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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

NH Labor News 5/17/12: Students Struggle To Find Work, House Pushes Privatization, Senate Kills IB Bill, News on NH Gov Race, and more

N.H. students scramble to find summer jobs » Latest News » EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA: “The state’s unemployment rate is dropping, but that’s little consolation for high school and college students struggling to find summer jobs.

Few positions are available for the dozens or, in some cases, hundreds of young people applying at local businesses.

They’re just looking to earn some money flipping burgers, serving food at restaurants or scooping ice cream at shops such as Moo’s Place in Derry.

“We’ve seen more applications this year than we’ve ever seen,” Moo’s owner Steve LaRocca said. “I likely have over 100 applications on my desk.”

That’s about 40 percent more than usual, he said.”

A full write up on all the big issues from the NH House yesterday.

House votes for access to sealed bids | Concord Monitor: “The House voted yesterday to continue a legislative committee overseeing the privatization of the state’s prisons and to give it what critics say is inappropriate access to sealed bids from companies who want the job.

The bill “creates the beginning of a slippery slope,” said Rep. Robert Foose, a New London Democrat. “The committee is intruding itself on the work of the executive branch (by) gaining access in ways that are not done in any other purchasing processes” in the state.

Foose persuaded some but not most. The House voted 220-101 to give the committee greater access to bid information after being told by another lawmaker it was the only way to keep prison officials honest as the bids are evaluated.”

Senate says no to landlords, yes to Laconia prison sale | Concord Monitor: “Laconia prison
The state and the city of Laconia can move forward on negotiating a price for the former Laconia prison and the 230 acres around it. Without debate, the Senate set aside a requirement that the property sell for at least $10 million, an asking price the Legislature set last year.

The city has offered the state $2.16 million for the property, the same amount a state assessor deemed the site worth. The Senate did not accept that offer yesterday, but rather allowed the state to proceed with another assessment if it wants and further negotiations.”

$400k of Nashua’s snow removal surplus to be put towards downtown sidewalk improvements – NashuaTelegraph.com: “At least some of the dollars that the city has saved on its lack of snow-removal operations this past winter will be put toward that effort.
“There’s a lot of work that’s going to be done,” Lozeau said.
For the Public Works Division, sidewalks are a “focus” this season, she said.
“Every year, the division makes decisions about what the priorities are and what the focus areas are for that coming season,” Lozeau said. She assured aldermen, “there’s nothing that’s not going to happen because they’re working on the sidewalks.”
The Public Works Division has proposed a $9.63 million budget for fiscal year 2013, which carries a 1.7 percent increase over the current budget.
Most of the sidewalk work will be done in-house by street department and public works employees, Lozeau said, though some of the sidewalk work may be contracted out.”

Joe Biden Coming to NH Next Week – Nashua, NH Patch: “Vice President Joe Biden will return to New Hampshire next week, a campaign official confirmed this afternoon.

Biden is scheduled to speak at a political event on Tuesday, May 22 in Keene. No further details have been released.”

“IB Bill” Goes Down in the Senate | New Hampshire Public Radio: “The Senate has unanimously voted against a bill that would have prohibited the use of International Baccalaureate curriculum in New Hampshire Schools.

The state’s IB program became controversial after parents in Bedford and Merrimack complained that it has political, anti-american overtones.

But even Senators who have concerns, like Republican Jim Forsythe, decided Wednesday not to supersede local schools’ decision to use IB.

Forsythe: It’s not our place to override local control, if communities choose to adopt this program, whether we like it or not, they should be free to adopt that.

IB supporters flocked to the statehouse two weeks ago to tell senators that the program promotes global understanding and is part of a college preparatory track.

Opponents of the IB program say that they will continue to fight its implementation in the granite state.”

Legislative checklist found lacking in NH – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Looking back at our state legislative session, I am dismayed at what the Legislature in Concord has “accomplished.”
Repealing the minimum wage? Check.
Allowing one parent in a classroom to dictate what the entire class should study? Check.
Cutting access to Medicaid for seniors? Check.
Pushing right-to-work and other attacks on workers for a second year in a row? Check.
Maybe these count as accomplishments to far-right groups like Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the tea party.
But when it comes to creating good jobs, making our communities safer and ensuring a better future for our kids, all I see is a big question mark.
Missing is a serious commitment to the people who elected them in the first place. Real leaders focus on what really matters to the people they represent.
On this, our current leaders have failed to deliver.”

KERRY FOR HASSAN. Democratic candidate for governor Maggie Hassan is picking up high-powered support this week. The Granite Status has learned that Massachusetts U.S. Sen. John Kerry is the special guest at a fund-raiser for Hassan at an undisclosed location in Boston on Friday morning.

Tickets for the breakfast reception range from $250 to $2,500. Hassan is in a party primary against another former state senator, Jackie Cilley.

House decorum: Bluster and blame | New Hampshire OPINION01: “O’Brien, though, is far from blameless. He has contributed to the problem with an attitude that has come across as coldly dismissive of opponents both without and within his own party. And in his aggressive quest to win political battles, he has sometimes lost sight of the bigger picture. Commanding nearly three-quarters of the 400-member House does give one a mandate to pursue one’s policies. But it is not wise to use too heavy a hand in doing so.”

House speaker must answer for actions: An open letter from Terri Norrelli: “Charging taxpayers for Republican political recruiting trips is an abuse of the public trust and of taxpayers’ money. While Mr. Mead made the reimbursement request, the responsibility for his actions rests with the Speaker and the Majority Leader. The public deserves an apology for your actions and explanation of who authorized Mr. Mead to recruit Republican candidates on the taxpayers’ dime.
Terie Norelli of Portsmouth is the N.H. House minority leader.”

NH Labor News 5/16/12: Unemployment Is Down, Former Mont Vernor Rep Resigns, Big Trouble in the NH House, and more

N.H. unemployment rate falls to 5 percent | SeacoastOnline.com: CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire’s unemployment rate in April dropped to 5 percent — the state’s lowest level since December 2008.

The April 2011 rate was 5.4 percent. The unemployment rate in December 2008 was 4.8 percent. Gov. John Lynch hailed the rate as good news for the state’s economy, but cautioned that 37,000 residents are still looking for work. The national unemployment rate for April was 8.1 percent — down a fraction of a percentage point from the previous month and the rate a year ago. Lynch said that more than 6,800 New Hampshire residents found jobs in the past year.

State jobless rate falls to 5.0 percent in April | New Hampshire NEWS02: “Seasonally adjusted, the official state unemployment rate for March was unchanged with revision at 5.2 percent, the unit of New Hampshire Employment Security said. The April 2011 seasonally adjusted rate was 5.4 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2012 was 8.1 percent. That was 0.1 percentage point less than the March rate and a decrease of 0.9 percentage points from April 2011. Seasonally adjusted estimates for April 2012 placed the number of employed residents at 704,610, an increase of 10 from the previous month and an increase of 6,840 from April 2011.”

Friend and Tea Party Ally, Bob Mead, has resigned after being caught taking taxpayer money for political recruiting events.  He was formerly O’Briens Chief of Staff.

Former Mont Vernon Rep. resigns from House office amid travel charges – NashuaTelegraph.com:
 ““A lot of people in the public will think that this is an abuse of the trust that they have placed in the legislature, unfortunately,”
“Charging taxpayers for Republican political recruiting trips is an abuse of the public trust and of taxpayers’ money,” said state Rep. Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth and the House Minority Leader, who raised these and other questions this week in a letter to O’Brien.
“What exactly was Bob Mead doing for his taxpayer salary and benefits?” Norelli asked Tuesday. “Who instructed him to do electoral work? I believe the public expects that political parties do electoral work, not legislative employees.””

Raw Video: Vaillancourt ‘Sieg Heil’ Comment – Video – WMUR New Hampshire: “State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt says “Sieg Heil” on the floor of the House.”

State Rep shouts Nazi salute at Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien – NashuaTelegraph.com: ““Vaillancourt was definitely out of line when he walked out and said ‘Sieg Heil,’ but it was a good commentary on the dictatorial style of Bill O’Brien,” said Rep. Dick Drisko, R-Hollis.
Rep. Gary Daniels, R-Milford, said Vaillancourt’s remark showed “a disregard for decorum; a disrespect for the speaker,” and reflected poorly on the whole House of Representatives.
“I don’t think this kind of disrespect should be allowed in the chamber,” Daniels said. “There’s no place for it.”
While the flap between O’Brien and Vaillancourt took place just across the street and was the topic of much discussion before the press conference, neither Dokmo nor Spiess nor Squires referenced it at first, but Spiess did respond to a question from a reporter.
He said it showed “how far down the civility of the House has fallen” and called it a “prologue to what we have to say.”
Former Speaker of the House Terri Norelli, D-Portsmouth, who did not attend the press conference, said the tone of disrespect in the House starts at the top.
“When you allow people to boo, when you allow people to clap, when you pick and choose who can be disrespectful or not, when you ignore legitimate parliamentary questions from members or dismiss and demean those who are asking them, you are setting a tone that decorum does not matter,” Norelli said.”

Spiking bill gutted, setting stage for negotiations | SeacoastOnline.com: HAMPTON — A New Hampshire House committee has gutted a bill filed by state Sen. Nancy Stiles that aimed to protect Hampton and Portsmouth from hundreds of thousands of dollars in new pension costs.

The House Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform voted last week to amend Stiles’ Senate Bill 228 to rework the “spiking” provision instead of repealing it. The House also added some entirely unrelated gambling law changes to the bill.

The amendment to reverse the intent of Stiles’ Senate Bill 228 stems from a group of representatives who believe communities that offer high-end pensions should have to pay for them, according to state Rep. James Waddell, R-Hampton, who serves on the Pension Reform Committee. Representatives who favor the gambling measures are using the opportunity to reintroduce them for possible negotiation with the Senate, Waddell said.

RGGI: At least keep the safety net – Fosters: “The House has voted to kill RGGI altogether and the Senate has passed legislation to weaken it. Both bills would eliminate funds that are currently being used to help towns and school districts, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, pay for energy-efficiency improvements. Both bills would eliminate one of the most important sections of the current RGGI statute: its allocation of at least 10 percent of RGGI funds to weatherize homes owned or rented by low-income households.”

John DiStaso’s Granite Status: New poll has Obama leading Romney 53-41 percent in NH | New Hampshire NEWS0602: “TUESDAY, MAY 15, UPDATE: A new poll released today has President Barack Obama with a 12-percentage-point lead over challenger Mitt Romney in the battle for New Hampshire’s four electoral votes.

North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling says it surveyed 1,163 New Hampshire voters from May 10 to 13 and found Obama leading Romney 53 to 41 percent, with 6 percent undecided.

PPP said the poll is a reversal from those it conducted last year, which showed Romney in statistical dead heats with Obama.

The pollster said Obama “is more popular than he was for most of last year and Romney’s a good deal less popular.”

It said 52 percent of those polled approved of Obama’s job performance while 45 percent disapproved.

Meanwhile, Romney was viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 54 percent of Granite Staters polled.

Even if U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte were Romney’s running mate, she would not help Romney in the state, according to the poll.

The Obama-Biden ticket out-polled a hypothetical Romney-Ayotte ticket, 52 to 42 percent.”

from Union Plus

NH Labor News 5/15/12: Manchester Teachers Fight Back, Romney and Bain, Where Does Romney Stand With Unions? and more…

Teachers, Principals Meet To Discuss Layoffs – Education News Story – WMUR New Hampshire: “MANCHESTER, N.H. — Teachers filled City Hall in Manchester on Monday night to speak out against layoffs being leveled for next school year.
The Manchester school system is expected to send out 161 pink slips, which includes 137 teachers, 10 assistant principals and cuts in other departments.
“A week ago I distributed 19 layoff notices to staff members at Hillside. This accounts for over 25 percent of our teachers, including Spanish and music,” Hillside Middle School Principal Brendan McCafferty said.
The mayor’s budget proposal is $2 million shy of what the school board says it needs to maintain effective class size and provide the best education.
Several principals and teachers at Monday night’s meeting said the cuts would be bad for the school system.”

For Claremont, little has changed – NashuaTelegraph.com: “In Claremont, where residents aren’t wholly pleased that the court case gave them a lasting reputation for struggling schools and high taxes, the high school has been on warning status from the New England accreditation committee for years.
Teacher pay is significantly lower than in surrounding communities, making turnover a regular challenge. Property taxes remain among the highest in the state – and they are levied on residents with less ability to pay than those in most other communities.
This is not what the plaintiffs had in mind. The point of the lawsuit was that the state had a responsibility to pay for an adequate education for all students, regardless of where they lived. And it had a responsibility to do it with a fair tax.”

NHLN Editors note:As you can see right here, a $2500 credit toward tuition at private school in nashua will not be enough to help the lower or middle class families afford a private school. By high school they would need to come up with an extra $8,000-9,000 per year. This plan is written to benefit the wealthy 1% who are already sending their children to private schools!

Nashua private schools offer support for statehouse bills that could ease tuition burden – NashuaTelegraph.com: “NASHUA – While supporters of an education tax credit program argue it will offer low- and middle-income families more choice, the average annual credit of $2,500 would only cover a fraction of the cost of tuition for some local private schools.
For example, tuition at Nashua Catholic Regional Junior High School is $6,413. Tuition at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua is $11,750. Local private elementary schools run from $2,950 to $4,700, depending on the grade level.
Still, Nashua Catholic principal Thomas Kelleher said the education tax credit bills, HB 1607 and SB 372, could help support families who need some extra help and want more options for their children’s education.”

WMUR To Hold Series Of Primary Debates – Politics News Story – WMUR New Hampshire: “WMUR-TV will be hosting a series of Commitment 2012 primary debates: Candidates in Your Community.
First to debate will be the Democratic candidates for governor: Jackie Cilley, Maggie Hassan and Bill Kennedy.
The debate will be held on May 31 at noon at New England College in Henniker. It can be seen live on WMUR.com.
It will be moderated by WMURPoliticalScoop.Com’s James Pindell, who will be joined by Felice Belman of the Concord Monitor.
The debate is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To RSVP, please contact events@nec.edu.”

Solutions, not just rhetoric for voters – Fosters: “”Speaker Bill O’Brien and Republican leaders should tell the people of New Hampshire exactly where they plan to cut another $400 million from the state’s budget — and Republican gubernatorial candidates should make clear whether they endorse the plan, Democratic legislative leaders said today.”

So began a missive from state Democratic Party Press Secretary Collin Gately.

Furor erupted in Democratic circles last week when Speaker O’Brien indicated his desire to cut the state budget another $400 million or so, should he be re-elected to the House and serve as Speaker.

O’Brien’s comments to the The Telegraph newspaper of Nashua are certainly fair game. But if Gately is going to demand answers, some should be demanded of his party’s gubernatorial hopefuls, Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley.”

Time short to agree on N.H. school funding amendment | SeacoastOnline.com: “CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Time is running out for New Hampshire’s top Republican political leaders and Democratic Gov. John Lynch to find a compromise on how to shift more control over public school funding from the courts to the Legislature.

The two sides have until May 31 to strike a deal for lawmakers to vote on June 7, the deadline to pass bills, but they can’t agree on the wording of a constitutional amendment to put before voters this year.

Private talks are under way, though formal negotiations don’t begin until May 22. Republican legislative leaders are optimistic a compromise will be reached. But blame already is being assigned in anticipation of a possible defeat.”

Letter: House redistricting plan meets federal law | Concord Monitor: “Towns that have adequate population for one or more seats must be joined with abutting towns that have a slight population excess or shortage in order to meet the federal requirements.

If we don’t redistrict this way, we risk having the court redistrict for us, and you know the disastrous results that was in 2002.

Nonetheless the current plan developed by the House is far better than our current districts in that it doubles the number of House districts.”

Is Mitt Romney ready for Bain? – Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman – POLITICO.com: “The anti-Bain message is an attack Romney has faced in every race of his political career, sometimes managing to control the damage — and other times, like his 1994 Senate bid, watching his campaign go up in smoke as a result.

Prominent Republicans came to Romney’s defense when Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry assailed his business record during the primary, calling their rhetoric anti-capitalist. But Democrats will hardly be subject to such self-censorship, and one source familiar with President Barack Obama’s strategy said of the Bain ad this week: “More to come.””

Hostess Brands Uses Bankruptcy Court to Screw Workers Out of Pensions, Benefits | Labor | AlterNet: “Judge Robert Drain issued an order May 4 giving the company permission to unilaterally cancel union contracts covering thousands of production workers at the plants where Wonder Bread, Twinkies and dozens of other goods are made. The workers—represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM)—may see their wages and benefits arbitrarily reduced by the company, as well as losing the labor union rights they have enjoyed for decades.

Drain’s decision is equally bad news for the Hostess employees represented by the Teamsters and a half-dozen other smaller unions. Bankruptcy court proceedings are already in progress to strip these workers of their labor rights as well, and Drain’s action against the BCTGM indicates that other union members can expect the same sort of treatment at his hands.”

» VIDEO: Romney Speech Proves He’ll Do More Damage to Labor than Bush I, Bush II or Reagan Ever Did: “Claiming that President Obama and the Democratic party take “marching orders” from labor union “CEO bosses” — two of Romney’s go-to catchphrases — he tries to place the blame for the country’s economic woes at the working man’s feet.

As we all know, the Democratic party has not been particularly responsive to labor’s interests and the nation’s economic collapse is due largely to unfair tax policy, big bank overreach, and other 1% forces.

Romney makes familiar promises to severely limit the small amount of power still enjoyed by organized labor. He insists he’ll ignore any NLRB decision he doesn’t like, that he’ll end the use of Project Labor Agreements on public works projects (something Obama made possible), and that he’ll push Right-to-Work legislation.”

NH Labor News 5/14/12: Bob Mead Charges Taxpayers For Mileage To GOP Recruiting Events? GOP Extremists? Vote On the IB and more….

Here is a little irony for you, Bob Mead took a $20,000 dollar pay cut from his last position in the NH House and still makes $18,000 more than the average state employee. Talk about fiscal responsibility!

House paid mileage for GOP recruiting | Concord Monitor: “While it’s rare that House employees file for mileage, the practice is allowed. State House veterans, however, say the purpose of Mead’s activity has crossed into an ethical gray area.

“House employees should be paid with public money only for legislative – not campaign – work,” said Rep. Terie Norelli, the House Democratic leader from Portsmouth.

Mead, a former state representative from Mont Vernon, was House chief of staff during Bill O’Brien’s first year as speaker. In December, he was moved to a post in the House Majority Office, and rumblings at the State House indicated Mead was unhappy with the demotion. He took a $19,820 cut to his annual salary – he now makes $64,380 – and assumed a newly created position, director of legislative services.”

Can the GOP get any more extreme? – NashuaTelegraph.com: “But the right extreme keeps moving the goal posts, so you’re always trying to catch up. Thus, the Republican wish list has become and is still becoming more and more remote from the American mainstream.
It’s a witch hunt. From the radical, right-wing point of view, virtually any candidate may be a bit suspect. So the candidates try to prove they’re unquestionably, extremely, far-out conservatives.
Hence, we see Republican resolutions and bills in the New Hampshire Legislature that to common sense are just silly: that the U.S. Congress should affirm its loyalty to the Constitution; that the U.S. should withdraw from the United Nations; that New Hampshire counties and towns are forbidden from having any dealings with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives; that the Federal Reserve should be phased out; that gold and silver money should be restored, etc.
Even the sponsors of these measures don’t expect them to pass. But they serve to wave the right-wing flag.”

Submitted by Rep. Gladys Johnsen, Keene, O’Brien doesn’t speak for me – SentinelSource.com: Letters To The Editor:  Some of the Keene state representatives have been holding monthly town meetings to share what’s been happening in Concord.

Our next meeting is Monday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Keene Public Library.

This particular meeting is designed so that we, as your representatives, can listen to what you want to see at the state level. This meeting is free and open to all Keene citizens.

In last Friday’s (May 5) Sentinel, Mr. Mike Bradley from Hillsboro wrote an excellent letter in which he cautioned voters to “examine very carefully whom they are voting for.

I am “urged to oppose Bill O’Brien’s bid for reelection as speaker of the House.” He’s being called “a disgrace to ’Live Free or Die’.”  In the subject line of each email it reads, “Speaker O’Brien doesn’t speak for me.”  Well, O’Brien and his followers do not speak for me either!”

Senate to Vote on IB Bill and Income Tax Ban – Bedford, NH Patch: “The New Hampshire House of Representatives meets Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Senate convenes Wednesday to plow through a long list of pending bills.

What’s on tap? Plenty.

IB Sees ITL. The Senate schedule has the body taking up House Bill 1403, “relative to providing pupils with curriculum and instruction regarding state and national sovereignty” and establishing a committee to study International Baccalaureate programs in New Hampshire. A committee voted 5-0 to recommend that the full Senate find the bill “inexpedient to legislate.” Bedford-NH Patch captured the heart-felt testimony for and against IB last month, and the issue keeps churning opinions.”
Should state prisons be privatized? The bill proposing a committee have more time to develop a plan for privatizing the state Department of Corrections is up for a vote, too. Senate Bill 376 has an amendment to extend the committee term to Nov. 1, 2012.”

Republicans Should Recognize the Benefits of the IB Program – Cherylyn Harley LeBon – Townhall Conservative Columnists – Page 1: “Their questionable policies have trickled down to the state level, as many Democrats have joined the President and Attorney General Eric Holder in opposing voter ID laws, which I believe to be an effective mechanism for curbing voter fraud. In the State of New Hampshire , however, Democrats have exercised reasonable, sound judgment, while my Republican brethren are being led astray. Recently, the New Hampshire state house outlawed the International Baccalaureate (IB) educational program, and it is currently under consideration in the state senate.

Some Republicans in the New Hampshire state legislature believe that the IB program is a pilot program of the United Nations and UNESCO that promotes a socialist agenda. I have my share of criticisms for the UN and UNESCO, but they are a non-issue in this instance and don’t control the IB program.”

Robert Gillette: We need to pay closer attention to the House GOP agenda | New Hampshire LOCALVOICES: “Under Speaker William O’Brien, the House is outsourcing the actual writing of its social legislation to special-interest groups like the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative Christian organization based in Arizona and Washington, D.C.

HB 228 originated in 2011 as a bill explicitly banning all public funding for Planned Parenthood. It was modeled on a law the Indiana legislature adopted – but which federal courts quickly quashed as blatantly discriminatory.

The New Hampshire House Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs nevertheless devoted hours of work on the bill last year before concluding that it was unwarranted and stamped it “Inexpedient to Legislate,” the official euphemism for ought-to-be-rejected. Traditionally, the House leadership respects committee decisions. Not these days.”

AFT-NH –Breaking News Bulletin from the State House–May 9th, 2012

Breaking News Bulletin from the State House
May 9th, 2012

It’s Working…

It’s working. When AFT-NH members take action, they can make a difference. Today, the NH State Senate delayed voting on HB 1206 and set it for a special order of business for next week.

The members of the Senate need to understand that HB 1206, which automatically requires employees to absorb 50% of the increase for all insurance costs if a contract expires, must be defeated.

It is unfair and strips away important collective bargaining rights. Let them know about the concessions you have made. So, please keep taking the one click action and contact your Senator. We have some time before next week to really make the point to them.

If you can call your Senator that would really be helpful as well. To find the phone number for your Senator click here.

If you receive any feedback whatsoever, please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.

A summary of the bill and talking points are provided below:

Thank you for all of your hard work this legislative session. Let’s not look away these last weeks of the session—let them know we are watching and will remember in November.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

HB 1206

This is the bill that would drastically increase your cost of health insurance and other insurance benefits if your contract expires and there is no new contract in place and it  changes the agreed upon agreement you had with your distinct, town or city.  Employers would have no incentive to settle a contract since they could automatically make you pay a lot more for insurance.

Recap of the Bill

Here’s an example of what would happen under the current law and HB 1206.

Current law under your contract:
Assume you pay 10% of a family plan that costs $25,000 per year. [Many locals pays much more and these calculations would be much higher for those locals.
Your share is $2,500 per year.
If your contract expires on June 30th and you do not have a contract in place you continue to pay 10% of the total premium.
The health insurance rates increase on July 1st by 10%. Family plan now costs $27,500.
Your premium contribution would increase by $250 to $2,750 per year since you still pay 10% of the total premium.

HB 1206 would do the following:
When your contract expires and no new contract is in place, the employee and employer would equally split the cost of the increase.

Instead of paying the $250 increase, you would split the total increase of $2,500 for the plan and your increase would now be $1,250. You would now be paying the $1,250 on top of the $2,500 which equals $3,750.

Suggested Call Script
or use your own message, it can be very short to indicate your opposition to HB 1206
and your name and address-
either  way, please let them know you are opposed to HB 1206

Quick Tip: If you call their Senate Office, you will probably speak with an aide and you can leave your name and address and the message to please vote to defeat  (ITL) HB 1206.

Sample Call

Dear Senator,

The full Senate will be voting on HB 1206 next week.

I ask that you vote to “Inexpedient to Legislate” this bill. This bill would have a devastating impact on our current collective bargaining process and have a harmful effect on thousands of public employees in NH.

There would be no incentive for public employers to settle a contract—they would let the clock tick, let the contract expire with little or no thought and just pass on automatically 50% of the increase costs in ALL insurance costs.

We have made concessions repeatedly in negotiations and these discussions must occur at the local level.

Why is the legislature trying to interfere with local control?

Please vote to ITL HB 1206!

Thank you for your support.

[Your Name and Address]

The Pay For Middle Class Workers Far Below Their Expected Productivity

Middle class workers have been struggling to get ahead for many years now.  That feeling you have that you never seem to get ahead.  Well now there is proof that you are not wrong and that you are not alone.

In the beginning of the industrial revolution, workers were paid poorly and worked in unhealthy conditions.  As the workers began to unionize the workers began to see a significate rise in pay.  While industry continued to evolve, workers became more productive and efficient, while wages continued to grew.  The union movement seem to reach its peak in the early part of the 1970’s.   This is where we begin to see the split between workers wages and their productivity.

Growth of real hourly compensation for production/nonsupervisory workers and productivity, 1948–2011


As you can clearly see the wages of the workers have been essentially flat since 1975.  This is the same time that unions reached their peak. Since then the percentage of the workforce that is unionized has continued to decline.  Now union workers compromise only 13% of the overall American workforce. Is it a coincidence that workers pay has been flat since the number of union workers has gone down?

I will end with a quote from the Economic Policy Institute:

Reestablishing the link between productivity and pay of the typical worker is an essential component of any effort to provide shared prosperity and, in fact, may be necessary for obtaining robust growth without relying on asset bubbles and increased household debt. It is hard to see how reestablishing a link between productivity and pay can occur without restoring decent and improved labor standards, restoring the minimum wage to a level corresponding to half the average wage (as it was in the late 1960s), and making real the ability of workers to obtain and practice collective bargaining.

NH Labor News 4/22/12: Is The Speakers Race A Lock? Political Standings in NH, Senate Sends Bill Back To The House, and Sunday Editorials

Is the speaker’s race all locked up? Not so fast . . . | Concord Monitor: “Republican Rep. Steve Vaillancourt of Manchester, an O’Brien critic and frequent blogger, wrote last week that he “would rate the odds of O’Brien being back in the speaker’s chair next year as close to zero.”

Chandler and Ober “are two Republicans who’ve spent much of their time the past two months quietly building up support for their own candidacies,” Vaillancourt wrote. “Now that they have been coerced onto the O’Brien bandwagon, only a naif would seriously think they are abandoning their own hopes.”

Jasper also praised O’Brien in his comments.

“Don’t discount this speaker’s ability to get done what needs to be done,” Jasper said. “Let’s face it: Bill O’Brien has been very successful in what he set out to do, with the notable exception of right-to-work.”

Speaking of speaker hopefuls: Rep. Lee Quandt, a pro-union Republican from Exeter who’s made his distaste for O’Brien well-known, said last week he’s considering a run. The two not only differ on right-to-work legislation but also in style, Quandt said.

“I am a combat veteran. I have led people into combat, and I know the secret to having power is acting like you don’t have it,” Quandt said. “The other side shows that they have to exercise their authority and their power on a daily basis by throwing people off committees and grinding them up.””

Political Standing For April 20, 2012 » WMUR Political Scoop: “SIREN: Results from the latest WMUR Granite State Poll be released piece by piece next week. Among the items polled: On Monday, Obama Approval and Obama verus Romney. Then, later in the week: Lynch Approval and the horse race for the current candidates for Governor, Congressional approval and favorability for current candidates, State House and State Senate and NH Legislature approval, state issues (contraception, right to work, parental notification).

Sunday 10 a.m., CloseUP: This week, two political rivals go back-to-back. First, Attorney General Michael Delaney discusses his concern about violence against police officers. Then, House Speaker Bill O’Brien looks back on his first term as House Speaker and his plans for a second term. TOP TALKER: See which Boston sports figure O’Brien compares himself to. Then, I come on to discuss O’Brien and the state of the governor’s race. “

State Senate rule provides its own gasoline additive to House – NashuaTelegraph.com: “This legislative session has started to get ugly, and it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.
There are more than enough bruised egos and hurt feelings to fill up a five-story therapy office building now that the state Senate has started to wade through the 310 bills that came over from the House of Representatives.
Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, has been a model of efficiency, trying to move through the most controversial social issues he has been handed as quickly as possible.
But Bragdon used the Senate rules deftly last week to cut down on the workload just a bit.”

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: Senate chief says rules are rules | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “The House wants to kill the Senate’s bill on a new school building aid program, while the Senate effectively killed the House’s bill to change the state retirement system to a defined contribution program that does not have guaranteed benefits for retirees.

The Senate’s two top-priority bills — affecting corporate law and limited liability companies — have effectively been taken hostage in the House.

The corporation law rewrite is expected to be sent to interim study, or a polite death, while the LLC bill is expected to pass, but with a significant change to how real estate could be transferred within the LLC.

The Senate has sent to interim study the right-to-work bill and some bills that would expand gun rights

This is the time when you have to read every amendment to see what bill the House is sending again to the Senate because it had been killed and what the Senate is sending back to the House”

Nashua police overtime decrease puts pressure on department as calls rise and vacancies remain – NashuaTelegraph.com: “NASHUA – Police overtime has been decreasing steadily over the last four years from a high-water mark of $1.8 million to this year’s leaner spending of $1.3 million.
As the department has faced mounting pressure on its budget, law enforcement also has been dealing with more crime in the city, at least by some measures.
The $1.3 million overtime budget got a boost thanks to an additional $178,000 aldermen approved, and is nearly double what the department initially budgeted for overtime this year.”

A Editorial about the NH Court System. This year the NH Court funding was reduced along with other state agencies and forced many SEA Members out of their jobs.

Indigent defendants deserve legal help | Concord Monitor: “New Hampshire’s emaciated judicial system has been forced to lay off staff, close courts temporarily, suspend trials in civil cases and force people to wait months or years longer than they should for their case to be resolved. Those problems are the result of a decade-long reluctance by lawmakers to adequately fund courts that don’t always see things the way the Legislature would like. But one serious flaw in the administration of justice is longstanding, and it exists largely because some courts say “that’s the way we’ve always done it.””

Burning of midnight oil doesn’t resolve hot-button issues | New Hampshire NEWS0603: “On Tuesday, he called out Anthem for meeting with city unions at the Chop House Monday night, asking them to call aldermen and school board members to squash the Cigna recommendation. But Gatsas has also been sour on Anthem since the company failed to discover the $4,000 bone marrow cheek swabs conducted on behalf of the Caitlin Raymond International Registry.

The two companies will submit their final and best offers to the school board on Wednesday and to the aldermen in two weeks.

The Alderman also approved a tentative agreement with the Highway Department’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) and are set to finalize the contract next week. The city also received a tentative agreement from the Welfare Department employees. The only two city unions that have yet to make concession deals are the police support staff and Water Works.”

OP/ED From Senator Jeanne Shaheen
On Earth Day, let’s protect Clean Air Act | Concord Monitor: “Far from being job killers, these regulations will mean new work for the innovative American companies who supply the equipment needed for plants to comply with the law. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that enactment of these standards would create a net gain of 117,000 jobs.

And of course, clean air is also vital to New Hampshire’s tourism and outdoor recreation economy, which supports 53,000 jobs statewide.”

An Editorial from NH Governor Candidate Kevin Smith. He is against the Health Care Act and is for Right To Work.
Tackling issues that raise cost of doing business – Fosters: “As governor, I will oppose ObamaCare and its mandates on the states, and I will join the federal lawsuit to remove New Hampshire’s participation in the program and fight against any elements that may remain after the Supreme Court rules on the legislation this summer. This is government intervention at its worst and we need to defeat it.”

Women have power in Senate race | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME: “The national campaign rhetoric about a “war on women” and “mommy wars,” along with recent debates in Congress, have put a spotlight on women’s health care. And many Maine women will be listening closely to what the Senate candidates have to say about such issues as contraception and abortion.

“It really would affect who I vote for,” said Ciocca, who fears that women could lose access to reproductive health services. “The economy is very important. A lot of things are important. But this is fundamental.””

NH Labor News 4/13: More RTW News, VP Joe Biden Goes On The Offensive Against Romney and Corporate Taxes, Buy Local Expo, and More

Our thoughts and prayers go out the family of Chief Maloney and all of the officers involved in this horrible incident.

Police Chief Killed, 4 Officers Hurt In Greenland Shooting: “GREENLAND, N.H. — Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was killed and four officers were injured in a shooting at a home in Greenland on Thursday.”

Attorney General Michael Delaney released information about the other four officers who were injured:

  • Detective Gregory Turner, 32, a six-year veteran of the Dover Police Department, was treated and released after gunshot wound to shoulder. 
  • Detective Eric Kulberg, 31, of the University of New Hampshire police, was treated and released after a gunshot wound to the arm. 
  • Detective Scott Kukesh, 33, a 10-year veteran with the Newmarket Police Department, was in the intensive care unit with a bullet wound to the chest. He was waiting for surgery. 
  • Detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, a seven-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department, was in the intensive care unit after surgery for a gunshot wound to chest.

Rough going for anti-union drives » peoplesworld: “On Apr. 11, the Republican-dominated New Hampshire Senate put the ‘right to work (for less)’ bill – HB 1677 – on hold. A bill supported heavily by Speaker Bill O’Brien, it failed both this year (so far) and last to get a majority vote. As it has been called, in an editorial by Concord Monitor, “a self-drawn caricature of vindictiveness and power,” it would seem that Senate Republicans are not all supportive of O’Brien’s agenda.

Even while the bill is still alive, the AFL-CIO added, this marks a symbolic victory for the working class.

“The Senate took a step in the right direction today in voting to indefinitely table HB 1677,” remarked New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. “Their vote confirms what we hear each and every day: People are tired of right to work for less dominating the discussion.”

The same day in Maine, the public employee “right to work” bill (LD 309) was also tabled on the floor of the House after working families persuaded a bipartisan coalition of senators to prevent this assault on working conditions.”

New Hampshire Right-to-Work Bill Tabled: “Republican state Sen. Peter Bragdon acknowledged that lawmakers knew a veto was coming and lacked the two-thirds majority vote needed to override it.

Lynch had already made good on his threat once last year when he vetoed an identical bill passed by the legislature that would have prohibited collective-bargaining agreements from requiring employees to pay union dues or fees.

“We know what’s going to happen,” Bragdon said, after tabling the measure. “We want to spend our time on bills that will help the economy and create jobs.”

Send Carol Shea-Porter back to Washington | SeacoastOnline.com: “The real truth here is that Congressman Guinta voted for the Paul Ryan budget. This budget is anti-everything and everybody who does not have an Inc. after their name or is not in the top 1 percent. Ryan and his peers do not understand that the economy must be driven by the middle class and that the wealthy and corporate CEO’s are only focused on getting wealthier. Ryan’s budget will eliminate Medicare and Social Security as we know it. Is that how Congressman Guinta will support the senior citizens and the middle class?”

GOP leaders slam oil fund suit | Concord Monitor: “The second dispute this week between the state attorney general and House Republican leadership appears to have arisen out of a misunderstanding, but House Speaker Bill O’Brien isn’t backing down.

Attorney General Michael Delaney submitted a request last month to the Legislature’s fiscal committee for authorization to hire an out-of-state law firm to sue major oil companies for “unjust enrichment.” The request, scheduled to be heard by the committee today, would have no immediate impact on the state’s finances, Delaney said, but the case could result in a large settlement and 25 percent of the money would pay the outside counsel’s fees and expenses.”

Rally held at Ayotte’s Nashua office to support ‘Buffett rule’ – NashuaTelegraph.com [Video]: “NASHUA – Just as Vice President Joe Biden was due to deliver a speech in Exeter, a small band of protesters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s Main Street office.
The messages on their signs painted a pointed picture.
“Trust me, the wealthy are doing just fine,” one read.
“Unequal taxation, unequal representation,” read another.
A third proclaimed, “Make sure the super rich pay taxes too.”
The group was rallying for the passage of the so-called Buffett Rule, which the U.S. Senate is due to vote Monday.”

Open up New Hampshire – Entertainment and travel in the Granite State: “The three-day event, for which the New Hampshire Union Leader is a sponsor, will run from Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15, at the Radisson Hotel’s expo center on Elm Street.

The event spotlights many of the state’s micro-businesses and encourages Granite Staters to “buy local.” Among the products featured will be candies and marshmallows, barbecue sauces and maple syrup, woodworking and jewelry, books by local authors, home decor, accessories and bath and body products.

In addition, the expo, which is presented by Business NH Magazine and EventsNH, will entertain crowds with performances by The Palace Theatre, a magician and musicians, including New Hampshire’s viral sensation, the Super Secret Project.”

Susan Bruce: New Hampshire Has a Revenue Problem: “New Hampshire is the seventh wealthiest state in the nation. We have 27,000 millionaires living here. Yet 15 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient. New Hampshire is in 11th place nationally for having the worst bridges.

This is the direct result of pledge politics. The Freebaglicans will continue to extol the virtues of what they call the N.H. Advantage. Strange as it may seem, businesses don’t seem to be falling all over themselves to move to a state where a broken infrastructure and lack of support for education are considered an advantage.”

VP Biden Attacks Romney In NH Visit – New Hampshire News Story – WMUR New Hampshire: “”If Gov. Romney has his way, we’d have the Romney Rule,” Biden said. “This isn’t some cute little deal. It’s the Romney Rule. The Romney Rule says let’s cut down on the tax cuts for the wealthy.”  Biden pushed the Buffett Rule — a proposal to increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires so that they pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as the middle class.”

The Associated Press: Biden: Romney is out of step with American values: “While stressing that he wasn’t questioning Romney’s patriotism, Biden also called Romney’s economic views “out of step with basic American values” of rewarding hard work and ensuring that everyone follows the same rules.
“Gov. Romney calls the president out of touch,” he said. “Hey, how many of y’all have a Swiss bank account? How many of you have somewhere between $20 and $100 million in your (retirement account)?””

New Hampshire Labor News: Postal Workers From The Manchester Area Come Together For One Common Goal: “Yesterday nearly 100 people showed up to support the Postal Service.  Letter Carriers, Mail Handlers, and Clerks all standing together to fight against the attacks on the Postal Service.   Unfortuantely Senator Kelly Ayotte was not in her office last night, so we did not get to personally talk to her.  Plans are already in the works to speak with her before she goes back to DC.

Below are a handful of pictures from the rally yesterday.  Special thanks to Janice Kelble for providing these pictures.”

BBC News – Lewis Hine: The child labour photos that shamed America: “Lewis Hine is most famous for his photographs of the construction workers who helped build the Empire State Building in 1930.

But in the years before he celebrated the heroic labour of these men working high above Manhattan, Hine used his photographs to campaign for social reform.

In 1908 the then-sociology professor was hired by the National Child Labor Committee to document how children as young as seven were working in cotton mills and coal mines.

Over a decade he took thousands of photographs that helped convince US lawmakers to introduce new industrial regulations to protect children.

Alison Nordstrom, senior curator of photographs of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, talked to the BBC about the new book of this historic photographer’s work, entitled simply Lewis Hine.”

Republic Airlines Sues Teamsters For Telling The Truth

For many people in New Hampshire and around the United States, flying is part of everyday life.  Many people commute to work on small aircraft. In New Hampshire, I personally know people who commute to New York, and DC weekly.  The Manchester / Boston Regional airport uses a mix of major and commuter airlines to provide airline service to New Hampshire.  Republic Airlines, which I will discuss more about, is the largest commuter airline to fly in and out of New Hampshire.

For pilots, flying can be a great career choice.  Big airlines seem tempting with perks like international trips, retirement plans, five day on / seven days off, and pay that could  exceed $250,000.  For most pilots, these luxury flying jobs are becoming harder and harder to get.  Most of the pilots flying today are flying smaller commuter jets, and for smaller commuter airlines.  Commuter airlines used to be the place where newer pilots would work to gain hours and experience before being hired for a “major” airline.

As the aviation industry grew and fuel costs get higher and higher, airlines have been forced to cut back.  They have raised the prices of tickets and cut the wages of pilots.  According to AvScholars.com the average commuter airline pilot makes between $16,000 and $60,000 per year. That may seem like a good number but what they are not telling you is that starting pay is $16,000 and their top pay is $60,000.   For Republic Airlines the starting salary for a co-pilot (entry level) is $35,000.  This does not seem like adequate pay for someone who is handling the lives of millions of people a year.  The life of a commuter pilot is no picnic.  They work 10-14 hours per day, and fly around 23 days a month.  This means they get 7 full days off in a month, that is if you live at the home base of the airline. If you have to commute to your airlines hub airport to start your work week, you may loose one of your days off.

Pilots have long known the power of organizing and being members of unions.  Most of the major airlines are represented by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA).  Recently the Teamsters have been working to organize some of the commuter airlines.  Indianapolis based Republic Airlines (RAH)  is one of the largest commuter airlines in the market. For the last five years RAH Pilots have been working without a contract.  It has become so bad with RAH and the Teamsters that Local 357 members have already voted to strike.  They have been in heated contract negotiations since 2007.

Now RAH is attempting to sue the Teamsters for their website RAHcontractNow.org.  Why would you ask? Because it is causing problems with RAH hiring new pilots.  “As a result of these inaccurate statements,” the airlines said, “Republic has had an increase in the number of pilots who have not called back for interviews and dropped out of the application process (1).”  RAH is working to quickly hire enough pilots to continue operations if and when the union goes on strike.  The Teamsters are just telling the prospective applicants what it is really like working for RAH.
Here are a few examples (2):

  • Incredibly long upgrade time. Currently 5 years. For a pilots hired today, they need the fleet to double, or for roughly 800 current First Officers to upgrade before they could upgrade.
  • It is not uncommon to have a few flights of your schedule canceled. Flights cancel, that’s life. But at RAH, you don’t get paid for them unless the company finds something else for you to do. For many of our pilots, this could constitute a 20% pay cut any given month. Cancellations strike without regard to seniority, paycheck, or previous cancellations.
  • RAH displaced an entire base of pilots from HNL (yes, Honolulu) to LGA (yes, New York City). How much time were the pilots given to make the move, you ask? 3 weeks. 3 weeks to cancel their leases and relocate their lives 5,000 miles away.

As you can see these are merely statements of facts from the people who are actually working for the airline, not people paid to promote the airline.  These points are also very important to potential pilots.  Remember how I said that RAH starts pilots out at $35,000 per year.  Without any contract, the pilots have not received any raises in over four years, and the average “upgrade time” is five years. That means if you take this job, it will be five years or more before you will move from co-pilot to captain, and you will make $35,000 max.  That is if you fly all of the flights they have planned for you.  Lets hope they do not cancel any of your flights, because if your not flying their not paying.

Good pilots are hard to find.  Republic Airlines should be respecting their pilots and working with the Teamsters to create a collective bargaining agreement. They should not be trying to hire a secondary workforce so they can fire all the union workers when they go on strike.  These corporate tactics should not be allowed and public needs to be aware of these actions as well.  I applaud the Teamsters for speaking the truth and working to spread the word about the horrible treatment of Republic Airlines employees. I went to college with many pilots who now work for Republic Airlines.  To them I say, Stay Strong!

Additional Information
Teamsters Local 357 represents pilots and airline crew from Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines, Shuttle America, and Frontier Airlines.

1) http://www.ibj.com/republic-airlines-file-federal-suit-against-pilots-union/PARAMS/article/33538
2) http://www.rahcontractnow.org/

Labor And Occupy Working Together To Create The 99% Spring!

Labor Unions have been fighting for  workers rights for over 100 years.  In the beginning workers stood together against the wealth mill owners.  This struggle between workers and owner has continued  ever since.  There have been many articles written that directly relate the current wage decline in America to the decline of union membership.   This economic divide has created a massive surge with the youth of America.  They started by protesting the wealthy executives and wall street gamblers.  They call themselves the 99%.   They started a movement that has spread over the entire country with “Occupies” in most major cities.

After the Occupy Wall Street protesters gained national media attention they were criticized for not having a consistent message.  They were an unorganized mass of people.  In a few weeks this will all change.  The Occupy movement is taking a lesson from the first occupiers, labor unions.  Essentially a strike is nothing more than what people refer to as an occupy event.  It is a massive amount of people gathered in front of a job site, factory, or office to protest.  The difference is that the strikes have one main goal and it is well know to everyone on that line.   This has lead to the launch of a new collaboration called the ‘99% Spring’.   Now we are bringing labor and occupy together in a new way to truly enact change.

From 99% Spring statement:  In the last year alone we watched the teachers and fire fighters of Wisconsin stand for the rights of workers. And we joined those who Occupied Wall Street, inspiring us to stand with the 99%.We will rise this spring, because we DO hold these truths to be self evident—that all men and women are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Together they will learn from each other.  I believe the unions will teach occupiers how to focus their message to make more of an impact.  The occupiers will teach labor unions the power of social media.  Together they will increase their numbers and be more effective in public.  

From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country. We will organize trainings to:

  1. Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it 
  2. Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and 
  3. Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.

      Below is a short video talking about the plans to educate and a list of who is involved in the 99% Spring.  The 99% Spring asks: “Will you rise with us? Can we count on you to join us April 9th to 15th to stand with the 99% for America?”

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