Senate race between Senator Kelly Ayotte who opposed minimum wage legislation in the Senate and Governor Maggie Hassan who has pushed for an increase in the minimum wage since her time in the NH State Senate.

We also have a Gubernatorial race between Executive Councilor Chris Sununu who opposes increasing the minimum wage in New Hampshire and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern who advocates for a higher minimum wage and suggested a baseline of $12 an hour. Van Ostern also says he will sign any increase to the minimum wage that passes the Legislature.

For the first time in many, many, many years we are really close to getting the Legislature to raise the minimum wage and that is scaring some of the greedy CEO’s who fund groups like Berman’s Employment Policies Institute.

They are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to cover up the truth about the benefits of raising the minimum wage. By convincing people that raising the minimum wage is wrong they are trying to convince voters to reject candidates who support the increase.

I refuse to let Berman, a D.C. front man for the restaurant and business industry, Peter T Paul, a wealthy Wall Street gambler from California, and Sabia, an economist for hire funded by grants from a fake “institute” tell me what is best for the people of New Hampshire.

None of these men have the best interests of working Granite Staters’ in mind when they are pushing their agenda. These men are only interested in maximizing their personal profits and taking from the hard working people struggling every day to get by.


Related Reading:

Fight Over Minimum Wage Illustrates Web of Industry Ties

Rick Berman and the Libertarian Shell Game

Senator Ayotte’s War On Women’s Health And Reproductive Rights

Senator Kelly Ayotte claims to be standing up for Granite State women but her votes on the “Blunt Amendment”, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood tell a very different tale.

Over the last five years in Washington, Sen. Ayotte voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including preventative care, birth control and cancer screenings.

She even submitted her own “women’s health” bill that women’s health experts called a “sham and an insult to women.” The bill would hurt women by making birth control more expensive–up to $600 more in out of pocket costs each year.

Increasing the cost of birth control does nothing to help women. When women are forced to pay more money out of pocket for their prescriptions, women lose while pharmaceutical companies line their pockets with their hard earned money.

So it comes as no surprise that Senator Ayotte has collected more than $200,000 dollars in campaign contributions from Big Pharma.

She also voted against allowing Americans to access safe and less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. She also blocked a measure that would help get more affordable generic drugs to market sooner.

“Kelly Ayotte has put her big pharma campaign backers ahead of the health of the people of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “We deserve a Senator who will put New Hampshire first, stand up to predatory pharmaceutical companies, and help increase access to affordable medications and health care overall.”

In addition to voting to defund Planned Parenthood six times, Ayotte has also voted to cut all funding to the Title X Family Planning Program, which helps fund 4,200 Family Planning Centers that provide access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and other preventive health care to many low-income women.

And Ayotte opposes a woman’s right to choose. She said, “I certainly believe that Roe [v. Wade] should be overturned,” and cosponsored a plan which would have allowed employers to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.

Some have speculated that Ayotte’s failure to do her job and confirm a new Supreme Court Justice is because she is waiting for Donald Trump to nominate a justice who will overturn Roe v Wade.

Kelly Tries To Deceive Voters About Her Support Of Women’s Health On The Campaign Trail

Kelly Ayotte’s campaign continues to perpetuate the myth that she supports women’s health care. When confronted about her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood, Kelly Ayotte has the same pivot –– that she’d redirect money to community health centers. But there are a few major problems with her canned response.

First, Ayotte has repeatedly voted against federal funds to support community health centers. She repeatedly voted against the Affordable Care Act that provided $11B over five years to support Community Health Centers across the nation.

Second, Planned Parenthood health centers serve an outsized role in meeting the family planning needs for those who rely on federally-funded health programs.

A recent report found that in the 491 counties served by a Planned Parenthood clinic, “Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all American women who receive birth control from safety-net clinics. In one-fifth of these counties, a Planned Parenthood site is the only family planning center for clients who rely on subsidized help.”

The report also found that, “Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of publicly supported safety-net family planning centers, they serve 36% of clients who obtain publicly supported contraceptive services from such centers.”

“Kelly Ayotte has spent six years voting to restrict access to women’s health care. Now that she’s up for reelection, she’s trying to moderate. The fact is that Ayotte’s votes against Title X funding and the ACA, have not only jeopardized care at Planned Parenthood health centers, they also aimed to restrict access to care for women and low-income families at the very Community Health Centers she claims to support. Granite Staters can see right through Kelly Ayotte’s election year politics,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund.

This week, Maggie for NH released a new ad, “Six Times,” highlighting the six times Ayotte has voted against Granite State women by voting against Planned Parenthood.

“Kelly Ayotte has a long record of standing with her political party at the expense of Granite State families, and her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and jeopardize access to critical health services including cancer screenings and birth control are yet another example,” said Maggie for NH Press Secretary Meira Bernstein. “Maggie Hassan believes that it’s unacceptable that politicians in Washington are still playing politics with women’s health care, and in the Senate, she will fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health decisions and to safely and affordably access health care.”

The Trump/Ayotte Ticket

Now Ayotte may not be endorsing Donald Trump for President, though she says she will vote for him, they are walking hand-in-hand attacking women’s health and reproductive rights.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump announced his support for Ayotte’s “sham” contraceptive bill that would force women to pay up to $600 more for their birth control prescriptions.

“Donald Trump’s support for (or is it an endorsement of?) Kelly Ayotte’s plan to make birth control more expensive makes it crystal clear that when it comes to undermining women’s healthcare Ayotte and Trump are in perfect agreement,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “New Hampshire women and people of all genders who care about access to affordable healthcare will reject this toxic ticket in the fall and send both Trump and Ayotte packing.”


More facts on Senator Ayotte’s war on women:

FACT: Ayotte has voted repeatedly to repeal the requirement that health insurance cover birth control without a copay.

FACT: At the urging of the Koch Brothers’ political arm, Kelly Ayotte voted to slash $1.3 billion from community health centers nationwide. This same bill would have also eliminated 750 community health center jobs in just New Hampshire.

FACT: The bill Ayotte touts regarding mammograms is dependent on the preventative care protections in the Affordable Care Act which Ayotte has voted five times to repeal. If Kelly Ayotte gets her way, 285,949 New Hampshire women will lose the guarantee that their insurance will cover preventative services like mammograms with no out of pocket costs.

FACT: Ayotte co-sponsored and voted for a measure that would have given employers the right to refuse insurance coverage for their employees of any medical treatments or services they disagree with–including birth control. This bill was opposed by the American Cancer Society because it would allow bosses to deny their employees coverage for important preventive health services.

FACT: On at least three different occasions, Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness legislation to ensure that women are paid equally for equal work.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, women make 76 cents for every dollar earned by men in New Hampshire. The numbers are worse for minority women: African American women earn 65 cents and Latinas 70 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

“Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness a whole bunch of times. And then, just for kitten-heel kicks, she and some of her fellow lady Republicans introduced their own adorable “Equal Pay” bill, which wouldn’t actually strengthen equal pay laws so much as weaken them by creating extra loopholes for employers. It’s like the same thing, only different,” wrote Kaili Joy Gray for Wonkette.

I Call Them Heroes Everyday, Not Just On September 11th

Today marks the anniversary one of the most horrific moments in our nations history. Many other blogs have been asking “Do you remember where you were on September 11th?.” I am sure we all remember what we were doing.  Those images of the airplanes being flown into the World Trade Center are forever imprinted in our memory. My question to you is “What else do you remember about September 11th?”

I remember the look of fear in my wife’s eyes as we watched in horror at the events of September 11th.  I remember faces of the people at ground zero running for their lives in a cloud of smoke and falling debris as the buildings began to collapse around them.  I remember seeing the police and firefighters rushing into those same collapsing building to search for people lost in the smoke.

Over the next few days we as Americans went through a significant shift. We continued to mourn the loss of those who died, while we rallied behind those brave men and women of the FDNY and NYPD. They continued to search the rubble for missing people. We began to refer to these brave men and women as the Hero’s of 9/11.

We vowed never to forget.

Now 15 years later the image of those three firefighters raising the American Flag of the remains of the World Trade Center, is one of the most memorable images of September 11th.  But now something else has happened. Those same brave firefighters are still called Heroes on the days surrounding 9/11, and called “Union Thugs” the other 360 days a year.

What has happened? What has changed in America that we went from buying FDNY shirts and hats, and donating money to the International Association of Firefighters to making them enemies of the country?

Why is government trying to demonize these brave heroic men and women.

So on this day, remember all of September 11th. Remember over 3000 men and women who died tragically. Remember those 600 first responders who also died as Heroes. The courageous men and women who put lives of others ahead of their own. Remember this when people refer to Firefighters and Police Officers as Union Thugs. They have and always be this countries HEROES.

That is something we should never forget.

9-11-firefighter-sept-11

(This post was originally written by Matt Murray in 2011 and only edited to reflect the current number of years since 9-11)

 

Andru Volinsky Wins Another Landmark Case For Adequate Funding Of Our Public Schools

NH Supreme Court Confirms That A Cap On Adequacy Grants To Public Schools Is Unconstitutional 

Since New Hampshire’s landmark school funding decision in 1993, known as the Claremont Decision, state and local municipalities have been battling over adequate funding for our public schools.

In the 2009-2010 legislative session, the legislature instituted a cap on how much the state would increase school funding to cities and towns. This cap meant that after a few years rapidly growing cities like Dover were no longer receiving adequate funding based on the number of students enrolled in the district.  Dover says the cap resulted in a loss of over $14 million dollars over the last seven years.

Andru Volinsky fullAndru Volinsky, who was lead council in the Claremont Decision, took Dover’s case to the State Supreme Court. Yesterday, the New Hampshire Supreme Court confirmed that the cap on education funding to public schools was unconstitutional.

“The importance of the case goes well beyond the payment of $1.5 million to city of Dover taxpayers and another $10 million to about 40 other communities,” said Andru Volinsky.  “The state Legislature sought to ignore the constitutional mandate to fairly fund schools as their predecessors did 25 years ago in the Claremont School Funding case.  The decision reaffirms that the constitutional requirement to fairly fund schools remains a state responsibility that the courts will carefully oversee.’

“Legislative indifference to the needs of school children and local property tax payers did not carry the day even though that is what the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, as intervenors, wanted to protect,” Volinsky added.  

After the ruling was sent out, Governor Maggie Hassan had this to say:

“When this case was originally filed last year, I agreed with the Attorney General’s determination that the funding levels for certain school districts in Fiscal Year 2016 were not legally defensible. The Superior Court’s decision today reaffirms the validity of concerns raised by communities about school funding levels as well as the Attorney General’s original determination.” 

“Meeting our obligations to local school districts is critical to ensuring the strong public education system necessary to helping our students develop the skills needed for success in the innovation economy. With a strengthening economy and a strong revenue surplus, I supported legislation earlier this year that would have addressed the concerns raised by communities, and I continue to be disappointed that the legislature did not come together to do the right thing for our students by fully funding adequacy in these districts. I continue to call on the legislature to meet our state’s obligation to pay these districts the money they are owed under the law, and my door is open to legislative leadership from both parties to discuss a way forward,” concluded Hassan. 

Senator David Watters of Dover introduced legislation in 2013 that recognized the injustice of the adequacy cap and raised the limit.  He introduced legislation in 2015 and 2016 to lift the cap completely, while working successfully to eliminate the cap in FY18

Image from 2014 of Senator David Watters (D-Dover)

Image from 2014 of Senator David Watters (D-Dover)

“I applaud the decision of the Superior Court and urge Senate President Morse and Speaker Jasper to forgo appeal and provide the funding as quickly as possible. It is far past time for the State to fulfill its constitutional duty to fund education adequacy fairly and fully,” said Watters 

 “With this ruling, Dover and students in other communities will no longer be shortchanged. I agree with the Governor: funding be provided immediately. If legislation is needed to provide the funding, I am prepared to introduce a bill as early as the Senate veto session on September 29,” Watters added. 

Senator Watters has worked closely with Mayor Weston, the Dover City Council, and the Dover School Board to fight for Dover’s funding. Senator Watters remarked: “Mayor Weston and city officials have fought tirelessly for our schools, and I am glad that our teamwork has culminated in this victory.”

Volinsky echoed Sen, Watters sentiment by adding, “The City of Dover, Mayor Weston and the members of the City Council, the Dover School Board, Sen. David Watters, and the Dover delegation to the House are all to be commended for their courage in challenging this latest effort to circumvent constitutional responsibilities and downshift to local communities the state’s duty to fairly fund education.”

Featured image of Dover City Hall by Alexius Horatius CC 2.0

New Polling Data Shows Trump Is Not As Favored By Union Members As He Says He Is

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Do Union members really support Donald Trump as much as Trump says they do? 

Donald Trump said and continues to reiterate, “I have tremendous support within unions…every poll shows it.

Everyone knows that Trump likes to stretch the truth a little and nobody loves Trump more than Trump, but the truth is that union members really don’t like the idea of a Trump presidency.

Today, the AFL-CIO released new internal polling data that shows “Trump is at 36 percent among union members in the five battleground states of FL, NV, OH, PA and WI.”  

Just as many other Americans are turning away from Trump’s extreme rhetoric and xenophobic statements, among union members Trump has lost over five points in these key states over the last two and a half months.   

“We are educating our members and demonstrating the dangers Trump’s reality show poses to our reality. It’s making a difference. And we’re not letting up,” wrote the AFL-CIO. “’Every poll shows it.’ He can keep saying it, but like most things with Trump, the claim is just hollow words – and it won’t come true on Election Day.”

Trump is really not as pro-union as he claims.

Culinary Union 226Union members across the country are watching the ongoing labor dispute between Trump’s Las Vegas Hotel and the Culinary Workers local 226 (Unite Here) as real guide to how Trump works, or doesn’t work, with unions.

In April, after Trump Hotel Las Vegas disputed the union election, the Regional Director for the office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) covering Las Vegas overruled the Trump Hotel Las Vegas and certified the Culinary and Bartenders Union as the legal collective bargaining representatives to the more than 500 workers at the hotel.

Since then Trump Hotel Las Vegas has tried to “negate their employees’ right to unionize and instead of recognizing the results of the federal government union election, hotel management has undertaken a hostile anti-union campaign” wrote the Culinary Workers Union in recent press release. “Employees of the Trump Hotel Las Vegas are calling on their boss, the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, and co-owner Phillip Ruffin to negotiate a fair union contract.”

The Culinary Workers Union is also working to “educate and inform the travel industry about the serious ongoing and escalating labor dispute” at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

In July, the Culinary Workers Union and AFSCME teamed up to hold a rally highlighting Trump’s union busting tactics.  Maria Mendoza was one of the thousands who showed up to protest the Trump’s failure to negotiate.

“I work hard everyday, but with the low wages I’m paid, I really struggle to provide for my daughters,” said Maria Mendoza, a guest room attendant at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas. “Mr. Trump says that he wants to ‘Make America Great Again,’ but I work for him and want him to negotiate a union contract so my coworkers and I can have fair wages, job security, and good health benefits.

Culinary Trump Protest

The ongoing battle between union members and Trump’s Las Vegas hotel is not the only thing that union member have taken offense to. Earlier in the campaign Trump professed his love for “Right to Work.”  Trump told the crowd that Right to Work is “better for the people” and “gives great flexibility to the companies.”

Union members have been fighting for decades against these so-called Right to Work laws. Right to Work (for less) does nothing but lower wages, reduces a workers chance to have any type of retirement benefit, weakens collective bargaining, and is just a tool to bust unions.

So-called Right to Work laws hurt all workers.

“The average worker in states with Right to Work laws makes $5,971 (12.2 percent) less annually than workers in states without right to when all other factors are removed than workers in other states,” stated the AFL-CIO.

Trump’s continued support of anti-worker policies like Right to Work and his company’s refusal to negotiate with workers will only drive down his support among union workers further.

Donald Trump Right to Work

Labor Day Message: Stand Strong Against Anti-Labor Politicians And Greedy Executives

Once again Labor Day is upon us.

Let me start by thanking all of the strong dedicated union members of the past who fought and died for our rights and many of the protections and benefits workers enjoy today. Without their strength and solidarity we would not have weekends, healthcare, OSHA, or vacation time, just to name a few (better list in image below).

Over the past thirty years corporate executives used union members as scapegoats to hide the fact that they are siphoning more of the profits for themselves. CEO’s blame workers as they ship our jobs overseas to boost their own salaries. CEO’s in the United States make on average 300 times that average worker in his or her own company. This is obscene and is more than double the next highest country on the list. Profits and productivity continue to go up, yet wages go down as the executives and their Wall Street buddies reel in the cash.

CEO to Worker Country

Politicians began to attack working people to avoid being forced to increase taxes on their corporate campaign donors. They rig the system so that working people are forced to pay more into a retirement system that pays them less in the end. They “borrow” from our retirement systems to balance their budgets and then refuse to pay back the loan. They pass laws making it harder for workers to organize and form union because they know that unorganized people are easier to steamroll.

Combined, the greed of Corporate America and their political puppets have created the greatest level of income inequality in U.S. history.

The thing that many people do not seem to understand it that stronger unions benefit all workers.

A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute showed that if union density had remained at level as they were in the 1979, nonunion men lacking a college degree would be making $3,000 more annually.

What appears to be an attack on unions is really thinly veiled attack on all working people.

These politicians and corporate overlords are no friends to working people. They only care about one thing, money. CEO’s say, “How much money will moving this factory to China boost my stock options?” Politicians say, “How many campaign donations will I get if I can pass this law to stop workers from organizing?”

As the 2016 elections bear down on us, we need to remember to only support those who put working people first. Those who will fight to protect our rights to collectively bargain, will work to maBottom Upke it easier for workers to organize, will advocate for Project Labor Agreements, fight to protect our retirement systems, and work to ensure that all working people have access to affordable healthcare.

We need to fill our State House and Senate will representatives who pledge to support working people not out of state special interests.

It is the “down ticket” candidates who have the biggest impact on our daily lives. That is why this year I am voting from the bottom up and I encourage you to do the same.

Over the next few weeks take the time to do a little research on the candidates running for State Rep and State Senate. See where they stand on issues like the Minimum Wage (1, 2, 3), Medicaid Expansion (1) and Prevailing Wage (1) legislation. If they oppose these and support so-called Right to Work legislation, they are no friend to working people and should not be elected.

36 Things

Local Massachusetts Union Shirt Manufacturer Featured In New Clinton Campaign Ad

New England Shirt Company ShirtIn New Ad, U.S. Shirtmaker Criticizes
Trump for Outsourcing Jobs, Making Products Overseas

Small Business Owner: ‘Trump Says He’ll Make America Great Again
While He’s Taking the Shirts Right Off Our Backs’

new Hillary for America television ad set to air this week features a Massachusetts shirt manufacturer who employs more than 60 people criticizing Donald Trump for outsourcing jobs to make his products, including shirts, abroad. In the ad, Robert Kidder, the owner of New England Shirt Company in Fall River, says, “This factory has been here since 1883. We have over 60 people here making shirts labeled ‘Made in America,’ but Donald Trump’s brand of shirts come from China, his suits from Mexico, his coats from India.”

Going back to the colonial era, Fall River, Mass., has been central to America’s textile industry, and the New England Shirt Company remains the oldest operating ready-to-wear shirt manufacturer in America. Not only has New England Shirt Company been making shirts in Fall River for over 130 years, but they are also proudly union. Workers are represented by The New England Joint Board, a region group of UNITE HERE locals and “is one of the largest unions in the region representing manufacturing workers.”

Textile manufacturing unions in New England were some of the first and strongest unions in the country in the late 1800 and early 1900s.  Women and children slaved in the mills from Manchester, New Hampshire, through Lawrence, Massachusetts, through Lowell, Massachusetts, and all the way down to New York City.

Unions like the The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) fought for workplace safety, shorter workdays, and for two full days of rest a week.  Workers banded together and pushed the Massachusetts legislature to pass strong labor like and to be the first to pass child labor laws that prevented children from working in the mills.  Laws that were later passed nationally as part of the National Labor Relations Act.

In 1976,  The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America merged to form UNITE who in 1996 merged with HERE, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, becoming UNITE HERE.

The ad, ‘Shirts,’ joins a previously released ad, “Some Place,” in spotlighting Trump’s long history of making Trump-branded products outside of America as part of a concerted effort over the past month to contrast Trump’s hypocritical business record with Hillary Clinton’s agenda to make the economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. The new ad follows Clinton’s announcement Tuesday of new plans to jumpstart small business startups and strengthen small business growthKidder, the small business owner, closes the new ad, “Donald Trump says he’ll ‘make America great again’ while he’s taking the shirts right off our backs.”

Watch ‘Shirts’

The 30-second ad is a part of and ad buy in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Clinton has pledged make the largest investment in job creation since World War II in her first 100 days in office and has proposed a comprehensive “Make It In America” strategy to boost U.S. manufacturing and crack down on corporations that ship jobs overseas.

WMUR Still Refuses To Negotiate With Unionized Workers, NH Dems Plan To Boycott Debates

Fair Contract With WMUR

WMUR Local 1228 members at an informational picket in 2015

NH Democrats boycott of WMUR sponsored debates unwavering 

WMUR Channel 9 studio staff Directors and Production Technicians formed a Union to improve their wages and working conditions at the Hearst owned station back in April of 2015 and have been trying to bargain their first Contract ever since. The Union has proposed either leaving the workers in the pension they are in or moving them to the Hearst Union Pension Plan that 12 other WMUR employees are already in. The company is refusing to do that simply because they formed a Union.

After months of negotiations WMUR refused to include the workers in their pension.  The union began to call for help from some powerful allies.

By the end of 2015, the First in the Nation Primary was really heating up in New Hampshire as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were battling for the top spot in the coveted NH Primary.  The two were set to face off in a WMUR sponsored debate on December 19th when Clinton, O’Malley, and Sanders heard about the struggles of the WMUR workers.  All three sent letters to Jeff Bartlett, WMUR’s station manager, urging them reopen negotiations with the IBEW Local 1228 workers.

IBEW Local 1228 Business Manager Fletcher Fischer said,  “We want to thank both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns for their support so far, and look forward to their continued efforts to help our workers hold onto what they already have. We are simply asking for status quo pension conditions. For these talented, dedicated and loyal workers, this is a giant slap in the face.”

Then Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, chair of the Democratic National Party, contacted WMUR where WMUR/Hearst lied to her about who was failing to negotiate.  She was told that the union, not WMUR/Hearst was refusing to negotiate before the debate.

“I find it unbelievable that WMUR/Hearst lied to Debbie Wasserman Schultz about our willingness to settle this contract since they have little or no regard for workers who just want to keep the pension they already have”, Fischer said.

All of the candidates and the DNC agreed to boycott the debate unless WMUR was removed as a sponsor of the debate and agreed to negotiate with the newly elected union.

ABC and Hearst caved to the DNC. “As a result of WMUR’s unwillingness to move forward on scheduling negotiations between the Hearst Corporation and Production Department employees represented by IBEW Local 1228 prior to the debate, we will no longer include WMUR as a co-sponsor of the debate,” said Wasserman-Schultz and New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

“WMUR management’s refusal to meet in good faith with its employees stands in gross violation of that principle so I’m pleased that DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and N.H. Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley have taken this step,” stated IBEW International President Lonnie R. Stephenson 

After the debate was concluded the members of IBEW Local 1228 did meet with WMUR but still could not reach an agreements.  Now nearly 10 months later, and well over 15 months since they started negotiating, there still is no contract.

Today, the NH Democratic Party reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the WMUR workers, by continuing to boycott WMUR sponsored debates.

“We told WMUR Station Management earlier this year that New Hampshire Democratic candidates would not participate in WMUR sponsored debates as long as the negotiations between the Union Production workers and Hearst were not resolved.” said Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “We have not changed our position and the station knows it.”

Hearst media is well known for their strong anti-union stance going all the way back to the Newsboys strike of 1899.  They continue to punish workers who elect to unionize.

“Hearst hasn’t allowed a bargaining unit of reporters in Pittsburgh who unionized in 2012 into their Union pension plan, and are still fighting for their first contract. Hearst says they’re not about to do it for the WMUR production workers.” said Fletcher Fischer, Business Manager of IBEW Local 1228 who represents the workers.

Hearst and WMUR are raking in millions as they refuse to add the 12 unionized employees to their already existing pension plan.

Screen ShotA report by Ad Age (analysis of data from Kantar Media’s CMAG — see attachment) showed that WMUR has either sold or has scheduled $34,768,054.00 in political advertising. They are number one in the top ten stations for money spent and/or booked on presidential campaign ads to date (from April 5, 2015 through Nov. 7, 2016) as of June 2016.

“Despite these tens of millions in revenue to Hearst owned WMUR, the Hearst Company is trying to steal the pensions of 10 workers who make the product that generates the ad revenues. This is nothing short of cruel corporate greed and overt union busting.” said Glen Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

Local 1228 also represents the Photographers, Master Control Operators and Live Truck Operators at WMUR. “The production workers are thankful that the New Hampshire Democrats for standing up for working people in the state against the Hearst money machine. It would be refreshing if the Republican candidates would do the same. After all, if the Contract is not settled in a month or so, Republican candidates will have to debate on whatever station the Democrats contract with.” said Fischer.

WMUR has long been the station of record for political coverage in New England, but Hearst’s stand against their workers has given the station a black eye. In December of 2015, the Democratic National Committee removed them as a sponsor of the Democratic Presidential debate in Manchester. To date, there have been no WMUR sponsored or broadcast political debates.

The IBEW informed us that as of today, no bargaining dates are scheduled. The Company said they would not be available throughout August.

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