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Shea-Porter Statement on FairPoint Communications and Union Negotiations

Fairness at Fairpoint Banner

Manchester, NH – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) released the following statement regarding the ongoing contract dispute between FairPoint Communications and two unions representing its workers, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“I am disappointed that talks have stalled between FairPoint Communications and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), who represent the workers. There can be no resolution of differences if all parties are not at the table, hammering out an agreement. FairPoint and the union members who work at FairPoint are all important to our economy in New Hampshire and New England. For that reason, I believe it is essential that all parties return to the table and work together to reach a fair agreement.”

MA: Nurses Union Praises New “Patient Limit” Bill That Takes Effect This Week

Mass Nurses Association

New Law In Effect This Week Guarantees Safer Patient Care for Critically Ill Patients Setting Safe Maximum Patient Limits for Nurses in all Intensive Care Units 

Mass Nurses Association Launches TV and Radio Ad Campaign
to Raise Public Awareness of this New Patient Safety Law

CANTON, Mass.Beginning this week, critically ill patients in Massachusetts hospitals will be guaranteed safer care and closer monitoring from registered nurses as a new law goes into effect that sets safe patient limits for registered nurses who work in all the state’s hospital intensive care units.  The law requires that no nurse can be assigned more than one patient or in certain circumstances, a maximum of two patients based on the assessment of the nurses on that unit. (The full text of the law can be found at the end of this release)

The new law, An Act Relative to Patient Limits in All Hospital Intensive Care Units, was signed by Governor Deval Patrick on June 30 after passing with unanimous votes in the House and Senate and becomes effective as of Sept. 29, 2014, 90 days following the signing.

“This is an important patient safety measure for the most critically ill patients providing them with one-on-one attention from their registered nurse when they need it most,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, RN, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United. “It is important for the public to be aware of this new measure as their health and safety in the hospital is directly related to the number of patients assigned to their nurse.”

To help educate the public about the new law, the MNA/NNU has launched a TV and radio ad campaign to alert the public about the law and to advise them to ask how many other patients their nurse is being assigned.

The law was passed in response to dozens of research studies that clearly show safe maximum patient limits for nurses is the key to improving the care and safety of patients, leading to fewer patient complications, shorter hospital stays, lower readmission rates and higher patient satisfaction, while also saving millions of dollars due to these improved patient outcomes.  In fact one study found that safe patient limits like those required under this new law, could reduce hospital acquired infections for ICU patients by 63 percent.

What the Law Does 

  • The new law applies to every type of intensive care unit in all the state’s hospitals, including medical intensive care units, surgical intensive care units, coronary care units, neonatal intensive care units and pediatric intensive care units.
  • The law sets a maximum limit of one patient per nurse.  A nurse can only take a second patient based on the assessment of the staff nurses on the unit and a soon to be developed acuity tool.  The acuity tool will have standardized criteria to help determine the stability of the patients and all hospitals will be utilizing the same criteria.  Until the acuity tool is developed, the staff nurses on the unit will determine if and when a second patient can be assigned, and if they can’t agree, then a supervisor or manager can be called in to help make the determination.  In no instance and under no circumstances can an ICU nurse be assigned a third patient.
  • The state’s Health Policy Commission (HPC) is regulating the implementation of the proposed law, including the formulation of the acuity tool, the method of public reporting of staffing compliance in hospital ICUs, and the identification of three to five patient safety quality indicators.  The HPC has scheduled a Listening Session in Boston on Oct, 29 to gather testimony from nurses, hospitals and others to assist them in fleshing out the final regulations for the acuity criteria, reporting and compliance under the law and the quality indicators that will be measured.

Law Sets Foundation for Expansion of Limits to Other Units

“This measure will protect the most critically ill patients and it breaks the decade-long logjam on Beacon Hill over the issue of establishing an enforceable maximum limit on the number of patients a nurse can care for at one time,” said Kelly-Williams.   More importantly, it moves us closer to our ultimate goal, which is to extend safe patient limits beyond the ICUs to all other units of our hospitals to protect every patient.”

Having established a foundation for safe patient limits for intensive care units with the new law, the MNA/NNU plans to introduce legislation to extend patient limits to all other hospital units in the next legislative session.

 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen

An Act relative to patient limits in all hospital intensive care units.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

            SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 229 the following 2 sections:-

            Section 231. For the purposes of this section, the term “intensive care units” shall have the same meaning as defined in 105 CMR 130.020 and shall include intensive care units within a hospital operated by the commonwealth.

            Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, in all intensive care units the patient assignment for the registered nurse shall be 1:1 or 1:2 depending on the stability of the patient as assessed by the acuity tool and by the staff nurses in the unit, including the nurse manager or the nurse manager’s designee when needed to resolve a disagreement.

            The acuity tool shall be developed or chosen by each hospital in consultation with the staff nurses and other appropriate medical staff and shall be certified by the department of public health. The health policy commission shall promulgate regulations governing the implementation and operation of this act including: the formulation of an acuity tool; the method of reporting to the public on staffing compliance in hospital intensive care units; and the identification of 3 to 5 related patient safety quality indicators, which shall be measured and reported by hospitals to the public.

 ___________________________________

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses’ union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.

Jeanne Shaheen, A Senator New Hampshire Women Can Trust

On “A Senator New Hampshire Women Can Trust” Tour, Jeanne Shaheen Discusses Women’s Economic Issues at New England Porch Rockers in Laconia

Shaheen Endorsed by National Association of Women Business Owners This Week

Laconia, NH – Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited New England Porch Rockers, a woman-owned manufacturer of rocking chairs and furniture in Laconia, to discuss her work to expand economic opportunities for women and the issues at stake for women in the November election. Senator Shaheen was joined by Jeanne Compton of New England Porch Rockers and Donna Gaudet-Hosmer, a registered Republican and local small business owner.  Her visit to Laconia comes a day after she was endorsed by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

“For decades, I’ve fought to level the playing field for women in New Hampshire by protecting women’s access to affordable healthcare, combating pay discrimination and fighting to increase the minimum wage, and my record provides a clear contrast for New Hampshire voters,” said Senator Shaheen. “Scott Brown supported the Blunt Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, he voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, and he opposes raising the minimum wage for thousands of New Hampshire women. Brown’s positions are simply wrong for New Hampshire.”

“Jeanne Shaheen knows that more and more families are now relying on women as the primary breadwinner,” said Jeanne Compton, owner of New England Porch Rockers. “That’s why she’s worked to expand access to affordable childcare, combat pay discrimination and promote women’s small business ownership. Jeanne has fought for women and small business owners like me, and now, I’m fighting for her.”

“Women in New Hampshire simply can’t trust someone like Scott Brown whose record shows he won’t stand up to his party to fight for women’s rights,” said Donna Gaudet-Hosmer, a registered Republican and a small business owner. “From the Hobby Lobby Decision to the Blunt Amendment, Scott Brown has been wrong on women’s health issues, and from the minimum wage to the Paycheck Fairness Act, he’s been wrong on women’s economic issues. New Hampshire women aren’t going to forget that in November.”

“Senator Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for women business owners on the U.S. Senate  Small Business Committee and has shown that she understands the integral role entrepreneurs play in our economy,” said Darla Beggs, NAWBO National Board Chair. “We are proud to lend our endorsement to Senator Shaheen and look forward to seeing her continue her efforts on behalf of small business owners.”

For more than two decades, Jeanne Shaheen has worked to make a difference for women in New Hampshire, particularly on important economic issues. As a Senator, she cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, and as Governor, Shaheen signed into law legislation that strengthened New Hampshire’s equal pay protections.  She has also introduced legislation to expand the childcare tax credit to help working families cope with the rising cost of child care.

Shaheen has also been a leader on women’s reproductive rights. As Governor, she signed into law bipartisan legislation guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception; that legislation was backed by 120 Republicans and 121 Democrats in the New Hampshire State House. In the Senate, she helped introduce legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision in order to protect women’s access to birth control and contraception. She has also led the fight against the Republican plan known as the Blunt Amendment which would allow an employer to deny contraception coverage for their female employees.

While representing Massachusetts in the Senate, Scott Brown co-sponsored and voted for the Blunt Amendment, and this year, he spoke out in support of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

Rep Shea-Porter Named a 2014 Defender of Children

First Focus Campaign for Children: Shea-Porter “Delivered for Kids”

MANCHESTER—Once again, Carol Shea-Porter’s leadership on children’s issues in Congress has earned national recognition. Today, nonpartisan advocacy group First Focus Campaign for Children named Shea-Porter a 2014 Defender of Children.

“Lots of politicians talk about kids’ issues, but few back it up,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the Campaign for Children. “Congresswoman Shea-Porter delivered for kids.”

Shea-Porter said, “I appreciate this recognition from First Focus.  New Hampshire’s children are our future, and I am proud to be their advocate. Too often, kids’ health, education, and well-being have been neglected by the 112th and 113th Congresses, when they should be our nation’s top priority.”

Shea-Porter is the founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Allergy and Asthma Caucus, and has led initiatives to improve education, awareness, and treatment for asthma, which is the most common chronic childhood disease. Other recent Shea-Porter accomplishments on behalf of children included her success in fixing a Medicaid glitch that temporarily affected several New Hampshire kids and families this February, and her vote to restore funding for early childhood education programs like Head Start in the bipartisan budget compromise that reversed some of the reckless 2011 sequester’s budget cuts.

In selecting Champions, the First Focus Campaign for Children noted leaders who introduced, co-sponsored, and voted for legislation to meet children’s needs. In addition, the organization considered Members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children.

The advocacy organization recognized as “Champions for Children” 50 Members of Congress for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation. An additional 50 Members were recognized as “Defenders of Children” for their support of policies that advance the well-being of children. The 2014 Champions and Defenders are:

2014 Champions for Children

Senate

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

House

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)

Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX)

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Rep. George Miller (D-CA)

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

2014 Defenders of Children

Senate

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

House

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)

Del. Donna Christensen (D-VI)

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)

Rep. Ted Deutsch (D-FL)

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)

Rep. Peter King (R-NY)

Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Rep. José Serrano (D-NY)

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

This is the Campaign for Children’s fourth annual class of Champions for Children. For more information about past honorees, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Endorses Congresswoman Annie Kuster for Reelection

 Firefighters group applauds Kuster’s commitment to supporting
New Hampshire workers and promoting efforts to protect public safety

Annie Kuster - PFFNH EndorsementConcord, NH – This afternoon in Concord, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH), a division of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) endorsed Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) for reelection to New Hampshire’s Second Congressional seat. The endorsement event took place at the PFFNH’s New Hampshire headquarters on Centre Street.

“Our fire fighters and public safety officials constantly put their own lives on the line in order to keep our families out of harm’s way, and since taking office, I’ve been proud to push for legislation to ensure they have the resources and support they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I’m so pleased to receive the endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, and I thank them for all they do to serve and protect communities across the Granite State. I look forward to continuing to work together to keep Granite State families safe throughout my next term in office.”

The PFFNH represents fire fighters and paramedics from across the Granite State, and is comprised of 43 local unions. As the voice for many of the state’s public safety employees, the PFFNH is proud to announce its endorsement of Congresswoman Annie Kuster because of her commitment to supporting crucial public safety programs, and her efforts to fight for workers in the state.

“As our Congresswoman, Annie Kuster has made it clear that she fights for the issues that matter to fire fighters, and to the middle class families in our state. Our Congresswoman stands up for her beliefs, and she believes that good government means strong public safety. She has proven she stands for us, has the experience, and continues to lead the fight to ensure that our state is safe. We look forward to continuing to work with Congresswoman Kuster,” stated Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster has a strong history of protecting workers rights, working to create jobs in New Hampshire, and supporting the public safety efforts of local first responders. Since taking office, Kuster has fought to protect programs like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the SAFER grants, which provide crucial resources like safety equipment and training for fire departments and public safety offices throughout the Granite State.  Earlier this year, Kuster sent a letter to the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee outlining the importance of these programs to New Hampshire, and urging for the programs’ continued funding.

Labor Leaders Speak Out Against Scott Brown’s Outsourcing Strategy

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.

Maine Community Health Options To Provide Coverage Across New Hampshire In 2015


Nonprofit Insurance Carrier Awarded
$67.6 Million by CMS to Support Statewide Expansion
 

Concord, NH – Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) today announced its award of $67.6 million in additional financing from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to support its full statewide New Hampshire expansion. As a nonprofit, Member-directed Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP), MCHO is now able to bring its plan offerings to benefit consumers through all of New Hampshire in 2015. MCHO’s proposed plans for the Marketplace in 2015 have been approved by the New Hampshire Insurance Department and are presently under review at CMS.

When asked about the rationale for expanding into New Hampshire, Kevin Lewis, chief executive officer of MCHO explained, “On the basis of our success in Maine, we will bring great benefits at affordable pricing to all people in New Hampshire. We offer a new model for health insurance, and people have responded positively. On the strength of our experience, we bring to New Hampshire desirable plan designs with an eye for improving health outcomes at lower costs to our Members.” MCHO garnered national attention earlier this year when it was highlighted as a high-performing CO-OP insurance company, securing 83% of the market share of the Marketplace business in Maine.

Today’s announcement about MCHO’s geographic expansion reflects MCHO’s dedication to bringing new options to the people of the Granite State in the upcoming year. MCHO’s broad network of providers is a contrast to narrow network approaches that have excluded certain hospitals and providers in 2014.

“Our plan is one of the few that includes a broad provider network,” said Robert Hillman, MCHO’s chief operating officer. “This is an important hallmark for us, as we want to help ensure that people can get the health care they need within their community. Partnering with providers and patients is central to our mission of providing comprehensive, Member-focused, and Member-led health insurance benefits for individuals, families and businesses.”

Of the total new CMS lending, $64.8 million is specifically allocated for the anticipated increase in reserves necessary per state and federal requirements for both Maine and New Hampshire combined. Both development and solvency loans will be repaid to the federal government within five and 15 years respectively.

About Maine Community Healthy Options:

Licensed in both Maine and New Hampshire, Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) is the Maine-based Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality health benefits through productive partnerships with their Members and a broad network of providers throughout its service areas.  For more information about MCHO, visit the website: www.maineoptions.org.

Shaheen Announces Job Training Program Grant To Concord Community College

NHTI at Concord’s Community College will receive $2.5 million TAACCCT grant to support development of statewide IT training programs 

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today announced the New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) at Concord’s Community College as the recipient of a $2.5 million job-training grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program. The grant will support a project to create new certificate and associate degree programs in information technology (IT). The new programs, designed in partnership with employers, will expand job seekers’ ability to access training and career pathways to high-growth potential industries that require IT skills, such as health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing. Earlier this year, Shaheen wrote Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in support of NHTI’s grant application. She is also cosponsoring legislation to reauthorize the TAACCCT grant program.

“This investment in NHTI is great news for New Hampshire job seekers and our economy,” Shaheen said. “There is a growing need for highly-skilled workers trained in information technology, and this grant will help our community colleges partner with employers and develop educational pathways to prepare Granite Staters for the kind of in-demand jobs that are an important part of our state’s future.”

The $2.5 million grant comes from the TAACCCT competitive grant program, and will go toward an NHTI-Concord’s Community College project to develop, improve and expand adult educational training pathways to careers in multiple industries that require certified information technology skills and knowledge. NHTI will create a Common Core IT Curriculum certificate and associate degree programs in IT in fields including cyber security, networking and game programming, with the goal of expanding these programs to the six other campuses in the Community College System of New Hampshire.

“The grant will enable us to build upon very strong information technology programs here at NHTI,” said Susan Dunton, president of NHTI, Concord’s Community College. “We will expand IT programming with industry-recognized, stackable credentials; create an Industrial Design Technology program that builds upon our advanced manufacturing curriculum; expand industry partnerships with the game programming industry; and enhance academic and career advising to strengthen pathways to careers. This will create exciting new opportunities for students and strengthen the workforce pipeline for New Hampshire employers. I thank the team here at NHTI who put an extraordinary amount of work into developing this grant and successfully bringing these resources to New Hampshire. ”

“New Hampshire’s community colleges are committed to enhancing pathways in high-skill, high-demand and high-paying fields to strengthen New Hampshire’s economy and support the economic advancement of New Hampshire communities and residents. This grant reflects our continuing effort to ensure that our state benefits from opportunities at the federal level,” said CCSNH Chancellor Ross Gittell.

Shaheen has made promoting job creation and economic growth in New Hampshire a top priority throughout her career. She has been a strong advocate for workforce training programs that give American workers the knowledge and skills needed to compete for quality jobs, and has introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Thad Cochran (R-MI), the On-the-Job Training Act, to help Americans obtain employment and learn the skills they need to keep it. Earlier this year, Congress passed bipartisan legislation improving the nation’s workforce development system and prioritizing the on-the-job training programs Shaheen has championed.

Athol Hospital Nurses Vote to Unionize with Massachusetts Nurses Association/NNU

Mass Nurses Association

ATHOL, Mass. — In an election held among the 47 registered nurses at Athol Hospital on Friday, RNs voted to join the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the state’s largest union of RNs and health care professionals.

Athol Hospital RNs greeted the election results with cheers and hugs after the vote was tallied on Friday evening. The election was conducted at the hospital by the National Labor Relations Board.

ATHOL MemorialThe MNA already represents more than 23,000 nurses and health care professionals in 85 health care facilities in Massachusetts and, with the addition of Athol Hospital, it represents nurses in 53 of the state’s 67 acute care hospitals.

Our goal in forming a union at Athol was first and foremost to ensure that our patients are given the best care possible,” said Denise Raymond, an emergency department nurse at Athol Hospital and a member of the organizing committee. “We made this decision with the best interests of this community and this hospital in mind.  As registered nurses we are responsible for the care we provide to our patients and now for the first time we will have a say in how we deliver that care.”

MNA president Donna Kelly-Williams, who works as a labor and delivery nurse at Cambridge Hospital, congratulated the Athol nurses for their courageous effort to stand up for their protected right to advocate for their patients and themselves. “When nurses are organized, patients are the biggest beneficiaries,” said Kelly-Williams.

In the wake of the economic downturn, and the changes in the industry being driven by health care reform, the MNA/NNU reports that its organizing division is fielding a significant increase in calls from non-union nurses. The Athol election follows  the addition of the RNs at Stewart Nashoba Valley Medical Center in July, and the addition of the Agawam School Nurses earlier this year.

With the election settled, the Athol Hospital nurses will begin the work of forming their local committee. They will elect members to their bargaining committee, and have already begun soliciting proposals from colleagues about what they would like to negotiate into their first contract that will make Athol the best hospital and workplace that it can be.

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses’ union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.

NATCA Air Traffic Controllers Keep Skies Above Chicago Safe, Efficient Following Friday Fire

Airplane over Chigago O'Hare (FLIKR CC 2.0 ChicagoKoz)

Airplane over Chigago O’Hare (FLIKR CC 2.0 ChicagoKoz)

WASHINGTON – Following a fire last Friday that closed the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU) in Aurora, Ill., hundreds of air traffic controllers at more than a dozen key facilities are continuing to safely move as much air traffic flow into, out of and around the Chicago area as possible.

This work will continue into the coming week as the Federal Aviation Administration develops a plan to repair critical communications infrastructure that was destroyed in the fire.

“This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. “The damage to this critical facility is unlike anything we have seen before. Since the first moment when radar scopes went dark at Chicago Center Friday morning, controllers have ensured the highest level of safety at all times. We know this has been a tremendous disruption to the travel plans of many people. We are working diligently to re-establish as close to normal operations as possible to minimize the inconvenience to travelers while keeping safety above everything else.”

There are four en route centers that border the ZAU airspace; Cleveland Center (ZOB), Indianapolis Center (ZID), Kansas City Center (ZKC), and Minneapolis Center (ZMP). Each of these facilities has helped assume the ZAU airspace responsibilities, and worked very well with Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities in Chicago, Milwaukee, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and elsewhere (see full list in final paragraph), as well as with many control towers, including both O’Hare and Midway Airports in Chicago.

“We have seen a plan of action established by the adjacent centers and other key facilities that is evolving and improving by the hour, and providing safe service that is increasing in efficiency,” NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert said. “Air traffic controllers are trained to expect the unexpected and make a new plan work safely. The level of resourcefulness and ingenuity that has been demonstrated over the past three days is truly astounding. Controllers and other FAA safety professionals will continue to implement outside-the-box thinking to get the system functioning well while Chicago Center repairs are made.”

As of Sunday afternoon, arrival traffic into O’Hare and Midway is being fed to Chicago TRACON (C90) directly from ZMP and ZKC. Arrivals into Chicago airports from ZOB and ZID are being descended down first into South Bend TRACON, then into C90. Departure traffic from O’Hare and Midway continue to be worked directly from C90 to ZKC, ZID, and ZOB, while traffic to the north continues to depart the tower en route through Milwaukee TRACON.


Updates below:

ORD: The arrival rate has been increased to 72 per hour. Departure restrictions are still in place in all directions. Manual handoffs with other control facilities are still in place in the absence of a fully functioning automated flight plan system. We are seeing departure delays of up to 15 minutes. That could increase to 30 by later today.

C90: An already short-staffed facility is utilizing ZAU controllers to help with increased coordination to different centers. That is ensuring that the operation is as efficient as possible. “We continue to work hard, and I am so proud of the controllers’ professionalism and work ethic,” NATCA Facility Representative James Hall said. “We are C90 – we will always figure out a way to move the airplanes. I anticipate increasing our efficiencies with continued out-of-the-box thinking. That is, of course, with continued ZAU controller support, and staffing to hold.”

ZAU: This is the first time since 1963 that ZAU air traffic controllers have not worked the airspace. “The controllers at Chicago Center are currently providing as much assistance to other facilities as possible,” NATCA Facility Representative Toby Hauck said. “I have attempted to put into words what we have been through and it is impossible to describe. I thank all those facilities and controllers who have stepped up.”

ZID: “So far, the arrival process seems to be going well,” NATCA Facility Representative Jim Larson said. “We have had to make manual handoffs to the approach controls on all of the arrivals, but our controllers have done a good job of dealing with the increased traffic and complexity.” ZID’s radar and radio coverage has been exceptional, and is allowing them to radar identify the aircraft while they are still within Chicago TRACON airspace, but until the problem with the automated flight plan data is solved, it remains a tedious operation. Extra staffing has been called in to assist with the new procedures and airspace in both areas. This will most likely continue for the duration of the ZAU outage.

ZKC: ZKC has set up a new sector that is working a chunk of Chicago Center’s (ZAU) airspace to allow for O’Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW) arrivals and departures to be worked. They have a plan in place in which they own 16,000 feet and above from Joliet (JOT), which is just in Chicago TRACON’s (C90) airspace, west to Des Moines (DSM) and south to Centralia, Ill. (ENL). They have radar and frequency coverage, so ZKC is working directly with C90 to accomplish handoffs and transfer of flight plans.

Additional personnel is helping the areas adjacent to ZAU¹s boundary with the extra position being opened and transferring of flight plan information. “We also have a dedicated phone brought in that is dialed into C90, acting as a direct line for the ease of passing flight plans to and from C90,” NATCA Facility Representative Aaron Merrick said. “Once we got our plan implemented Friday, things began to move smoother than they were after the initial phase of the situation.”

ZMP: They are doing a very similar operation as ZKC. They have created a sector that works what is called the “Bullz” arrival and two departure routes – one west and one north – as well as the tower operations en route from Milwaukee and Green Bay. “We have extra staffing in the facility to help with the situation,” NATCA Facility Representative Mike Thompson said. “There are many great people doing many great things with very little to work with.”

ZOB: As of noon on Sunday, ZOB was receiving about 85 percent of ORD departure flight plan information. However, everything is still manual coordination whether they have the flight plan info or not.

ZOB’s airspace plan is also very similar to ZKC. The facility has basically extended their western boundary 60 miles further to the West, almost to C90’s eastern boundary. With the extra airspace they’ve attained from ZAU, they were able to create two new departure sectors. These sectors handle all east, northeast and southeastern departures.

“The affected areas of the facility handling the additional sectors are all requiring extra staffing to handle the extra workload and complexity,” NATCA Facility Representative Drew MacQueen said. “We expect this to continue as work to increase traffic levels out of ZAU continues to mount.”

TRACONS IN ZAU AIRSPACE: Controllers working radar positions at the TRACONS in Cedar Rapids, Champaign, Des Moines, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Milwaukee, Moline, Muskegon, Peoria, Rockford, South Bend, Springfield, Waterloo, and also Grissom Air Reserve Base in Kokomo, Ind., have played a crucial role in the effort to get traffic moving as a temporary solution while ZAU is down. In the case of traffic flowing into and out of Chicago airports, they are providing a conduit between the adjacent centers and Chicago TRACON. “These employees are working a staggering amount of traffic, using new procedures and methods being altered almost constantly, and ensuring safety in very difficult and pressure-filled situations,” Gilbert said. “It’s a great team effort in progress.”

 

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