• Advertisement

The Alliance For Retired Americans Blasts Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” Plan

(HTTP://ABETTERWAY.SPEAKER.GOV)

(HTTP://ABETTERWAY.SPEAKER.GOV)

Ryan’s “Better Way” for Health Care Would be Dangerous for Seniors and Inferior to Current Medicare System

Seniors Would Have to Wait Until 67 for Coverage 

The following statement was issued today by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s release of “A Better Way” health care plan: 

“U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan calls his health care plan ‘A Better Way,’ but it is far inferior to the current system and dangerous for Americans.

“Seniors should not be misled. The Speaker wants to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and change the program away from guaranteed benefits to a system of ‘premium support.’

“Premium support is a paltry substitute for the earned health care benefits that Americans have paid into throughout their lives and which they have a right to once they turn 65. 

“Ryan also wants to double down on one of the weakest parts of the current Medicare system. He would have Medicare adopt the so-called ‘competitive structure proven successful by Medicare Part D.’ Of course Part D has done nothing to rein in skyrocketing prescription drug prices for taxpayers or retirees and includes unnecessary giveaways for private insurance companies.

“If the Ryan plan were to be adopted, seniors would pay through the nose – with both their physical health and their financial health.”

BCTGM Union Endorses Hillary Clinton, Cite Solid Record Of Supporting Working Families

Kensington, Md. — The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) has announced that it is endorsing Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

The following statement was released by BCTGM International President David B. Durkee in declaring the union’s endorsement:

BCTGM CrestDuring her career, Hillary Clinton has had a solid record of support on those issues most important to working families and union members, including workers’ rights and  organizing, workplace health and safety, health care, progressive tax policy and retirement security.

 Further, we are confident that Secretary Clinton will continue to seek the input and counsel of the AFL-CIO and its affiliates in developing her policy positions and priorities for our country.

 The BCTGM also believes that Secretary Clinton’s enormous experience in foreign affairs will strengthen our nation and enhance the security of our citizens.

 While Donald Trump talks a good game on maintaining American jobs, his companies have a notorious history of outsourcing work to low-wage countries such as Mexico and China.

 Beyond his advocacy of policies that are against the interests of working people and organized labor, Donald Trump’s vile bigotry towards Latinos and other ethnic groups is deplorable and antithetical to the principles and values upon which this Union was built and to which we will always adhere.

Today, following the endorsement of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

“Members of the BCTGM don’t just help feed America—they helped build the greatest middle class in history.

“Members of the BCTGM know, as I do, that we are stronger together, when we are investing in our people and in the future. That’s why I have a comprehensive manufacturing agenda to create good-paying jobs and spur new industries—because we can and we will “make it in America.” I was honored to meet with BCTGM members in Chicago earlier this year who had been trying to work with Nabisco to keep good-paying jobs in America. For years, Nabisco had received tax breaks and investments from the people of Chicago and the people of Illinois to expand production—only to turn their backs on their workers and on the community by announcing plans to shut down the long-standing factory and move production to Mexico. That’s wrong. And that’s why I have called for creating a “clawback”—if a company turns its back on America, they should have to pay back every penny of the tax breaks they have received, and we’ll use that money to reinvest in affected workers and communities.

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

Governor Hassan Announces New Director of the Governor’s Office of Energy and Planning

Amanda Merrill to Advise the Governor on Energy and Planning Policy 

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to build a more affordable and more innovative energy future that helps spur economic development, create jobs and protect the environment, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that Amanda Merrill of Durham will serve as the new Director of the Governor’s Office of Energy and Planning (OEP).

mandymerrillA former state Senator and state Representative, Merrill served on the energy & natural resources, public & municipal affairs, and wildlife committees during her two terms in the Senate, and the environment & agriculture and science, technology & energy committees during her 11 years in the House.  She also previously served as the Interim Executive Director of the New Hampshire Land & Community Heritage Investment Program and as its board vice-chair, as well as a member of the Durham Planning Board. She was a founding board member of the Granite State Conservation Voters Alliance and has served as a board member of the Audubon Society of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. 

Merrill received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Dartmouth College and her undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire. She will begin her duties at OEP on June 20, 2016. 

“Our businesses and families need clean, reliable and affordable energy to continue to grow and prosper, and keeping our clean energy economy moving forward will help create jobs, spur economic development and protect our environment,” Governor Hassan said. “Mandy brings a wide range of experience in energy, land use and environmental policy from her years of public service, and she will be a valuable adviser to me as we continue working to build a more affordable and more innovative energy future for our people and businesses.”

“Governor Hassan has been a leader in forward-thinking and innovative planning and energy policy,” Amanda Merrill said. “I am honored to assist Governor Hassan in her efforts to ensure that we protect our natural resources, continue a policy of smart growth, and maintain New Hampshire as a leader in the clean energy economy of the 21st century,” said Merrill. 

The Office of Energy and Planning (OEP) is part of the Executive Department within the Office of the Governor. OEP’s responsibilities include:

  • Developing a State Energy Strategy to help plan for a clean, reliable and affordable energy future that protects the state’s resources and promotes innovation;
  • Offering community services such as heating fuel aid, floodplain management assistance, statewide population data information, and the availability of a statewide computerized geographic information system;
  • Promoting the principles of smart growth at the state, regional, and local levels through the municipal and regional planning assistance program;
  • Promoting energy efficiency and reducing energy costs by supporting programs for low-income households, state government buildings, businesses and industry, and schools and towns;
  • Exploring opportunities to expand the use of renewable, domestic energy resources and supporting energy independence;
  • Promoting land use efficiency through a state comprehensive outdoor recreation plan and the monitoring of the state’s investment in conservation land; and
  • Supporting programs that focus on protecting and increasing the resiliency of the natural resources of critical areas of the state such as the coastal watersheds.

 

For more information about OEP, please visit http://www.nh.gov/oep/index.htm.

DoD Union Applauds House Vote to Protect Civilian Jobs from Outsourcing

Amendment to Defense appropriations bill retains department-wide ban on conducting privatization studies

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is praising the U.S. House of Representatives for including a bipartisan measure in next year’s Department of Defense appropriations bill that will protect civilian jobs from being outsourced.

AFGE Sunders“The Armed Forces rely on civilian employees for a range of services that are vital to military readiness, from training warfighters and maintaining equipment to treating the wounded and sustaining facilities,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “The House action ensures that these jobs cannot be outsourced, since the current privatization process is biased against federal workers.”

The House on June 15 included a provision in the fiscal 2017 DoD Appropriations Bill that bans conducting public-private contracting studies under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76.

The provision was added as a bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Don Beyer of Virginia, and Rob Bishop of Utah. The House approved the amendment by voice vote.

“A ban has been in place since fiscal 2010 because of systemic problems with the contracting out process and DoD’s failure to produce a full and meaningful inventory of its contractor workforce,” Cox said. “Some lawmakers have proposed lifting this ban, even though these well-documented problems remain in place. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the four members of Congress who pushed to include a DoD-wide ban in the Defense appropriations bill.”

The Senate dropped the moratorium from its version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and failed to consider a bipartisan amendment that would have restored the ban. This is the first time a DoD-wide ban has been included in the Defense appropriations bill.

“Civilian employees are the backbone of our military and no effort to outsource their jobs should move forward until DoD can show it has an unbiased process in place for conducting privatization studies,” Cox said.

AFGE represents more than 270,000 DoD civilian employees nationwide and overseas.

The National Education Association of NH Recommends Van Ostern For Governor

NEA-NH Button 201X201Today, the National Education Association-New Hampshire (NEA-NH), the state’s largest educator and public employee union, strongly recommended Colin Van Ostern for Governor of New Hampshire.

“Colin Van Ostern has a proven record that New Hampshire educators and families can trust,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH Vice President and Pembroke teacher. “From working to lower tuition costs to championing full-day kindergarten, Colin Van Ostern is an advocate for educators and students, alike. As our next Governor, Colin will continue moving New Hampshire forward, so that everyone has a chance to succeed – not just those at the top.” 

“We’re honored to receive the endorsement of NEA-NH that represents 17,000 hardworking New Hampshire educators,” said Pat Devney, campaign manager for Colin Van Ostern. “As Governor, Colin will fight to lower tuition costs, expand full-day Kindergarten, and work to ensure that New Hampshire offers a world-class education. We must continue to move New Hampshire forward and we’re proud to earn the support of eight local labor unions in that effort.” 

Van Ostern has previous picked up the endorsement of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320, and the Teamsters Union Local 633.

Many in the labor movement remember how as Executive Councilor, Van Ostern took a stand against Fairpoint Communications showing his support to the thousands of workers who were on strike.  Van Ostern blocked the renewal of Fairpoint’s multi-million dollar contract with the State of New Hampshire and refused to renew it until the strike was settled.

AFL-CIO Votes to Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

(Washington, DC) – The General Board of the 12.5 million member AFL-CIO voted today to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. The endorsement reflects a comprehensive, democratic process initiated a year ago to capture the interests of the working people the federation represents.

“Hillary Clinton is a proven leader who shares our values,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the issues that matter to working people, and our members have taken notice. The activism of working people has already been a major force in this election and is now poised to elect Hillary Clinton and move America forward.”

Lee Saunders, AFSCME President and Chair of the AFL-CIO Political Committee said, “This election offers a stark choice between an unstoppable champion for working families and an unstable charlatan who made his fortune scamming them. Working people know that Hillary Clinton has the temperament and experience to unite all Americans in our fight to increase incomes at home and extinguish threats abroad.”

Beginning immediately, the AFL-CIO will put in motion its ground campaign to elect Hillary Clinton and union endorsed candidates across the country. The federation has been laying the groundwork for this campaign for months, and Trumka pledged that “we will run a sophisticated, targeted ground campaign. And with the dire consequences Donald Trump poses for America’s working families, it has to be.”

Trumka further noted that, “Senator Bernie Sanders has brought an important voice to this election, and has elevated critical issues and strengthened the foundation of our movement. His impact on American politics cannot be overstated.”

“We are ready to fight hard to restore faith in America and improve the lives of all working people,” said Trumka. “Hillary Clinton has proven herself as a champion of the labor movement and we will be the driving force to elect her President of the United States.”

Upon receiving the endorsement, Clinton released the following statement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.

“The AFL-CIO is one of America’s most vital organizations, having been on the front lines of the fight for good-paying jobs and careers with benefits and dignity for more than a century. AFL-CIO member unions contribute to virtually every sector of our economy and are on the job in every corner of our country—building our infrastructure, teaching our children, sowing our fields, operating our ports, and entertaining us on stage and screen.

“Members of the AFL-CIO know, as I do, that we are stronger together. We are stronger when we are investing in our country and our future. As President, I will make the biggest investment in infrastructure since the Interstate Highway System—because to build a 21st century economy, we need 21st century roads, ports, transit systems, water systems, and electric grids. We will fight for good schools in every ZIP code—because all of our children deserve a chance to live up to their God-given potential. And we will fight to raise the federal minimum wage back to the highest it’s ever been, to finally join all other industrial nations in guaranteeing paid family leave for workers, and at last secure equal pay for women.

“And we know we are stronger when we have each other’s backs. Workers’ rights to organize, to bargain collectively, to be safe on the job, and to retire with dignity and security after years of hard work are fundamental to our country and to our economy. In too many statehouses across the country—and even in the halls of Congress—these rights are under concerted attack by Republicans and big corporations who have forgotten that a strong economy requires a strong workforce. As President, I will stand proudly with the AFL-CIO and fight to protect the rights and values that helped build the mighty American middle class. Workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House—because when unions are strong, workers are strong, and when workers are strong, America is strong.”

Transport Workers Union of America Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWUWashington D.C. – The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), which represents 140,000 workers from all across the country, today endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. In making their endorsement, TWU’s International Administrative Committee (IAC) noted her dedication to ensuring working people have a voice against corporate America and her plan to invest billions in the country’s infrastructure.

“Working people in this country continue to suffer because of Corporate America. They see good wages and retirement security slowly ripped from them by CEOs who make millions. Our next president must be someone who will give working people a voice at the table—who will stand up and say enough is enough. Secretary Clinton will fight to protect airline workers’ retirement security in the face of continued corporate greed in that industry. She has put forth an aggressive, bold plan to invest billions of dollars to fix this country’s transit and rail infrastructure. We need someone who is going to sit in the Oval Office and represent us, not Corporate America. We need Hillary Clinton as our next president and we are proud to endorse her,” said the IAC.

In Secretary Clinton’s own words, “the diverse members of the TWU keep our airplanes flying, our trains running, and our buses driving…They keep passengers and residents alike safe, healthy, and moving every day. In the process, they’ve helped to build the American middle class. And they’ve stood up and demanded the fair treatment and respect that they deserve.”

TWU is dedicated to bettering the lives of working families. We work to safeguard, protect and improve working conditions and living standards of all workers. TWU is nearly 140,000 transportation workers, and “We Move America.” TWU has four main divisions: Air, Railroad, Gaming, and Transit, Universities, Utilities and Services. The union is composed of 100 autonomous locals representing members and retirees from New England to California and Texas to Michigan.

Today, following the endorsement of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Transport Workers Union.

“Every day, members of the TWU keep America on the move—driving our buses and trains, flying our planes, and keeping our communities safe and healthy. For decades, transport workers have helped power our economy and keep families connected. And along the way, they’ve helped build the American middle class, standing up for workers’ rights and fighting for the respect they deserve.

“As President, I will always stand with the TWU in the fight to protect workers’ fundamental rights to organize, bargain collectively, be safe on the job, and retire with dignity and security after years of hard work. We will make the kinds of investments that grow the economy for everyone, including building 21st century roads, transit systems, and airports. In my first 100 days in office, I will put forward a plan to make the most ambitious investments in our infrastructure since the Interstate Highway System. And I will make sure workers always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House.”

Dan Weeks Calls On Executive Councilor David Wheeler To Denounce Trump’s Hate Speech

Weeks Calls on Wheeler to Denounce Trump Falsehoods and Fear-Mongering After Applauding Trump’s NH Address

DanWeeksLogoNashua, NH – Executive Council candidate and good government champion Dan Weeks challenged incumbent Councilor David Wheeler to denounce the fear-mongering and falsehoods on the part of Donald Trump in his Monday night address. Wheeler was the senior-most elected official to attend Trump’s New Hampshire event at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, according to WMUR News.

“New Hampshire voters value human decency and responsibility over fear-mongering and falsehoods,” Weeks said. “Donald Trump’s wanton disregard for the truth and his willingness to discriminate against entire groups of people based on religion or race make him unfit for any office. I call on my opponent to denounce, rather than applaud, the demagoguery and lies of Donald Trump.”

According to the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com and The Washington Post, Trump made multiple false claims about national security in his Manchester address, including claiming the New York City-born gunman in the Orlando massacre “was born in Afghan;” suggesting that Muslim Americans knowingly harbor terrorists, when no such evidence exists; and claiming that “we’re not screening people” when the US has one of the most intensive – if imperfect – multi-step vetting processes that can take up to two years. A PolitiFact review of contested claims by Donald Trump since 2015 finds 60% of his statements to be entirely false and another 16% mostly false.

“Ethical and accountable government starts with leaders tackling tough problems and telling the truth,” Weeks said. “If we are to meet our very real security and immigration challenges, we cannot tolerate such un-American scapegoating and falsehoods. As the senior-most elected official attending Trump’s New Hampshire address, Mr. Wheeler has a responsibility to his constituents to denounce Trump’s irresponsible lies.”

Wheeler previously served as a co-chair of the Ted Cruz for President campaign in New Hampshire.

Air Traffic Controller Staffing Has Reached A “Crisis Level” Says Controllers Union

Controller Staffing at a 27-Year Low; Rinaldi Tells House Aviation Subcommittee the Situation is a “Crisis”

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi

WASHINGTON – National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi told the House Aviation Subcommittee today that the number of fully certified air traffic controllers, already at a 27-year low, fell again in the first three months of this year. Rinaldi said the situation has reached a crisis level and outlined several recommendations, including increasing annual hiring totals and passage of bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5292, the Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act of 2016.

Controller staffing levels have fallen nearly 10 percent since 2011, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has missed its hiring goals in each of the last seven years. In fact, in fiscal year 2015, the FAA fell 24 percent short of its hiring goal. More controllers are eligible to retire today, specifically one-quarter of the workforce, than are in the pipeline to replace them.

“If we do not act decisively and soon, I fear that our nation’s air traffic control system will soon face the same challenges and consequences as D.C.’s Metro system, which has been plagued by deferred maintenance and chronic underfunding,” Rinaldi said in his testimony for the Subcommittee’s hearing, entitled, A Review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Controller Hiring, Staffing, and Training Plans. “Without a stable and predictable funding stream for the National Airspace System (NAS), controller staffing is just the first of many NAS crises that Congress will need to resolve in the near future.”

NATCA believes the FAA must take a holistic, collaborative approach to resolving these staffing issues. Rinaldi said NATCA is committed to working towards permanent, sustainable solutions. He cited budgetary missteps, including stop-and-go funding for the FAA and sequestration in 2013, and the FAA’s bureaucratic red tape as contributing factors in the shortage of air traffic controllers.

“Although NATCA does not believe that the safety of the air traffic control system is at risk, without proper staffing at our facilities, efficiency and modernization efforts are being negatively affected, which could lead to further system inefficiencies, delays, and a reduction in air traffic services for the flying public,” Rinaldi testified.

Rinaldi said the staffing crisis has been the cause of the FAA’s frequent denials to release bargaining unit employees from their facilities’ schedule in order to provide subject matter expertise (SME) for technological and modernization projects throughout the NAS. Within the last three months, the FAA has denied at least 15 separate requests due to staffing. Moreover, attempts to request SME support from facilities that are critically understaffed have ceased. These facilities include Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), Los Angeles Tower (LAX), Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, and Atlanta TRACON, among many others. Rinaldi said the expertise of the controller workforce from the busiest facilities on these important projects would facilitate successful development, testing, and implementation on modernization projects.

Among the recommendations Rinaldi proposed in his testimony to address the crisis:

  • Passage of H.R. 5292, which would streamline the hiring process by ensuring a path for experienced controllers to be hired quickly and allow military veterans and graduates of schools in the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) to be hired more expeditiously. The legislation, if enacted, would ensure that CTI graduates and veterans are considered in a separate pool from the general public, and would increase the maximum entry age for a controller with 52 weeks experience to 35 years of age.
  • Maximizing the capacity of the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. The FAA will only have approximately 1,300 new employees enrolled at the Academy this year. The facility can accommodate up to approximately 2,000 employees per year.
  • An FAA controller vacancy announcement for experienced controllers that is open and continuously maintained 365 days per year.
  • The aggressive FAA recruitment of experienced former FAA controllers, military and civilian DOD controllers and Federal Contract Tower controllers.
  • Stable, predictable funding for the FAA, including ensuring that the FAA is not subject to future sequester cuts.

“I truly believe that the United States has the safest, most complex, and most efficient airspace system in the world, one that is vital to our nation’s economy,” Rinaldi said. “However, this system needs a strong and growing air traffic controller workforce in order to modernize and expand into the 21st Century.”

See the full version of Rinaldi’s written testimony.

Defense Department Union Urges Senate to Support Contracting Ban

Congress must maintain A-76 moratorium to ensure military readiness, AFGE says

AFGE Logo 2WASHINGTON – The union representing more than 270,000 Department of Defense workers is urging the Senate to maintain the ban on contracting out government services that are vital to military readiness.

“Congress has maintained a ban on contracting out Department of Defense jobs since fiscal 2010 because of systemic problems with the contracting out process and DoD’s failure to produce a full and meaningful inventory of its contractor workforce,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Those issues remain in place, so there is no justifiable reason for ending the contracting ban now.”

A provision in the Senate version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act would repeal the ban on conducting public-private contracting studies, under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76.

“Lifting the suspension of the A-76 process would have a devastating and disruptive impact on the federal civilian workforce and on military readiness,” Cox said.

A bipartisan amendment to strike the repeal of the A-76 moratorium has been introduced by Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Fourteen Senators so far have signed on as cosponsors: Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virgina, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Chuck Schumer of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Barbara Boxer of California, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The amendment also would repeal a provision in the NDAA that waters down the current requirement for DoD to produce an inventory of its contractor services. By some estimates, more than 95% of contractors would be excluded from the inventory if this provision passes, which would make the A-76 moratorium moot.

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 183 other subscribers

  • Advertisement