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Shaheen Campaigns with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, NH AFL-CIO President in Hooksett

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Manchester – This evening Senator Jeanne Shaheen campaigned with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie, and more than a hundred supporters from the labor community at an event in Hooksett, where the three discussed how Shaheen’s record standing up for New Hampshire working families contrasts with Scott Brown’s record of supporting out-of state corporate interests and companies that outsource jobs.

“When it comes to jobs and the economy, Scott Brown and I have two very different records,” said Shaheen. “I believe we need to increase the minimum wage because it’s what’s right for New Hampshire families, but Scott Brown opposes the increase. I know we need to once and for all end giveaways for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that ship jobs overseas, but time and again Scott Brown voted to protect those special breaks. And I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to support New Hampshire small businesses across our state, but Scott Brown voted against them when he was representing Massachusetts. The difference is clear: I have never stopped fighting to make a difference for the families and businesses that make up the backbone of our state’s economy, and I never will.”

“Jeanne Shaheen has a long record working to create good paying jobs and has always fought to ensure hardworking people get the fair shot they deserve,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “When he was Massachusetts’ senator, Scott Brown voted against unemployment benefits. He voted to water down Wall Street reform. And he helped big corporations ship American jobs overseas. When you see his record up close like we did, you see he’s not someone who has spent his career standing up for working people. Jeanne Shaheen has.”

“Outsourcing is the type of business practice that lines the pockets of millionaires like Scott Brown but is devastating for communities here in New Hampshire,” said Mark Mackenzie, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “When jobs are shipped overseas, families suffer, unemployment increases, and communities are decimated. The fact that Scott Brown personally profited from this practice is wrong, and we need to reelect our Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, who we know will always stand up for working families here in New Hampshire.”

Jeanne Shaheen has spent her career fighting for good paying jobs here in New Hampshire. Shaheen led the fight to pass the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act, which has helped countless New Hampshire businesses expand and create new jobs. Shaheen also cosponsored the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act, which invested in New Hampshire’s tourism industry, the second largest in the state, supporting nearly 70,000 jobs. Shaheen is currently fighting to increase the minimum wage because she believes no one in New Hampshire should have to work full time and still live in poverty.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown opposes increasing the minimum wage and voted to support tax loopholes for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that offshore American jobs.  Since losing in Massachusetts, Brown has made over a quarter million dollars as a board member of a company that touts outsourcing American jobs to China and Mexico as part of its business plan. Legal documents dated just two days before Brown entered the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire bear his signature endorsing the company’s outsourcing strategy.

Massachusetts and New Hampshire AFLCIO Presidents Speak Out Against Outsourcers Scott Brown And Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

As Outsourcing Champion Mitt Romney Campaigns With Scott Brown, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Labor Leaders Speak Out on Brown’s Outsourcing Record

Manchester, NH – Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman and New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark Mackenzie spoke out against Scott Brown’s outsourcing record today as he campaigned alongside outsourcing champion Mitt Romney. Like Romney, Scott Brown has a record of profiting off companies that ship American jobs overseas. In the Senate, Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that shipped jobs overseas.

“New Hampshire shouldn’t make the same mistake Massachusetts made, because Scott Brown’s record when he went to Washington proves that he’s not for working families. He’s a guy that works to protect his corporate special interest backers, at the cost of the middle class,” said Steven Tolman, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “Now we know that since losing in Massachusetts, Brown has been making hundreds of thousands of dollars off of a company that made outsourcing part of its business plan. That company, Kadant Inc., even outsourced jobs in Massachusetts, the same state he once served. Scott Brown was wrong for Massachusetts and he’s wrong for New Hampshire.”

“Outsourcing is the type of business practice that lines the pockets of people like Scott Brown and Mitt Romney, but is devastating for communities in a state like New Hampshire,” said Mark Mackenzie, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “When jobs are shipped overseas, families suffer, unemployment rates increase, and entire communities are decimated. The fact that Scott Brown personally profited from this practice is shameful. We can’t trust him and most definitely can’t afford to send his agenda back to the Senate.”

As a Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown voted to protect special tax breaks for companies that offshore American jobs. After leaving the Senate, he made more than a quarter million dollars by serving on the Board of Directors of Kadant, Inc., a company that outsourced American jobs to increase its bottom line. Just two days before he announced his most recent campaign in New Hampshire, Brown signed legal documents endorsing the company’s business strategy, which included establishing cheaper manufacturing facilities in China and Mexico.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party is releasing a new web ad ahead of Scott Brown’s campaign stop with fellow Massachusetts politician and notorious outsourcer, Mitt Romney. During Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, it was revealed that Mitt Romney invested millions of dollars in a company that profited off of U.S. Outsourcing. Similarly, Scott Brown has been making hundreds of thousands of dollars off an outsourcing company, even endorsing their business strategy, which included sending jobs to China and Mexico.

To view the web ad on YouTube, click here:

“Scott Brown and Mitt Romney both cashed in off of outsourcing jobs–and that’s just further proof that both are wrong for our economy and wrong for New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain.

 

 

The Future Of Social Security And Medicare Are At The Forefront This Election

Hands off my social security

New Hampshire senior citizens, their families, and neighbors should do their homework and vote in self-defense on November 4th!  Some candidates running for federal office are on record as supporting cuts to our Social Security and Medicare. They say our safety net is going broke. Some want these programs to go away completely, being replaced by vouchers and Wall Street accounts. Others propose cuts using the Chained Consumer Price Index, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including the prescription drug donut hole fix and no co-pay preventative care additions.

But Social Security is not going broke, and a few changes that would be good for all of us would be good for the Social Security Trust Fund as well: raise the minimum wage, enact paycheck equity laws at the federal level (thank you NH for doing this for women here), create more and better paying jobs, and raising or getting rid of the cap on the income that is subject to the FICA tax, now set at $117,000.  Each of these means not only more money for retiree earned benefits, but also more money in the trust fund today.

Medicare’s cost curve is bending down due in part to the changes in the Affordable Care Act. Costs for healthcare for everyone are not rising anywhere near as quickly, and as healthcare providers work for quality care rather than quantity care, costs will continue to ease. We can provide great preventative care and make sure that we aren’t getting procedures and prescriptions that we don’t need, and stay healthier longer.

One in five New Hampshire residents got Social Security benefits in 2013, bringing $4.1 billion dollars in income into our state.  Over 231,000 of us receive Medicare benefits, allowing us to remain healthy and contribute to our communities.

These earned benefits mean that families and communities do not have to worry about carrying the full cost of housing, food and healthcare for those who are retired or disabled. Before we had Social Security and Medicare, half the seniors in our country lived in poverty, and many died what we would consider today premature deaths. Families struggled to support those who could no longer work.

Today the income from these benefits is spent in our communities, supporting the businesses here. Without the income from Social Security and the healthcare savings from Medicare, how will our economy replace the customers with money to spend that provide the “demand” side of supply and demand?  Replacing the $4.1 billion dollars that comes from those 1 in every 5 New Hampshire residents isn’t going to be easy, and our state is growing older every year. Do we really want to do that to our economy?

Healthy and secure seniors provide many hours of volunteer time, the unpaid work that we depend on to run our municipalities, among other efforts. Our school boards, selectboards, planning boards, conservation commissions, and others are either paid a small stipend or serve for free.  Retirees volunteer in schools, at churches, and even as $100 a year legislators! Sometimes it seems that New Hampshire runs on volunteer power!

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans has joined our national Alliance in endorsing Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster for re-election this November.  All three were endorsed for their work to preserve and protect our senior safety net for all New Hampshire citizens, retirees of today and our children and grandchildren.

Be sure you check out the candidates before you vote!  Look at voting records, if they have served before (http://retiredamericans.org/issues/congressional-voting-record).  See what they have said in this and past campaigns. Make sure you know who is really on our side and vote in self-defense!

Lucy Edwards

New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans

The NH Alliance For Retired Americans Endorse Carol Shea-Porter For Congress

ARA -Carol Shea Porter Endorsement 1

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Today at an event in Portsmouth, Alliance for Retired Americans members proudly endorsed Carol Shea-Porter for re-election to the U.S. Congress from New Hampshire’s 1st District.

The event featured New Hampshire members of the Alliance as well as a performance by Senior Votes Count!’s Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of the musical group Sha Na Na. New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli and State Senator Martha Fuller Clark also spoke.

“Carol Shea-Porter is really a champion for seniors. She can be trusted to lead with our interests. Her views on keeping health care affordable and retirement secure are among the reasons that we stand behind Carol Shea-Porter and her candidacy for U.S. Congress,” said Lucy Edwards, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

Carol Shea-Porter’s strong positions on fighting Social Security and Medicare privatization and strengthening Social Security and Medicare confirm her commitment to improving the quality of life for older Americans. She understands that selling off our Medicare to the big insurance companies or turning our Social Security over to Wall Street would benefit few and harm many, including New Hampshire seniors.

State Senator Martha Fuller Clark applauded Carol’s opposition to proposals like chained CPI that would cut benefits for seniors.

Noting that Medicaid pays for 40% of nursing home care, New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli said, “We need to send Carol back to Washington, because Carol’s vote for the ACA actually set the stage so that the Governor and the House and the Senate here in New Hampshire could reach a bipartisan solution.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans represents over 4.3 million retirees and community activists, including more than 13,000 members in New Hampshire.

Below are the full remarks of NH Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards:

ARA -Carol Shea Porter Endorsement 2

NH ARA President Lucy Edwards

I first met Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter when she had just decided to run for Congress.   I remember how amazed I was that a middle class woman much like me might be my Congresswoman, and thinking that if there were more people like me and my family and my friends and neighbors in Congress things might go better for us.  She has not disappointed me, despite the challenges of our current Congress!  Those two years when she was out of office made it so clear to so many of us that there really is a difference!

As a volunteer for my town’s planning board, I have been learning about the demographic changes going on in New Hampshire.  In 2013 we were the 3rd oldest state in the country, and we are getting older. As we plan for the future of our small town, we have to ask ourselves, how are we going to deal with this aging population?

One thing I am very sure of is that we will need Social Security and Medicare to be flourishing programs, so that we all can retire with dignity and security. Social Security brought $4.1 billion in income into our New Hampshire economy in 2013.  Medicare allows retirees to manage their healthcare without bankrupting themselves or their children.  Cuts to either of these programs will hurt seniors, but cuts will also hurt our economy.  Social Security dollars typically are spent locally, not saved.  The money that might have been spent on healthcare if we didn’t have Medicare can go to the local supermarket, auto repair, or hardware store.

If Medicare and Social Security are cut, where will the customers with money to spend come from to replace the buying power of the 1 in 5 New Hampshire residents who receive these earned benefits?  How will our local businesses make ends meet?  I’m not hearing anything about the demand side of “supply and demand” from those who think cutting our earned benefits would be a good idea.
I might add that my household has saved several thousand dollars over the past 4 years since the Congresswoman’s fix to Medicare D’s donut hole has started working.  We are very, very grateful for that, believe me!

I know that Congresswoman Shea-Porter understands this, she saw her parents depend on these senior safety net programs. She works very hard, and very thoughtfully, for the people of our state, and our country.  The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans enthusiastically joins our national Alliance in endorsing Carol Shea-Porter for another term representing New Hampshire’s First District in the United States House of Representatives.
It’s very important that all New Hampshire’s seniors do their homework, mark their ballots from the bottom up, and vote in self-defense on November 4th!

Labor Leaders Speak Out Against Scott Brown’s Outsourcing Strategy

Image by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Small Business and Labor Leaders: Outsourcing Record Makes Brown
Obvious Choice for U.S. Chamber of Commerce Endorsement
But Wrong For New Hampshire

Group That Profits Off The Offshoring of U.S. Jobs Will Spend Millions to Elect Buddy Scott Brown, Who Endorsed Outsourcing Strategy of Company That Paid Him $270K

Manchester, NH – Scott Brown is getting endorsed today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group that has a long history of supporting outsourcing, much like Scott Brown, who voted to protect tax breaks for companies that outsource while in the Senate, and just a few months ago endorsed a business strategy that included the offshoring of U.S. jobs to Mexico and China.

“Scott Brown is touting the support of an organization that would rather see big companies make more money than support American jobs,” said Charlie Balban, Chair of the New Hampshire Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 Political Action League. “This is just the latest example of why Scott Brown is wrong for New Hampshire. He’d rather align himself with big money groups that champion job-killing policies than with the working families of our state.”

“Scott Brown was a reliable ally of companies that outsourced jobs while he was in the Senate, and now he is cozying up to a pro-outsourcing group that is trying to buy him New Hampshire’s Senate seat,” said Joe Donahue, business manager of Carpenters Local 118. “When push comes to shove, Brown will always take sides with the corporate interests that are lining his pockets and filling his campaign coffers. That’s the only explanation for him to accept the Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement today.”

“Working families in New Hampshire should know exactly who is spending millions to get Scott Brown back in the Senate: companies that outsource and groups that support outsourcing,” said Mark MacKenzie, President of NH AFL-CIO. “Last month we learned that Brown was collecting a personal paycheck—to the tune of more than a quarter million dollars—from a company that outsourced. And today, Brown accepts the endorsement of a pro-outsourcing group. We know who Brown is working for, and it’s not Granite Staters.”

“Jeanne Shaheen has always stood up for New Hampshire small businesses and her work has made a real difference for our state,” said Adria Bagshaw, small business owner and Chair of the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center Advisory Board.  “Scott Brown’s record may have scored him an endorsement from a pro-outsourcing interest group, but it’s not what New Hampshire needs in the Senate. We need a Senator like Jeanne Shaheen who will promote job creation here at home, not someone like Scott Brown who profits from outsourcing companies and protects tax breaks to create jobs overseas.”

In August, it was revealed that Scott Brown signed legal documents clearly endorsing the outsourcing strategy of Kadant, Inc, a company that paid him more than a quarter million dollars to serve on its Board of Directors. The SEC document, signed March 12, 2014—just days before Brown announced his New Hampshire Senate run—reads: “We pursue a number of strategies to improve our internal growth…using low cost manufacturing bases, such as China and Mexico.”  Previous filings with the SEC that also have Brown’s signature include the same language and endorsement of outsourcing American jobs.

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Series: It Is Time To Raise The Minimum Wage

Rishi Patel

Today’s essay comes from Rishi Patel.  Some of you may remember Rishi from last years essay contest where Rishi won for his essay on immigration reform.  Rishi’s mother Naina,is an IBEW member from local #1505.  Rishi is attending Bentley University this fall. 

It Is Time To Raise The Minimum Wage

By Rishi Patel (titled by NHLN editor) 

Rishi PatelIn early January, Mark MacKenzie, the President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, said that by increasing the minimum wage, New Hampshire will be “sending a strong message that we are not going to allow people to live below the poverty line.” MacKenzie is able to point out that regardless of how many people are affected, even if it is few, the state must make sure that people are able to bring food on the table and keep a roof above their head. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 only earns $15,080 yearly, which is “$4,000 less than the poverty-level income for a family of three.” People earning the minimum wage are not the only ones that will be benefitting from the reform. If the minimum wage is raised up to $8.25 and eventually $9.00, everyone will in turn benefit from it. The state will enhance its economy as there will be more money flowing through it. There are many people who challenge this view by stating that only teens will be affected, or small business will not be able to handle the increases in the salary expenses. Yet these statements are either false or assume that the minimum wage is not going to impact the market at all. Since these statements are flawed and increasing the minimum wage can strengthen the position of the state, the minimum wage should be increased.

A major way in which increasing the minimum wage will strengthen the position of the state is by raising the standard of living in the state. Standard of living is the “degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community.” In other words, it is the measure of how well people are able to live. If the people who earn the least amount of money are able to earn more, the standard of living for New Hampshire will go up. This is beneficial because everyone will be able to pay “$19,157 per year” towards personal expenses. That figure is the amount of money needed for a person in Concord to afford “basic necessities such as food, housing, or medical care.” In other words, people will be able to pay for the basic needs and have more economic security. Economically, state aid programs such as Medicaid would be relieved. Even though only “4.2%” of the people in New Hampshire are earning minimum wage or lower, it does not mean that state cannot improve and strengthen its position. New Hampshire does not experience exacerbated poverty when compared to other states, but the end goal for the state government is not to be in a better position than other states, but to be the best possible position for its people. Thus, even though a small number of people will be relieved from being under the poverty line, it does not change the fact that people of the state will be more likely to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Additionally, increasing the minimum wage will strengthen the position of the state because there will be a consequent increase the “demand for the goods and services sold by businesses operating in the Granite State.” According to “researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago[who were] looking back over a 23 year period concluded that, for every dollar minimum wages had climbed in the past, consumer spending among affected low-wage households grew by $700 in the quarters immediately following the increase.” This means that the “4.2%” of people who would be under the poverty line would end up spending $700 dollars more per quarter. This is not just 4.2% of people but also all the “low wage” households. All of this additional money will strengthen the economy, and more importantly strengthen the position and economic health of the state.

It is clear that by creating more economic security and increasing the amount of money that will flow through the state, increasing the minimum wage will strengthen the position of the state. Still, people tend to think that increasing the minimum wage will not strengthen the position of the state. People with these thoughts tend to oppose with the same arguments. They claim that the increase in wages will only affect teens, or that small business will not be able to handle the pressure of paying more to employees. Yet these statements tend to be flawed.

Most people who say that it will only affect teens fail to realize the fact that raising the minimum wage will increase the economic security for everyone. They also do not realize that it will increase the amount of money that flows through the state. According to the United States Department of Labor, “88 percent of those who would benefit from a federal minimum wage increase are age 20 or older, and 55 percent are women.” Not only are most people who are paid minimum wage not teens, but they are also women and people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Another argument that is normally made against raising the minimum wage is that small business owners will find it difficult to pay their way while possessing a healthy the bottom line. Yet, these people need to know that small business owners are not against the idea. In actuality, more seem to support it. According to the United State Department of Labor, “Small business owners believe that a higher minimum wage would benefit business in important ways: 58% say raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power. 56% say raising the minimum wage would help the economy. In addition, 53% agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and customer satisfaction.” Increasing the purchasing power will strengthen the position of people and the state itself. More importantly, a lower employee turnover ratio means that people will start performing better as they feel more valued.

Raising the minimum wage will leave the employees feeling more valuable, while it leaves customers feeling more satisfied with services and products; it will greatly affect all of the people in the state, and will harness a stronger economy within the state. Since it has the ability to influence the life of NH constituents in such a positive manner and since it is the state is responsible for the wellbeing of its constituents and betterment of the state economy, minimum wage ought to be raised. There is no doubting this vital decision.

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.dol.gov/minwage/mythbuster.htm

http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/4071768-95/wage-minimum-hampshire-workers

http://www.bls.gov/ro1/nhminwage.pdf

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Series: Stuck in the Crossfire

Ariana Smith

Today’s essay comes from Adriana Smith. The following essay took 3rd place in the annual scholarship contest.  Adriana’s mother Deb is a member of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) local 230.  Adriana is attending Weaton College this fall.  

Stuck in the Crossfire

by Adriana Smith

 

Ariana SmithGrowing up, my dad had always bounced around from job to job. When I was ten, he was working at a small bar down in Massachusetts, so my younger brother and I rarely got to see him. However, when an opportunity presented itself to start working at an Italian chain restaurant located near my brother and I, he jumped at the job, and the chance to see his kids more often. The pay was $3.10 an hour plus tips. For some, that pay scale may seem like an opportunity to make unlimited tips, and bring in bundles of cash at the end of every shift. However, my father was a middle aged man, put on almost every lunch shift. For those that have never worked in the food industry, lunch shifts are more difficult to receive living tips on, because the meals are significantly less expensive. A smaller bill means a smaller tip, which means a leaner pay check. My dad was lucky, if by the end of the week he broke even with minimum wage. Although my dad did his best to keep his head above water from week to week, my brother and I could feel the financial strain while living with him.

My dad found an apartment nearby, with a high cost of rent, with no utilities included. Desperate to be able to stay near his kids and with next to no options, he signed the lease. While my brother and I were both grateful to see our father more, there were sacrifices. You can imagine, that living the life of a waiter’s daughter is not glamorous. However, the conditions which we lived in some weeks, went beyond the limits of just being dowdy or drab. Mid-winter there would be no heat because he couldn’t afford to fill the oil tank. Every night as the cold crept in, I would curl under my heated blanket, tucking my knees under my chin. In the mornings, I would rush to take a shower as quickly as possible to get out of the frigid water, my hair freezing every day on the way to school. Meals were not enticing, we ate “Toastie O’s” (brand name Cheerios were too expensive) for breakfast every day, and some nights even for dinner. However, there was always food on the table. It wasn’t until recently that he confessed to me he would go days without eating, if my brother and I weren’t around, simply because he couldn’t afford to keep himself fed. We had fallen well below the poverty line, despite my dad working forty hours or more a week. However, that sombering fact had never truly hit me as a young child. It never occurred to me that my dad worked a full time job, and was barely able to feed his family. But now, as a socially aware student heading off to college, I see the atrocity in this fact.

Minimum wage has always been a source of debate, from raising it, to lowering it, to cutting it all together. It is one of the issues that currently divides our country, and is passionately spoken about by both sides. In 2013 part of Obama’s platform was to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by the end of 2016, which is almost a forty percent pay increase. But what would this pay increase actually do to our country? The conservatives say the job market would collapse and inflation would soar, the liberals say it would stimulate the economy and pull countless families out of poverty. The truth lies somewhere in between. So let’s focus on the negative first, jobs would be lost. Increased wages means some companies would have to let employees go because they cannot afford them. NPR reports that the predicted job loss is 500,000 people, or about .3 percent of the work force. However, that number is uncertain because our economy as a whole is unpredictable. The actual number of potential jobs lost ranges anywhere from zero to a million, as studies showed outcomes falling within that range. Another worry about wage increase is not only that jobs would be lost, but jobs that will not be created. Considering that the average business owner in New Hampshire would now have to pay their employees almost forty percent more, this could keep them from opening new positions in the company out of cost effectiveness. Thus, not only are jobs cut, jobs are not being made.

However, not every effect on the economy would be negative. A person working forty hours a week, every week, getting paid minimum wage, makes $15,080 a year before taxes. A person working the same schedule, at the same job, with the wage increase, makes $21,008 before taxes. When you only make $15,000 a year, an extra $6,000 is life changing. Low income families will finally have spending power. They will no longer have to choose between food and heat in the winter, or worry about where their next meal will come from. The pay increase would be enough to pull 900,000 people above the poverty line. By being pulled above the poverty line, the families would no longer have a need for government subsidies, meaning it will save the average tax payer money. And with the increased demand in the market, jobs would be created for production. Not only that, but the increased wages could help companies become more efficient as well. Instead of cutting employees or positions, CEO’s and bosses could instead ask for increased effort in their labor, instead of going through the costly and morale breaking process of firing people.

However, what is lost in this debate is human compassion. When the argument becomes so black and white, we lose sight of who is truly being affected by this decision – struggling families. Struggling families, with children who don’t know why they went to bed cold, or why they are having cereal for the eighth night in a row. So another child never has to question why it’s happening to them, I fully support a minimum wage increase in the state of New Hampshire.

 

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Series: Raising the NH Minimum Wage Would Strengthen The NH Advantage

Minimum Wage 101

Today’s essay comes from Robert Dudgeon who is attending Northern Essex Comm. College perusing a degree in political science. Robert’s mother, Tracy, is a member of the Professional Firefighters of NH Local #4104.  Robert took First Place in the NH AFL-CIO Scholarship contest.

 

Raising the NH Minimum Wage Would Strengthen The NH Advantage

By Robert Dudgeon (titled by NHLN editor)

Why is the minimum wage important, one may ask? It’s only a starter wage, a law that doesn’t affect many workers, right? Think again. 20% of working teenagers, 19% of food-service workers, and 4.3% of all workers in the US (3.3 million people) earn the minimum wage, which is currently $7.25/ hour [1]. The minimum wage is a big deal. It is the lowest rate that a worker can sell their labor for, the law that shows people at the bottom of the economic ladder how much their labor is worth and saves them from working for pennies while they try to climb the ladder. Many critics of the minimum wage don’t understand how impossible it is to live on it. When told that it’s impossible to live on the minimum wage, those critics will start explaining how people are supposed to get more education to move up out of minimum wage jobs, while ignoring the fact that you can’t afford an education while earning the minimum wage. Finally, they will argue that raising the minimum wage will destroy all of the minimum wage jobs, while ignoring the fact that minimum wage jobs continue to exist after numerous minimum wage hikes since the original 25 cents/ hour in 1938. Since the current minimum wage is not a living wage, since working for the current minimum wage will not pay for your education, and since minimum wage hikes do not destroy jobs, I support enacting a NH State minimum wage that goes up in 3 steps ($8.20 in 2014, $9.15 in 2015, $10.10 in 2016) to $10.10/ hour by 2016 and is indexed to inflation to allow for future cost-of-living increases. My proposal is in line with a national campaign to raise the minimum wage, which is supported by President Obama and 600+ economists [2].

Considering the past minimum wage of $7.25/ hour, $10.10 sounds too high, but when compared to New Hampshire’s high cost of living, it’s just right. When one uses the MIT Living Calculator, a free online finance tool, to find the living cost in NH, the living wage needed to match the cost of living in NH is $9.68 for the whole state, with pricey areas such as Hillsborough County and Rockingham County costing $10.07 and $10.15 to live in [3]. The $9/ hour wage proposed by some moderates will just not make the cut, but $10.10 will allow low-income workers the chance to pay all of their bills on time.

Creating a state minimum wage will immediately make a huge difference for Granite State families on the brink of poverty. 77,000 workers making under $10.10/ hour and 36,000 workers who earn more than $10.10 would all see raises as a result of the new state minimum wage [4]. Those who make minimum wage working full-time will see an extra $114 dollars in their paycheck every week [my calculations], which would immediately be spent on gas, food, or other expenses that would otherwise be limited. 12% of New Hampshire children live in families with at least one parent who would earn more from the new state minimum wage [4], which means 1 out of 8 children will have better medical care, eat healthier food, and have a more stable family. 59% of the workers who would see raises are women, and 21% of all working women in New Hampshire would earn more money, which would make the state minimum wage a massive gain for womens’ equal pay [4]. 12% of all workers aged 55+ would get a pay raise, which makes the proposed state minimum wage an excellent way to contribute to comfortable retirements for our senior citizens [4]. 47% of the workers getting raises would be from families making less than $60,000/ year (low-income families), and 42% of all workers from families making less than $20,000/ year would get raises, making the new minimum wage a targeted method of eliminating extreme poverty [4]. The facts show that a $10.10 state minimum wage would improve the financial and personal well-being of traditionally insecure New Hampshire residents, including children in low-income families, the elderly, and women.

Everyone can agree that education is the key to a better job, more pay, and a happier life. Nearly every one of my fellow students was pushed to go to college after we graduated from Pinkerton Academy (Derry, NH), and since most of our parents couldn’t pay our tuition bills, we all found summer jobs and hoped that we could save up enough money to pay for college tuition like our parents and grandparents said they did. However, once the summer ended, most of friends (and myself) had to take on heavy student loans to pay for school when we found out that minimum wage paid nowhere near enough to finance a college education. If you’re a college student lucky enough to have a job at minimum wage for 40 hours/ week during the summer and 20 hours/ week during the school year, you earn ~ $9,500/ year [my calculations], which allows you to attend community college for your first 2 years, but not to attend UNH, which runs ~$16,500/ year for in-state tuition [5]. A couple of my friends couldn’t get parents to co-sign on loans, and they’re working menial jobs until they can afford college. The proposed state minimum wage law would make this situation more workable by increasing the pay for the aforementioned job to ~$13,300/ year, and by boosting pay for low-income families, could allow more low-income students to go straight to college while working to pay most of their bills. Parents could assist with extra funds for the last piece in the affordability puzzle. A whopping 84% of working teenagers would benefit directly or indirectly from the new wage, and the larger economy would benefit from more young people getting a college education without crushing student loan debt.

Finally, there is the question of how many jobs will be available after the proposed minimum wage hike is passed. Many opponents of minimum wage hikes like to predict that massive layoffs will commence once the pen hits the paper and that small businesses will become non-existent, just as they also predicted when child labor was banned, and when the 40-hour workweek was created, when  the EPA was created, and several other times. They simply ignore two large factors that will soften the blow of increased labor costs to businesses. First, increased consumer demand will result from the workers spending their new raises, which will increase business and give businesses enough extra money to retain their workers. The Economic Policy Institute, the only think tank that has done major research into the wage hike, predicts that New Hampshire will gain 400 full-time jobs from the increase demand created by the new state minimum wage. This is a very modest gain due to the fact that New Hampshire already has lower unemployment (4.4% in June 2014) than the rest of the country (6.2% in June 2014)[6]. Also, businesses will pay less in taxes to finance the government assistance programs that low-wage workers rely on when they pay them living wages.

That is the case for raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Nobody knows the exact reason that the federal minimum wage has stagnated. It could have been declining union membership rates that caused labor to lose political power. It could have been strong opponents crying wolf about proposed increases. Regardless of what the federal government will do, New Hampshire must act in its own self-interest and enact a state minimum wage to create a living wage for at-risk groups and families, to allow students the chance to work hard and improve their skills through college, and to create a better climate for business in the Granite State.

 

Works Cited:

1. “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2013.” BLS Reports (n.d.): n. pag. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mar. 2014. Web. 7 Aug. 2014.

2. “College Costs: Find out How Much College Costs.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. .

3. Cooper, David. “Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost.” Economic Policy Institute. Economic Policy Institute, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. <http://www.epi.org/publication/raising-federal-minimum-wage-to-1010/>.

4. Glasmeier, Amy K. Counties and Places in New Hampshire. Living Wage Calculator. MIT, n.d. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. .

5. “Local Area Unemployment Statistics Home Page.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2014. <http://www.bls.gov/lau/>.

6. “Over 600 Economists Sign Letter In Support of $10.10 Minimum Wage: Economist Statement on the Federal Minimum Wage.” Economic Policy Institute. Economic Policy Institute, Jan. 2014. Web. 08 Aug. 2014.

NH Alliance For Retired Americans Endorse Annie Kuster at Social Security Anniversary Celebration

Kuster and Lucy Edwards

Kuster and NHARA Endorsement 1Today, Alliance for Retired Americans members proudly endorsed Annie Kuster for re-election to the U.S. Congress from New Hampshire’s 2nd District at a celebration of Social Security’s 79th anniversary in Nashua.

“Annie Kuster is really a champion for seniors. She can be trusted to lead with our interests. Her views on keeping health care affordable and retirement secure are among the reasons that we stand behind Annie Kuster and her candidacy for U.S. Congress,” said Lucy Edwards, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

Annie Kuster’s strong positions on fighting Social Security and Medicare privatization and strengthening Social Security and Medicare confirm her commitment to improving the quality of life for older Americans. She understands that selling off our Medicare to the big insurance companies or turning our Social Security over to Wall Street would benefit few and harm many, including New Hampshire seniors.

“We need to make sure we elect representative s who support these essential safety net programs   we know retirees and their families can count on Anne Kuster,” added Edwards.

To commemorate Social Security’s birthday, activists also released a new report showing how important Social Security is to seniors in New Hampshire. To view the report, go to:

http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NH2014.pdf

The Alliance for Retired Americans represents over 4.3 million retirees and community activists, including more than 13,000 members in New Hampshire.

NH Alliance For Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards remarks at the endorsement as prepared are below this image. 

 

 

Kuster and Lucy EdwardsWelcome to all of you, and thank you for coming!  My name is Lucy Edwards, and I serve as the President of the Executive Board of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

Every year, at this birthday time for Medicare and Social Security, I think about these wonderful programs and our New Hampshire retirees. It often seems that New Hampshire runs on volunteers, and like so many of our seniors, I am a volunteer, not only for our Alliance but also on my town’s planning board. This year most of our board went to a conference put on by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, and heard the latest statistics on our population and our economy. We knew that New Hampshire had one of the oldest populations in the country but now it seems we are getting older even faster than previously thought.  As the board charged with planning our land use in the future we are asking ourselves, “How will we help our town deal with this changing demographic? What does this mean for economic development here?”  

One thing I am very sure of is that we will need Social Security and Medicare to be flourishing programs, so that we all can retire with dignity and security, and continue to be a vital part of our communities. Congresswoman Kuster is a champion for small business in New Hampshire, and our small businesses will not flourish without our retirees having income to spend.  Did you know that Social Security benefits totaled $4.1 billion in New Hampshire in 2013?  That’s a lot of local business, and seniors spend almost all their money locally. 

I’m sure we all understand that Medicare not only helps seniors stay healthy in retirement, but that without it the cost of healthcare would leave most of our seniors in poverty.  There will be no help for New Hampshire’s economy if something like the Ryan budget should pass Congress, with its vouchers for private insurance as a Medicare replacement.  Congresswoman Kuster has pledged her support for Social Security and Medicare and fought against cuts to these programs. She has also introduced the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act which would increase Social Security benefits for qualifying caregivers who spend more than 80 hours per month providing care to their loved ones.

We need to make sure we elect representatives in Congress who support these essential senior safety net programs. That’s why the Alliance for Retired Americans, a nation-wide group of over 4.2 million members, and our New Hampshire Alliance, with 14,000 members, endorse Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd District.  We know retirees and their families can count on her!

Remember this: seniors should do their homework in November and vote in self-defense!

 

 

9-12-14 Remarks by Lucy Edwards, President New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans

Governor Hassan Creates Workers’ Compensation Commission

NHhouse

Issues Executive Order Bringing Together Experts to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs

Maggie HassanCONCORD – In order to help reduce workers’ compensation costs that are a burden on New Hampshire businesses and ensure that injured workers have access to high-quality care, Governor Maggie Hassan today issued an Executive Order creating the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs.

“Employers and workers have done their part to increase workplace safety, but New Hampshire has become one of the most expensive states in the nation for workers’ compensation, a burden on businesses across the state,” Governor Hassan said. “By bringing together business leaders and experts from insurance, health care and labor, the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs provides an opportunity for stakeholders to identify ways to reduce workers’ compensation medical costs and ensure that injured workers have access to quality care. With these reforms, our businesses will be able to re-invest these dollars in growing their companies, creating new jobs and keeping our economy moving in the right direction.”

Tasked with making recommendations to reform New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system, the commission will review the data behind New Hampshire’s high workers’ compensation costs; analyze efforts by other states to successfully reduce workers’ compensation costs; review how other states ensure continued access to quality care for injured workers; and develop comprehensive reforms that will reduce costs and premiums and improve New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system while ensuring that injured workers have access to quality care.

According to the Oregon Workers Compensation Rate Ranking Study, New Hampshire rose from the 14th-most expensive state for workers’ compensation coverage in the country in 2008 to the ninth-most expensive in 2012. In addition, data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance shows that workers’ compensation surgical procedures in New Hampshire are 83 percent more expensive than those in the region and more than twice as expensive as they are nationally. For more information on New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation costs, visit  http://www.nh.gov/insurance/media/pr/2014/documents/052214.pdf.

“New Hampshire is among the most expensive states for workers’ compensation, an unnecessary disadvantage for businesses that operate here,” said New Hampshire Insurance Department Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “I look forward to working with the commission to improve our workers’ compensation system by making recommendations to reduce costs and premiums while ensuring that workers have access to quality care.”

Commissioner Sevigny will be the chairman of the Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs. He will be joined on the commission by New Hampshire Department of Labor Commissioner Jim Craig or a designee from the department, as well as a diverse group of experts representing workers, employers, insurance professionals and the health care sector.

The Commission’s final report is due to the Governor on December 1, 2014.

Other members of the commission are:

·         Brian Allen, Vice President of Government Affairs at HELIOS (formerly Progressive Medical/PMSI)

·         Donald F. Baldini, AVP and State Affairs Officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance

·         Pamela Bronson, Administrator at Access Sports Medicine & Orthopedics

·         Paul W. Chant of Cooper Cargill Chant

·         Tammy Denver, Director of Claims & Coverage Programs at NH Public Risk Management Exchange (Primex3)

·         Edward Dudley, Executive Vice President/CFO of Catholic Medical Center

·         Mark Erdody, Director of New England Claims for Cove Risk Services, LLC

·         Marc Lacroix, New Hampshire Physical Therapy Association and Director of Specialty Services at Concord Hospital

·         David Lang, President of Professional Firefighters of NH

·         Mark Mackenzie, President of NH AFL-CIO

·         Peter McNamara, President of NH Automobile Dealers Association

·         Dr. Gregory Soghikian of New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center

·         Ben Wilcox, President & General Manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort

The full text of the Governor’s Executive Order is attached and below.

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
BY HER EXCELLENCY
MARGARET WOOD HASSAN
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2014-7

An order establishing a Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs 

WHEREAS, workers and employers across New Hampshire have partnered together to make their workplaces safer and to reduce on-the-job injuries;

WHEREAS, it is critical that injured workers have access to high-quality medical care and that we recognize medical practices often bear higher costs and administrative obligations when treating and assisting workers injured on the job;

WHEREAS,  while rates are expected to drop slightly in the coming year, New Hampshire was ranked the  ninth-most expensive state for workers’ compensation insurance in 2012, a change driven by increasing medical costs;

WHEREAS, according to a New Hampshire Department of Insurance review, medical costs in New Hampshire have grown to almost 75 percent of total workers’ compensation dollars spent in New Hampshire, compared to about 60 percent nationwide;

WHEREAS, the same review showed that on average workers’ compensation surgical procedures in New Hampshire are 83 percent more expensive than those in the region and more than twice as expensive as they are nationally;

WHEREAS, as an employer, state government pays significantly more for procedures covered by workers’ compensation coverage  compared to the same procedures covered through the state’s group medical coverage;

WHEREAS, higher workers’ compensation costs result in higher premiums that impact employers, workers and the economy by diverting resources that could be used for other priorities such as increased wages, new hires and investments in company infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, most other states have implemented strategies to successfully reduce medical costs for workers’ compensation;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, by the authority vested in me pursuant to Part II, Article 41 of the New Hampshire Constitution, do hereby establish, effective September 4, 2014, a Commission to Recommend Reforms to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Medical Costs, which shall comprise the commissioners of Insurance and Labor, as well as individuals representing workers, employers, insurance professionals and health care. 

FURTHER, the Commissioner of the Department of Insurance shall serve as chair; 

FURTHER, the Commission shall:

  1. Review data and information explaining the basis for high workers’ compensation costs in New Hampshire; 
  2. Review laws, regulations and other efforts undertaken by other states to successfully reduce workers’ compensation medical costs and other workers’ compensation costs;
  3. Review laws, regulations and other efforts undertaken by other states to ensure continued access by injured workers to high-quality health care providers;
  4. Develop and recommend a comprehensive reform to reduce medical costs and premiums in New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system while preserving access to health care for workers, and
  5. Make any other recommendations the Commission believes necessary to improve New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation system to reduce costs and premiums, improve the care to workers, and to help workers return to the job in a timely matter.

FINALLY, the Commission shall submit its final report to the Governor by December 1, 2014.

Given under my hand and seal at the Executive Chambers in Concord, this 4th day of September, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and fourteen, and the independence of the United States of America, two hundred and thirty-nine.

______________Maggie Hassan_________________________

GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

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