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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

Trump Nominates Fast Food CEO As Sec of Labor And House Labor Committe Chair Implies Unions Are Obsolete

Image by Chris Potter ccpixs.com

Image by Chris Potter ccpixs.com

As if this incoming train-wreck we call President-Elect Trump is not bad enough two more horrible things happened last night.

First, Trump is considering the head of a fast food chain as his new Secretary of Labor.

Second, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the newly elected chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce said we don’t need unions anymore.

The Hill is reporting that President-Elect Trump is considering Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor.

Puzder is a CEO of CKE Restaurants (Carls Jr / Hardees) and is an outspoken opponent of President Obama’s changes to the overtime rule, “claiming it will force employers to offset costs by making cuts elsewhere.”

“In an op-ed that ran in Forbes in May, Puzder said the rule adds to the ‘extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers.’”

As the head of a multi-national fast food chain with over 20,000 employees Puzder has also used his position to advocate against raising the minimum wage. He has threatened to fire workers and replace them with automated kiosks if the government increases the minimum wage. A threat that many fast food corporations have been using to counter the Fight for $15 movement.

Puzder will say anything to protect CKE’s profits that rose by 30% last year and his $4.4 million dollar compensation package.

According to PayScale.com the average fast food worker makes between $7.24 and $9.92 per hour. This means that Andrew Puzder makes more in one day ($17.250) that the average Carls Jr. worker make in a year.

Coincidentally, 52% of full-time workers who make between $7.42 and $9.91 must rely on some type of government assistance to survive. People like Savino, who works 72 hours a week, at a Brooklyn grocery store and still doesn’t make enough to get by.

“Sometimes things are so bad that I have to decide—should I pay rent this month, or should I eat?” said Savino.

“When employers pay wages so low that working people have to turn to public assistance to make ends meet, they’re effectively receiving a subsidy from taxpayers,” said EPI economic analyst David Cooper. “Policies that raise wages would free up resources that could then be used to strengthen anti-poverty programs or make investments in any number of other policy priorities. The simplest way we can do this is by raising the federal minimum wage.”

Within the next few months we could have a new Secretary of Labor who opposes raising the minimum wage and we could have a Labor Committee chair that says unions are obsolete.

Representative Virginia Foxx told Reuters “Organized labor has ‘sort of lost its reason for being’ and one of her committee’s top priorities will be to roll back a slew of Obama administration labor initiatives.”

“At the top of her agenda is the U.S. Labor Department rule that would extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers” wrote Robert Iafolla for Reuters.

What a strange coincidence, that is exactly what the potential Sec. of Labor wants to do as well.

Foxx is also targeting the NLRB decision on “joint employment.” This is the rule that “could make it easier for unions and regulators to hold companies accountable for the employment practices of staffing agencies, contractors and franchisees with which they partner. That issue has been most prominently in play in a case involving McDonald’s Corp over whether it, as well as its franchisees, can be held liable in complaints about the violation of employee rights,” Iafolla explained.

The change to the “joint employment” rule is to stem the growing trend of hiring workers as “independent contractors” to avoid having to pay any benefits or be held responsible for any labor or safety violations. This would also hold corporations accountable for the actions of their franchisees.

Together, Puzder and Foxx will put a massive target on the backs of working people. They want to undo all of the progress we have made in the fights to raise the minimum wage and expand workers rights.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together to push back against this anti-worker agenda. We must fight back against the oligarchs that President-Elect Trump is filling his Cabinet with. We cannot sit idly by while the super-wealthy reap all the rewards from our hard work. We need to keep organizing and redouble our efforts in the Fight for $15.

We are all in this together.

We still are the 99% and we must make our voices heard.

A New Report On ‘The Wage Gap’ Show More Problems Than Just Equal Pay For Equal Work

Today, the national survey group PayScale.com just released a massive new report on the Gender Wage Gap. The Wage Gap is the difference between what men and women are paid on average. The report surveyed upwards of 1.8 million people to gather the best and broadest cross-section of workers.

The results showed many similarities to data gathered from other researchers. Overall they found that the wage gap shrank slightly to 23.7% in 2016 from 25.6% in 2015.

To be clear this is just the raw data. PayScale.com took the average of all the male workers and compared them to the average of female workers and found that women made on average 23.7% less than men.

uncontrolled-wage-gapThis image shows the wage gap state-by-state.

The data analysts at Payscale did not stop there. They dug much deeper into their own data to find some very interesting results. They started by controlling for factors like education and years of experience to find out if women are actually paid equally for equal work.

“Using our proprietary compensation algorithm, we are able to estimate a controlled median pay for females by adjusting for outside compensable factors across gender (years of experience, education, company size, management responsibilities, skills, and more), and calculate the difference in pay between similar men and women working the same jobs,” said Katie Bardaro, Lead Economist and VP of Data Analytics, PayScale.

When they controlled for these specific items they found that the wage gap shrank dramatically to 2.4% nationally. This means that even women working in the same job, with the same level of education, the same level of experience are still being paid 2.4% less than men in the same jobs.

PayScales data shows that some states are better than others when it comes to equal pay for equal work. For example, Connecticut has a controlled wage gap of just 0.4% while Louisiana has a controlled wage gap of 7.0%. Again, this means a woman in Louisiana is paid 7% less than a man in the same job with the same level of experience and education.

controlled-wage-gapThis image shows a state-by-state breakdown of the wage gap after being controlled.

At first I was confused by these results. The data clearly shows that there definitely is a wage gap but not nearly as much when compared job-to-job.

So why is there a 23% wage gap overall and a controlled wage gap of 2.4%? PayScale’s data also revealed some intriguing answers to that question.

PayScale found that 18% of women overall reported being passed up for a promotion or a pay raise because of their gender compared to only 3% of men.

The problem is even worse for women with higher levels of education. The data shows that 35% of women with an MBA said they have been passed up for a raise or promotion because of their gender.

gender-raise-by-education

PayScale also broke down the percentage of women who have been passed up for raises and promotion by state. Utah topped the list with nearly 30% of female respondents saying they have been passed up for a raise or promotion.

passed-up-data-state-by-state

PayScale also found that women are less likely to get higher-level, higher-paying jobs.

“As workers age, men become significantly more likely to enter into management roles, with men being 25 percent more likely than women to be in management roles mid-career (age 35-40) and over 41 percent more likely late career (age 60-65),” said Bardaro. “The differences become starker as we move from mid- to upper-management.”

“Though the percentages are roughly the same for Managers/Supervisors and Directors, men are 85 percent more likely than women to be VPs or C-Suite Execs mid-career, and 171 percent more likely late in the career,” Bardaro added.

individual-contributor-levelmanagement-levelexecutive-level

Though it appears we as a nation have made great progress in closing the wage gap between men and women in equal job levels there are still serious systemic problems that create a much larger wage gap for women. Because women are still being passed over for raises and executive level promotions the overall wage gap will continue to plague working women for years to come.  To truly address the wage gap we need to also address the systemic gender discrimination that prohibits women from rising up the economic ladder.


One more bit of data I think should be mentioned. When controlled for education and job type one industry has virtually eliminated the wage gap.  Nationally the Wage Gap is 2.4% but among those in “Education Services” the gap is .6%.

Could it be because they workforce is predominantly female? Could it be because they have strong union contracts that ensure pay equity for years of experience and education levels?  Could it be because more and more women are taking higher administration jobs?

The answer to all of the above questions is YES.  Strong unions, a diversified workforce and upward mobility lead to the elimination of the wage gap.

Rough Road Ahead: Republicans Take Governor, House And Senate In NH

All the votes have been counted and we are looking at a very rough road ahead.

With the election of Donald Trump we will see a revived national effort to cut taxes for business, cut regulations on environmental protections, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Here in New Hampshire we about to enter a new era of Republican control.  The NH Senate stayed the same with 14 Republicans and 10 Democrats. In the House, Democrats picked up a few seats but are still in the minority (235-165). With Governor-elect Chris Sununu’s win, we can expect a fast and furious legislative attack on many of the programs working people fought for.

From Dan Touhy’s Granite Status on the election results:

WHAT DOES IT all mean for New Hampshire? Watch for some Republican policy initiatives to be pitched with gusto. In Concord, that includes a return of right-to-work legislation, the “constitutional carry” firearms bill, and proposed business tax reform.

State Rep. Fred Doucette, R-Salem, said veterans issues and tackling the state’s opioid and heroin epidemic are two of his priorities in the coming legislative session.

The combination of a Republican President and Republican controlled Congress could mean the end of the ACA which could mean the end of the New Hampshire Health Partnership Program that protects more than 50,000 Granite Staters.  Even without the repeal of the ACA, Sununu and many of his cohorts in the Legislature have already suggested ending the program in New Hampshire.

The question now is; What other attacks will working people face in the coming year?

Besides Right to Work will Republicans try to repeal our collective bargaining rights like they did in the O’Brien era of 2011-12? Will they attempt to reduce benefits for retiree’s and force workers to contribute more to the pension system?  Will they force through their so-called “school choice” legislation that takes public funds and gives it to private and religious institutions? Will they continue to attack a woman’s right to choose and to attack women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood?

It is time to start organizing so we will be ready when Sununu and his fellow Republicans begin their assault on workers.

Federal Unions Vow To Continue Fighting For Workers After Trump’s Election Win

Millions of Americans are still reeling from the results of the Presidential election.  All but one of the federal unions endorsed Clinton in the Presidential election and are continuing their efforts in spite of the heartbreaking loss.

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) members have been fighting the Republican controlled Congress and their attacks on federal workers.  AFGE has spoken out against cuts to the VA and repealing members right to due process.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. vowed to continue fighting for workers rights and the protection of government services.

“The American people have spoken and elected Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. As public servants, federal employees work for the American people and will continue to carry out the missions of their agencies under the Constitution and law.

“AFGE will continue to fight for workers’ rights and for the programs and services government employees deliver for the American people. That never changes no matter who sits in the White House.

“We ‎will work with the Trump administration on areas of common ground, as we have with every administration for generations. AFGE remains the leading advocate on behalf of the federal workforce and the incredible service provided to our nation by the dedicated civil servants we represent.”

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) have also been outspoken in their opposition to cuts in the federal budget that have forced employee furloughs and government shutdowns.

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert pledge to continue to work toward a stable funding system for the National Airspace System that would remove the threat of forced closures and provide the agency the ability needed to address critical staffing issues.

NATCA remains cautiously optimistic that they will be able to work with President-Elect Trump to continue their collaborative efforts within the FAA and the Department of Transportation.

“We congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on their victory.”

“Our National Airspace System (NAS) is the world’s safest and most efficient. It provides 11.8 million jobs and creates $1.5 trillion in total economic activity, contributing over five percent to the United States Gross Domestic Product. We look forward to working with the new Administration to secure a stable, predictable funding stream for the NAS. This will be essential to protecting the system and the workforce that safeguards it, while also implementing modernization efforts and providing air travelers the safety and professionalism they deserve.”

“We also look forward to working with the new Administration to further advance the tremendously successful collaborative relationship we’ve built with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation over the last eight years, which has yielded positive results for the American people.”

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, though disappointed in the outcome of the election, accepts the decision of the American people.  The AFL-CIO will attempt to work with President-elect Trump on issues of trade and restoring American manufacturing.

Donald Trump has been elected president. America is a democratic nation, and the voters have spoken. The AFL-CIO accepts the outcome of this election, and offers our congratulations to President-elect Trump. More than anything, this election is an indictment of politics as usual.

For too long, the political elites have embraced economic policies that hold down wages, increase inequality, diminish opportunity and ship American jobs overseas. Voters in both the primary and general election have delivered a clear message: enough.

The President-elect made promises in this campaign—on trade, on restoring manufacturing, on reviving our communities. We will work to make many of those promises a reality.  If he is willing to work with us, consistent with our values, we are ready to work with him.

But make no mistake, we can never back down from our values. The presence of racism, misogyny, and anti-immigrant appeals caused damage in this campaign and we must all try to repair it with inclusion, decency and honesty.

As we move forward, the labor movement is committed to defending our American democracy. Ultimately, the fundamental duty of America’s President, symbolized by swearing to uphold our Constitution, is to protect and preserve our democracy and the institutions that make it real.  We hope to work with President Elect Trump to help him carry out this solemn responsibility. Regardless, America’s labor movement will protect our democracy and safeguard the most vulnerable among us. 

This election is a statement about our broken economic and political rules. Therefore, the work of the labor movement continues with fresh urgency. The change voters cried out for in this campaign can be found by standing together in unions. The election is over. But we are more committed than ever to helping working people win a voice on the job and in our democracy.

We will never stop striving to represent everyone, fighting for basic human dignity, expanding our diversity and growing our ranks to give working people a strong, united voice.

Working people are in for a bumpy ride over the next few years.  We must stay vigilant and continue to organize to fight back against whatever President-elect Trump and his Republican controlled Congress throws our way.

The NH Labor News Take On New Hampshire’s Candidates For 2016

The election is only days away and I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about who I think you should vote for and why.

President:

Hillary Clinton

Hillary is highly qualified to be President having spent years in politics. She is a smart woman and a smart politician, both of which are needed to get things done in Washington. She also supports; raising the minimum wage, opposes the TPP, supports a workers right to organize and collectively bargain, supports women’s rights and the right to make their own healthcare decisions, wants to make college more affordable while allowing those with student loans to refinance them to a lower rate, and she has laid out a massive infrastructure plan to put millions of people to work rebuilding roads, bridges, electricity lines, internet availability and more.

Her opponent, Donald Trump, has no political experience outside of buying politicians to protect his wealth. Basically he opposes everything above and is in my opinion, completely unstable. I fear that a Trump Presidency would throw us into another world war that would end with Trump launching nuclear weapons and completely destroying everyone on the planet.

There are third party options but I am not a fan of them either.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, supports the idea that we do not need things like drivers licenses, environmental regulations on corporations, and thinks we should eliminate the minimum wage completely because you know “free market” and stuff.

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, is a very liberal progressive. Her campaign mirrors many of the ideas supported by Senator Bernie Sanders in the Presidential primary. She has a built her campaign on jobs and protecting the environment. The biggest difference between Sanders and Stein is the years of elected experience Sanders has. She lacks any real elected experience and many say she is weak on foreign policy. Since Sanders lost the primary, Sanders and Clinton have worked together to adopt many of the policies that Sanders and Stein were pushing in the primary. Because of the collaboration between Sanders and Clinton on policy issues, I think Clinton is the better choice over Stein.

New Hampshire Governor:

Colin Van Ostern

The Governor of New Hampshire is a very important and powerful position in our state and we must elect the right person for the job. Van Ostern has strong business and political experience and is uncompromising on his values. He has been an outspoken advocate for expanding the state’s Medicaid program and protecting the 50,000 people currently receiving healthcare through the program. He also supports a higher minimum wage and opposes anti-worker laws like the so-called Right to Work bill.

Van Ostern was also instrumental in ending the FairPoint communication strike that lasted for months. He blocked a proposed state contract with FairPoint until the strike was resolved and that was enough to get FairPoint to sit back down with workers and settle their dispute.

Van Ostern has continually voted in support of Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decision. He voted against defunding the program and with Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, continued to push the issue until another vote was held to restore their funding. Unlike Chris Sununu, Van Ostern held fast to his principles to support Planned Parenthood when Republicans like Sununu were spreading lies and attacking Planned Parenthood over a misleading and false videotape.

Chris Sununu comes from a political family, the New Hampshire version of the Bush family, so it is only natural that he is trying to move up the ladder. He claims to be an environmental engineer but does not believe man has any impact on climate change. Reports also came out that Sununu might not have ever had a license as a professional engineer in NH. He was also gifted the CEO position at Waterville Valley after his family purchased the ski resort. Waterville Valley has continued to fall in ski resort rankings and continues to loose visitors every year. This is not the type of leadership we want in the corner office.

US Senate:

Maggie Hassan

Hassan has been a strong leader as Governor of New Hampshire for the last four years. She worked with the Republican controlled legislature to expand Medicaid.  Though she was blocked by Senate Republicans she pushed for higher minimum wage law and stronger protections for working people.

Kelly Ayotte is a bought and paid for politician who is only out for herself.  She voted 90% of the time with her campaign donors, the Koch Brothers.  She opposes increasing the minimum wage, she wants to repeal a woman’s right to choose, blocked those with high student debt from being able to refinance their loans.  She has also been sitting for over 100 days now without holding any meetings or hearings on the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Ayotte is just one example of why nothing is moving in Washington. She voted down party lines and has continued to block President Obama at every turn resulting in years of gridlock.  It is time for Ayotte to go.

The First Congressional District:

Carol Shea-Porter

There is no doubt in my mind that we should reelect Carol Shea-Porter to represent us in Washington. She is a proven fighter for working people and a protector of our planet. She supports expanding Social Security, lowering college tuition costs, higher minimum wage, and was in Congress when the Affordable Care Act was passed so she will continue to support and expand on the ACA.

Her honesty and integrity knows no bounds. In a race with a “Damned liar” and a “Lying carpetbagger from NY,” honesty is a vital part of this election. Congressman Guinta was caught breaking FEC regulations even after he lied about it for years. Shawn O’Connor is simply trying to buy his way into Congress and has lobbed some nasty false accusations at Shea-Porter before he left the Democratic Party to run as an Independent who will caucus with “whoever is in power.”

The Second Congressional District:

Congresswoman Annie Kuster

For four years Congresswoman Annie Kuster has represented the Second District in Washington and she should continue to do so for at least another two years. She is a strong advocate for workers and women’s rights. As a part of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Kuster has continued to fight for our Veterans, ensuring they get all that was promised to them and helping to fight the chronic problem of PTSD that is plaguing many of our Veterans.

As for her opponent, Jim Lawrence, his is your run of the mill TEA Party anti-government Republican. He is the typical smaller government politician who puts corporations above working people. In a recent debate Lawrence opposed a Congressional inquiry to the pharmaceutical industries involvement in the current heroin and opioid epidemic. 

Local Races:

Bottom UpLastly, there are over 400 House races, 24 Senate races and 5 Executive Council races so I cannot possibly tell you about each of them. I implore you to look at the candidates and see what they are saying. These races will have the most impact on your daily life in the next two years and beyond.

Look at where these candidates stand on the issues that matter to working people: Minimum Wage, healthcare and the Medicaid Expansion, expanding rail service, Right to Work, supporting a women’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, and protecting our environment.

To ensure that these local races are not forgotten, I recommend that you do what I am going to do and vote from the bottom up. 

Do your research and then get out and vote.

Lying Carpetbagger From NY, Shawn O’Connor, Gets Backing Of Right-Wing Super PAC

‘Independent’ Candidate For New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, Shawn O’Connor, Gets Advertising Mailer Sent Out
By Peter T. Paul’s NH Priorities PAC

O’Connor also released a new ad that lies about Shea-Porter taking money from a “sponsor of terrorism”

As the election draws to a close, some candidates are slinging the mud as fact as their little hands can muster.  Shawn O’Connor, the millionaire carpetbagger from New York who now lives in Bedford has hit a new low.

Early this week, O’Connor released a new TV ad that said, “Shea-Porter has taken $140,000 from a lobbying organization that supports Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism which funds ISIS.” The ad claims that, J Street, a progressive pro-Israel group is actually a pro-Iranian group and a sponsor of terrorism.

The people over at the Daily Kos were quick to debunk this lie and shed a little more light on the subject.

“…Last year, back when he was still a Democrat, O’Connor traveled to J Street’s offices in D.C. and sought the group’s endorsement! For him to turn around now and tell rank lies about an organization whose support he tried to earn is truly craven.”

Then yesterday people in the first district started to receive mail from the Peter T Paul’s NH Priorities PAC in support of O’Connor, highlighting O’Connor’s endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders campaign for President.  It should be noted that the Bernie Sanders for President steering committee openly endorsed Carol Shea-Porter for Congress.

 

oconnor-adoconnor-ad-2If you do not know much about Peter T Paul and his political involvements, we talked about him in a recent post entitled: Business Economist And Industry Shill Now Chair Of Health Economics At UNH.

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 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.

Now it appears that Peter T Paul is helping his fellow Wall Street buddy buy a seat in Congress, after his last candidate failed to beat Guinta in a primary.

filingMake no mistake, the NH Priorities PAC is not a progressive organization and though the mailer was sent out in support of O’Connor, they do not support any of Bernie Sanders progressive ideas like taxing Wall Street or increasing the Minimum Wage.  Peter T Paul helped institute Joseph Sabia, a well know shill for the restaurant industry who writes economic reports about the ill effects of raising the minimum wage, into a high powered position at the Peter T Paul school of Business and Economics at UNH.

Look deeper, this ad is not really to support O’Connor who is barely breaking double-digits in statewide polling, but to attack Carol Shea-Porter.  If they can trick enough people into believing that O’Connor is a pro-Bernie progressive they might be able to steal just enough votes from Shea-Porter to allow the real candidate they want to win, Republican Frank Guinta.

Do not be fooled into thinking that a Right-Wing super PAC whose founder opposes increasing the minimum wage and has made a fortune of the suffering of millions of Americans in the mortgage crisis supports Shawn O’Connor.  They will stop at nothing in their attempt to stop the true progressive in this race, Carol Shea-Porter, from winning her seat back.


UPDATE:

Since the original posting of this article, Shawn O’Connor has disavowed any connection to the flyers, which is cute because you cannot take back the mail that has already been delivered.

WMUR’s John Distaso tweeted this:

Busted: Trump International Hotel Gets Smacked Down By NLRB For Union-Busting

Last night, news broke that the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Donald Trump, and Trump International Hotel, has been violating law by refusing to accept the results of the Culinary Union Local 226 (UNITE HERE) certification election and then refusing to negotiate with the union.

The NLRB decision ordered the immediate “cease and desist” from “interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees” in an attempt to break the union.

The NLRB also mandated that Trump International recognize the union and open bargaining immediately.

“The National Labor Relations Board has consistently told Donald Trump and his company that the union election wasn’t rigged and that he must sit down and negotiate with the Culinary Union,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “Mr. Trump is breaking federal law and Trump Hotel Las Vegas is operating illegally. Mr. Trump should accept the federal government’s order to negotiate and treat his workers with respect.”

“The decision by the NLRB marks a major victory for the more than 500 workers at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas, whose right to organize and collectively bargain has been trampled by Donald Trump,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “The decision underlines what we already know: Donald Trump lacks respect for the hardworking men and women who have made his hotel successful. For months he has violated federal laws by refusing to recognize and negotiate with Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents the hotel workers.”

“Donald Trump is a hypocrite, whose true feelings towards working people are clear. The workers at Trump Hotel Las Vegas deserve a say in determining their wages, benefits and working conditions. Donald Trump must come to the table and negotiate with them. The labor movement will continue to stand by these hotel workers, and all working men and women, as we fight back against attacks on our rights,” Trumka added.

Donald Trump likes to brag about his skills as a negotiator—but yesterday, he had to be ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to stop breaking the law, respect his workers’ fundamental rights to organize and bargain collectively, and come to the table,” said Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President. “It’s appalling, but it’s not surprising. This is a man who personally signed a contract with a union-busting firm to try to stop UNITE HERE and the Culinary Workers’ Union from organizing in the first place, and engaged in a months-long intimidation campaign to bully his workers against voting to form a union.”

I was proud to visit workers on the picket line at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, and even prouder when they overcame Donald Trump’s intimidation campaign and were officially certified as a union earlier this year. I believe that when unions are strong, families are strong—and when families are strong, America is strong. And I will always stand with workers in protecting their rights to organize, bargain collectively, be safe on the job and retire with dignity, and if I am elected President, workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House,” added Clinton. 

Throughout this entire election, workers and unions, have been speaking out against Donald Trump and his anti-worker policies. (You can see a few examples from our coverage of the Democratic National Convention.)  Working people spoke out against Trump’s support of so-called Right to Work laws, refusing to pay workers and contractors, and his refusal to negotiate with the unions inside his own companies.

Donald Trump claims to have the support on “many, many union members” and even went on to say, “I have tremendous support within unions…every poll shows it.” When in fact, polling data shows that only 36% of union members support Trump.

In September, the NH Labor News posted an article highlighting Trump’s financial support of the union-busting Governor Scott Walker.  “Because of the leaked documents, we now know that Donald Trump was one of the donors who helped Scott Walker stay in office,” wrote Liz Iacobucci.

This most recent decision by the NLRB confirms that Donald Trump does not care about workers. He does not care about workers rights to organize and collectively bargain.  He does not even care about what the law requires.

Donald Trump is only out for himself. He is the epitome of corporate greed and highlights exactly what is wrong with our country right now.

Hopefully the rest of America will see Trump for the lying fraud that he truly is and will vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. Then I will look forward to Wednesday when Trump will disappear and be relegated to the history books.


Personal Note:

We applaud the Culinary Union on this tremendous victory over Donald Trump and the Trump International Hotel.  The Culinary Union and UNITE HERE symbolize exactly why we must stand together to fight back against corporate greed and how unions fight for every worker.  We, as union members, should rejoice in this decision and be ready to join our fellow union members on the streets when greedy executives like Donald Trump attack working people.  

Ayotte’s History Of Protecting Special Interests Began With Her Time As Attorney General

Frankly, I am not surprised to find out that Attorney General Kelly Ayotte was not the “champion for working people” she has claimed to be. Her history as Attorney General mirrors her current opposition to policies that will help working people in New Hampshire and her history of trying to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Newly uncovered data shows that while Ayotte served as Attorney General, her office issued dramatically fewer consumer protection subpoenas than her successors. During the four years between July 2005 and July 2009, Ayotte’s office issued a total of only 53 consumer protection subpoenas. That’s less than half the number of consumer protection subpoenas issued during the next four years by the AGs that succeeded her. (Between July 2009 and July 2013, under Attorneys General Michael Delaney and Joseph Foster, a total of 116 consumer protection subpoenas were issued.)

Think back to 2007-08: that was when the housing market collapsed, Wall Street financial institutions were under attack for fraudulent and predatory lending, and working people were being crushed by the collapsing economy.

Wouldn’t you expect that the AG’s office would be inundated with consumer protection claims during that time? Yet Ayotte only issued 30 consumer protection subpoenas between 2007-2009.

As we already know, Ayotte left the AG’s office and was narrowly elected to the US Senate in the off-year, red wave election of 2010.

And ever since going to Washington, Ayotte has been an opponent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, voting against confirming its director and voting for an amendment that put the agency’s budget on the chopping block “to pressure the agency against cracking down on lenders.”

Her opposition to the CFPB might have something to do with the $4.5 million dollars in donations she has directly received from the finance and insurance industry. Her PAC also received an additional $893,000 in donations for her reelection effort.

“New Hampshire consumers deserve public servants who will fight on their behalf, but it’s clear that Kelly Ayotte puts corporate special interests ahead of the people of our state,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “And now we know she failed to stand up for consumer protection during her time as Attorney General, meaning that her refusal to fight on behalf of New Hampshire consumers is nothing new.”

(Read about Ayotte’s 2015 New York City fundraiser, sponsored by a mega-donor “hedge fund executive who has a history of opposing Wall Street reforms” here.)

There are other examples of how Ayotte has put her Wall Street special interest donors above the people of New Hampshire.

  • Ayotte has repeatedly voted for budgets that slash funding for Pell Grants at the urging of the Koch Brothers’ Americans For Prosperity. And just last year she voted for a bill that would have cut Pell Grants by $90 billion
  • Ayotte voted to end an expansion of the “Pay As You Earn Program,” which could double the cost of student loan payments for those who had enrolled in the program.
  • Ayotte has also repeatedly voted against allowing student borrowers to refinance their loans to take advantage of lower interest rates available to other borrowers.
  • Ayotte introduced a sham student loan bill that has been called that has been called a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute said that Ayotte’s bill is a “sweetheart deal” for private sector lenders like those on Wall Street.

Protecting Wall Street is not the only place that Ayotte has been standing against the will of the people.

She has continued to oppose increasing the federal minimum wage, which would help lift tens of thousands of Granite Staters out of poverty. 74% of Granite Staters support raising the minimum wage, yet Ayotte votes against it.

Just this week at the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy forum, Ayotte was peddling the myth of “job losses” if we increase the minimum wage.

“Contrary to the claims we hear from opponents, raising the minimum wage increases the income of low-wage workers without hurting jobs,” said Jeff Kramer in a recent editorial on the NH Labor News.

During a recent WMUR question and answer session, Kelly Ayotte simultaneously admitted that the current minimum wage is not livable and doubled down on her opposition to raising it.

When asked by a participant whether she will “stand with New Hampshire workers to raise the minimum wage,” Ayotte responded “if we focus on the minimum wage, we’re, we’re losing sight of what we should be focusing on, which is better paying jobs because you can’t live on minimum wage.”

Ayotte has also stood by her decision to not hold a hearing or a confirmation vote the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland – even though 60% of Granite Staters believe that Ayotte should do her job and hold a vote on Garland’s nomination.

“People are tired of Senator Ayotte playing politics with the Constitution by refusing to consider the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress.

“Because of Republican obstruction, the Supreme Court finished this year’s term with a 4-4 tie on some of the most important issues to reach the court in recent years, denying justice to millions of our families and neighbors in the process,” said Linds Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with progressive advocacy group People For the American Way.

The last example is Ayotte’s opposition to common sense legislation to reduce gun violence. Ayotte has continually stood with her NRA donors in opposition to expanding background checks and closing loopholes that PolitiFact confirmed helps terrorist purchase guns.

Since opposing the 89% of Granite Staters who support expanding background checks, Ayotte has refused to meet with gun violence prevention advocates.

“Constituents have made phone calls, sent letters, signed petitions, and invited the Senator to their homes for dinner, but Senator Ayotte has repeatedly denied meeting requests from gun violence prevention advocates ever since she voted against background checks and the 89 percent of her constituents who support them,” Rice-Hawkins said. “Senator Ayotte needs to stop hiding behind NRA lobby talking points and meet directly with her constituents.”

It should have been obvious to the people of New Hampshire when Ayotte was Attorney General that she was not looking out for working people. She used the AG’s office as a stepping-stone for higher political office and lucrative campaign donations.

She may have fooled us the first time she ran for Senate, but we will not be fooled again.

60% of Granite Staters believe the Senate should vote on the nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Ayotte refuses to do so.

74% of Granite Staters support increasing the minimum wage. Ayotte opposes it.

89% of Granite Staters support background checks for gun purchases. Ayotte opposes them.

It couldn’t be any more clear. Ayotte represents her campaign donors, she doesn’t represent us.

New Report Shows Senator Ayotte’s Office Is Worse Than National Average On Pay Equity

Women Earned Only 66 Cents for Every Dollar Men Earned in U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Office, According to New Report

 In contrast, Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s offices are exemplars of equal treatment 

CONCORD, NH – A new report by Granite State Progress shows that women earned only 66 cents for every dollar men earned in U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office. In contrast, women in Governor Maggie Hassan and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s offices earned exactly or close to a dollar for every dollar men earned in years reviewed. Women also serve in several leadership roles in the offices of Hassan and Shaheen’s offices, while the majority of Ayotte’s top paid staff members year after year are men. Key findings from the report:

Women earned only 66 cents for every dollar men earned in Kelly Ayotte’s Senate office – and even earned less than their male counterparts with the exact same job title. 

  • Women earned an average of $50,060.46 from 2012-2015, whereas men for the same period earned an average of $75,703.52.
  • Women working for Sen. Ayotte have only fared worse the longer she has been in office; in FY 2012, Senator Ayotte’s first full year in office, women earned 72 cents for every dollar men earned.
  • This pay gap exists at all levels in the Senator’s office: In FY 2015, a female with the title of Staff Assistant earned $18,183.19 annually, whereas a male with the same title earned $32,360.96 annually – nearly twice as much as a woman with the same job title. In FY 2013, a male with the title of Legislative Assistant (LA) earned $79,999.92 annually, whereas a female LA that same year earned only $60,000 – a 33 percent pay gap, or 75 cents for every dollar the male LA makes.
  • Senator Ayotte consistently employs men for the most senior roles in her office. In all years but one, the four highest paid employees in her office have been men. Women are consistently underrepresented in her office. 

In contrast, women fare much better under U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

  • Women earned an average of $61,530.91 from 2012-15, whereas men for the same period earned an average of $61,131.15 –  virtually no pay gap at all.
  • Women are also well-represented in senior roles in Senator Shaheen’s office; in every year reviewed, women held at least 2 of the 4 highest paid positions in the Senator’s office.

Governor Maggie Hassan – a vocal proponent of equal pay and signer of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act – also has women well-represented in senior roles and virtually no pay gap in her office. 

  • Women who worked for Governor Hassan earned an average of $38,295.14 from 2013-15, whereas men for the same period earned an average of $38,313.74 – virtually no pay gap at all.
  • Women are also well-represented in senior roles in Governor Hassan’s office; in every year reviewed, women held at least 2 or 3 of the 4 highest paid positions in the Governor’s office.

The data on Senator Shaheen and Ayotte came from Legistorm, which collects publicly available data, and only those employed for a full fiscal year were included in this analysis. The data on Governor Maggie Hassan was gleaned from publicly available information by calendar year, without any indication as to if the person was employed for the full or partial year. 

The staff salary differences reflect the legislative record of each of the public officials: Senator Shaheen and Governor Hassan are strong proponents of equal pay, with Hassan signing the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act into law in 2014 and regularly issuing Equal Pay Day proclamations. Meanwhile, Senator Ayotte voted against the federal Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws, and protect employees who speak up about unequal pay – four times.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Women have made great strides in achieving success in the workplace, breaking through multiple glass ceilings to get there and achieving parity in many ways. However, women today still face a wage gap that hurts their families in the form of lower salaries, decreased benefits, and smaller retirements. In 2015, women, on average, earned just 79 cents for every dollar men earned, and that pay disparity is even worse for women of color. For mothers, of whom 40 percent are the sole or primary breadwinner in their family, a mother earns only 71 cents for every dollar fathers earn. 

“The wage gap is impacted by the many discriminatory barriers to equal pay—including lower pay for women in the same job, the segregation of women into lower-paying jobs, bias against women with caregiving responsibilities, and lack of workplace policies to allow workers to care for families without paying a stiff economic penalty. On the issue of equal pay for equal work, Senator Kelly Ayotte claims she supports fair workplaces, and that she’s even “leading common sense efforts” on this issue. However, Senator Ayotte voted against the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws, and protect employees who speak up about unequal pay, four times. Not only did Kelly Ayotte vote against the very measure she publicly claims to support, she has consistently paid men more than women in her own Senate office. The pay gap in Senator Ayotte’s office is even worse than the national gender wage gap. Senator Ayotte needs to square her public position with her own practices, and even more importantly, with her votes in the United States Senate to pay women a fair wage.” 

The full report and data is attached. Granite State Progress has worked on several efforts related to equal pay over the years, including toward successful passage of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014 and most recently working with several New Hampshire businesses to offer women discounts on Equal Pay Day to highlight the pay gap and generate public awareness. In each instance, Granite State Progress has called on Congress – and in particular, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte – to pass the federal Paycheck Fairness Act in support of New Hampshire families.

Granite State Progress report on Senator Kelly Ayotte:

GSP-Research-Brief-Gender-Wage-Analysis-in-Office-of-U.S.-Senator-Kelly-Ayotte-October-2016

 

Granite State Progress report on Governor Maggie Hassan:

GSP-Research-Brief-Gender-Wage-Analysis-in-Office-of-Governor-Maggie-Hassan-October-2016

 

Granite State Progress report on Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

GSP-Research-Brief-Gender-Wage-Analysis-in-Office-of-U.S.-Senator-Jeanne-Shaheen-October-2016

Is Chris Sununu Lying About His ‘Business Experience’ And ‘Work History’ On The Campaign Trail???

Chris Sununu: What’s the Truth?

Chris Sununu has been touting his “record” as an environmental engineer and Waterville Valley CEO as the reason why voters should elect him Governor of New Hampshire. But what’s the truth about that “record”?

His “record” as an environmental engineer – here’s what he says:

  • In March, Sununu told Concord News Radio, “I was an environmental engineer for eight years. I did everything from designing remediation systems to clean up some of the nastiest hazardous waste sites in the country. I have a very front lines understanding of how to develop, how to grow your economy but you do it responsibly.”
  • In the NH1 Gubernatorial debate, Sununu clearly stated, “When [Van Ostern] was a spokesperson and working on the John Edwards campaign in 2004, I was cleaning up asbestos landfills in downtown Nashua.”
  • His website biography says “Chris worked for 10 years as an environmental engineer in various regions across the United States from New Hampshire to California, designing systems and solutions for cleaning up some of our country’s most hazardous wastes sites.”

But what’s the truth?

  • The State of New Hampshire does not have any records on Chris Sununu working as an engineer in the Granite State. I checked the NH Office of Professional Licensure and Certification’s (OPLC) online database or “licensee lookup” to verify his engineering credentials. But there was nothing there: no record of an expired license, no current license, nothing.   So I contacted the office directly with a right-to-know request asking for a copy of Chris T Sununu’s professional engineer license. Here’s how Peter Danles, the NH OPLC Executive Director, answered my right-to-know request: “To the extent that you are seeking the production of Chris T. Sununu’s present or past license to practice as a professional engineer, the OPLC has no records that are responsive to your request.”
    • New Hampshire state law, RSA 310-A:11, prohibits anyone from practicing engineering in the state without a professional engineer’s license – except for: out-of-state engineers who receive a temporary permit; engineers employed by the federal government; or “an employee or a subordinate of a person holding an engineering license under this subdivision, provided such work does not include final designs or decisions and is done under the direct responsibility, checking, and supervision of a person holding an engineering license under this subdivision.”
  • I looked for information about his licensing status in California, where he said he had worked. Documents show that Sununu did obtain an “Engineer-in-training” certification (EIT 113938) from the State of California in 2002 but never received a “Professional Engineer” license.
    • California law requires that a licensed engineer maintain “responsible charge” of engineering work done by engineers-in-training and other unlicensed workers.

I reached out to Sununu’s campaign for information about his work, but they would not respond to me.

So, is Chris Sununu saying that experience as a subordinate, supervised employee is why New Hampshire voters should elect him Governor?

Does he have a professional engineer’s license somewhere, that I wasn’t able to find?

What’s the truth? And why won’t his campaign comment on this or give me more information about his “engineering” qualifications?

Sununu’s “record” as Waterville Valley CEO – here’s what he says:

But what’s the truth?

Sununu has over-inflated his time and experience as CEO of Waterville Valley. Under his “leadership” Waterville Valley has lost jobs and lost customers. He’s cut his employees’ hours rather than provide them with health insurance.

And this is the “record” he’s running on? This is why New Hampshire voters should elect him Governor?

Is it possible… just possible… that after his “record” as Waterville CEO… and his 10 years “engineering” (apparently as a subordinate employee)… that Chris Sununu is running for Governor because he needs a new job and he doesn’t want to go back into the family business (Sununu Enterprises) where he used to “work”?

What’s the truth, here?

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