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Red Alert Message and Legislative Update from AFT-NH

Message from Laura Hainey, AFT-NH President

Dear AFT-NH Member,

Defeating Right to Work is our defining issue.

Speaker O’Brien and his out of state interest groups such as the National Right to Work Committee and Americans for Prosperity (a/k/a Koch brothers) are putting it all on the line to pass this devastating bill.

They are leaning heavily on any republican that voted against right to work. We have heard from those of those republicans. It is getting personal.

They scheduled the vote the day Vice-President Biden comes to NH for the McIntyre-Shaheen Dinner.

They have declared war on you and the middle class in NH

Have you put it all on the line to save the rights of working people in NH?

Without the Union voice, can you imagine what could happen in your workplace?

The Right to Work (for less) bill is all about destroying unions not about the simple matter of agency fee so says former State Senator Mark Hounsel and former sponsor of the Right to Work bill. As a sponsor of this bill at one time, he saw up close and personal what was really driving this right wing agenda—kill Unions once and for all.

ESSENTIAL ACTIONS NEEDED

1.CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE THIS WEEK. We need every single member to contact their State Representatives and ask them to sustain the Governor’s veto on HB 474. If your representative has voted to defeat HB 474 (RTW) still contact them, thank them, and make the request for sustaining the governor’s veto. This vote may rise or fall on who actually is present to vote. We cannot afford to have any of our votes missing. Even if you have called them before—make the call again. (Please see talking points below.)

To find your legislator go to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx and click on your town.

PLEASE REPORT BACK YOUR RESULTS. We need to know what they are saying, provide them with more information and see if any votes are flip-flopping under the O’Brien iron fist rule. Email lhainey@aft-nh.org or terridd@metrocast.net

2.BE AT THE STATE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY MAY 25TH STARTING AT 8AM.

Please be there to support those legislators standing up for working class families and let those representatives who are being put under enormous pressure, that we appreciate their support and are counting on them. We need a strong presence on May 25th! Please RSVP to lhainey@aft-nh.org or terridd@metrocast.net

3.SEND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE A POSTCARD AND ASK THEM TO SUSTAIN THE GOVERNOR’S VETO ON RIGHT TO WORK.

Talking Points and
Information on Right to Work

PLEASE VOTE TO SUSTAIN THE GOVERNOR’S VETO ON HB 474

We oppose the Right to Work for less bill since there is no evidence to prove that this will do anything to create jobs or improve NH’s economy. It hurts working families. In fact, we know that in states where RTW has passed such as in Oklahoma the opposite is true.

This bill would ban security clauses (agency fee) and prohibit from any employer negotiating these clauses in a contract. The agency fee is not done unilaterally by the UNION—it must be negotiated. This is changing what has been bargained between an employer and the Union AND INTERFERES with local control. These are over-reaching, unnecessary and again interference with what is happening in the workplace between the employees and employer.

Furthermore, since your first vote on this bill we heard expert testimony from Gordon Laffer of the Economic Policy Institute that lays out the scientific research on why Right to Work is bad for NH. His report concludes that Right to Work states should be trying to follow NH’s lead on creating a strong economy—not the other way around! NH’s economy is stronger than these right to work states so why would we want this major shift in policy to put our solid economic footing on tenuous ground.

Some fast facts about Right to Work:

Public employees are covered by the NH Public Employee Labor Relations Act (RSA 273-A);
Private sector employees are covered by the National Labor Relations Act;
The NH Supreme Court has held that it is legal to charge an agency fee although an employer is not required to bargain such a provision in the contract;
AFT-NH represents almost 4,000 public employees and only 10 out of 25 contracts have agency fee clauses and these were negotiated;
RTW work states have lower wages; lower wages means consumers with less money to spend and a hit on the economy.
NH’s Economy is better than Right to Work States:
Production workers in NH average $22.65/hr. In RTW states, they average $20.01/hr. (1)
Full-time women workers in NH average $17.44/hr. In RTW states, they average $15.40/hr. (2)
In NH, the poverty rate is 7.8%. In RTW states, it’s 14.5%.
1 John Schmitt, The Unions of the States, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Feb 2010
2 US Census Bureau

Did you know about some of the other items in this bill?
Tucked away in this bill are some very specific provisions that go beyond the bill supporters’ argument for passage. There has not been any public discussion of these provisions as this issue has been debated. These other provisions interfere with the relationship between the employer and union significantly and are intended solely to weaken unions and their ability to effectively advocate on behalf of working families. Please let me point out a couple of these sections of the bill.

Here are two other provisions in HB 474:

1.Legislature defining when employees can join/opt out of union membership
Despite the fact that collective bargaining agreements typically have negotiated provisions that define the period for joining or withdrawing from a labor union, this bill now would mandate that an employee could join or opt out every thirty (30) days. This changes the contract negotiated between the employer and the union and interferes with local control. If the employer needs modifications, they are negotiated. This will not just be disruptive to the union but will cause chaos and confusion for human resource departments in school districts and municipalities. Most payroll offices appreciate the fact that it is done once a year so their payrolls are not constantly modified. For school districts, this is particularly disruptive since they pay the amount over specific but varying schedules according to the academic year. THESE PROVISIONS ARE CURRENTLY CONTAINED IN CONTRACTS AND BARGAINED BETWEEN THE UNION AND EMPLOYER.

2. Coercion or Intimidation- There is now a provision in this bill that would impose a $1,000 fine or up to 90 days in jail if someone alleges he/she was coerced, intimidated, or compelled to join a labor union. So, does this mean if a union representative invites someone to join the union and in the process this person alleges that they feel threatened or intimidated, the union representative could be subject to this fine or imprisonment. This provision is overreaching and only intended to have a chilling effect on union officials and the work they do interacting with employees. This has not been a problem in NH and should not become the law in NH.

Assault on Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Rights

HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS
ELIMINATION OF BINDING ARBITRATION IN
TEACHER NON-RENEWAL CASES-Defeat SB 196

SB 196 with the assault on teachers’ collective bargaining rights continued with the House
Education Committee voting today to recommend passage by a 13-4 vote. This bill singles out teachers’ rights by stripping away seniority in layoffs, taking away binding arbitration in non-renewals, extending the probationary period from 3-5 years and removing accountability for superintendents and principals.

This is another attack on public employees and especially, teachers. We cannot let this happen and we need to let the House and Senate members know that this is not acceptable and ask them to defeat SB 196.

ACTION NEEDED You need to contact YOUR State Representative and Senator ASAP, ask them to vote NO on SB 196 and reinforce the following:

This amendment interferes with local contracts. These items such as seniority, due process, and evaluation have been negotiated at the local level in good faith and it is not right to have the state come in and strip them out of the contract.
This is a blatant interference with local control. These decisions should be made at the local level.
We believe in accountability but everyone must be held accountable—so why take away in the law, the accountability for superintendent and principals?
We do not have jobs for life.
The district should work collaboratively with the union to develop an effective evaluation tool as many of our locals have already done.
Effective teaching is supported by developing and providing appropriate professional development for all staff members, strong mentoring programs and a collaborative work environment.
KURK IS STILL TRYING TO STRIP YOU OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS

Rep Neal Kurk in his own words. He says local officials didn’t ask for change in collective bargaining laws because “not everyone has the courage to ask for something they need….” You have to read it to believe it. Here is the transcript from an interview on NH Public Radio:

Bill Would Give Government a Big Leg Up in Union Negotiations

By Jon Greenberg on Thursday, May 12, 2011

As House and Senate negotiators wrestle with changes in the state’s pension system, one sticking point concerns the basic rules of the game in collective bargaining. A house amendment would give new powers to local governments, school boards and the state itself whenever a union contract expires. But as NHPR’s Jon Greenberg reports, it’s a power that the potential recipients don’t seem to want.

Call this the new rules of the game version 2.0. Earlier this session, the house and senate passed a law that said when a contract expires, wages and benefits are frozen until both sides agree on a new deal. Previously, wages could rise under the terms of the old contract.

Now, an amendment from Weare Republican representative Neal Kurk, would allow government employers to go one-step further. When the old contract ends, they would have the option to reduce — even eliminate — health insurance and other benefits until a new contract is signed. Kurk says this would save money and thus make public jobs more secure. And he doesn’t think this power would be abused.

KURK: There are those people who say ‘Oh my goodness, the employer will simply do away with health care.’ That’s not likely although in theory, it’s possible. But in reality, the employer has to maintain a relationship with his workforce in order to get the job done.”

House leaders are full square behind this amendment but there’s little enthusiasm on the Senate side. Republican senator Jeb Bradley, the senate’s point man on pension reform, says this proposal is fine for discussion in the future, not action right now.

BRADLEY: At the end of the day, by the time we adjourn in June, we will be studying collective bargaining, but not changing the scope of collective bargaining in this legislative session.”

The proposal is also getting a cool reception from the people who would definitely gain a lot of clout if it became law. The ones we contacted said it could poison otherwise cooperative relations with their workers. Jason Hoch is Litchfield’s town administrator. Hoch adds, the amendment could raise legal issues.

HOCH: Generally, when you’re negotiating, both sides have an obligation to negotiate in good faith and I’m struggling to see how invoking that law could be construed as negotiating in good faith.”

We asked Neal Kurk about the response at the local level.

JG: Can you name a single selectman or town manager who has come to you and said I want this additional leverage?

NK: No

JG: And the NH Municipal Association has not asked for it. That’s what they tell me.

NK: Not everybody who needs something has the courage to ask for it, I’ve discovered in many years of legislating.

Kurk says his amendment would give local officials an option. If they don’t want to use it, they wouldn’t need to. The pension reform bill and the house amendment are now in a committee of conference with a vote expected on May 25th.

Please make these efforts!

PLEASE visit the AFT-NH Facebook page —you will receive late breaking news and alerts! It was by using Facebook that Wisconsin workers were able to so quickly respond to attacks—please do it today and spread the word! Just type in AFT New Hampshire and make it a favorite page! Let’s show everyone we are one and can change the course of events.

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Please visit www.aft-nh.org.

Also, please “like” our new Facebook page!
Just type in AFT New Hampshire.

UPCOMING HOUSE AND SENATE VOTES- THIS WEDNESDAY

The full house will be voting on SB 196, relative to the renomination or reelection of teachers and prohibiting assessing teacher performance based solely on assessment scores. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.

Rep. Gregory Hill for the Majority of Education: This bill extends the time from 3 years to 5 years required for a teacher to be entitled to rights of notification and hearing for failure to be renominated or re-elected. The feeling is that 5 years can give more time for development where an administrator can work with a borderline teacher. If the school is simply reducing the workforce, the reduction shall not be solely based on seniority. Finally, this bill limits the exclusive remedy available to a teacher on the issue of non-renewal to the same as it was prior to 2008, that is, a petition for review. Vote 13-4.
Rep. Barbara E Shaw for the Minority of Education: The minority of the committee requested that the bill be divided or retained, but lost both suggestions. The minority agreed and were sympathetic with the extension of the probationary period from 3-5 years and, in addition, was favorable to the non-reelection clause stating that reduction in force shall not be based solely on seniority. Our serious concerns were regarding amendments to grievance procedures, specifically the elimination of collective bargaining.

The Senate will be voting on the following bills:
HB 589, repealing written majority authorization for an employee organization to be certified as the exclusive representative of public employees in a bargaining unit.
Ought to Pass, Vote 4-1.
Senator De Blois for the committee.

HB 461-FN, relative to repealing the authority for retirement system members to purchase service credit for
certain out-of-state service.
Ought to Pass, Vote 6-0.
Senator Morse for the committee.

HB 341, relative to local spending caps.
Ought to Pass, Vote 4-1.
Senator Barnes for the committee.

UPCOMING HOUSE AND SENATE HEARINGS

MONDAY, MAY 16

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Odell (VC), Sen. Barnes, Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Forrester, Sen. Gallus
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION INCLUDING HB 1-A AND HB 2-FN-A-L
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION INCLUDING HB 1-A AND HB 2-FN-A-L

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 183-FN-L, amending the calculation and distribution of adequate education grants, repealing fiscal capacity disparity aid, and providing stabilization grants to certain municipalities.

TUESDAY, MAY 17

EDUCATION, Rooms 205-207, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 67, establishing a committee to study school vouchers and school choice,
SB 95, establishing a commission to study youth sports concussions and other concussions received while at school,
SB 192, establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for delivering a 21st century education,
SB 194, transferring all real and personal property from the former department of regional community-technical colleges to the board of trustees of the community college system of New Hampshire.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 166, relative to medical benefits for beneficiaries of a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty.

FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 82-FN, extending the state board of education’s authority to approve chartered public schools and relative to the funding of chartered public schools approved by a school district,

THURSDAY, MAY 19

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Odell (VC), Sen. Barnes, Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Forrester, Sen. Gallus
1:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION INCLUDING HB 1-A
AND HB 2-FN-A-L

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued executive session on SB 2, relative to adoption of spending caps by municipalities.

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Rescheduled executive session on SB 183-FN-L, amending the calculation and distribution of adequate education grants, repealing fiscal capacity disparity aid, and providing stabilization grants to certain municipalities.

FRIDAY, MAY 20

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Odell (VC), Sen. Barnes, Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Forrester, Sen. Gallus
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION INCLUDING HB 1-A AND HB 2-FN-A-L
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION INCLUDING HB 1-A AND HB 2-FN-A-L

TUESDAY, MAY 24

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 172, relative to performance-based school accountability criteria

Special Election in Hillsborough District 4

Do you live in Hillsborough District 4? Do you live in Wilton, Temple, Mont Vernon, New Boston or Lyndeborough? There will be a special election for the seat vacated by Rep Robert Mead (now Speaker’s chief of staff) on May 17th. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO has endorsed Jennifer Daler in this race. If you would like to help with Daler’s campaign please contact the NH AFL-CIO office more information. Absentee ballots are available now.

Click here to see a list of events the NH AFL-CIO is doing to assist in getting out the vote for Jennifer.

For more information on Jennifer, you can find her on Facebook
at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Daler-for-NH-House/119858478063048

Right-to-work bill all about eliminating unions in NH – NashuaTelegraph.com

Mark Hounsell has a guest commentary in the Telegraph now…..

Right-to-work bill all about eliminating unions in NH – NashuaTelegraph.com

“Before I had a change of heart on the importance of workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain for wages and benefits, I was a sponsor of right-to-work legislation in the New Hampshire Senate – legislation that has come back to the state Legislature and I now strongly oppose.
On May 4, the House of Representatives and Senate agreed on the final language of HB 474, the so-called right-to-work legislation. The title and description of the bill is misleading and is meant to hide its true intent.”

Workers Come Out Strong At End of Missouri Legislative Session | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

Some new from our friends in Missouri, who are also fighting Right To Work…. Read the entire AFL-CIO blog entry

Workers Come Out Strong At End of Missouri Legislative Session | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG: “Among those issues were those that were political in nature, bills that would produce no employment and create no economic gains for our state. Those bills were simply meant to reduce the capacity of labor unions to advocate for our members and so reduce the participation of working people in the political process in our state.

 SB 1, a so-called Right to Work bill, would have produced not one job but would have ultimately created a lower standard of living for all. Fortunately, the bill lacked the support of the more learned and prudent members of the Missouri Senate and even less support in the Missouri House of Representatives and did not pass.”

State Senator Jim Forsythe (District 4) is holding a meeting….

If you live in Senate District 4 be sure to go to the constituent meeting with your State Senator Jim Forsythe. He wants to hear from you. Go to the meeting, ask him questions, and tell him what you think.

Alton: Thursday, May 19th, 6:30 p.m., Alton Town Hall
For more information, contact Senator Forsythe at 271-3096, or james.forsythe@leg.state.nh.us


View Larger Map

Special Election in Hillsborough District 4

Do you live in Hillsborough District 4? Do you live in Wilton, Temple, Mont Vernon, New Boston or Lyndeborough? There will be a special election for the seat vacated by Rep Robert Mead (now Speaker’s chief of staff) on May 17th. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO has endorsed Jennifer Daler in this race. If you would like to help with Daler’s campaign please contact the NH AFL-CIO office more information. Absentee ballots are available now.

For more information on Jennifer, you can find her on Facebook
at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Daler-for-NH-House/119858478063048

More Press on Retirement Reform

One of the most talked about issues in the local press so far this week.
#1

“CONCORD — House and Senate negotiators hope to resolve their differences on competing plans to reform New Hampshire’s public pension system by the end of the month, at the same time the state’s retirement system is experiencing a big increase in applications from retirement-eligible employees.”

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110510-NEWS-105100374

#2

“PORTSMOUTH — The city will host an information session next week on a controversial Senate bill involving comprehensive changes to the New Hampshire Retirement System.

The bill’s prime sponsor, state Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, is expected to join local state Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, at the Senate Bill information session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at Portsmouth City Hall.
Related Stories”

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110510-NEWS-105100375

Public Pension Negotiators Eye Differences….

More Press on Retirement…

“House and Senate lawmakers met for the first of what promises to be many meetings to change the state’s public pension system. Both chambers have passed slightly different plans that cut pension benefits for teachers, municipal workers, firefighters and police. NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein reports after this initial meeting both sides are confident compromise is within their reach.
The House and the Senate have the exact same goal: cut how much employers- that’s cities and towns- have to pay in pension costs.”

Full article
http://www.nhpr.org/public-pension-negotiators-eye-differences

State retirement negotiators struggle to find common ground…

News on State Retirements…

“CONCORD – Legislative negotiators failed to settle on precise changes that will make public employees work longer and contribute more to their pensions but agreed on a starting date Monday.
House and Senate leaders working to reform the $6 billion New Hampshire Retirement System decided higher employee contributions, once endorsed, will begin July 1. “

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/newsstatenewengland/918729-227/state-retirement-negotiators-struggle-to-find-common.html

Another Article is from the Concord Monitor

“Public employees will likely have at least four months to review the Legislature’s reforms to the state’s retirement system before deciding whether to retire, according to an agreement reached by House and Senate members during a committee of conference yesterday.

Facing each other from opposite tables, members of both houses sat down to hammer out the difference between their two bills as the Republican-led Legislature seeks to reform the state’s retirement system.”

http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/256179/potential-retirees-have-4-months

Broad-brush attack on unions doesn’t add up….From Concord Monitor

Someone who speaks the truth about Right To Work and the economy….

“In Gary Daniels’s column, “Right-to-work will boost economy” (Monitor Forum, April 30), he contends that a right-to-work law will benefit New Hampshire. Someone needs to paint the whole picture about unions, and I think I can because I’ve been on both sides of the issue.”

Read entire article

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