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Right To Work Goes Down In The NH House, New Hampshire Labor Rejoices

To the great “disappointment” of Governor Sununu, SB 11, the so-called “Right to Work” for less bill, goes down in flames.  By a bi-partisan vote of 200 to 177 the members of the NH House voted to kill the bill.  “I am deeply disappointed today by the House’s failure to pass Right to Work,” stated Governor Chris Sununu.

“Today’s vote was a confirmation of what we determined in the House Labor Committee, where Democrats and Republicans worked together to recommend defeat of so-called ‘right to work,’” said Representative Doug Ley (D-Jaffrey), the Ranking Democrat on the House Labor Committee. “With a strong economy and the lowest unemployment rate in America, legislation that reduces wages and interferes with the employer/employee relationship is the last thing our state needs.  I am very pleased that the full House agreed with the bipartisan Labor Committee recommendation, and that we can finally put this issue behind us.”

“Today a bi-partisan majority confirmed that ‘Right to Work’ is still wrong for New Hampshire, and this vote should be the final nail in the coffin,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “Across the Granite State, working people stood together against this corporate-backed legislation that would cripple our ability to speak up on job. We thank the legislators who let workers’ voices rise above special interests’.” 

AFT-NH, that represents 4,000 teachers, school support staff, city and town employees, police officers, library employees, and higher education faculty, was “extremely pleased” with Right to Work’s defeat.

“We are extremely pleased that the NH House defeated Right to Work by a 200-177 vote today,” said Doug Ley, President of AFT-NH. “The defeat of this bill was the result of cooperation across party lines and hard work by our members, fellow union brothers and sisters in the labor movement and community allies. The actions by the NH House today puts to bed this divisive legislation for at least another 2 years. We thank legislators who stood with working families.”

NEA-NH, the state’s largest public employee union, representing over 17,000 members, praised the vote.

“Educators’ working conditions are our child’s learning conditions,” said Megan Tuttle acting NEA-NH President. “By weakening the ability of educators to advocate for students, kids across New Hampshire stood to lose things like smaller class sizes, safe classrooms and drinking water, up-to-date resources, and expanded curriculum choices. Our ability to advocate for every public-school student was preserved today.”

“When out-of-state interests with pre-written legislation and lots of money try to set legislative priorities in New Hampshire, kids lose. Today’s vote prevented that from happening.”

“The 17,000 members of NEA-New Hampshire extend our thanks to those voting against SB11 today, especially those members who stood strong against the pressure applied by the majority leadership on this issue. Their resolve helped ensure that kids and educators across the state will continue to have a strong voice,” concluded Tuttle. 

Richard Gulla, President of the NH State Employees Association was “proud” of the legislators who stood with working families.

“Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted SB 11 Inexpedient to Legislate. We are proud of the legislators for standing with Granite State workers today and putting the so-called Right to Work bill behind us, where it belongs. The New Hampshire House recognized that there was no constituency supporting this legislation and proved out-of-state special interests have no place in our politics. It took courage to stand against the constant stream of pressure from outside funding – and Granite State families can now celebrate this accomplishment.”

“We are incredibly grateful to our elected officials for continuing to stand up for what is important. We look forward to working with Governor Sununu and the legislature to continue helping New Hampshire families,” Gulla added. 

Democrats also rejoiced as Sununu’s highest priority piece of legislation was defeated.

“New Hampshire proved once again that it’s a friend to workers’ rights. Despite Governor Sununu and NHGOP Chair Forrester’s brazen attempts, Republicans and Democrats in the State House stood together and made clear that this issue is above partisan politics,” said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckey. 

“Today’s defeat of the so-called Right to Work for Less legislation is a great victory for New Hampshire’s working families,” said Jeff Woodburn, NH Senate Minority Leader.  “Right to Work for Less makes it harder for people to earn a living, harder for people to make ends meet, and harder for people to support a family. I congratulate the bipartisan coalition in the House that recognized the damage it would have caused and came together to defeat this harmful legislation.”

Democracy Fails As Executive Councilors Vote To Confirm Edelblut, Against Constituents Overwhelming Objections

Today our elected representatives have failed us and took another step toward the destruction of our democracy.

With a party line vote of 3-2, the NH Executive Council voted to confirm, the completely unqualified Frank Edelblut, as Commissioner of Education against the wishes of their own constituents.

“Republicans on the Executive Council let down Granite State students and young families today by confirming Frank Edelblut, despite overwhelming grassroots opposition, a vote of no confidence by the State Board of Education, and a remarkably unqualified resume for this important position,” said Granite State teacher Matthew Gerding.

“As a school teacher and a young LGBT Granite Stater hoping to raise my family here, I find it incredibly disheartening to see Republican leaders chose to confirm someone who opposes full-day kindergarten, refuses to oppose the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, and calls education a ‘product’ not a public good.”

“Governor Sununu has taken every opportunity in his short time in office to turn young people away from our state. From nominating Mr. Edelblut, to raising tuitions at our state and community colleges in his budget, Governor Sununu is sending a clear message that he values politics over people,” concluded Gerding.

“Like DeVos, Edelblut has no experience or inter­action with the public education system of New Hampshire. Overseeing a state department of education requires an in-depth knowl­edge of how public schools are governed, how they are man­aged, and the challenges employees in public schools face. Mr. Edelblut possesses no such knowledge or experience. Other than overseeing the management functions of the employees under his direct supervision, the business skills Mr. Edelblut possess are not transferable to ensuring our children’s educational experi­ence is exceptional. Our chil­dren’s futures are too important to rely on someone who cannot hit the ground running on day one,” stated NEA-New Hampshire.

“Educators throughout New Hampshire strive to reach every child in their classroom, develop effective and engaging lesson plans, spend hours correcting papers and encouraging students to keep persevering. Every day for educators the theory and practice of pedagogy becomes real in the lives of the young people entrusted to their care. To have the highest ranking education official in the state bring only system level management and communication skills to the job threatens the future of every public school student in New Hampshire,” continued NEA-NH.

“The fundamental promise of a great public education for all students is under attack here, and across the country,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH Vice-president. “We’re not just arguing over budget questions any longer; we’re in a full-on ideolog­ical battle with people who do not believe that every child deserves the same opportunity to succeed.”

“We are disappointed that a majority of the Executive Council did not listen to voices of thousands of parents and educators across the state or to the concerns expressed by the NH Board of Education about the appointment of Frank Edelblut as our next Commissioner of Education,” stated Doug Ley, President of AFT-NH. “We remain gravely concerned about a Commissioner of Education who, when running for governor, supported further diverting much needed funding and resources from our public schools.   There still has been presented no evidence, after a lengthy public hearing, to suggest Mr. Edelblut either has the experience or qualifications in education to lead NH schools and serve more than 180,000 students, our State’s most precious resource.”

“Our teachers and school district employees pour their hearts into the education of NH’s students, are highly trained and have dedicated a lifetime to serving NH students. They deserve a Commissioner who cares deeply about public education.”

“AFT-NH will remain vigilant in protecting our public schools and our cherished public education system in NH. We will always extend a hand to anyone, including Mr. Edelblut, willing to strengthen and support public schools but we will speak up and act in fierce opposition to any extreme agenda or attack on our schools. We sincerely hope that Mr. Edelblut will retreat from his past positions and start anew by listening to NH parents, educators and stakeholders in our schools,” concluded Ley.

“During the confirmation process, Frank Edelblut demonstrated he lacks both experience with and support for our state’s public schools,” wrote Executive Councilor Chris Pappas just after the vote. “It is clear that Mr. Edelblut is unable to be the type of non-partisan, consensus-building commissioner that our education system deserves. He holds political views on a range of issues that place him outside the mainstream, from his opposition to full-day kindergarten to support for gay conversion therapy. We do not need a commissioner who will interject ideology into the role, and I didn’t receive assurances that he would abandon past positions or steer clear of political activities after he is confirmed.”

It is plainly clear that the confirmation vote for Edelblut was purely partisan politics as usual. Two of the Executive Councilors openly admitted that they would vote to confirm despite overwhelming opposition to Edelblut’s nomination.

“Executive Councilors Joseph Kenney and Russell Prescott told us all about the concerns they heard from parents and educators about Frank Edelblut. Instead of listening to their constituents, they decided to put in earplugs and vote to confirm him in a blindly political move,” said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley. “It’s shameful that Governor Sununu didn’t consult the Board of Education before he made the pick. Instead, he followed the Trump model by appointing an unqualified businessman rather than looking out for the future of New Hampshire.”

“We are disappointed that Executive Councilors Russ Prescott, Joe Kenney, and David Wheeler decided to rubber stamp Governor Sununu’s blatantly unqualified nominee despite widespread opposition from the State Board of Education and their constituents,” stated Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Councilors Kenney and Prescott specifically mentioned that their constituents were overwhelming in opposition to Frank Edelblut before going on to say that they would vote for him anyway.

“Community members should be on notice that Prescott and Kenney fully acknowledged that they were voting against their constituents on this nomination,” Rice-Hawkins added.

It is obscene that our elected representatives are completely ignoring the will of the people in a partisan political vote. It takes a lot to get people to engage in politics, especially when it comes to political appointments like this. Yet hundreds if not thousands of Granite Staters took the time to write letters, emails, and call their Executive Councilors asking them to oppose Edelblut’s nomination.

To Councilors Prescott and Kenney, those constituents do not matter.

This is where democracy dies. When our elected leaders only do what is good for their political careers and reject the will of the people we can no longer say we live in a democracy. The people spoke out and overwhelmingly opposed Frank Edelblut’s nomination, yet they confirmed him anyway.

This is a sad day for the future of our public schools and our democracy.


I would like to join Granite State Progress in saying:

“We thank Councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas for standing with the majority of constituents and experts who voiced concern over Governor Sununu’s unqualified nominee.”

(Featured image of Russ Prescott by Granite State Progress on Twitter)

NH Board Of Education Sends Letter Of No Confidence In Edelblut As Commissioner Of Education

Letter cites gaps in qualifications and overwhelming concern from “a broad and extensive cross-section of the public” that “virtually all have expressed concerns about the appointment”

Concord, NH – The NH State Board of Education released a letter of no confidence in Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner nominee. The letter was sent to the Governor and Executive Council yesterday afternoon after the Governor’s late consultation with the Board; the Executive Council is scheduled to vote on the nomination this morning.

“The State Board of Education has a statutory responsibility to ensure the Department of Education is staffed with qualified individuals and that all children in our state receive an adequate education. We applaud the members for doing their due diligence on the nominee,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director ofGranite State Progress. “We strongly urge the Executive Council to vote down this nomination and urge the Governor to find a candidate better suited to the position.”

“After discussions with the public and among board members, we have to say, Governor, that we share the public’s concern about Mr. Edelblut’s qualifications for the role of New Hampshire Education Commissioner. The high level of concern parents have voiced about this nomination that is so important to them puts the State Board of Education on notice. We owe parents the Board’s full commitment to our statutory responsibility as the board of directors of New Hampshire public education.  We are prepared for that role and will exercise it with full transparency,”  stated Tom Raffio, Chairman of the State Board of Education.

Along with the letter from the Board, Raffio included 57 pages of individual messages, emails, and communications “from concerned citizens, mostly parents in opposition to this nomination.”

Full Letter here and below.

State Board of Education Consultation Letter to Governor Sununu

Breaking: Governor Sununu Considered Free State Project Member Jody Underwood for NH Education Commissioner*

*According to Free Stater Jody Underwood, she was under consideration for NH Education Commissioner 

New Hampshire deserves to know if Frank Edelblut will consider her for any division director openings at Department of Education – at the same time her family is pushing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country

From Wikipedia CC

MANCHESTER, NH – Free State Project member Jody Underwood claims she was considered for the position of NH Commissioner of Education. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: 

“Governor Sununu should answer whether he considered Jody Underwood for the position of NH Commissioner of Education, and whether he or current nominee Frank Edelblut plan to consider her for any open division director appointments. Underwood is part of an extreme political movement with a stated mission to take over state government and dismantle it, and her husband is actively organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country. Governor Sununu is playing dangerous games with New Hampshire’s future. Did Governor Sununu actually consider her for the role and does Frank Edelblut plan to work closely with her as he has in the past? Both Jody Underwood and her husband testified in support of Frank Edelblut for Education Commissioner at the Executive Council public hearing.”

Free State Project member Jody Underwood claims she was considered for NH Education Commissioner. Underwood made the claim in the description for a workshop she gave at the Free State Project’s NH Liberty Forum in Manchester this past weekend. The workshop “We don’t need no stinkin’ leaders: Getting things done in the world of NH Education” (sic) was held Saturday, February 4th at 4:00 PM. The last line of the workshop description – which was likely written before Sununu announced Edelblut – states: “I now find myself being considered for the position of NH Commissioner of Education. How does that happen, especially to someone who isn’t particularly political? Maybe I am a leader. Come find out.” http://nhlibertyforum.com/schedule/ Sat Feb 4 4:00 PM 

According to the Free State Project, the Underwoods moved to New Hampshire with the Free State Project in 2007 as “early movers” – the FSP’s most ardent supporters who moved early. Jody Underwood served on the FSP board of directors until last summer. She is currently a school board member in Croydon and brought a lawsuit against the NH Department of Education.

https://freestateproject.org/blogs/mover-stories/early-movers-education 

Underwood’s husband Ian – who also testified in support of Frank Edelblut – also hosted a workshop at the event. Title: “A Case for New Hampshire Independence.” Description: “The goal of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, a 501c3 nonprofit, is to educate Granite Staters about the benefits of the ‘Live Free or Die’ state peacefully declaring its independence and separating from the federal government of the United States. Join FNHI board members Ian Underwood of Bardo Project and Carla Gericke, president of FNHI, to discuss what the future of New Hampshire could look like as an autonomous state.” http://nhlibertyforum.com/schedule/ Fri Feb 3 10:00 AM (Carla Gericke is the former President of the Free State Project – she also testified in support of Frank Edelblut) 

Frank Edelblut has a history of involvement with the Free State Project. As recently as last summer, Edelblut participated in a panel at the Free State Project’s annual PorcFest. The workshop was titled “Exploring Your Child’s Educational Fit” and the description read: “This group of experienced parents have directed their children’s educations. Come hear their experiences with homeschooling, charter schools, private schools, and online education.” The workshop notably does not include traditional public education as a potential educational fit, nor does it include any perspectives from a traditional public education family. The panel was moderated by Jody Underwood and Frank Edelblut participated as a panelist.

https://freestateproject.org/blogs/education-activism-track-porcfest-xiii-exceptional-dont-miss-it

About the Free State Project. A decade ago, the ultra-extreme Free State Project voted on a state to move 20,000 libertarians to, with the stated purpose to take over state government and dismantle it. New Hampshire was unfortunately the unlucky recipient of that vote. The Free State Project seeks to create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws, and to use their numbers to dramatically change New Hampshire. The Free State Project even threatens to secede from the rest of the country once it meets its initial goals: 

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

          Announcement:
The Free State Project
 by Founder Jason Sorens

Granite State Progress has monitored the Free State Project since 2008, particularly its attempts to field candidates and disrupt public policy.

Math Teacher And Member Of The NH Young Democrats Implores Council To Reject Edelblut

Concord, N.H. – Following  today’s Executive Council hearing on Frank Edelblut’s nomination to be Education Commissioner, Granite State math teacher Nathan Manna issued the following statement:

“After hearing overwhelming testimony against Mr. Edelblut’s nomination, I implore the Executive Council  to vote against  Frank Edelblut’s nomination. As a school teacher and young Granite Stater hoping to raise my family here, I find it unacceptable that a man who has zero experience in education and didn’t even educate his children in public schools has been chosen to run our state’s public school system. Mr. Edelblut believes he can  magically come in from the outside and improve our students’ lives, I can tell you as a professional that he will not.

“What is even more disturbing were the statements from Edelblut today where  he expressed his opposition to full-day kindergarten citing the ‘risks’ for children, refused to oppose conversation therapy, refused to oppose gun free school zones, and called education a “product”, not a public good. It is too great a risk to our young students to have a Commissioner who has no idea what he’s talking about.

“Councilors, I encourage you to go to teachers and students and ask them the ways in which we can improve our schools. Solutions will come from them, not from Frank Edelblut.”

AFT-NH Opposes Edelblut For Commissioner Of Education, Releases ‘Lesson Plan’ On Edelblut

NH Students Deserve a Commissioner of Education
Who Is
QUALIFIED and SUPPORTS Public Education

AFT-NH ‘Lesson Plan’ on Frank Edelblut

Objectives

  • Determine if the nominee for Education Commissioner is qualified to serve the 180,000+ public school students in NH;
  • Advise fellow citizens how to have their voices heard on the Edelblut nomination 

Background

  • Governor Sununu has nominated Frank Edelblut to be the next NH Commissioner of Education.
  • Mr. Edelblut served as a state representative for one term and then ran for Governor.
  • Frank Edelblut ran in the republican primary against Gov. Sununu and lost by 800 votes.
  • Mr. Edelblut has no background in education.
  • Mr. Edelblut has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies. He attended K-12 public school.
  • He home-schooled his 7 children.
  • His work experience includes Price Waterhouse Coopers, Niagara Corporation and his own business, Control Solutions International.
  • He supports school choice in all forms such as private, charter, religious, public schools, and home-school. As a legislator, he supported school choice legislation.
  • He has never served on a local school board. He did serve on the Water Commission in the Town of Wilton.

What is the job of the Education Commissioner?

  •  Department of Education Responsibilities

21-N:2 Establishment; General Functions. –
I. There is hereby established the department of education, an agency of the state under the executive direction of a commissioner of education.
II. The department of education, through its officials, shall be responsible for the following  general functions:
(a) Providing general supervision for elementary and secondary schools, teachers and administrators.
(b) Providing a variety of educational services to schools and particular groups.
(c) Providing vocational rehabilitation and social security disability determination services for persons with    disabilities.

  • RSA 21-N:3, I states in relevant part, “…The commissioner and deputy commissioner shall be qualified to hold their positions by reason of education and experience.”
  • The specific duties of the Commissioner of Education are outlined in law at RSA 21-N:4 Duties of Commissioner. The Commissioner needs to be qualified in order to efficiently and effectively run the NH Department of Education and support our schools across the state.

Who approves the nomination of Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of Education?

The five elected members of the NH Executive Council. The vote could occur as soon as January 31st. 

AFT-NH OPPOSES THE NOMINATION OF FRANK EDELBLUT.

NH STUDENTS, PARENTS AND TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER.

You can express your opinion about this nomination by sending an email to all five Executive Councilors at gcweb@nh.gov.

Governor Christopher Sununu Issues A Proclamation For Granny D Day

Concord, NH: Members and supporters of NH Rebellion thank Governor Christopher Sununu for proclaiming today, January 24, 2017 Doris Granny D Haddock’ Day to commemorate her accomplishments in support of campaign finance reform and her efforts in political activism as a senior citizen of Dublin NH. 

Granny D gained fame and admiration by walking across the United States in her 90th year in support of  campaign finance reform. Subsequently she traveled the country to help countless citizens to register to vote. For her activism she received many awards in New Hampshire and elsewhere. 

“I am proud to read and present this proclamation at the community celebration on Thursday” said Andru Volinsky, Executive Councilor for District Two.  “I fondly remember marching with Granny D to the State House to commemorate the Claremont decision.”

Due to the snow storm the celebration originally scheduled for today will be held on Thursday, January 26 at 12 noon at the Dublin Community Center, 1123 Main Street in Dublin, NH.  The public is cordially invited. There will be a potluck luncheon (please bring a small dish to share) and remembrances of Granny D’s walks and related activities, organized by the NH Rebellion, Open Democracy and PACE,  that her friends and supporters have undertaken in her memory. RSVP requested to Doreen@opendemocracy.me, or call 603-715-8197.

AFT-NH Says Frank Edelblut Lacks Experience To Be NH Commissioner Of Education

Governor Chris Sununu is reportedly set to tap former one-term State Representative Frank Edelblut as New Hampshire Commissioner of Education. Best known for his divisive statements in the legislature and during his brief run for the Republican nomination for governor last year, Edelblut is one of New Hampshire’s most extreme opponents of a strong public education system.

“Once again following Donald Trump’s playbook, Chris Sununu has decided to put into power an individual bent on undermining our public schools in any way he can,” said NHDP Press Secretary Zach McNamara. “As if this weren’t enough, Mr. Edelblut has absolutely no professional experience in public education and appears determined to force his far-right social views into our classrooms.”

“It’s shocking and dismaying that Chris Sununu, who during the campaign promised to support funding for full-day kindergarten, is now set to tap someone who opposes this crucial initiative to lead our Education Commission,” McNamara added.  

“Just as AFT on the national level has expressed strong opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, we are gravely concerned about a Commissioner of Education who, when running for governor, supported further diverting much needed funding and resources from our public schools,” said AFT-NH President Douglas Ley. “Our teachers and school district employees are trained professionals who have dedicated a lifetime to serving NH students. There is no evidence based on Mr. Edelblut’s public record that he either has the experience in education or public service on the local level that demonstrates the requisite knowledge and understanding to lead NH schools and serve more than 180,000 students, our State’s most precious resource.”  

Megan Tuttle, Vice-president NEA-New Hampshire released the following statement:

“We all-parents, educators, officials, community leaders-share the responsibility for the success of students.  We must all ask ourselves what we can do in our respective roles to make our schools better for kids and help to ensure their success. For educators, that means reaching and motivating every student.  For parents, that means instilling values of respect, responsibility and a love of learning.  And for elected and appointed officials, it means providing students and teachers with the tools and resources they need to help all students succeed-regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make.

If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about doing what works. The research is clear about what works best for kids: learning opportunities that begin by age 4, safe schools, classes small enough for one on one attention, qualified and caring teachers, and community support services like nutrition and health care for children who need it. Well-resourced and cared for public schools are our best bet for setting every kid in New Hampshire off toward a great future.

We hope that the new Commissioner moves beyond any past statements, positions and rhetoric to support what works best in education, and protect the rights and dignity of every student and educator in the Granit State.”

See below for some of Frank Edelblut’s greatest hits on public education:

Frank Edelblut actively opposes funding full-day kindergarten in public schools.

“He doesn’t support increasing state adequacy aid for the districts that implement full-day kindergarten programs” – Valley News, 8/17/2016

Edelblut has never worked professionally in education in any capacity (not even local school board). His only experience in education has been homeschooling his seven children. – Concord Monitor, 8/30/2016

Edelblut’s conservative views on social issues – like defending conversion therapy on gay minors and trying to outlaw some forms of birth control – could threaten what our students learn in the classroom. – NHPR, 9/8/2016 and NHRTL endorsement, 2016

Edelblut wants to amend the NH Constitution to weaken the state’s obligation to fund schools.

“He supports a constitutional amendment to ensure the Legislature and governor have more control over public education policy, from the way the state fulfills its obligation to school funding to local control.” – Union Leader, 8/15/2016

Edelblut would succeed Dr. Virginia Barry and Lyonel Tracy as Education Commissioner, both of whom had extensive professional experience in education. Also at issue is state law concerning the Department of Education, which states that “The commissioner and deputy commissioner shall be qualified to hold their positions by reason of education and experience.” (Section 21-N:3).

“No matter how you spin it, Mr. Edelblut is a completely inappropriate choice for this role,” McNamara concluded. 

A Conservative’s Guide to the “Right to Work” Bill

He didn’t talk much about it during his campaign, but apparently the so-called “Right to Work” bill is a top priority of incoming NH Governor Chris Sununu.  The Senate will hold a hearing on his bill this Tuesday – January 10, 2017 – starting at 1:00 pm in the State House, Representatives’ Hall.

Let’s start with the name: “Right to Work”

Do you take citizens’ rights seriously? Then you avoid political rhetoric that would create new “rights.”  Conservatives reject talk about “the right to health care” or “the right to housing” because those “rights” aren’t enumerated in the Constitution.  Neither is “the right to work.”

Yes, the name makes it easy to sell to the public.  Here’s how the Alabama Media Group described Amendment 8: “It also provides you with a plain-spoken, air-tight constitutional right to hold a job and earn a living for yourself and your loved ones.”

Think about that.  “An air-tight, constitutional right to hold a job.”  In a state where four counties have unemployment rates of 10% or more.  What’s going to happen when all those unemployed Alabama citizens want government to deliver on their “right to work”?

SB 11 doesn’t give Granite Staters “the right to work.”  Pretending that it does – just to get the bill passed – dishonors the citizens’ rights that our country was founded on.

Look at what the bill actually does.

“Right to Work” legislation prohibits businesses from negotiating “fair share” provisions into their employment contracts.  Dress the bill up with any title you want – that’s still what it does.  It adds a new layer of government regulation between businesses and their employees.

Under the law right now, employers that want “fair share” provisions in their contracts are allowed to have them.  Remember last time around, when employers testified against this bill?

Employers that don’t want “fair share” provisions don’t have to have them.   The choice is entirely up to the particular employer.

“Right to Work” legislation takes away the employer’s right to make that choice – and substitutes the government’s judgment, instead.

That’s government overreach – not a conservative value.

It restricts employers’ rights to set conditions of employment.

The “Right to Work” bill also creates a troubling legal precedent, by restricting employers’ ability to set terms and conditions of employment.

Under the law right now, employers can require their employees to make “fair share” payments as a condition of employment.  Again, this is entirely the employer’s choice – not the government’s.  (At least, right now it is.)

Right now, employers can require their employees to do all sorts of things as a condition of employment.  Employees can be required to contribute to health insurance costs, or to contribute to a company’s pension plan.  Employees can be required to be members of a particular professional association; or, they can be fired if they join certain organizations the employer doesn’t want to be affiliated with.

But “Right to Work” is a camel’s nose.  If New Hampshire starts down this path, where is it going to stop?  If this Legislature prohibits employers from requiring employees to pay “fair share” contributions, what keeps future Legislatures from prohibiting employee contributions for health insurance?

“Right to Work” encroaches on employers’ rights – and conservatives know: that’s wrong.

It’s probably unconstitutional.

Unions have to represent all employees in the bargaining unit – whether those employees are members of the union, or not.  Right now, unions have the ability – if employers agree – to negotiate contracts with “fair share” provisions so that all employees pay the cost of providing representation.  “Right to Work” takes that possibility away.

Under “Right to Work,” unions are required to provide representation, without being allowed to charge for it.  That’s like lawyers being required to provide legal representation, but leaving it up to their clients to decide whether or not to voluntarily pay for it.  It raises all sorts of Fifth Amendment issues that the Courts are just starting to consider.

Government requiring a private entity to provide its product or services for free goes against everything conservatives believe.  It’s just plain wrong.

It’s a classic example of “government by special interests”

Remember Kevin Landrigan’s expose of political contributions by the National Right to Work Committee?

Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that this is suddenly Gov. Sununu’s top priority, even though it wasn’t a big campaign issue.

“Right to Work” is a priority for Virginia-based Americans for Prosperity, which is quietly pushing aside the GOP.  In Kentucky, AFP “made over 473,000 phone calls and knocked on over 45,000 doors” in support of state legislative candidates – and the newly-elected Kentucky legislators rewarded that support by immediately passing “Right to Work” last Saturday.

How much support did AFP give to the Sununu campaign?  There’s no way to tell – it’s not registered with the state either as a political party or a political advocacy organization, and at the federal level it is registered as a 501(c)4 “social welfare” organization, so it doesn’t regularly disclose how it spends money or who its donors are.

Without knowing how much support AFP gave to the Sununu campaign, there’s no way to tell how much he thinks he owes them.

But what we do know is that during this election, AFP spent money opposing about a dozen NH Republicans, including Hampstead Rep. Joseph Guthrie, Manchester Rep. Mark Proulx, Salem Rep. Fred Doucette and Sanbornton Rep. Dennis Fields.

It’s not a New Hampshire priority.

“Right to Work” has been considered – and rejected – by the New Hampshire legislature for the past three decades.  Last time around:

  • Our Labor Commissioner testified that he had spoken to about 2,000 business owners during his six years in office – and not one of them suggested the state should adopt “Right to Work.”
  • Our Resources and Economic Development Commissioner said he had met with thousands of businesses over the years – and not once had “Right to Work” ever come up in his discussions, either with current NH businesses or with companies considering moving here.
  • Even the Governor said “In the last seven years of recruiting businesses to move to New Hampshire, not one business leader has ever asked me if New Hampshire had a right-to-work law, let alone suggested it was a factor in the company’s location decision…The debate over the so-called right-to-work bill in New Hampshire appears to be largely driven by national outside interest groups, and is not a result of problems facing New Hampshire businesses or workers.”

It’s not a New Hampshire priority.  So why is it first-out-of-the-box for our brand-new Governor and Legislature?  Is it because of AFP “investment” in our state campaigns?

Do Granite Staters really want a government that puts AFP’s priorities first??

We’ve already repealed it once.

Sherman Adams
NH Governor 1949 – 1953
Chief of Staff to President Dwight Eisenhower 1953 – 1958

New Hampshire adopted a “Right to Work” bill back in 1947.

But it didn’t last long; it was repealed in 1949 by a Republican-led Legislature and a Republican Governor.

Have New Hampshire’s conservative values really changed that much since then?

 

 

Chris Sununu Is Sworn-In As NH’s 82nd Governor, Pushes For Right To Work, Democrats Respond

Concord, N.H. – Earlier today Governor Chris Sununu was officially inaugurated as New Hampshire’s 82 Governor.  In his inaugural address, Sununu laid out his very generic agenda and priorities for the coming legislative session.

Sununu talked about public education and creating a “work-ready” labor force.  No mention of expanding Kindergarten to Full Day throughout the state.  He also wants to woo more businesses to move to New Hampshire to create more jobs.  Many of the manufactures have openly said they have jobs available but do not have qualified workers to fill those jobs, for the pay they are offering.

Though he did not specifically say he is going to repeal the Medicaid Expansion, though he has said that throughout the campaign, he said we need more competition in the healthcare market. If he plans to repeal Medicaid Expansion he will meet fierce opposition from his fellow Republicans and Democrats who understand that the program is actually saving the state money while ensuring 50,000 Granite Staters have access to healthcare. 

Sununu has also been an outspoken advocate for passing the so-called Right to Work legislation despite never being proven to create jobs or help workers in any way.

“WE ARE GOING TO GIVE EMPLOYEES ONCE AND FOR ALL THE FLEXIBILITY THEY DESERVE IN THE WORKFORCE BY PASSING RIGHT TO WORK,” said Sununu (transcribed by WMUR). “LET’S TELL THESE COMPANIES NEWHAMPSHIRE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”

In fact after Wisconsin passed their own Right to Work legislation, they lost over 10,000 jobs the next year.

Democrats offered their congratulations to the new Governor but also offed some sage advice about dismantling key programs within the state.

NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley released the following statement:

“The challenges New Hampshire families are facing need to be addressed over the next two years, from ensuring that 50,000 Granite Staters retain the healthcare they are receiving through our successful bipartisan Medicaid expansion to how we reduce the cost of college for middle class families.

“Unfortunately, Governor Sununu made it clear he wants to make it harder for NH employees to earn a fair wage by tilting the playing field in favor of big corporations, harder for our kids to get a great education by diverting money away from public schools toward private schools, and harder to advance renewable energy by slowing down investments in solar energy in favor of fossil fuels.

“I hope our newly-elected governor will focus on the issues that matter to New Hampshire families and not get distracted by partisan pet issues.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn released the following statement: 

“Later today, I am meeting with Governor Sununu to congratulate him on his inauguration and get to work making New Hampshire a better place by preserving the bipartisan progress we’ve made over the past several years, expanding opportunity for all people, and building a strong economy from the bottom up.” 

“Senate Democrats are ready to work with the new governor, as we have with our Republican legislative colleagues, to craft compromises. But I’m concerned that, so far, Governor Sununu has focused on a divisive template of policies that make it harder for people to make ends meet and harder for people to get ahead.”

“To meet our constitutional oaths to ‘faithfully and impartially’ serve, I will urge the governor to hold regular, bi-weekly meetings with legislative leadership of both parties so that we can identify the seeds of agreement that can grow into fruits of our labor — things like renewing our successful NH Health Protection Program and bipartisan infrastructure investment plan—as well as priorities that strengthen families that Governor Sununu promised to support during the campaign–  like full-day kindergarten, paid family leave, and reducing the cost of a college education.”

“Granite State working families deserve meaningful policies like these and I’m disappointed we didn’t hear more about these issues today.”

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement:

“I congratulate Governor Sununu for his success in the November election and his inauguration as Governor of our state.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Sununu and our Republican colleagues on bipartisan initiatives. The House Democratic Caucus stands ready to find common ground on any policies that benefit the working families of New Hampshire.”

“I was encouraged by the Governor’s statements during the campaign in which he expressed support for full-day kindergarten, paid family and medical leave and other initiatives that align with the priorities of Granite Staters. It was disappointing that those issues, on which the Governor campaigned, were not mentioned today in his Inaugural speech which provides a roadmap for the Governor’s policy agenda for the next two years.”

“Equally disappointing was that soon after speaking of not being divisive, Governor Sununu indicated a top priority would be the enactment of “Right to Work,” which is among the most politically divisive issues among both Democrats and Republicans the legislature.”

“It is my hope that when Governor Sununu provides more detail on the policies he wishes to advance, that those policies are aligned with Granite State families and the values of our great state.”

 

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