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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

Honoring Those Who Have Died Serving Our Country

NH Labor News: As we celebrate Memorial Day, I want people to remember there is much more to Mermorial Day than just cookouts and picnics.  Memorial Day is about honoring the brave men and women who have helped to keep our country safe and free.

Millions of men and women have chosen to serve their country as a soldier in the military.  Here is a chart listing the American casualties of war.  This does not include the conflicts we have faced in the last ten years.

War Casualties KIA
Revolutionary War 10,623 4,435
War of 1812 6,765 2,260
Mexican-American War 17,435 1,733
Civil War 970,227 184,594
Spanish-American War 4,108 385
World War I 320,710 53,513
World War II 1,078,162 292,131
Korean War 136,935 33,651
Vietnam War 211,471 47,369
Gulf War 760 148

While this is a sad fact we need to honor these brave men and women every day and especially on Memorial Day.  Below I have included a few articles relating to Memorial Day.

Remember the True Meaning of Memorial Day: To Honor and Remember Our Fallen Heroes and the Families They Left Behind!

“PHOENIX, U-Haul is teaming up with The Memorial Day Foundation to remind the public to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day: “To remember that the true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor and remember those Americans who died defending freedom.”

Memorial Day IS NOT about getting an extra day off from work, having a picnic with family and friends, or taking advantage of all the many sales that will be offered. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t know what Memorial Day is all about.

The Memorial Day Foundation is running an initiative to involve the public in patriotism and remembrance through the historical and traditional ways of observing Memorial Day. One such way is with flowers. The gift of flowers at a memorial site is a ritual practiced worldwide in every culture. Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, on May 30th, when Americans would decorate the graves of Civil War veterans with flowers. “

Memorial Day events around the region begin Friday – NashuaTelegraph.com

Open up New Hampshire – Entertainment and travel in the Granite State: “Memorial Day Observances”

Maggie Hassan Statement on Memorial Day

MANCHESTER – Democratic candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement on Memorial Day.

“From the battlefields of Lexington and Concord to Afghanistan and Iraq, brave men and women have given their lives to keep us safe and free. On this Memorial Day weekend, let us pause to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and liberty. As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I know firsthand that our country has long been kept secure by the proud and selfless service of our citizen soldiers. That tradition continues today. So on this Memorial Day, let us also thank and honor the brave men and women abroad and at home who are serving in our nation’s armed forces keep our country, state and communities safe. We should all work to support their families and pray for their safe return.”

Obama to vets on Memorial Day: You are not alone | City Brights: Yumi Wilson | an SFGate.com blog:
“As part of his Memorial Day weekend celebration, President Obama will be visiting The Wall.

“It’s another chance to honor those we lost in places like Hue and Que Son, Da Nang and Hamburger Hill,” Obama said in his weekly on the White House channel on YouTube. “And we’ll be calling on you, the American people, to join us in thanking our Vietnam veterans in your communities. Even as we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we reaffirm our commitment to care for those who served alongside them, the veterans who came home.”

Though the Vietnam War is viewed as a controversial and painful time in U.S. history, I am heartened by the president’s nod to Vietnam War veterans, of which my father is one. He will turn 71 in June, but the memory of his year-long tour in Vietnam remains just as strong and powerful as it did when he fought there in the late ’60s.  “You can’t forget Vietnam,” my father told me in our most recent phone call. “I got PTSD and all these other health problems.”

For Memorial Day: Great poems about soldiers, war – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post: “Memorial Day commemorations ordinarily involve parades, concerts, barbecues, sporting events and a lot of flag-waving. Here’s a more introspective way to commemorate the national holiday: Read some poetry about war.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday to honor all Americans who have died fighting the country’s wars while serving in the U.S. armed forces. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the first official observance was on May 28, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. By the 20th century, the holiday was extended to all soldiers who had fallen in all American wars.”

NH Labor News 5/27/12: Shame on Bettencourt, Education Funding Issues, MHT Teachers Contracts and more

New Hampshire Labor News: Scandalous Update on the Real Reason DJ Bettencourt Is Resigning From His State Rep Postion!:

The truth of the matter has come out! According to the news report from the NH Union Leader “Mr Bettencourt agreed to resign after he admitted fabricating reports for a law school internship, according to the House Republican who was mentoring him”. The House Republican who was mentoring Mr Bettencourt was none other that Chichester Attorney and State Rep Brandon Guida.  Guida allowed Bettencourt to complete his mandatory internship with his law firm.  The Union Leader report further details that “Guida said Bettencourt only showed up at his office for one day, “where he did approximately one hour of legal work.”  He (Guida) later discovered that Bettencourt had submitted “extremely detailed” reports about that internship, including court hearings he supposedly attended, cases he worked on and interviews with clients.””

Public school cuts show GOP priorities – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Education is the key to a strong economic future for our state. New Hampshire has led the nation’s economic recovery because of our skilled and educated workforce.
The misguided priorities of the Republican majority in Concord, which seems intent on undermining our public schools, jeopardize the future of our children and our state.
During the past 18 months, the Republican-led Legislature has cut state funding for public higher education in half – leading to massive tuition hikes for New Hampshire families. New Hampshire already was the lowest in the country in terms of state funding for higher education.
The Republican Legislature has reduced funding for dropout prevention programs, special education and for the regional vocational schools that help students prepare for the job market.”

Lingering contract, layoff woes keep everyone guessing | New Hampshire NEWS0603: “Parents, students, school board members, teachers, aldermen and pretty much everyone else in this city who cares even a little about city schools has been asking this question since the Manchester Education Association (the teachers’ union) soundly rejected a concessions deal that could have saved up to 143 school jobs next year. Later in the week, the principals’ union rejected similar concessions by a closer margin.

The Board of School Committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss the teachers’ vote.

The Board of Aldermen will meet the same night to talk budgets, both city and school. Expect the school budget to take up most of the evening’s debate and for the MEA, which has promised to continue lobbying the aldermen, to show up in force.

Parents also met last week, trying to wrap their heads around the impact of the budget and the teachers’ vote. Word about a meeting at Hillside Middle School Thursday evening that was strictly for parents — no politicians or teachers allowed — was spread via Facebook Thursday afternoon. Members of the newly formed Citizens for Manchester Schools group also plan to meet outside City Hall Tuesday evening prior to the aldermen’s meeting”

Misleading argument from school amendment fans | Concord Monitor: “Proponents of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Claremont education funding principles make the argument that virtually all laws are judged with a rational basis test and that it is unusual for courts to apply a strict scrutiny standard to legislative decisions. The amendment is necessary, they contend, to return the state’s school funding laws to legislative control.

They also claim that strict scrutiny is a new test used by the courts to determine if legislation violates equal protection analysis. The arguments are wrong and misleading. Strict scrutiny has been in place for almost 75 years. All laws that infringe upon fundamental rights are subject to this high level of judicial scrutiny.”

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: Council redistricting game nears finale | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “NO CHANGE? The House and Senate approved very different plans for redrawing the boundaries for the five Executive Council districts.

Under the Senate plan, District 1 would stretch from the Canadian border to Dover and District 2 from Concord to the Connecticut River from north of Hanover to the Massachusetts border.

The House plan has a serpentine District 2 that would stretch from the Massachusetts border to the Seacoast, including Democratic strongholds Keene, Concord and Portsmouth.”

House and Senate members negotiating a constitutional amendment on education and how it is funded may be taking the weekend off, but the real negotiations are likely to continue.

The official line last week was that constitutional attorneys would spend the weekend reviewing every word in House- and Senate-proposed constitutional amendments to determine the implications and constitutional legality. The real work, however, is going on among attorneys for the Senate, the House and the Governor’s Office and a long list of outside legal and political advisers, not with the members of the negotiating teams for the House and Senate.”

Health care a top issue for businesses in New Hampshire | New Hampshire NEWS02: “Group President Jim Roche said health care costs are becoming “an increasingly important factor in business relocation and expansion” in New Hampshire.

“From a competitive perspective, we have some of the highest health care costs in the country,” he said.

New Hampshire in 2010 had the highest annual premium cost for family-size plan among the 50 states, at $15,204 — $1,333 higher than the national average. Only the District of Columbia was higher, by $2, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit foundation focusing on major health care issues.”

NH tells 5 to repay $1.3m in pensions | New Hampshire NEWS06: “The New Hampshire Retirement System is trying to recoup more than $1.3 million from five retirees for alleged pension overpayments and missed contributions because of jobs they took after retiring.

In each case, the NHRS decided the pensioner took a job that should have required him to pay into the system and stop receiving his pension, according to NHRS spokesman Marty Karlon.”

Manufacturing produces 6 Billion to the State Economy

Made in N.H.: Helping manufacturers grow jobs | SeacoastOnline.com: “There’s a simple line all Granite Staters take pride in reading: “Made in New Hampshire.”

Those four words are known around the world as the hallmark of quality products, made by people who genuinely care about their work.

We have witnessed a big shift in the manufacturing sector in recent years. Though no longer dominated by traditional mill work, manufacturing is still important to New Hampshire. Our fellow Granite Staters make many things we use every day: computers, electronics and appliances (plus the components that run them), plastic and rubber items, food and beverage products, fabricated metal products, machinery and much more.”

Traditional kickoff to Laconia Bike Week will benefit fire rescue team, veterans, families | New Hampshire NEWS07: “The Peter Makris Memorial Ride & Run, which will open Laconia Bike Week, honors the man, who is “still very much with us,” said Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the rally. “And it really kick-starts the week,” which begins June 9.

The annual run is a 75-mile “feet-up” ride that circles the lake without any traffic stops.

Money raised is used for the operation of three fire rescue boats, training and assorted equipment needed by the dive team.”

“Half of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.”

Speaker tells education summit it’s not the economy, it’s the work force | New Hampshire NEWS02: “They joined a growing section of Americans who fear that students are graduating without proper skills for today’s work force, and that jobs remain open with no qualified young people to fill them, despite falling unemployment. According to the Labor Department, the number of factory jobs waiting to be filled climbed to 326,000 in March, the most since 2007.

Bill Symonds, keynote speaker for Thursday’s manufacturing summit at Nashua Community College, said about half of all young adults could be left behind because they are not properly prepared to succeed after high school or college.”

NH Labor News 5/26/12: Bettencourt Out, Senators Praise IAFF Members, LTE To Stop Pushing RTW, and more

New Hampshire Labor News: Breaking News: REP Bettencourt To Resign on June 6th!: “t appears that another House Republican has decided to call it quits.  This time it is the House Majority Leader who is walking away.  Rep D.J. Bettencourt is going to resign his post as Majority Leader and resign as State Rep on June 6th. “

Maine, N.H. senators briefed on submarine fire at shipyard: Speak with some of the 100 firefighters who fought the blaze – Fosters: “KITTERY, Maine — As three teams of U.S. Navy investigators prepared to board a nuclear submarine that caught fire at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard this week to assess the damage, senators from Maine and New Hampshire also traveled to the shipyard Friday to hear about the incident first-hand.

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen toured the Kittery, Maine, facility Friday and spoke with officials from the shipyard and the Navy.

They also spoke with some of the more than 100 firefighters who fought the overnight blaze.”

Senators praise firefighters’ courage, skill in fighting sub blaze | New Hampshire NEWS07: “KITTERY, Maine — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) praised firefighters Friday morning for their courageous efforts in battling a five-alarm blaze aboard the USS Miami, a submarine undergoing repairs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard two days prior.

Shaheen said while they were not allowed inside the nuclear submarine due to the investigation, the two senators, who both serve on the Armed Forces Service Committee, were able to get “a sense of the challenge” firefighters had to overcome to get the situation under control.

“I can’t imagine the courage it took to go in,” Collins said, praising the well-established network of firefighters from 20 surrounding communities who responded to provide mutual aid.”

Negotiators reach RGGI deal | Concord Monitor: “Republican leaders in the House and Senate have struck a deal on what to do with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and it doesn’t involve withdrawing New Hampshire from the program.

Last year, House leaders walked away from negotiations with the Senate after refusing to accept anything but a complete withdrawal from the carbon cap-and-trade program. The Senate doesn’t have the 16 votes needed from its 24 members to override a promised veto of repeal by Democratic Gov. John Lynch.”

Speaker O’Brien and Rep. Smith need to drop Right-to-Work | SeacoastOnline.com: “He insists that Right-To-Work (for less) legislation is necessary to make New Hampshire appealing to new businesses. But he has no facts to support this claim. All but three of the Right-To-Work (for less) states have higher unemployment rates than New Hampshire. Like Rep. Will Smith, who was the author of the failed Right-To-Work (for less) bill, he has done nothing but grandstand on the issue.

Rep. Smith claimed that a lot of out-of-state business owners offered to set up shop in New Hampshire only if we became a Right-To-Work (for less) state. But he couldn’t name any names. If there were truly all of these out-of-state business owners who were withholding their expansion plans to New Hampshire until we became a Right-To-Work (for less) state, then Rep. Smith would be able to name names. But the truth is that there aren’t. He and Speaker O’Brien are nothing but blowhards when it comes to this issue. They have no facts to back up their shrill but in the end empty claims.”

John DiStaso’s Granite Status: Obama camp: Romney ‘out of touch’ for saying class size alone doesn’t matter to education quality | New Hampshire NEWS0602: ““Mitt Romney is out of touch with reality and with the needs of our students and teachers,” John Day, a retired 28-year Manchester Central High School English teacher, said during a conference call organized by the New Hampshire Obama campaign. “Every teacher, every parent and really everyone with a little common sense knows that smaller class sizes are better.”

Day said he chaired the English Department at the school for 23 years, and, “I can say unequivocally that when you’re trying to teach, you can’t have huge classes. Students learn best when their teachers are intricately involved in the learning process.”

James Kvaal, Obama campaign policy director and a former deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, said Romney’s overall education plan “would take us backwards, just like he did as Governor of Massachusetts” and “would abandon the national commitment to turning around failing schools.””

American Airlines Agents Fight for CWA Election

American Airlines Agents Fight for CWA Election | Communications Workers of America:
American Airlines passenger service agents and CWA supporters are fighting back against the airline’s attempt to block the union representation election that was ordered by the National Mediation Board.
Agents have some big support, from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators John Rockefeller, who heads the Commerce Committee, and Tom Harkin, chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

In a letter to American Airlines CEO Tom Horton, the senators said, “It is our understanding that American Airlines is attempting to delay an election for roughly 9,000 employees while arguing in federal court that the amendments to the Railway Labor Act in the Federal Aviation Authority Reauthorization Act should apply retroactively…We strongly urge you to allow the election process to move forward in the interim. Your workers have the right to a prompt and fair election and we urge you to respect that right.”


Members of the Illinois congressional delegation echoed that message in a separate letter, calling on Horton to respect workers’ rights and stop blocking the election.

Agents across the American system are demanding that Horton respect democracy and stop his attack on workers’ rights. Supporters can sign the petition here. More than 23,000 agents and supporters signed a petition to the NMB, calling on the agency to move forward on the election.

Find out more at www.american-agents.org

AFT NH Endorses Annie Kuster for Congress

American Federation of Teachers-NH
“Union of Professionals”

AFT NH Endorses Annie Kuster for Congress

Kuster a Proven Leader, Will Fight for Working Families
Bow, NH—Today AFT New Hampshire announced its endorsement of Annie Kuster for election to Congress from New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District.
“NH voters have a clear choice in November—the same old tired politics or an effective leader who will fight for the Second District’s working families,” said AFT NH President Laura Hainey. “Annie Kuster would be a tireless advocate for the middle class and AFT NH is proud to endorse her for Congress.
“Annie  is the candidate in this race we know will fight to restore sanity in Washington and protect middle class families,” Hainey continued. “Charlie Bass does not stand up for the  priorities of middle-class families in the Granite State need and deserve. But Annie understands the importance of supporting public education, affordable healthcare, and real job-creation measures as our economy recovers.
“Annie Kuster will be a relentless fighter for working families and shares our commitment to  return to our core values that every child should have a chance to achieve the American dream. We are extremely pleased to support her candidacy in the election this fall.”
“AFT-NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members here in New Hampshire.   These members are teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty and town employees. AFT-NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO which represents over 45,000 working men and women.”

NH Labor News 5/24/12 Part Two: Lamontagne Wants a Lower Minimum Wage, Firefighters Pensions Under Attack, Education Funding and much more

New report shows that attacking the firefighers pensions is becoming more and more a trend
Firefighters Lose as Rising Pensions Spur Broken Promises – Businessweek: “It has been more than 20 years since Gilbert McLaughlin ran the fire department in Providence, Rhode Island. Yet the former chief stands to be biggest loser as the capital of the smallest U.S. state flirts with insolvency.”

Lamontagne touts seasonal, lower minimum wage at school | New Hampshire NEWS06: “MANCHESTER — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ovide Lamontagne told high school students he would like to establish a seasonal minimum wage in order to create more summer jobs.

Answering a question from a student, Lamontagne said a lower minimum wage would open opportunities for summer jobs. When he asked for a show of hands, few students had lined up summer jobs.

“There’s still a lot of anxiety. People aren’t hiring the way they should be in an (economic) expansion,” Lamontagne said. “There should be jobs for you.”

Lamontagne prefaced his remarks on minimum wage by saying it was a federal issue.

Actually, states are allowed to set their own minimum wage, and the three states that border New Hampshire all have minimum wages higher than the $7.25 rate, according to the U.S. Labor Department website.”

Controversial House Bills Die in Senate | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Senate President Peter Bragdon says on each of those measures the Senate had made its voice clear.

“I think the Senate generally felt that on issues related to business and taxes, distracting it with some of the social issues was not something the Senate wanted to revisit.”

Bragdon doesn’t believe the Senate’s action will derail on-going negotiations with House lawmakers on dozens of other bills, including an education funding constitutional amendment.”

Gov. Lynch has “real concerns” about education tax credit proposal – NashuaTelegraph.com: “CONCORD – A legally valid way to direct private donations to support private schools is making its way to the desk of Gov. John Lynch, who has “serious concerns” about it.
The state Senate endorsed changes made to its own bill to have New Hampshire become the ninth state in the country to give business owners a tax credit for making donations to a nonprofit scholarship.
The credit would be 85 percent of those donations against either the 8.5 percent tax on corporate profits or the 0.75 percent business activity tax.
Scholarships that would run on average $2,500 would then go to parents wanting to send their child somewhere other than the assigned public school.
The final proposal would save the state some additional money but reduce state aid to local school districts by $3.4 million in the first year, according to a cost analysis.”

GOP legislature has wrong priorities – Fosters: “Education is the key to a strong economic future for our state. New Hampshire has led the nation’s economic recovery because of our skilled and educated workforce. The misguided priorities of the Republican majority in Concord, which seems intent on undermining our public schools, jeopardize the future of our children and our state.

Over the past 18 months, the Republican led legislature has cut state funding for public higher education in half — leading to massive tuition hikes on New Hampshire families. New Hampshire was already the lowest in the country in terms of state funding for higher education.

The Republican legislature has reduced funding for dropout prevention programs, special education, and for the regional vocational schools that help students prepare for the job market….

Unfortunately, this seems to be part of a pattern of attacks by the legislative majority on our public schools. In addition to their budget cuts, Republicans in the legislature tried to eliminate kindergarten and the requirement that children go to school at all. They even considered forcing local school districts to reject $60 million in federal education aid and unfortunately for local schools and local taxpayers, that’s not a bluff. Now is not the time to reduce aid to education — this is the time to stand tall in support of public education as it is the key to the future.

State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro
D-Manchester “

Payment to teachers for extra work is not a bonus | SeacoastOnline.com: It was very disheartening to see the front page of the Hampton Union on Friday May 18: “Bonuses paid to WHS teachers set precedent.” Since when is taking on extra work and being compensated for it considered a bonus? Having been a high school science teacher since 2001, taking on an extra class is overtime. For every hour spent in a face-to-face class, you can guarantee a minimum of two hours of additional work dedicated to planning, prepping and grading. Most of this work is completed on a teacher’s personal time. The school district is saving money by paying teachers to take on an additional class rather than hire extra faculty. Not to mention, it is standard practice to compensate teachers for teaching more classes than the rest of the faculty.

Letter: Beautiful bridge | Concord Monitor: “Finally, someone else thinks that presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Sen. Kelly Ayotte were both foolish and insensitive when they chose the Sawyer Bridge as a political spot to speak against the stimulus money. Thank you, Robert Gillette, for your exceptional column (“Saving history is good for economy,” Monitor Forum, May 22).

Quite frankly, the fact that the community of Hillsboro chose to restore this area along Route 9 showed great wisdom. All too many examples of such unique and exceptional craftsmanship that created this beautiful bridge in the first place have been lost forever.”

Guinta supports Ryan budget that guts Medicaid program: “Congressman Frank Guinta was wrong on a number of things he recently told citizens and a reporter in Laconia, but one thing was particularly bad. Someone expressed concern about Medicaid costs, and Congressman Guinta said it was largely because of the Affordable Care Act. That is totally wrong. The cuts that New Hampshire is currently facing have to do with state-level budgeting decisions. The Medicaid changes under the health care law don’t even start until 2014, and either Congressman Guinta does not know the facts or he is trying to fool the people and the media once again. Please see: www.nhpr.org/post/court-orders-hhs-assess-medicaid-cuts
Congressman Guinta does not care about Medicaid anyway. Look at what the Ryan budget that he voted for does to it. It guts the program. These cuts will not only hurt poor children they will also hurt nursing home patients as a majority of them are on Medicaid. How will their families be able to pay for them? Why didn’t Congressman Guinta tell his constituents that he voted to slash Medicaid in the Ryan budget instead of falsely claiming it was President Obama? It’s because he knows it’s a cruel vote against the poor and middle class and he has no defense for his actions.”

Another View — Kathy Sullivan: Vaillancourt, Mead flaps eclipse ‘war’ on schools | New Hampshire OPINION02: “The Vaillancourt blow-up, and to a lesser extent, the Mead mini-scandal, overshadowed a more serious controversy: the war that has erupted against New Hampshire’s public schools. It is not just about the Claremont decision and the allocation of state resources to public schools anymore. There are legislators whose sneering references to “government schools” makes one wonder if they are still resentful over being put in the corner for their bad behavior in second grade. Then there are local government officials like Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who look at the education of children as an onerous burden, not the most important of responsibilities.

Legislative leadership is attempting feverishly to cobble together a constitutional amendment that will gain enough support to be put on the November ballot. The initial efforts were envisioned as a way to permit the state to target aid to communities that need help more than others, while eliminating future lawsuits. But for many in the New Hampshire House, the goal apparently is to eliminate the state’s responsibility to provide any financial support to the state’s public schools.”

Stand Up for New Hampshire’s Middle Class in Manchester

Speaker Bill O’Brien and his extreme Tea-Party allies in the NH House have promised to renew their attacks on working families if  & when they return to the state legislature next year. Now they’ve found a new best friend in Gubernatorial-wannabe Ovide Lamontagne.

Among other politically-motivated proposals that would destroy middle class work opportunities, Ovide has pledged to make passing “Right-to-Work” a priority and supports eliminating the minimum wage.

O’Brien and Ovide will be together at an event in downtown Manchester on Wednesday, May 30 – and we hope you’ll join us in taking a stand for New Hampshire working families outside the event at the Radisson Conference Center. We’ll have signs – all you need to do is show up!

Will you send us an RSVP on Facebook? It only takes a second.

It’s clear that while Ovide says he’s running on a platform of jobs and the economy, Ovide cares more about his own extreme ideology than what Granite State families really need. Join us next Wednesday to take a stand about political candidates who won’t stand up for collective bargaining rights or working families!

WHAT: Visibility for our collective bargaining rights
WHERE: Outside the Radisson Conference Center, on Pleasant Street near Elm Street
WHEN: Wednesday, May 30th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

NH Labor News 5/24/12: MHT Teachers Fight To Keep Jobs, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 131 Volunteer To Clean Up Cemetery, and manny more from the past few days

City teachers’ union rejects contract proposal | New Hampshire NEWS06: “City teachers have overwhelmingly rejected contract modifications touted as saving the jobs of 143 teachers.

The 143 positions are among the 161 school employees who have been told they can expect to lose their jobs when school ends in June.

Union President Ben Dick said the Manchester Education Association (MEA) membership voted to reject the proposal by a 3-1 margin.

“It should never have been the sole option” for saving teachers jobs, Dick said.

With the proposed contract concessions rejected, the MEA will lobby aldermen for more money for the schools.

“We still have the ability to receive a budget that is above the budget proposed before,” Dick said.”

Brawny plumbers, pipefitters clean up Valley Cemetery | New Hampshire NEWS: “Historic Valley Cemetery is a favorite target of vandals who get their kicks toppling granite and limestone tombstones and pushing obelisks off their bases.

Storms also have taken their toll, with falling branches damaging the antique grave markers.

Last weekend, a group of about 30 members of New Hampshire Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 131, volunteered to set things straight, up righting grave markers and gluing together stones broken in two and putting them back in the ground, making sure to compact the dirt to anchor them in place.

Daniel Coffey, the local’s training coordinator, said some of the limestone and granite makers weighed more than 600 pounds each, requiring four to six men to lift them.”

Fire on nuke-powered sub at Maine shipyard hurts 6 – Boston.com: “KITTERY, Maine—A fire on a nuclear-powered submarine at a Maine shipyard has injured six people, including a firefighter.

Fire crews responded Wednesday to the USS Miami SSN 755 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on an island in Kittery, a town near Portsmouth, N.H., popular with tourists.

The shipyard says the injured people have been treated and released. The firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.

The fire still was not out shortly before midnight but shipyard spokesman Capt. Bryant Fuller says the situation is improving.

Shipyard public affairs specialist Gary Hildreth says the fire started in the forward compartment of the sub. The shipyard says the sub’s reactor wasn’t operating at the time and was unaffected.”

O’Brien: N.H. GOP was given a conservative mandate | SeacoastOnline.com: “PORTSMOUTH — House Speaker Bill O’Brien said both the tone in Concord and the focus of the current Legislature is a result of a perceived fiscal and social mandate from voters who swept Republicans into the majority in 2010.

O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, and Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, spoke at length with the Portsmouth Herald’s editorial board about the Legislature’s focus on the economy and also social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Voters overwhelmingly supported Republicans in 2010 who pledged to bring fiscal conservancy to Concord, but O’Brien said that “mandate” from voters went beyond balancing the state budget.”

Legislature has week to compromise – NashuaTelegraph.com: “CONCORD – With relative breakneck speed, the state Senate on Wednesday set the stage for final negotiations over the 2012 legislative session, killing 14 bills and giving final approval to 26 others.
Among the big casualties were bills to require a waiting period before a woman could have an abortion, to let cities and towns create a one-year moratorium on accepting new refugees and to eliminate the university system’s chancellor’s office.
The Senate also killed an entire rewrite of the state’s corporate laws that the House had turned into a study.
Last week, Senate leaders made clear they would kill bills the House had used to attach other topics, many the Senate had already rejected.”

Lynch cites safety, uses his veto pen | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Gov. John Lynch cited concerns raised by top state safety officials Wednesday when vetoing a bill that would prohibit New Hampshire motor vehicle records from being used in any federal identification database.

The move surprised the bill’s prime sponsor, state Rep. Seth Cohn, who described House Bill 1549 as an attempt to safeguard people’s privacy rights from federal intrusion. He vowed to mount an override challenge.

Lynch said the bill is so broadly written that it could “interfere or complicate valid law enforcement efforts.”

It also would “disrupt routine, time-honored law enforcement procedures,” such as state law enforcers’ ability to share information with the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Secret Service investigating credible threats against the President, vice-president or presidential candidates, he added.”

Dick Pollock: Legislature taking NH apart one program at a time: “I realized later that my nightmare was your nightmare too. Indeed it is real and is happening in Concord as we speak. The nightmare, of course, is what has become of our State Legislature and worse yet what is happening to our state. The Tea Party/Free State Republican-led Legislature, particularly the House, is taking New Hampshire apart one program at a time with no intent of putting anything back or to replace it with something better….And now with a series of proposed constitutional amendments the Legislature is trying to make some changes permanent. When you go to the polls in November you will, in all probability, be asked to ratify these changes. Before you vote “yes” be sure you know what you are saying “yes” to:
CACR 12 effectively defunds public education and puts the Legislature entirely in charge of education standards and funding.
CACR 13 prohibits any new tax on personal income and makes it law. Bond rating agencies are already downgrading the state for its talk of emasculating the Legislature from considering these funding options. At a minimum it is irresponsible and unnecessary.
CACR 26 relating to the administration of the courts repeals the Supreme Courts role in establishing rules for the courts and gives it to the Legislature.
CACR 6 requires a 3/5 vote for the establishment of any new taxes or fees instead of a simple majority.
This most recent behavior is on top of a host of legislation or attempted legislation that is changing the very nature of state government and violating the democratic principles that both Republicans and Democrats have subscribed to for over 200 years.”

Education funding all about language | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Lawmakers are trying to negotiate a proposed constitutional amendment that would shift more control of public education and its funding from the courts to the Legislature, thereby setting goals, rather than setting specific language.

“Let’s see if we can agree on common goals as a committee,” said Rep. Lynn Ober, R-Hudson, the conference committee chair. “When you work on the specific language, it is easy to get bogged down.”

House and Senate leaders and Gov. John Lynch’s office have been meeting on language that could be put before voters in November, but to date no agreement has been reached.

The Senate and Lynch reached agreement earlier this year, but the House rejected similar language and instead House leadership released a new version about a month ago.”

NH lawmakers set goal for school funding amendment: “CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Negotiators have set goals for a proposed change to the New Hampshire Constitution to shift more control over public school aid from the courts to the Legislature, but have yet to agree on wording for an amendment to put before voters.

House and Senate negotiators held their first public meeting Tuesday. They agreed the amendment should allow the state to target aid to poorer communities, protect charter and home school alternatives, restore a traditional cost-sharing arrangement with communities and raise the legal standard to overturn state education laws.

The state is currently required under a landmark 1997 state Supreme Court ruling to provide all public school children with an adequate education. New Hampshire lawmakers have tried and failed dozens of times over the years to nullify the ruling”

Biden makes whirlwind tour through Granite State | New Hampshire NEWS0605: “Vice President Joe Biden swept through the Granite State Tuesday with stops in Manchester, Peterborough and Keene.

The visit was his fourth to New Hampshire this year to campaign for President Barack Obama ahead of November’s election.

Speaking to a crowd of almost 500 people at Keene State College Tuesday afternoon, Biden first defended Obama’s administration and the tough decisions it has had to make after the economy tanked in the fall of 2008 and then spoke to what Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s approach would be.”

Some of the issues left prior to the summer recess.

Senate, House still have key issues to resolve | New Hampshire NEWS06: “The Senate and House still have a number of key issues and bills to resolve before they adjourn for the summer.

The Senate Wednesday asked the House to try to negotiate compromises on a number of bills. The negotiators have about a week to work out their differences.

The Senate wants to talk to the House about Senate Bill 212, which establishes the parameters for how risk management polls, such as the Local Government Center, Primex and SchoolCare, may operate.

The House version establishes defines reserves and surpluses, sets thresholds for returning surpluses to communities and allows the pools to retain some surplus for rate stabilization, according to Sen. Raymond White, R-Bedford, who tried unsuccessfully to convince his colleagues to agree to the House version of the bill.”

NH unemployment drops | New Hampshire NEWS02: “CONCORD — The unemployment rate in all New Hampshire counties dropped in April as 1,380 Granite Staters returned to work, according to a state government news release Wednesday.

New Hampshire Employment Security, in its report of seasonally unadjusted labor figures, said all of the state’s 10 counties showed a percentage decrease in the jobless rate in April.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the statewide jobless rate dropped to 5 percent in April, from 5.2 percent March. Initial statewide figures were released last week.”

– NashuaTelegraph.com: “Unemployment rates plunged around the region in April compared to a month earlier and are slightly lower than a year earlier, according to the latest data from the state.
The April jobless results look startlingly good in some cases: Greenville’s unemployment rate plunged from 8.4 percent in March to 5.5 percent in April, for example, and Litchfield’s fell from 6.7 percent to 5.1 percent. But limitations in the way the numbers are collected means month-to-month results should be taken with a grain of salt.”

CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte have introduced a bill that would remove barriers for small businesses seeking to export their products and services.

The bipartisan bill improves coordination between federal and state agencies.

It places a representative of state trade agencies on a federal panel in charge of export promotion services. It requires the Small Business Administration to hold events in each state about export opportunities. It also directs a trade promotion committee to identify opportunities to consolidate unnecessary government offices.

Shaheen and Ayotte, who serve on the Senate Small Business Committee, are sponsoring the bill in response to feedback they heard from New Hampshire businesses during a hearing in Manchester last August.

Last year, international sales generated over $4 billion in revenue for New Hampshire firms.

CWA Opposes SB48 and we all need to come together to protect our rights to have a phone line in every household.

NH Labor News 5/19/12: Firefighters Raise Money For Charities, Fuller Clark and Odell To Run For Senate, O’Brien’s Fault, and more

Riding With a Cause: Local Firefighters to Bike Across NH – Hampton-North Hampton, NH Patch: “Over a dozen Seacoast-area firefighters will bike nearly 250 miles across the Granite State this summer to pay tribute to individuals affected by muscular dystrophy and raise money for researchers trying to find a cure for the devastating disease.

Individuals from departments in Hampton, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Exeter and Rye will be among the hundreds of riders traversing the state as one over three days in June for the 25th annual Trans NH Bike Ride, which benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The International Association of Firefighters is the biggest national supporter of the MDA. North Hampton Firefighter Angelo Puglisi said, though, that the June 22-24 ride has a special significance that extends beyond local departments’ annual boot drives and events because of the striking image of hundreds of people riding to the various corners of the state, all to benefit New Hampshire residents.”

Firefighter Holding Fundraiser for Cancer Research – Hampton-North Hampton, NH Patch: “Hampton Firefighter Kate Meehan is participating in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure walk later this summer, and as part of her fundraising efforts for the cancer foundation Meehan will have a special event Monday at Margarita’s on Route 1 in Portsmouth.

Meehan said 15 percent of the proceeds at the restaurant between 4 and 10 p.m. on Monday, May 21, will go toward the foundation.

Meehan is required to raise $2,300 before the 60-mile walk through Boston, which happens in July, and the fundraiser will help her reach that goal.

More information is available by contacting Meehan at the Hampton Fire Department at 926-3316.

Fuller Clark to run for Senate seat being vacated by Merrill | SeacoastOnline.com:”During my six terms in the House and three terms in the Senate, I was able to work across party lines to pass legislation on many major issues,” Fuller Clark said in a prepared statement.

Having sat out of state politics the past two years, Fuller Clark said she’s been “appalled” at the lack of good government and by the open manipulation occurring at the Statehouse by what she deems radical out-of-state influences.

Fuller Clark said she would be honored to represent the constituents Merrill has served over the years, as well as once again representing the residents of Portsmouth and Newington.

“I pledge to work in a bipartisan manner to create common-sense solutions to build New Hampshire’s economy, promote jobs and protect New Hampshire’s unique resources — its quality of life and its people,” she said. “I will work to ensure that the voice of the people is not drowned out by the extremists who currently have a stranglehold over our Legislature. As senator, I promise to stand up for New Hampshire values and all that we cherish.”

Letter: O’Brien’s fault | Concord Monitor: “O’Brien has made a shambles of the New Hampshire House. He has bullied people who don’t agree with him, he has declared war on the Senate, and he has generally abused his office by permitting behaviors on his side that he gavels down on the Democratic side. He and his right-wing supporters must be removed from power if the House is to survive.”

Sen. Odell to seek sixth term citing importance of continuity in wake of other retirements | New Hampshire NEWS06: “District 8 State Sen. Odell, R-Lempster, will seek his sixth term, he announced Friday morning.

“With the flurry of retirement announcements within the Senate, it seems all the more integral that there are Senators who can provide experience and steady leadership,” Odell said. “I am running because I know that I can be a strong voice for the citizens of District 8 and the people of New Hampshire.”

Odell serves as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee.

“The Senate received a mandate from the voters in 2010 to get our fiscal house in order and I’m proud to say that we delivered,” Odell said. “While there were some tough decisions that were made, the legislature was able to control state spending without any new taxes or increases.””

New Hampshire Factories Struggle To Fill Jobs | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Nationally, there are about 600,000 unfilled factory jobs.  But despite high unemployment, these jobs are proving all-but-impossible to fill, even in New Hampshire.  For one thing, most people don’t have the skills.  And many companies are handing over the training, and cost, of potential new workers to community colleges.  But that still doesn’t guarantee it will lead to new hires.”

Unemployment rate falls in two-thirds of US states – Business – Boston.com: “WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell in two-thirds of U.S. states last month, evidence that modest economic growth is boosting hiring in most areas of the country.

And in many states, unemployment has fallen well below the national average, which was 8.1 percent last month. The rate was under 7 percent in 22 states in April. That compares with only 13 states in April 2011.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped in 37 states in April, the most in three months. Unemployment rose in 5 states and was unchanged in eight.

Nationally, the unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point since August. Employers have added a million jobs over the past five months, though the pace of hiring slowed in March and April.”

Daily Kos: Knowledge is key to restoring organized labor solidarity: ”    I’ve been a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)  since graduating high school. I was hired by a company who had signed an agreement with District Council 35 in Boston and was asked to go to the hall and become a member, so that’s what I did. I have many family members who are union construction workers in different trades, but even with a large union family I was rarely told about how unions operated or how they worked to give us many great benefits through America’s labor movement.  A few years ago, as I started to become more active in my union,  I began to realize that a lot of people didn’t understand unions or the role they play for the working class. So after the constant struggle to explain to friends what labor unions have done for everyone (not just their members) I was determined to find a way to help educate people about the labor movement in  a way that had not been done before.”

New Hampshire Labor News: The AFL-CIO Kicks Off The LABOR 2012 Campaign and The NHLN Starts a New Chapter:

State Reps getting Taxpayer Money to attend ALEC conferences???

In October the NH Labor News posted “State Reps getting Taxpayer Money to attend ALEC conferences”. This was an in depth look at NH State Legislators attending the American Legislative Exchange Council meetings on taxpayer money.  The issue of using taxpayer money for political gains has come up again with former State Rep Bob Mead resigning after he was reimbursed with taxpayer funds to attend a GOP recruiting event.  This is a direct violation of Chapter 15-B “GIFTS, HONORARIUMS, AND EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENTS”.

The law states:

I.  Prevent receptions, breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, dances, or picnics or like events from being held for the sole purpose of raising political contributions, provided such contributions comply with and are reported as required by RSA 664.

This is what got Bob Mead in trouble, and prompted me to dig a little deeper into the Secretary of State Website for more.  In my search I found that Speaker Bill O’Brien may have also violated Chapter 15-B when he attended a NH Young Republicans event that also honored retiring Executive Councilor Ray Wieczorek.  Are we really made to believe that this was not a “fundraising event”?

How does this tie into ALEC? Well it does not directly. The NH Young Republicans are not directly tied to ALEC however the purpose of their event and how they are funded brings us back to ALEC.  In a recent article, “State attorney general asked to investigate American Legislative Exchange Council” from the Nashua Telegraph how ALEC is funded is being questioned.  This also raises concern because our State Reps are attending ALEC with taxpayer funds.

“ALEC is a corporate lobby front group masquerading as a public charity on the taxpayers’ dime,” Edgar wrote. “New Hampshirites shouldn’t have to subsidize ALEC’s agenda.”

So if ALEC is a charitable organization funded under a 501(c)(3) then that would bar Reps from receiving reimbursement from the taxpayers who attended.

Chapter 15-B(B) The event is sponsored by a charitable organization that is registered with the division of charitable trusts, department of justice, or which is a charitable organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code

With all the scrutiny over the ALEC organization and their activities you would think that ALEC would be slowly falling to pieces. According to Speaker O’Brien that is not the case.

In recent weeks, a number of national corporations, including Proctor & Gamble, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, have abandoned their support for ALEC, and in New Hampshire, Rep. Robert Theberge, D-Berlin, recently gave up his membership. But other members have stood by the group.
Membership rolls have even increased in recent weeks as House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, and other legislators joined ALEC.

So as the NH Legislature is trying to distance themselves from the allegations of ALEC, Speaker O’Brien has recently become a member.  As a member he attended one of the ALEC conventions earlier this year.  After returning from his trip to Santa Barbara, he requested the taxpayers reimburse him for the $1080 dollars he spent to attend.  As you can see Speaker O’Brien titles ALEC’s convention  as “ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Academy”.

Speaker O’Brien is not the only house member to attend ALEC events on public funds this year.  Representative Daniels also attended an ALEC Event in Washington DC.  He then requested $1290.70 from the taxpayers to attend this convention.  At this ALEC event they talked about task forces on Education, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Health and Human Services, and Public Safety and Elections.  I wonder if there was different from the ALEC convention in DC that Rep Daniels attended (on the taxpayers dime) in September of 2011.  Rep Daniels was reimbursed $1382.96 for attending.

So if Bob Mead was forced to resign his legislative services position for improper use of taxpayer money should we not be questioning Speaker O’Brien and Rep Daniels for attending ALEC events?  This will all hinge on wether ALEC is funded through the 501.c.3 or not.  We will wait and see.

Speaker William O’Brien request for reimbursement for ALEC Convention
in Santa Barbara.

Agenda for ALEC Convention in
Santa Barbara

Agenda for ALEC Convention in
Santa Barbara
Speaker William O’Brien’s request for reimbursement to attend a NH Young Republicans Event.

Rep Daniels request for reimbursement to attend ALEC

Agenda for ALEC Event in DC

Agenda for ALEC Event in DC

Links used:
O’Brien attends ALEC 2011 Convention in Santa Barbara

Rep Daniels Attends ALEC

Rep Daniels Alec 2011 Meeting In DC

O’Brien attends Young Republicans Event on Taxpayers Dime

Chapter 15-B Law

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