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Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO Praises Amtrak’s Purchase Of New High Speed Trains

Transportation Trade Department LogoVice President Biden’s Announcement on Amtrak Procurement
Boosts U.S. Transportation Manufacturing Job Creation

Washington, D.C. — Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement following the announcement in Wilmington, DE by Vice President Joe Biden on the winning bidder in Amtrak’s high speed train purchase:

“The U.S. economy and working people scored a victory today following the announcement by Vice President Joe Biden that Amtrak will be purchasing a new high speed train fleet from Alstom, which will manufacture the trains at its Hornell, New York facility employing members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“For many years we have advocated for rail and transit procurement policies that reward high-road employers whose manufacturing business models support middle class job creation here at home. For too long federal, state and local policies squandered billions of dollars in rail and transit fleet purchases by only requiring the bare minimum when it came to domestic content and expanding U.S. transportation manufacturing.

“Fortunately, Amtrak has taken an important step in embracing a new vision for how public dollars are spent when rail and transit systems upgrade their fleets. In its request for proposal (RFP) in July of 2014, Amtrak included a groundbreaking requirement that bidders submit a U.S. Employment Plan detailing their plans to create U.S. jobs and opportunities for disadvantaged American workers including veterans.

“Amtrak’s commitment to investing in American manufacturing and good-paying jobs marks a welcome change of direction by recognizing the advantages of best value contracts. This decision also reflects years of persistence by the Obama Administration to prioritize domestic manufacturing in the transportation sector. The President, Vice President and Transportation Secretary Foxx have consistently worked to promote stronger Buy America standards and tighten lax federal waiver rules that for decades mainstreamed excessive foreign outsourcing. 

“I want to congratulate the Jobs to Move American Coalition (JMA), which developed the U.S. Employment Plan and has been a leader in implementing smarter rail and transit procurement policies throughout the country. TTD is proud to be a member of JMA, and I believe that today’s announcement helps prove what we know to be true: public investments in rail and transit can and should be a major economic driver that create good jobs and launch a renaissance in transportation manufacturing.”

Teamsters Announce Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton For President

Teamsters: Clinton Will Be a Strong Voice for Working Families

Teamsters LogoToday, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. The Teamsters General Executive Board unanimously voted to endorse the former senator and secretary of state.

“We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States,” said Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa. “She is the right candidate for the middle class and working men and women across the country. She will stand strong for the workers of America by fighting to reject job-killing trade deals, enforcing labor laws and working to provide retirement security for millions of people who have sacrificed so much for the chance to retire with dignity.

“The Oval Office needs to be occupied by a serious candidate who understands what it means to govern responsibly,” Hoffa said. “Donald Trump supports national right-to-work laws that are proven to weaken the middle class and has a long track record of shipping jobs out of the country as a businessman. He is no friend to working Americans.”

Since announcing her campaign, Clinton has received the endorsement of 40 national unions, the AFL-CIO, and the North American Building Trades Unions, collectively representing 18.8 million members

Today, after receiving the endorsement of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, an international union with 1.4 million members in the U.S. and Canada, Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“Unions like the International Brotherhood of Teamsters built the American middle class, and they make our economy run today. Teamsters keep our planes in the air, they put food on our shelves, and they get packages to our doors. In fighting for better wages and safer conditions on the job, the Teamsters are fighting for all America’s workers.  

“I have always been proud to stand with organized labor to create good jobs with good benefits and wages that make it possible to build a middle-class life. As President, I will stand with organized labor and I will always fight for workers’ rights to retire with dignity and security, and to receive the benefits they have earned after years of hard work.

“The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher. The Republican candidate for President is a man who has said wages are ‘too high’ in this country. Donald Trump personally signed a contract to hire a union-busting firm to try to stop his workers from organizing in his Las Vegas hotel. His running mate is a man who consistently supported efforts to undermine Social Security and who repealed Indiana’s 80-year-old prevailing wage law. Workers deserve better. And both of them support so-called ‘right to work’ laws that make it harder for workers to organize. I am proud to stand with organized labor against these laws, because ‘right to work’ is wrong for workers and wrong for America.

“If elected, American workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House–because when unions are strong, America is strong.”

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

Fair Contract With WMUR

WMUR Local 1228 members at an informational picket in 2015

NH Democrats boycott of WMUR sponsored debates unwavering 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFGE Applauds Ruling Affirming Bathroom Rights for Transgender Workers

We the People LBGTGSA ruling: Federal employees have right
to use bathroom of their identified gender

WASHINGTON – The largest union of federal government employees is applauding the federal government’s announcement that transgender federal workers must be able to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The American Federation of Government Employees said the Aug. 18 memo from the General Services Administration affirms recent decisions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies that discrimination based on general identity is illegal under the same laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex.

“The federal government has torn down another wall of bigotry by rejecting discrimination against employees based on their gender identity,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Every person should be able to go to the bathroom that corresponds to their gender – and it’s up to each person to make that determination.”

The new regulation applies to all facilities that GSA owns, leases, or manages on behalf of federal agencies. GSA currently owns and leases nearly 400 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings nationwide, including office buildings, courthouses, post offices, and laboratories.

One of AFGE’s own members, Tamara Lusardi, faced discrimination at work after transitioning from male to female, including not being able to use the women’s bathroom. Lusardi’s discrimination case against the Army went to the EEOC, which in April 2015 issued a landmark ruling that the Army had discriminated against Lusardi on the basis of sex, which is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Today’s move by the GSA means that federal employees will no longer be harassed or intimidated from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender,” said Augusta Y. Thomas, AFGE’s National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices. “This is one more step along the path to having a discrimination-free workplace.”


Suggested reading: NH Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Is Wrong To Suggest We Reverse Transgender Protections

Trump and Pence’s Union Busting Is Nailed Into The GOP Presidential Platform

Right To WorkBy BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump brags that he has “tremendous support within unions.”

He claims “the workers of this country are going to vote for me, [because] I’m going to create jobs.”

Jobs? Trump, the narcissistic, neo-Know Nothing GOP presidential nominee, has yet to reveal anything remotely resembling a comprehensive jobs plan. Meanwhile, he’s paying workers in China and other low-wage countries to make his line of duds and other products.

Unions? Trump says he prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states like Kentucky, where I live and pack a union card. He chose a running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is gung-ho for RTW. (So are tea party Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.)

Trump is cool with U.S. companies exiting one state for another. In other words, he’s down with bosses busting unions in non-RTW states and moving to RTW states.

At the same time, Trump has battled to keep his Las Vegas hotel workers from organizing a union.

Meanwhile, Trump and Pence are running on a GOP national platform that promises, “We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking ‘card check,’ enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative. We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty. Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty. We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.”

There’s more from the platform that Trump’s people helped nail together: “We salute the Republican Governors and State legislators who have saved their States from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions. We urge elected officials across the country to follow their lead in order to avoid State and local defaults on their obligations and the collapse of services to the public. To safeguard the free choice of public employees, no government at any level should act as the dues collector for unions. A Republican President will protect the rights of conscience of public employees by proposing legislation to bar mandatory dues for political purposes.”

“Many a truth has been spoken in jest,” is an old expression.

“A union member voting Republican would be like a rabbit voting for hunting season to open,” former Kentucky labor secretary and Machinists union official J.R. Gray joshed when he was chair of the House Labor and Industry Committee and one of labor’s best friends ever in the state legislature.

It’s still true with the union-despising Trump-Pence and Bevin-Hampton teams.

March To End Political Corruption

6-mile NH Rebellion March to End Big Money in Politics.

13921027_825335707567446_5256893960047056425_nDublin — Supporters of clean election reform will participate in a Granny D Memorial Walk from Dublin to Peterborough on Saturday, August 13th. Walkers will depart at 9:15 am from Cobb Meadow Road, near Granny D’s home, for a 6 mile walk ending in Depot Square Park in Peterborough. At the conclusion, food and entertainment will be provided. The public will be invited to share poems, stories and memories of Granny D. 

Born in Laconia on January 24, 1910, Granny D began her political activism in 1960 when she and her husband, James Haddock, successfully campaigned against planned hydrogen bomb nuclear testing in Alaska, saving an Inuit fishing village at Point Hope. Granny D and her husband retired to Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1972 and there Granny D served on the Planning Board and was active in the community.  

At noon, a program will take place at Depot Square (12 Depot Square, Peterborough NH 03458)

Program will include:

    •    Music byTattoo (Fred Simmons & Leslie Vogel), Granny D’s “personal band” 

    •    Granny D Memories- Chuck Weed, Pat Westwater-Jong, Marsha Morrow, Dan Weeks 

    •    Keynote Speaker- Virginia Rasmussen, Move to Amends’ National Leadership Team

Granny D achieved national fame when, at the age of 90, she walked over 3,200 miles across the United States to advocate for campaign finance reform. After initial efforts with Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold to regulate campaign finances, Granny D forged ahead, until her death in March 2010, helping to spearhead a nationwide movement that continues to the current day with numerous groups working to overturn Citizens United and get big money out of politics. 

“We are proud to continue the fight for clean elections,” said Olivia Zink, executive director of Open Democracy, the Concord, NH based election reform group that was started by Granny D  more than 10 years ago and that leads the bipartisan NH Rebellion project. “Government must work for We The People,” she said.

The event is free and open to the general public. For more info:  661-8621 or go to nhrebellion.org 

NH Rebellion is part of Open Democracy, the Concord-based nonpartisan reform organization founded by legendary NH hero Granny D. To learn more about the NH Rebellion, please visit: www.nhrebellion.org. To register for the walk please visit nhrebellion.org. To see details about the planned events,  follow us on Twitter @nhrebellion and on Facebook at: facebook.com/nhrebellion.

Déjà vu? Guinta Caught By ‘Roll Call’ Using Taxpayer Funded Mailings (Again)

Rochester, NH- Today, Roll Call printed an article entitled, “House Members Send Mail on Taxpayer’s Dime, Vulnerable Ones Do It Much More,” and New Hampshire’s ethically challenged Frank Guinta’s spending earned him coverage in the very first line. “Rep. Frank Guinta is one of four top spenders on so-called franked mail.”


Guinta’s office tried to justify being in the dirty four list again by pretending that his abuse of the taxpayers’ money was because the big spending congressman is “committed to openness and transparency, including communicating our efforts on behalf of Granite Staters, important at a time when many feel alienated from their federal government.” (Eye roll.)

But Frank Guinta was caught for the same outrageous and wasteful spending in 2012 by Roll Call. This 2012 statement by Naomi Andrews, Campaign Manager for Candidate and former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, still applies:

“Congressman Frank Guinta’s spending on franked mail caught the attention of Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper”… “Roll Call examined his campaign pledge to cut spending, and criticized him and the other top tea party spenders for both their spending and their hypocrisy about it. Roll Call cited Mr. Guinta along with three others, saying they ‘ended up using the franking system, often to circulate mailings that come off as more self-promotional than informational,’ and went on to talk about Frank Guinta’s efforts to woo senior citizens. Mr. Guinta should be ashamed of himself and stop campaigning on our taxpayer money immediately.”

Weeks Calls For Accountability and Long-Term Solutions To Water Contamination

danielweeks2015bw2Litchfield, NH – Executive Council candidate and good-government advocate Dan Weeks on Tuesday called for Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics to assume full responsibility for the remediation of contaminated drinking water that is adversely affecting hundreds of area residents in proximity to its Merrimack plant.

Test results published by the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) on August 4 reveal 172 private wells serving several hundred residents of the District 5 towns Merrimack and Litchfield contain over 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical long in use at Saint-Gobain with suspected links to a variety of health problems. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in May released a health advisory establishing 70 ppt as the safe lifetime exposure level for PFOA, which NH DES has adopted for New Hampshire.

The Vermont Department of Health, by contrast, adopted a more stringent 20 ppt lifetime exposure threshold, citing academic studies which show a correlation between elevated PFOA in the blood and high blood pressure, decreased birth weight, thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancer, and certain immune system effects. Additional wells are still being tested by NH DES to determine the full extent of PFC contamination in Merrimack, Litchfield, and surrounding towns.

“Water is a human right and no one should ever have to go without clean, safe drinking water,” Weeks said. “When corporations like Saint-Gobain pollute this most basic resource, our elected leaders and the courts must hold them fully accountable for the damage done to people’s health and the environment.”

Weeks, who has conferred with state leaders and local residents, and attended multiple public hearings since PFOA contamination was identified in March, applauded state and local officials for their dedicated efforts to educate the public and provide both short- and long-term solutions to protect public health. He thanked Saint-Gobain for covering the cost of bottled water for affected residents to-date and noted that CEO Tom Kinisky has said previously that Saint-Gobain will attempt to reach every deadline requested by DES to fix the water contamination problem, whatever the cost. To that end, Weeks called on the company to commit to fully funding permanent remediation in the form of a public water system for affected homes and related health and water costs outline by the Town of Litchfield, to include:

  • Installation of a public water supply system for homes with contaminated water, including fire hydrants, permits, inspections, and related construction and safety costs, to be installed immediately during the 2016 construction season
  • Provision of water via public water system for affected homes, businesses, and towns for a minimum of 20 years (to account for unforeseen water expenses resulting from contamination of private wells)
  • Blood testing for residents in affected areas, as approved by the NH Executive Council in July and provided by the NH Department of Health and Human Services at taxpayer expense
  • Remediation efforts for affected groundwater and soils, to be determined in consultation with NH DES and the affected towns
  • Evaluation of the effects on local private property values of a new public water system replacing private wells

“For Litchfield and Merrimack residents, especially children, who have been drinking contaminated water every day for the last several years and may be suffering ill health as a result, nothing Saint-Gobain says or does can make them whole,” Weeks said. “All the more reason for the company to do everything within its power to fix the problems by funding a permanent clean water supply system immediately and taking other remedial actions which state agencies recommend and the courts may require.”

Weeks, who previously served as Executive Director of the nonpartisan government watchdog group Open Democracy, also drew attention to the larger challenge of toxic chemical regulation and the undue influence of chemical companies in the policymaking process, noting that funding for NH Resource Protection and Development (including DES) is nearly 20 percent lower in the latest state budget than it was five years ago while federal EPA funding was slashed in 2015 to its lowest level since 1989.

According to a recent PBS report, only a tiny fraction of the more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals currently registered for use in the United States have been tested for safety by a government agency and legislation recently-adopted in Congress to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 would provide for EPA testing of only 20 chemicals at a time over seven years, or fewer than three chemicals per year. Weeks pointed out that interest groups supporting the federal legislation gave over $54 million in political contributions to U.S. Senators alone during the drafting process, eight times the amount spent by an opposing set of consumer rights and public health organizations. 

“It is the job of the Executive Council to review and approve state contracts and appointments, including leadership appointments and key budget items for the state agencies charged with protecting public and environmental health,” Weeks said. “I am deeply concerned about my opponent’s pennywise and pound-foolish approach to state spending and regulation, and I commit to making smart long-term investments that protect groundwater and other precious resources in the public interest.”

Democrats Answer: “Will You Vote For The TPP In The Lame Duck Session?”

Because the TPP is such a hot button issue for many Americans, specifically those in the labor movement, I thought I would share with you this short video from Under Current.

The video was filmed at the Democratic National Convention.  Senators and Congressmen were asked straight out if the TPP comes up during the “Lame Duck Session” will you support it?

We must keep the pressure on our Congressional Representatives, specifically the Democratic representatives who say they support labor, to ensure that the TPP does not pass.

Legislative Committee Fails To Act On Governor Hassan’s “Gateway To Work” Program

Republicans Block The Proposal That Is Strongly Supported by New Hampshire’s Business Community 

CONCORD –Today, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee failed to act on Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work proposal, which would have strengthened workforce development in our state and has strong support from the NH Business and Industry Association. An attempt to remove the proposal from the table was defeated by the Republican majority on the Fiscal Committee.

Announced in Governor Hassan’s State of the State Address earlier this year, Gateway to Work will use repurposed existing federal funds to help New Hampshire’s citizens succeed in the workforce through strengthening job training, creating new apprenticeship opportunities, helping remove the barriers that cause too many citizens to fail in the workplace, and helping young people in the Granite State get a leg up on their futures.

“As we educate our young people and build the highly skilled workforce of the future, innovative businesses looking to grow here in New Hampshire need more workers now,” Governor Hassan said at the Gateway to Work kickoff event in March. “We have an opportunity to better use the talent of our own people right here in New Hampshire, helping our businesses thrive while closing the opportunity gap for New Hampshire’s children and families.”

“Through Gateway to Work, we can provide more of the workers our businesses need to thrive,” Governor Hassan said. “We can help give more of our families the opportunity to work their way to self-sufficiency and into the middle class. And we will do so using only existing federal funds, while achieving long-term savings for taxpayers by moving people off of public assistance,” added Hassan.  

The New Hampshire business community has continued to say that New Hampshire does not have enough skilled workers to fill the open jobs currently available now.  Recently the Washington Post highlighted New Hampshire’s growing need for skilled manufacturing workers as the majority of the workforce heads into retirement.

“While New Hampshire’s 2.8 percent unemployment rate is largely a good thing — it’s one of the nation’s lowest — it also means the labor pool is shallow. It’s created a squeeze for manufacturing companies in particular for two reasons: The industry’s workforce is aging at a faster than average rate, while fewer young workers have the proper skills — or interest — to fill the void of retiring workers,” wrote the Washington Post.

Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement after the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee failed to act on Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work proposal:

“New Hampshire’s continued economic growth depends on our ability to meet the workforce needs of our businesses. As we work to retain existing businesses and attract new ones, the number one concern that I consistently hear from employers is their need for skilled workers.

“Gateway to Work has strong support from the business community because it would move people off of public assistance into sustainable careers, saving taxpayer dollars and providing innovative businesses with the workers they need to grow and thrive. With a strengthening economy and an unemployment rate that is among the lowest in the nation, the business community is desperate for workers. I am disappointed by the Fiscal Committee’s repeated delays with transferring the existing federal funds to launch Gateway to Work, and I am concerned that Republicans on the committee are allowing politics to prevent us from moving forward with this common-sense initiative to fill jobs at growing companies and help close the opportunity gap for New Hampshire’s children and families.”

After the vote, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), member of the Fiscal Committee, released the following statement: 

“I am frustrated and disappointed that the Joint Fiscal Committee played politics with our state’s economy today by voting against transferring TANF dollars to fund the innovative Gateway to Work program.  This program that has strong support from New Hampshire’s business community would have gone a long way towards strengthening our economy by providing potential employees with the skills and services they need to successfully gain employment.”  

“We hear constantly that with an improving economy, the most significant challenge our employers face today is finding skilled workers who are able to take jobs when offered. Gateway to Work targets potential employees who have barriers to employment such as reliable child care and transportation and helps lower those barriers to get them into the workforce. Every day that we delay implementation of this program, we leave both our unemployed constituents and our businesses behind.  We should be doing all we can to help Granite Staters escape poverty and move off of public assistance and towards self-sufficiency, and the vote by the Fiscal Committee today is a step in the wrong direction.” 

“Today’s action by the Republican majority forces our unemployed constituents to stay on public assistance programs instead of finding good employment and leaves our businesses without the workers they need to thrive and expand our economy.”

Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord) issued the following statement after the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee failed to act on Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work proposal:

“I am extremely disappointed that Republicans continue to obstruct the implementation of the Gateway to Work initiative. It is a common sense program critical to New Hampshire’s future and should be approved as quickly as possible.

The Gateway to Work initiative would help workers, businesses, and the economy as a whole by investing in job training, apprenticeship opportunities and other supports for hard-working Granite Staters. There is no reason to delay an initiative that benefits everyone: Gateway to Work would help workers to get good-paying jobs, help businesses utilize a skilled workforce, and reduce government spending by moving people off public assistance and into stable careers. Republicans need to stop playing politics with our state’s future and approve Gateway to Work.”

By continuing to block programs like the “Gateway to Work,”  Republicans in Concord are showing that they are less interested in doing what is best for working people and businesses in New Hampshire and more interested in chasing wild conspiracy theories from doctored videos and sticking to their partisan opposition to Governor Hassan.

Republicans routinely complain about having too many people “living off the system” on public assistance and yet oppose one of the strongest proposals to help people “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” by providing them with the skills necessary to find a lasting career that will help lift them out of poverty.

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