For those Following the story on Double Dipping in NH
State’s public-service payoff: Appointed, elected officials – NashuaTelegraph.com: “A select group of retirees can double dip at a level that’s second to none.
Unlike the majority of state pensioners, retirees who are appointed or elected to posts can work full time in the public sector while collecting complete pensions from the New Hampshire Retirement System.
Several public officials take advantage of this lawful practice, including retired Merrimack Police Chief Michael Milligan, who now serves as a state liquor commissioner.
Earl Sweeney retired as Belmont police chief and worked as head of the Police Standards and Training Council before becoming state assistant safety commissioner.”
This is another attempt for the Tea Party Agenda to strike at labor and help businesses. The minimum wage laws they are referring to have been on the books for many years. It gives the New Hampshire Legislature the ability to raise the State’s Minimum wage. Right now the State’s Minimum wage is the same as the federally-mandated minimum wage. Why should we change something that is not broken? I am sure the legislature has better things to do than remove a law that is irrelevant.
The state’s minimum wage law is history – SentinelSource.com: Editorial: “A day after the House leadership gave up on a fourth attempt to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of an anti-union right-to-work bill, the Republican Legislative majority was handed a sure win in a different labor-related controversy.
On Thursday, Lynch vetoed House Bill 133, which does away with New Hampshire’s minimum wage requirement. Neither the veto nor a very likely override by the Legislature’s supermajorities would have any immediate impact on the roughly 3 percent of hourly workers in New Hampshire who are paid the minimum wage, or their employers — the federal and state minimum wages are both now $7.25 per hour. Were Congress to raise the federal rate, which sets the floor, minimum-wage workers in New Hampshire and those just above them would automatically benefit. Critics of minimum wages say that workers actually lose jobs when rates go up, arguing that employers can’t handle the added costs; their claims unconvincingly cast minimum wage laws as massive “job killers.””
This law protects workers from the high cost of living in New Hampshire. As you can see the wages in our surrounding states are currently higher the ours or the Federal minimum.
If Lynch were so inclined, surely New Hampshire’s minimum wage today would be in the stratosphere. He’s been in office for six years, after all. Yet the state’s rate is the lowest in all of New England: Among neighboring jurisdictions, Vermont pays $8.15, Massachusetts $8 and Maine $7.50.
Bill O’Brien and his Tea Party Agenda are trying to repeal any of the laws that help workers. He states that:
Lynch’s preference for current law as “yet another move … to stifle the ability of New Hampshire businesses to compete and thrive.”
Really, repealing this bill will help businesses compete and thrive. How much money is it going to save businesses in New Hampshire if this law is repealed? NONE, because we are already at the lowest wage possible. I am glad the Governor took a stand and vetoed this bill. This could be the reason he has been elected Governor for four terms now.
|A crowd of mill workers listen to Lynn Tilton speak during a visit to Gorham Paper and Tissue, the last paper mill in New Hampshire’s North Country, Friday, June 10, 2011 in Gorham, N.H. Tilton’s firm, Patriarch Partners, bought the idled mill last month and plans to hire back the workers. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty / AP
This is more like the news we want to hear. 250+ workers are going back to work thanks to the re-opening of the paper mill in Gorham.
NH town celebrates mill’s planned reopening – StamfordAdvocate: “Closed for nearly eight months, the 110-year-old mill, called Gorham Paper and Tissue, is scheduled to reopen on June 22. About 70 workers have been called back to restart operation of the mill’s paper towel machine. The company hopes to bring back more workers in July with the startup of one of its specialized paper machines. The goal is to bring back many of the more than 200 workers who were left without jobs.
‘It’s going to help the economy, the immediate area, everybody. This is a milestone,’ said Robert Chevarie, 60, of Berlin, who had worked at the mill for 25 years. When he lost his job, his wife, Nicole, returned to work on a per diem basis as a housekeeper at the local hospital.”
Read more: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/NH-town-celebrates-mill-s-planned-reopening-1418237.php#ixzz1OyHcvct8
This is a repost of the National AFL-CIO Blog talking about Right To Work in New Hampshire.
N.H.’s O’Brien Still Planning ‘Right to Work’ Sneak Attack | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG: New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien (R) couldn’t pull off a sneak attack or round up enough votes to override Gov. John Lynch’s (D) veto of a so-called right work bill this week, so he adjourned the House until June 22. But with no legal limit setting a veto override deadline, O’Brien can bring up the measure anytime this year, without notice.As he did last month, when he didn’t have the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto and canceled the vote, O’Brien again vowed to bring it up anytime without warning.
The New Hampshire AFL-CIO has launched a twitter petition urging O’Brien to give 48 hours notice before bringing the override to the floor. You can click here to sign the petition. You can spread the word on your Facebook page and send to friends. Here’s the short url http://act.ly/3s9.
Earlier this week, O’Brien refused to cancel Wednesday’s session to allow lawmakers to attend the funeral for former Gov. Walter Peterson. He hoped it would draw enough lawmakers opposed to right to work away from the Capitol, so he could hold the vote. The maneuver didn’t work.
Today in a letter the editor in the Concord Monitor, Sanbornville resident Willis Ingram, made some comparisons between Peterson who was known for finding consensus on issues and O’Brien’s “ongoing manipulative behavior”
What is appalling is O’Brien’s attempt to manipulate the voting. Unlike Peterson, who made every attempt to find common ground, O’Brien seems only interested in his agenda and that of a minority of residents of this state. New Hampshire’s politics are becoming somewhat of an embarrassment. The time has come to cut it out
From Granite State Progress –
It seems that the NH House GOP could not wait to get a jumpstart on touting their 2011 session accomplishments — more than 3 weeks before the session officially closes.
While technically true that these bills passed the House floor, it is equally true that Speaker O’Brien and his extreme leadership team are putting the cart before the horse on items like HB 474, the anti-worker, anti-middle class bill that is adamently refused by legislators on both sides of the aisle. Unable to get enough votes to carry his extreme agenda, the Speaker has had to postpone the veto vote on this bill for three weeks and counting.
Which leads to a few interesting questions …
1) Did Speaker O’Brien put HB 474 on the list of accomplishments now, so he could tout it for a while before more sensible minds prevail on the final vote?
2) Perhaps is it just another snub from Speaker O’Brien toward other – and differing – opinions in his caucus?
3) Or is it simply that Speaker O’Brien is so wrapped up in his own agenda, that he can’t see the writing on the wall?
What we wouldn’t give for a poll function on this post right now.
News from our Neighbors to the East. In this article it appears that in order to beat the union the Jack DeCoster is willing to “sell the farm”. This is just one of the many attacks of organized labor in Maine and many states across the country.
DeCoster farm negotiating sale to Land O’Lakes — Maine Politics — Bangor Daily News: “AUGUSTA, Maine — The sponsor of a bill that would remove workers’ right to unionize at the Jack DeCoster-owned Quality Egg Farm in Turner told the House of Representatives on Thursday morning that the company was in sale negotiations with a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes Inc.
But the extent of those talks is unclear, as is whether the sudden disclosure of a deal influenced Thursday’s preliminary House vote to repeal workers’ 14-year-old right to organize.
Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon Falls, who spoke before the 74-68 vote along party lines, said after the decision that the Maine law was a sticking point in sale negotiations, a point proponents of the bill made during the GOP caucus Thursday morning.
Crafts acknowledged afterward that he hoped telling lawmakers about the sale would change the minds of those uncomfortable with backing legislation that benefits DeCoster, a company nationally known for its checkered history of workplace and labor violations.”
This is for those who have been following the week long editorial on “Double Dipping” from retired state workers.
Current law has many loopholes – NashuaTelegraph.com: “It pays to draw a public pension in some New England states more than others.
Take Maine. A qualified retiree can return to work as a state or municipal worker – even in the same job – and put in full-time hours and receive full-time pay, all while still collecting a full pension.
The caveat to the Maine advantage, though, is that most public employees have to work until they’re at least 60 before becoming eligible for a full pension, whereas a New Hampshire retiree could conceivably be as young as 38.
Still, no other New England state allows such a full double-dip in the public money pool as Maine does. Some states come close, though.
At first glance, it appears Connecticut state pensioners are limited in their amount of public sector work by a “temporary status” designation: defined as no more than 120 days in a calendar year.”
Terrific editorial in today’s Portsmouth Herald.
“There is clearly no depth to which House Speaker William O’Brien won’t stoop. This week, he again scheduled the vote to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the phony Right to Work bill, thinking enough of his own rebellious party members might attend the funeral of former Gov. Walter Peterson, a Republican remembered in part for his moderate views and ability to work with members of both parties.
“It’s the lowest thing I’ve ever seen and shows they want to win at any cost,” Rep. Marshall “Lee” Quandt, an Exeter Republican, said…”
Given the tactics that O’Brien and his fellow tea partiers have used throughout this fight – remember the threats against Sen. Carson? – we need to remember that this isn’t just about a dictatorial right-winger traying to rob workers of their rights, it’s also about the kind of democracy we want to have in New Hampshire. Is this what people really voted for?
A great letter to the editor from Penny Arsenault of Milford. She holds nothing back in her statement that House Speaker O’Brien’s attacks the middle class. He uses tactics like bullying or calling for (or not calling for) votes only when it falls in line with his Tea Party agenda. Be sure to read the entire article. She goes on to name the members of her district who voted for HB 474 and by casting their vote for Hb474 they are saying “they’re against state workers. educators, firefighters, police and the elderly”
Speaker O’Brien abusing his power – NashuaTelegraph.com: “There’s been a lot of reporting on HB 474 (right to work) and particularly House Speaker William O’Brien. His name has become the most recently mentioned in newspapers these days and he’s seen in many news broadcasts. O’Brien’s made it clear he’s against state workers, educators, firefighters, police and the elderly. He’s abusing the power entrusted to him, which is evident when the House clearly had an overwhelming presence when it came to voting on HB 474 yet he postponed the vote.
Why? Because a few of his “followers” were not present and he needs time to bully the mind-changers. Keep in mind he didn’t need full House attendance when it came to other issues like HB 2. Get the picture? House members have been receiving compelling e-mails and phone calls from voters that HB 474 is nonsense and they’ve been listening – changing their minds.”
More news is coming out about yesterdays Committee of Conference on the State Budget.
Legislature’s budget talks begin, battle lines emerge | New Hampshire NEWS06: “CONCORD — Budget talks between the House and Senate made little progress in their initial session Thursday, but battle lines were being drawn.
The two sides met in private to reach agreement on what state revenues are likely to be over the next two years.
They estimate the state will take in a total of $4.4 billion from state taxes between July 1, and June 30, 2013.”
Included in this article is the Granite State Progress statement (View Here) about transparency in Government.
Opponents of the budget plan said they are looking in to legal recourse because legislative leaders did not post proper notification of the meeting, and held sessions on other bills with no notice at all.
The right-to-know law and House rules call for 24 hours notice, said Zandra Rice Hawkins of Granite State Progress.
The public got just a few hours notice on the budget meeting, she said.
It appears they are trying to hold meetings without public knowledge to avoid the public outcry from what they are doing. Do they really think that we are not watch every step they make in regards to the State Budget. This article also mentions the deep cuts made to the University system in NH. (view that post on NH AFL-CIO Blog)