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Judge Orders T-Mobile to Disband Illegal Workplace Organization

WASHINGTON — A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge has ruled that T-Mobile created an illegal workplace organization while workers have been organizing a real, independent union for a voice at America’s fastest-growing wireless company. The judge ordered T-Mobile to immediately disband the company-controlled organization.

“If T-Mobile wants to address its workers’ concerns and ideas, we have democratically-elected representatives ready and willing to meet with management to discuss how we can improve our workplace,” said Angela Melvin, a T-Mobile customer service representative in Wichita, Kan., who sits on the steering committee of the employee-backed union, T-Mobile Workers United (TU). “We’re telling our co-workers: Your voice matters. Across the country, call center representatives, retail associates, and technicians are coming together to support one another and fight for fairness on the job.”

The ruling is just the latest victory for TU, an organization anchored by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Germany’s largest union ver.di, which represents workers at T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom. From Maine to New Mexico, TU activists have won key workplace improvements, including paid parental leave and critical schedule improvements. NLRB judges have repeatedly sided with workers, ordering the company to rescind illegal policies that prevented employees from discussing working conditions, silenced victims of sexual harassment, and required employees to act happy.

In a desperate attempt to stop TU, T-Mobile launched its company controlled organization, T-Voice, in 2015. This copycat organization was “chartered” to be the “voice” of employees and address their “pain points.” Yet management has funded this organization, handpicked T-Voice representatives, and selected the issues that would get resolved.

In February 2016, CWA filed a NLRB charge outlining how T-Mobile had adopted this anti-union tactic that has been illegal since Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.

In striking down T-Voice, NLRB administrative law judge Sharon Levinson Steckler wrote, “Whenever an employer unlawfully establishes and maintains a dominated labor organization, that organization must be disestablished. … The rationale for doing so dates back to the earlier days of enforcing the Act: The dominated labor organization cannot function as a bargaining representative of employees and employees must have a choice to begin anew for organizing purposes.”

T-Voice has failed to stop the growing momentum and energy of the real union’s organizing campaign. One year ago, TU took a major step forward by formally electing Chief Stewards, co-workers who are their union representatives. Workers opened their first national field office in Wichita, and they continue to forge workplace partnerships with ver.di.

“Everyday, workers are seeking out TU for help tackling the challenges we face at work,” said Victoria Singer, a T-Mobile customer service representative in Albuquerque, NM. “T-Voice is not the voice of T-Mobile workers. It’s an illegal organization run by the company to create the illusion of respect for workers. Everything we’ve accomplished is the result of TU members uniting, standing up, and speaking out. We will continue pushing for justice — particularly concerning the company’s unrealistic sales metrics and performance goals.”

Shaheen, Hassan Join 30 Senators to Introduce Bill to Rescind President’s Anti-Climate Executive Order

**The Clean Air, Healthy Kids Act highlights potential threats that Trump’s executive action poses to the economy and environment** 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined more than 30 U.S. Senators today to introduce legislation to rescind President Trump’s Executive Order that reverses several landmark U.S. initiatives to combat climate change.   

The bill, titled the Clean Air, Healthy Kids Act, would block federal agencies from implementing the actions outlined in the Executive Order signed Tuesday by President Trump. These actions include reevaluating the Clean Power Plan, which is currently on track to provide $54 billion in climate and health benefits each year, prevent thousands of premature deaths and asthma attacks in children, reduce electricity bills for homes and businesses, and create thousands of good-paying jobs. 

Yesterday, Senators Shaheen and Hassan released the following statements on President Trump’s Executive Order:

“President Trump is ignoring the mountain of evidence on climate change and plowing ahead with a dangerous agenda that threatens the health and well-being of New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “Rolling back carbon emissions rules and clean energy initiatives is a shortsighted political move that prioritizes the interests of big oil and coal companies over every day Americans. In New Hampshire, we see the effects of climate change every day and it is a direct threat to our environment, economy and way of life. We owe it to future generations to build on the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

“From our White Mountains to our beautiful Seacoast, New Hampshire’s beautiful natural resources define us as a state and I am extremely concerned by President Trump’s efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan’s common-sense environmental protections,” said Senator Hassan. “Granite Staters know that protecting our environment while building a stronger, more affordable energy future is critical for our families and our businesses. New Hampshire has been a leader in efforts to cut carbon emissions, conserve our natural resources, and combat climate change and we need to see similar efforts at the federal level. That’s why I have been a strong supporter of the Clean Power Plan, and I will continue fighting for a cleaner environment and stronger renewable energy future that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and helps our citizens, businesses, and economy thrive.” 

A copy of the bill is available HERE.

Groups To March On NH State House Opposing Legislation To Take Away Voting Rights

Granny D founded group Coalition for Open Democracy, NH Rebellion, Others to Host 1.2 mile March through Downtown from Concord High School to Steps of NH State House in Support of Voting Rights, Democracy

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire March for Voting Rights will be held on Saturday, April 1st at 1:00 pm and include a 1.2 mile march starting at Concord High School and ending with a rally on the steps of the New Hampshire State House in support of a strong and fair election system. 

The New Hampshire Senate and House are currently considering dozens of bills that would undercut our popular same day voter registration system and adversely affect thousands of eligible voters including students, low-income people, and veterans. The NH March for Voting Rights sends a bold message to elected officials in New Hampshire that we will stand together to protect our voting rights in the face of legislative attacks which threaten to discourage voter participation and weaken voting rights, particularly bills such as SB 3 and HB 372.

Hundreds of concerned citizens will join together to voice opposition and instead call for reforms that modernize and streamline New Hampshire’s election system. The speaking program will feature elected leaders, students, veterans and affected voters. Speed activist workshops will follow the rally and provide multiple direct actions for impact on voting rights.

WHAT:     NH March for Voting Rights & Rally

WHEN:     Saturday April 1st from 1pm – 3pm following “Crossover Day” at the State House

WHERE:     Concord High School, 170 Warren St, Concord, NH 03301 march starts at 1:00 pm

NH State House, 107 N Main St, Concord, NH 03303 rally starts at 2:00 pm

Various Locations – TBA, Concord, NH 03303 activist trainings start at 3:00 pm

WHO:     Hosted by NH Rebellion/Open Democracy with co-sponsors American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-NH); America Votes – New Hampshire; American Friends Service Committee-NH; Liberty Lobby LLC; Granite State Progress; League of Women Voters-NH; NH Peace Action; Veterans For Peace NH; NH for Humanity; League of Conservation Voters; NH Independent Voters; NH Citizen’s Alliance; America 2.0; The Resistance Seacoast, The Green Alliance, and WNHN

Senator Hassan Joins Colleagues, Advocates for Disability Community in Speaking Out Against Trumpcare

Senator Highlights Devastating Impact Cuts to Medicaid Would Have on Critical Services for Granite Staters Who Experience Disabilities

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), former Senator Tom Harkin, members of the disability community, and advocates for a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol highlighting the devastating impact Trumpcare would have on Granite Staters and Americans who experience disabilities.

“Trumpcare hurts people who experience disabilities with drastic cuts to the traditional Medicaid program,” Senator Hassan said to advocates outside the Capitol. “This plan changes Medicaid into per capita caps or a block grant system – and that is just code for a massive cut to the federal support states receive…[If Trumpcare passes], states will be faced with cutting services that people with disabilities depend on, such as personal care, prescription drugs, and rehabilitation services.”

“We can’t afford to go back to the days where we marginalize or don’t assist some of our most vulnerable people, so I’ll will stand strong with the people of New Hampshire, and my colleagues in fighting against this dangerous bill that would pull us backward,” Senator Hassan added.

Senator Hassan emphasized the importance of building a stronger, more inclusive society where all citizens can be engaged and active in our economic and civic life. The Senator also urged attendees to continue speaking out against Trumpcare, underscoring the importance of advocacy efforts in impacting real change on a local and federal level.

Watch video of the press conference here.

NEA-NH President Takes Leave Of Absence Due To Rising Health Concerns

Today, Sen. Scott McGilvray (D-Hooksett) released the following statement regarding his leave of absence from NEA-NH: 

“In light of some recent health issues, I have requested and been granted leave from my duties as President of NEA-NH so that I can concentrate on getting well and serving my constituents in the State Senate. Last November, the people of District 16 entrusted me with the honor of representing them and the great responsibility of fighting for them in the State Senate. I intend to continue fulfilling my duties as Senator and keeping my commitment to my constituents while I am on leave from my job.” 

“It has become necessary to prioritize my health over my job for the time being, but my first priority will always be to serve the people of Senate District 16. And while I ask that you respect my and my family’s privacy regarding my health concerns, I encourage my constituents to reach out to me regarding any legislation or any problems that I may be able to help with. My office has remained and will remain open and I can always be reached at  Scott.McGilvray@leg.state.nh.us.”

We at the NH Labor New wish Sen. McGilvray a speedy recovery.

NH Labor Leaders Speak Out About Today’s Hearing on So-Called “Right-to-Work” Legislation

Concord – Hundreds gathered to oppose the so-called “Right to Work” legislation in front of the New Hampshire House Labor Committee.  The testimony lasted for more than four hours.  

Unlike the Senate committee, the House committee actually listened to the people and voted the bills “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) 14-7.  Five Republicans joined the nine Democrats on the committee to oppose both “right to work” bills.

The bill and the committee’s recommendation of “ITL” will be in front of the entire NH House next week.  If the NH House concurs with the committee recommendation, the bills will be killed.

Following today’s public hearing in the New Hampshire House of Representatives’ Labor Committee, New Hampshire labor leaders spoke out on the ant-worker legislation:

Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO: “The New Hampshire AFL-CIO was proud to stand with hundreds of working people across the state who are fighting to protect their rights at work. This legislation is an attack on working families by out-of-state special interests seeking to lower wages for everyone and undermine worker protections. The proponents of this legislation are playing politics with the future of our workforce, and New Hampshire working families deserve better.”

Richard Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local Union 1984: “So-called right to work has no place in the Granite State, and I’m proud we were able to pack this hall today with those who agree. Both of these bills are tired, recycled legislation that does nothing for the real problems facing our state. We need the House to reject these bills so we can get down to working together on legislation that helps – not hurts – New Hampshire families.”

Sarah Hirsch, President of the University of New Hampshire Lecturers Union: “The families of New Hampshire want the college students to be solidly prepared and ready to enter good careers. To do this, the faculty who teach and mentor them need to be protected, have job stability and security, good benefits, and a say in their working conditions!  Weakening unions ultimately weakens higher education, undercutting the development of a skilled workforce for New Hampshire at a time when we need more competitive workers in the state.”  

Frank Moroney, Executive Director AFSCME Council 93: “It’s a powerful statement that a majority of legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, voted against so-called “Right to Work” today. They stood together because they know protecting our right to speak up together on the job shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Right to Work would hurt working families across the Granite State, and we’ll continue to fight against this legislation as it moves to the House floor.”

Dennis Caza, President of Teamsters Local Union 633: “Today, hundreds of our brothers and sisters stood in Solidarity to defend the rights of New Hampshire’s workers. We hope that we have sent a message to the legislature that so-called “Right-to-Work” is not the solution that New Hampshire working families need. In the coming days, we urge workers in every industry across the state to contact their legislators and let them know that this so-called “Right-to-Work” legislation is wrong for New Hampshire.”

Senator Hassan Participates in Floor Debate in Opposition to Betsy DeVos’s Nomination

Senator Highlighted Stories of Granite Staters Concerned with Mrs. DeVos’s Nomination 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan participated in the floor debate on Betsy DeVos’s nomination, highlighting that Mrs. DeVos is completely unqualified and unprepared to serve as Secretary of Education. 

“All public officials – regardless of their party affiliation – should share a reverence for the importance of public education to our country’s success, both now and into the future. And they must show a commitment to enforcing our laws so that all students have the opportunity to succeed. I agree with my colleagues that Mrs. DeVos has not shown a commitment to, or an understanding of, these principles – and that is why I oppose her nomination,” said Senator Hassan today in comments delivered on the Senate floor.

Senator Hassan stressed Mrs. DeVos’ lack of experience with public education, as well as her support for diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools without accountability requirements, which would undermine efforts to ensure that every child has access to the education they need to be competitive and successful leaders in the 21st century economy.

“Mrs. DeVos demonstrated a complete lack of experience in, knowledge of and support for public education. She was unable to address basic issues that any New Hampshire school board member could discuss fluently,” Senator Hassan said.

Senator Hassan also highlighted the stories of the thousands of constituents who have reached out to her office expressing fear for what Mrs. DeVos’s confirmation would mean for their families, saying, “Mrs. DeVos’s unfamiliarity with IDEA, her comments on students with disabilities was something my office heard about often from Granite State parents who contacted the office with concerns about her nomination.” 

Senator Hassan spoke of a constituent from Concord who said she was feeling “vulnerable” about the future of her stepdaughter, who experiences both physical and cognitive disabilities, as a result of Mrs. DeVos’s nomination.  

“Parents across our nation deserve to know that the rights of their children will be protected – and they are rightfully concerned with Mrs. DeVos’s nomination,” Senator Hassan stated.

ACLU of NH Files Demands for Documents on Implementation of Trump’s Immigration Ban

FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated Campaign With 49 ACLU Affiliates

CONCORD— The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Boston to learn how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s immigration ban, and whether they are acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban’s implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 49 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIAs with CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning 55 international airports across the country. 

“The President’s Executive Order is a major step toward carrying out his campaign threat to ban the admission of Muslims into the United States,” states Devon Chaffee, the ACLU-NH’s Executive Director.  “This Order has already taken a terrible human toll and it should not be allowed to continue.  It separates American families and deprives our country of the contributions that these newcomers, and their children and grandchildren, will make as Americans.” 

Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered officials to stop enforcing the executive order following a court challenge from the ACLU and other organizations.

“It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that block President Trump’s unconstitutional immigration ban,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “To shed light on this critical issue of pressing public concern, 49 ACLU affiliates are using the Freedom of Information Act to expose Customs and Border Protection’s abuse of power.” 

The Trump administration has yet to inform the public of how many refugees, visa holders, and legal permanent residents have been affected by this action. 

The FOIA request was joined by the ACLUs of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The request can be found here: https://www.aclumaine.org/sites/default/files/cbp_foia_new_england.pdf

cbp_foia_new_england
 

Supporters Gather Across the State to Show Their Support of Planned Parenthood Through Storytelling

The “IStandwithPP” campaign continued this weekend with “Story Slams” 

CONCORD, NH—Over the last two days, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund hosted three open mic “story slams.” These successful events were held in Portsmouth, Keene, and Manchester.  Women, men, and families shared the impact Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care access has played in their lives. Nearly a hundred supporters packed event spaces to share their story.

“I was proud to share my story of why Planned Parenthood was there for me when I needed access to quality health care. Using your voice is a powerful tool, and I hope by sharing my story and urging others to do the same, politicians will understand what disastrous effects would come from defunding Planned Parenthood and know that we won’t back down,” said Meredith Murray from Exeter, participant in Portsmouth “Story Slam” 

“Planned Parenthood supporters have used their voices all month to show politicians in Concord, and in Washington, that defunding Planned Parenthood by stripping access to preventive health care and birth control would have far reaching consequences,” said Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “We have seen a grassroots groundswell of support for the “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” campaign, and we will continue the fight to protect women’s health.” 

Over a hundred supporters gather in Portsmouth on Thursday evening to voice their support of Planned Parenthood through storytelling. 

This month PPNHAF hosted a number of grassroots events throughout the state to coincide with the  #IStandWithPlannedParenthood national grassroots campaign which includes 300 events in 47 states across the country. Speaker Ryan recently pledged to defund Planned Parenthood health services – a measure that would leave thousands of Granite Staters without care. The measure would prohibit the health care provider from receiving reimbursement for services, like cancer screenings and birth control, provided to patients insured by federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare. In effect, this blocks patients from accessing reproductive health care. Federal insurance programs do not cover abortion.

Events included an ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’ lawn sign drop on the Seacoast. More than 200 Granite Staters placed signs outside their homes to publicly stand in solidarity with the state’s largest women’s health provider as it faces political attacks in Washington. Activists in other regions of the state have similar community based lawn sign campaigns underway in their areas. On January 21st, PPNHAF co-hosted a ‘NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity’ in Concord, NH. The ‘NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity’ included a morning rally and afternoon advocate training. Five thousand New Hampshire residents came to voice their support for women’s health, equity, and justice in an era of uncertainty for Planned Parenthood and abortion access.

Shaheen And Hassan Push Back Against Hiring Freeze At Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Shaheen Leads Bipartisan Congressional Letter Calling for Exemption of Federal Hiring Freeze for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & Navy Shipyards Around the Country

**Recent executive order signed by President Trump has caused shipyards across the country to suspend hiring**

**In letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, senators urge him to “consider the impact of the Memorandum on the Navy, public shipyards and national security, and issue clear guidance to immediately exempt all Navy civilians from the hiring freeze” ** 

(Washington, DC) — Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling for Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees to be exempt from the recent executive order signed by President Trump that freezes federal hiring. While the President’s executive order states that it does not apply to military personnel or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities, the uncertainty has caused shipyards across the country, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to suspend all hiring. Senator Shaheen’s office has learned that several new hires have received letters indefinitely postponing their start date.

“We believe a hiring freeze may have a severe and adverse impact on the ability of the Navy and public shipyards to meet critical national security requirements and we urge you to immediately exempt all Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees,” the senators wrote. “The civilian men and women who support the Navy provide mission critical maintenance to ensure the Navy can meet security requirements around the world, and should thus be granted an exception.”   

The letter continues, “As you are aware, there is discussion regarding the requirements for a larger Navy to meet current and emerging threats… In order to maintain the current fleet and meet future maintenance requirements, we will need more civilians to maintain, repair and overhaul submarines, aircraft carriers and the entire naval fleet. These civilians frequently complete maintenance availabilities ahead of schedule and under budget saving taxpayer dollars and ensuring fleet readiness… A civilian hiring freeze at naval shipyards will severely impact this training pipeline resulting in maintenance delays and higher costs. The Presidential Memorandum states that the freeze is not intended to impact national security, however, freezing the hiring of civilian employees who will support critical fleet maintenance will directly undermine national security.” 

“We urge you to consider the impact of the Memorandum on the Navy, public shipyards and national security and issue clear guidance to immediately exempt all Navy shipyard civilians from the hiring freeze,” the letter concludes.

Full text of the senators’ letter is below.


January 26, 2017 

The Honorable James Mattis
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Mattis: 

We write to express our concern regarding the Presidential Memorandum issued January 23, 2017 concerning a hiring freeze of Federal civilian employees.  We believe a hiring freeze may have a severe and adverse impact on the ability of the Navy and public shipyards to meet critical national security requirements and we urge you to immediately exempt all Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees. 

The Memorandum states that the freeze does not apply to “military personnel” or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities.  The civilian men and women who support the Navy provide mission critical maintenance to ensure the Navy can meet security requirements around the world, and should thus be granted an exception. 

Our request to exempt Department of Navy shipyard civilian employees from the Presidential Memorandum is not without precedent.  In his May 14, 2013, memorandum concerning sequestration-related furloughs, then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel exempted Navy shipyard employees because “it would be particularly difficult to make up delays in maintenance work on nuclear vessels and these vessels are critical mission success.”  Our public shipyards perform the same mission critical work today and require hiring discretion to meet their workforce needs so this work can be completed without delay.    

As you are aware, there is discussion regarding the requirements for a larger Navy to meet current and emerging threats.  The Navy has recommended increasing the size of the fleet to 355 ships, up from fewer than 280 ships today.  In order to maintain the current fleet and meet future maintenance requirements, we will need more civilians to maintain, repair and overhaul submarines, aircraft carriers and the entire naval fleet.  These civilians frequently complete maintenance availabilities ahead of schedule and under budget saving taxpayer dollars and ensuring fleet readiness.  The public shipyards are currently hiring hundreds of new employees who must complete years of training before they are able to maintain and repair naval vessels.  A civilian hiring freeze at naval shipyards will severely impact this training pipeline resulting in maintenance delays and higher costs.  The Presidential Memorandum states that the freeze is not intended to impact national security, however, freezing the hiring of civilian employees who will support critical fleet maintenance will directly undermine national security.  

We urge you to consider the impact of the Memorandum on the Navy, public shipyards and national security and issue clear guidance to immediately exempt all Navy shipyard civilians from the hiring freeze.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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