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Take Action To Message Your NH State Senator Voicing Your Opposition To Right To Work

YES, THAT IS CORRECT; THE SO CALL RIGHT TO WORK IS BACK!
It hasn’t even been a year!

The SENATE COMMERCE Committee made the recommendation of ought to pass on SB 107-FN: prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union by a vote of 3 to 2. It now moves to the full Senate on March 3, 2015.

Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out-of-state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.

Pass the word to friends and family members. These Senators need to hear from you. Simply put this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle-class families.

Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.

Thank you for taking action!

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Says Taking On Unions Prepared Him For ISIS (VIDEO)

In “I cannot believe he just said that” news, Governor Scott Walker just told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that attacking labor unions has prepared him to be a leader in the fight against ISIS.

I am not joking this is what he said, as reported by Politico and in the YouTube video (above).

“I want a commander in chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up in American soil,” Walker told an audience at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference today, after he was asked how he would handle threats from ISIS as president.

“We will have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message, not only that we will protect American soil. But do, not, do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I could do the same across the world.

The 100,000 protesters he is referring to are the 100,000 people who showed up in 2011 when Governor Walker attacked the state’s labor unions and passed ACT 10 which stripped away the collective bargaining rights of hundreds of thousands of hard working Wisconsin families.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,”  said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.  “To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace.  Coming together to peacefully protest for freedom, to raise your voice for a better Wisconsin, this is not an act of terror.”

“Scott Walker’s outrageous slander against his fellow citizens illustrates his contempt for the fundamental expression of democracy – that has been the sad hallmark of his Administration,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.  “Whether campaign hyperbole or not Scott Walker owes Wisconsinites an apology.”

“Governor Walker’s statement comparing workers and terrorists is revolting,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “It is clear that Governor Walker’s judgment is impaired, and that he is not qualified for the Presidency.”

“I call on Governor Walker to personally and immediately retract his statement, and apologize sincerely to the millions of workers in Wisconsin and throughout America he has so appallingly insulted,” stated Trumka.

Jim Tucciarelli, District Council 37, Local 1320, Senior Sewage Treatment Worker and AFSCME member from New York had this to say about Scott Walker’s comparison of labor protesters to ISIS:

“Put simply, it’s disgusting to hear Scott Walker compare the 100,000 hard-working men, women, senior citizens and children who came out to protest in Wisconsin to the terrorists of ISIS. In Wisconsin, my sisters and brothers from across the country stood up peacefully for freedom. The protesters were members of the military, police officers, firefighters, and first responders. They were librarians, teachers and nurses. How desperate do you have to be as a politician to compare those folks to murderous terrorists?

“Our union’s building was a block away when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. I have friends who died on that terrible day. In the weeks that followed, union members worked tirelessly to bring the city back, and I am proud to have been one of them.

“Governor Walker, I know terrorism. I know that your own state’s citizens speaking up for what’s right isn’t terrorism. Today, after hearing your words, I also know the sound of cowardice.”

I cannot begin to tell you how angry this statement from Governor Walker makes me.  He is equating union members to radical terrorists that are slaughtering innocent people halfway around the world.  Are you F’ing serious?  All those big bad union members who are standing up fighting for a higher minimum wage, better and safer working conditions for all workers, and a better more prosperous Wisconsin.

Now Governor Walking is attacking all working families in Wisconsin as he is poised to sign the so-called “Right To Work” bill that the State Legislature passed against massive protests from the people.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote:

“Despite saying for years right-to-work legislation would be a distraction, Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday the timing is now right for the issue.”

In response, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) noted Walker said in September he was “not pushing it” and “not supporting it in this (2015) legislative session.”

“For him now to state that this is an appropriate time (for right-to-work legislation) just shows the level of deceit he has foisted on the people of the state,” Barca said. “For him to change history and reverse what he said time and time again — we’re just incredulous over that.”

Of course the time is now right, Gov. Scott Walker has delusions of being President and pushing a right to work for less bill on your state will definitely get your name in the paper.

(Here is a great video clip from the protest rally in Madison a few days ago.)

 

 

In case you did not already know this Governor Walker, attacking the hard working men and women  of this great nation is not the way to get elected President.  Just a piece of friendly advice from one hard working union member who would vote for an actual brick to be President before ever voting for you!

Southwest Baggage Handlers to Protest as Airline Receives “Airline of the Year” Award

Southwest Jet at BWI (image by Rudi Riet FLIKR CC)

Southwest Jet at BWI (image by Rudi Riet FLIKR CC)

Employees Baffled by Honor for Airline with Increasingly Hostile Labor Relations 

WASHINGTON – Workers who handle baggage at Southwest Airlines, members of TWU Local 555, will protest at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC

Today, February 25th when Southwest Airlines receives the “Airline of the Year” award from Air Transport World magazine.

Who:  More than 100 ground workers employed at Southwest Airlines

What: Protest when Southwest receives “Airline of the Year” award

When: Today, Feb. 25, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Where: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

“When we heard a magazine was giving Southwest ‘Airline of the Year’ award, we figured it must be The Onion,” said Charles Cerf, president of TWU Local 555, referring to the satirical publication which entertains readers with fake headlines. “Because if you’re giving an award to an airline which acts like a bully to its workers, squeezing workers while earning billions in profits – that has to be a joke, right?”

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWUAir Transport World says ‘excellent labor relations’ is one of the criteria for receiving this award,” said Greg Puriski, a member of TWU 555 and a Southwest baggage handler who plans to be at the Washington protest. “They never asked us, that’s for sure. If they want to have better labor relations, let’s settle the contract.”

Despite difficult workloads due to handling larger aircraft and higher health care costs, most Southwest ground workers have not received a pay raise in the past four-and-a-half years. TWU Local 555 has been in negotiations with Southwest for a new contract since July 2011, with little progress during the past three-and-a-half years.

Since 2011, Southwest has earned over $3 billion in net income, including a record profit of $1.14 billion in 2014, following the airline’s merger with AirTran.  The airline also is continuing to benefit from a steep drop in the price of jet fuel.

Breaking from the Southwest tradition of rewarding employees as important stakeholders in the company, current management has held down wages despite healthy profits.  While most baggage handlers have seen their wages frozen, Southwest imposes higher health care costs on its employees each year, resulting in a loss of take home pay.

“It’s absurd that anybody would honor Southwest after the way it treats employees,” said Puriski. “Stagnating pay and the decline of the middle class are huge problems in this country.  Southwest is a profitable company that has a chance to be part of the solution.  Instead, they’re making the problem worse.”

“We want everyone attending this high-profile event to know that Southwest can do better – and must do better – to succeed in today’s competitive travel industry,” added Cerf.

TWU Local 555 is a local union of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), representing more than 10,000 ground crew workers at Southwest Airlines. 

Union Members Helping Each Other By Supporting Them In Your Local Elections

aft sqaureAFT-NH 2015 TOWN MEETING GUIDE

Union Members Helping Each Other

Your fellow Union members across the state have union contracts being presented to voters in March. You can help by voting. They are counting on your support. It is also important we support school and municipal budgets to avoid harmful layoffs or loss of programs and services. Remember, if your town is voting on March 10th, you can register to vote on Election Day. If you will be out of town, please be sure to get an absentee ballot by contacting your town clerk. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, March 10th         Election Day  (Senate Bill 2 Districts)

 

Fremont (Ellis School Support Staff) AFT #6223            YES on Articles 4 and 5

(Para-educators, secretaries and custodians)

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Ellis School, 432 Main Street, Fremont

Polls are open from 7:00am – 8:00pm

 

Hudson PSRP’s   AFT #6245                                              YES on Articles 2, 4 and 5

(para-educators and café employees)

Hudson School Secretaries

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Hudson Community Center, 12 Lions Ave, Hudson

Polls are open from 7:00am – 8:00pm

 

Oyster River Paraprofessionals and Support Staff AFT #6213

(paraprofessionals and cafeteria employees)

                                                                                  YES on Articles 5 and 7

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Durham          Oyster River High School              7:00am – 7:00pm

Lee                  Lee Safety Complex                        7:00am – 7:00pm

Madbury       Madbury Town Hall                     11:00am -7:30pm

 

Timberlane Support Staff Union AFT #6530               YES on Articles 2, 6 and 7

(paraeducators)

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Atkinson   (Community Center, Rte. 121)        7:00am-8:00pm

Danville   (Community Center, Rte. 111)         8:00am-7:00pm

Plaistow   (Pollard School, Main St.)            7:00am-8:00pm

Sandown   (Sandown Town Hall, Main St.)     8:00am-8:00pm

 

Tuesday, March 3rd        Traditional  School District Meeting     

Campton Educational Support Personnel Association, AFT #6004 

Campton Elementary School District Meeting     7:00pm

 

Tuesday, March 10th         Traditional Town Meeting (Evening)        YES on Article 11

Hillsborough Town Employees, AFT #3912 

Hillsborough Town Meeting

Tuesday, March 10th

7:30pm

Hillsboro-Deering Middle School

 

Wednesday, March 11th        Traditional    School District Meeting 

Henniker Community School Support Staff, AFT #6314     YES on Article 4

Henniker Community School

Wednesday, March 11th

Henniker School District Meeting     7:00pm

 

Saturday, March 14th         Traditional Town Meeting    YES on Articles 20 and 21

Pittsfield Town Employees, AFT #6214

Pittsfield Town Meeting

Saturday, March 14th

10:00am

Pittsfield Elementary School

 

Here is a PDF copy of this post for you to print and bring with you for reference or share with your friends and family. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Terri Donovan at terridd@metrocast.net.

Transportation Labor Unions Set Comprehensive 2015 Agenda

Transportation Trade Department Logo

ATLANTA, GA—The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and its 32 affiliated unions waded into every major transportation policy debate in Washington and focused on expanding transportation investments, reforming safety policy, protecting workers’ rights, and rejecting job-killing trade policies.

“2015 must be the year when we break the stalemate on funding our badly deteriorated transportation system and put millions to work,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. “Transportation unions have rolled out an agenda that is focused on creating and protecting private and public sector jobs as vital transportation laws are written this year.”

The Executive Committee approved 11 policy statements, which are summarized below:

Eight Principles for Surface Transportation Reauthorization: In just a few months, the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent unless Congress acts to implement a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. Transportation labor calls for a reauthorization bill that: expands highway and transit funding utilizing a gas tax increase or similarly reliable funding source; embraces financing tools that do not harm private and public sector jobs; rejects devolution proposals; restores federal neutrality on transit privatization; advances transit safety and health reforms; permits limited authority to flex federal bus capital funds to transit operations; provides resources for a national freight investment policy; and protects and enhances Buy America policies.

Priorities for FAA Reauthorization: With the FAA reauthorization due to expire at the end of this fiscal year, TTD’s Executive Committee calls on Congress to pass a multi-year bill that makes critical investments in aviation technology and infrastructure, provides stable funding, and advances policies that address workforce issues and make air transportation safer for passengers and employees. Moreover, it is vital that lawmakers and the President stop the debilitating budget cuts of sequestration that undermine important aviation advancements and safety improvements.

Multi-Year Plan for Amtrak Reauthorization: The proposed Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA) provides a critical reauthorization of Amtrak’s funding for the next four years, but funding levels are inadequate. TTD’s Executive Committee calls for legislation that secures long-term funding, rejects contracting out and privatization mandates, and safeguards the rights, jobs, and wages of rail and construction workers. 

Rail Transportation Safety Reform Agenda: Congress must move forward on an expired rail safety reauthorization bill that finally improves railroad operating practices that currently expose workers and communities to avoidable safety risks. Rail safety reforms must target chronic employee fatigue, bar the use of one-person freight train crews, and implement safety-related technology.

Safe Hazardous Materials Transportation: With an increase in the shipment of hazardous materials across the country – particularly on freight trains – it is vital that firefighters receive adequate training to respond to emergencies. Congress must pass a reauthorization bill that commits adequate funding for hazmat training programs. TTD’s Executive Committee also supports provisions of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed crude-by-rail regulations, which would require an increase in the information available to emergency responders about the movement of such shipments, and calls on PHMSA to issue stronger regulations regarding the transport of lithium batteries in our nation’s skies.

Ground NAI’s Flag of Convenience Airline: For the past year, transportation labor has waged an aggressive effort to stop an attempt by Norwegian Air International (NAI) to obtain U.S. government approval to launch new transatlantic air service based on a flag of convenience business plan. TTD’s Executive Committee reaffirms its calls for rejection of NAI’s application on the basis that NAI’s business plan is a clear violation of Article 17 bis of the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement.

Safety Rules Needed Before FAA Permits Widespread Use of Drones: To ensure safe integration into the National Airspace System, the widespread commercial application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/”drones”) must not be permitted until the U.S. government establishes clear and enforceable operating standards. Transportation labor calls on the FAA to set rules requiring that drone operations meet all of the standards imposed on those who currently use the airspace, including operator training and certification, and safety restrictions on airspace access. If properly regulated with strong safety standards in effect, the safe integration of commercial drones is possible.

Workers’ Rights and National Security: Fairness for Military Sealift Command Employees: TTD’s Executive Committee rejects the Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) baseless attempts to use the pretense of national security concerns to deny workers the right to join a union. It is inaccurate and untrue to claim that the goals of national security are incompatible with collective bargaining and union representation, and Executive Order 12171, which concerns workers engaged in national security, must not be interpreted to cover MSC employees or other civil service mariners.

Reject Fast TrackTransportation labor calls on Congress to reject Trade Promotion Authority, or “Fast Track,” and develop a new plan that works for our nation’s transportation workers and enhances our collective competitiveness. Our nation’s trade goals should be to strengthen American industries, put workers in a position to succeed, and promote strong labor, safety, and human rights laws in this country and with our trading partners. We need to end Fast Track and create a trade policy that works for transportation workers.

Time to Raise Motorcoach Market Entry Standards: Over the past several decades, the diminishment of “entry” standards imposed on intercity bus carriers has severely limited the ability to ensure that only companies willing and able to uphold federal safety requirements are granted operating authority. TTD’s Executive Committee encourages the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to begin raising market entry standards by increasing the existing minimum insurance requirements.

U.S. Postal Service Reforms that Protect Quality Service, Good Jobs: TTD’s Executive Committee continues its support for a strong, financially sound Postal Service. Reforms to ensure the agency’s long-term financial solvency should not come at the expense of employees or customers. TTD and its member unions will continue to work with elected leaders to stabilize the USPS and give it a chance to modernize and grow its service.

Transportation Trades Department (TTD – AFL-CIO) Celebrates 25 Years of Advocacy on Behalf of America’s Transportation Unions

Affiliates Re-Elect Wytkind, Willis

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka joins TTD President Ed Wytkind at TTD Executive Committee meeting. Image from the TTD  FB Page

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka joins TTD President Ed Wytkind at TTD Executive Committee meeting. Image from the TTD FB Page 02-1-14

ATLANTA, GA—The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and leaders of its 32 member unions convened their winter convention over the weekend, celebrated TTD’s 25th anniversary, and rolled out their 2015 policy agenda. With most major transportation investment bills pending this year, including the rewrite of aviation, surface transportation, and passenger rail laws, TTD affiliates embraced an agenda that is focused on finding solutions to long-simmering problems.

“2015 must be about holding those we elected accountable to the American people who grow weary of a transportation system that is falling apart and an economic recovery that is still leaving too many behind,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. “The agenda we have rolled out offers prescriptive solutions to a wide range of issues that touch every aspect of our transportation system and its workforce – from modernization, safety, and worker protections to collective bargaining, trade policy, and the role of transportation investment as an engine for middle class job creation.”

Transportation unions had an opportunity to discuss their agenda with two Republican lawmakers and Peter Rogoff, under secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation, who reviewed the administration’s continuing push for Congress to stop kicking the can on funding a long-term transportation investment vision.

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx sent a message to TTD on the eve of the 25th anniversary meeting. “TTD and its affiliated unions have consistently been on the front lines working to advance a strong transportation investment and safety agenda that keeps America moving and expands transportation job creation,” Foxx said. “The Department of Transportation will continue to work with our transportation union partners to ensure that the traveling public, businesses, and workers have access to strong, modern, and safe transportation systems and infrastructure.”

Rep. Peter King (R-NY-2) discussed working together with TTD affiliates to expand GOP support for transportation labor’s agenda. “I had a critical opportunity to sit down with transportation union leaders today to discuss the importance of job creation, collective bargaining, and increased safety for America’s transportation workers,” said King. “I look forward to working together with them and the Republican conference to find bipartisan solutions to our transportation infrastructure crises and to ensure we are supporting transportation workers’ jobs and rights in the proposals we advance.”

The Executive Committee also welcomed U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) to discuss pressing transportation and jobs issues. “Whether it’s by way of ground, water, or air, our economy is reliant upon an efficient transportation system,” said Rep. Davis. “Investing in transportation and infrastructure means investing in good-paying, American jobs. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I will continue to work with TTD to support policies and investments to help build a 21st century transportation system.”

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka urged TTD member unions to participate vigorously in the federation’s Raising Wages campaign and, as part of that effort, “hold politicians accountable” when they fail to advance transportation infrastructure investments and the middle class jobs they create.

Madeline Janis, director of LAANE’s Jobs to Move American coalition, which TTD joined in 2013, gave an update on the growing momentum across the country for rewarding high-road employers that bid on public rail car and bus procurements.

Wytkind and Secretary-Treasurer Larry I. Willis were reelected as President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively. “We are honored to have received this vote of confidence from our member unions and will continue to commit ourselves to improving the lives and jobs of transportation workers across the nation,” said Wytkind and Willis.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, a proud member affiliate of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD), AFL-CIO, today is congratulating TTD President Ed Wytkind and Secretary-Treasurer Larry Willis on being re-elected to their respective positions during TTD’s 25th anniversary convention and Executive Committee meeting.

“Ed and Larry are strong, passionate leaders and great supporters of our nation’s transportation workers, including NATCA’s represented aviation safety professionals,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. “Ed provides an essential voice on behalf of transportation workers and Larry works tirelessly on behalf of TTD and its affiliates. They make a formidable team and we are very excited that they will remain in office for another term. Our members know TTD has their backs on important issues.”

“Ed and Larry, as well as the entire TTD staff, have done a great job of working with NATCA leadership to ensure that NATCA’s priorities are always a part of TTD’s agenda,” NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert said. “Paul and I value our long-standing relationship with Ed and our participation in TTD.”

Ed has been shaping TTD’s expertise and policy agenda for more than two decades, from the organization’s inception. He assisted transportation unions in developing the policy platform that led to the organization’s launch in 1990. Prior to being elected president in 2003, he served as the organization’s executive director.

Willis, in addition to his financial responsibilities, leads and oversees TTD’s policy, legislative, and legal activities, representing the interests of TTD and its affiliate unions before Congress and among key Executive Branch officials. He was first elected secretary-treasurer in 2010 after serving as TTD’s General Counsel and Chief of Staff.

NATCA Celebrates Engineers Week

WASHINGTON – NATCA proudly celebrates the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) engineers it represents, and recognizes their many contributions to the workforce during National Engineers Week, Feb. 22-28.

These professionals support every one of the 70,000 flights that safely takeoff and land each day in the U.S. They design, construct and remodel air traffic control facilities. They analyze, improve and upgrade radar and communications coverage.

“NATCA-represented engineers provide essential services that the flying public doesn’t usually consider when they think of flying today,” said NATCA Regional Vice President Mike MacDonald.

Separated into multiple bargaining units, NATCA-represented engineers perform a wide range of duties that are imperative in maintaining the nation’s air traffic control standards as the safest and most efficient in the world. About 1,000 NATCA members belong to the largest unit, Engineers and Architects, and are assigned to Engineering Services and Mission Support, responsible for the program management, design, construction and remodeling of air traffic control facilities and equipment.

“We devote this week to honoring the outstanding work of our engineers,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “They are a critical component in the maintenance and advancement of the National Airspace System, and they are committed to making aviation technology the best.”

Also in the Engineers and Architects unit are approximately 250 engineers employed in either the Operations Support Group, responsible for maintaining the National Airspace System (NAS) equipment, and the Flight Inspection Services group, in charge of the maintenance and modernization for the fleet of flight inspection aircraft. Approximately 500 additional engineers work in Aircraft Certification, where they ensure aircraft are properly designed and tested. This group also investigates aircraft incidents. A smaller number of engineer members are assigned to the Airports Division, accountable for the approval of airport improvements, the implementation of new programs and the oversight of development projects. There are also engineers located in En Route and Terminal Automation, providing operational computer software support and maintenance for en route centers and terminal environments.

“NATCA-represented engineers are dedicated to ensuring a high performance operation of the vast network of sophisticated air traffic control, navigation, surveillance, communication and automation equipment that makes up the NAS,” said NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert. “We proudly celebrate this group and their profession this week.”

For more information about Engineers Week, visit the official website. For more information about NATCA-represented engineers, visit www.natca.org.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association represents over 20,000 highly skilled controllers, engineers and other safety-related professionals.

Union Members Approve Of Agreement With FairPoint And Completely End Strike

Workers to Return to Work on Wednesday, February 25

AUGUSTA, ME—After three days of voting, IBEW and CWA members in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have ratified tentative agreements with FairPoint Communications. The new agreements protect good jobs and ensure quality telecommunications service for New England communities.

“This is great news for our members, their families, and our communities,” said Peter McLaughlin, chair of the union bargaining committee and Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Maine. “Our members remained united and committed to this fight for more than four months and today we have a fair deal that will bring them back to work and good service back to our communities.”

After initially demanding $700 million in concessions from workers, FairPoint implemented the terms of its proposals on August 28 saying the parties had reached an impasse in bargaining. The implemented terms included a dramatic increase in health care costs, a two-tier wage structure that would have paid new hires as much as 20 percent less to do the same jobs as current workers, and a greatly increased ability to outsource union members’ work to low-wage contractors from outside our region.

Ultimately, FairPoint agreed to a union-administered health insurance plan with better benefits that will cost workers and the company less. FairPoint also agreed to eliminate the two-tier wage structure.

“This agreement is a win for our members and for future FairPoint employees,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “We went on strike last October because we are committed to keeping good, middle-class jobs in New England. Our members walked the lines for more than four months, not just for themselves, but for future generations. Our success will benefit FairPoint workers—and New England’s working families—for years to come.”

The unions also successfully negotiated to protect jobs from outsourcing. During the strike, FairPoint brought in replacement contract workers to do the jobs of experienced, union workers. Complaints skyrocketed in all three states as customers experienced inadequate service, delays for repairs and installations, and increased wait times when calling customer service.

“Our communities have seen the results of outsourcing these last four months, and it has not been pretty,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire.  “There’s no replacement for well-trained, skilled workers. Our members are eager to get back to work and get our network functioning the way it should.

Approximately 1,800 FairPoint workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont launched their strike on October 17. The longest strike in the United States in 2014, workers picketed for 18 weeks.

“Our members are incredible. They walked the picket lines in blizzards and sub-zero temperatures. They stayed strong and they stayed together,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont.

The strikers enjoyed widespread support from their communities and from thousands of allies around the world. Lawmakers in all three states walked the picket lines with members; individuals delivered hot beverages and snacks to picketers; and people and organizations contributed more than $350,000 to the Solidarity Fund to provide financial aid for striking workers to pay for everything from prescription medicine to heating oil.

“The support we’ve received over the past four months has been overwhelming,” said McLaughlin. “Union brothers and sisters from all over the country sent financial help and messages of support. And our friends and neighbors right here in New England showed us their appreciation for our sacrifice every day. They knew that our members were not just striking to protect their own jobs, but that they were fighting for good jobs and quality service for all of New England.”

The new contracts will be in effect until August 4, 2018.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,500 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.FairnessAtFairpoint.com.

State Senator Jeff Woodburn To Tour US Post Offices Celebrating The Anniversary Of Federal Mail Service

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Written by
Janice Kelble, Legislative Director
NH Postal Workers Union

While Tuesday & Wednesday were days spent at the NH Statehouse defending against so called “Right to Work” and other attacks on working folks, we had a bit of good news from the northern part of the State. The APWU and the NALC were pleased to get a call from NH State Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn. Senator Woodburn called to inform us of his plan to pro-actively recognize the importance of a public Post Office.

Senator Woodburn will be touring U.S. Post Offices throughout Coos and Grafton Counties to celebrate the anniversary of federal mail service being signed into law by President George Washington on February 20, 1792.

The Senator is inviting residents to join him in celebrating this vital public service that American’s depend on. “US Postal Services has proud history and remains a vital link to connect rural New Hampshire to the rest of the state and nation,” Woodburn said. ”

His tentative schedule includes stops at the following post offices:

08:30 – 09:00 am Lincoln Post Office
09:30 – 10:00 am Franconia Post Office
10:15 – 10:45 am Sugar Hill Post Office
11:00 – 11:30 am Littleton Post Office
01:30 – 2:00 pm Berlin Post Office
02:30 – 2:45 pm Milan Post Office
03:15 – 3:30 pm Groveton Post Office
04:30 – 5:00 pm Colebrook Post Office

In 2006 the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA) was signed into law, putting a noose around the neck of the Postal Service. Slowly the Service has eroded as the USPS cuts back service, by reducing Post Office hours, closing and consolidating processing facilities, attempting to cut back delivery days and drastically reducing delivery service standards. It is not too late to turn things around. While letter mail volume has declined, package mail is booming and the mail network must be maintained to preserve a thriving robust public Postal Service!

We need more elected officials like Senator Woodburn who go out of their way to recognize important public services and to honor the workers. With all of the threats of privatization of the USPS we hope more legislators will speak out in favor of retaining this trusted public institution. A big “thank you” to Senator Woodburn from the NH Postal Workers Union and from The NH Association of Letter Carriers.

For more information or to get an updated schedule, contact Sen. Woodburn at 603.271.3207 or Jeff.Woodburn@Leg.state.nh.us.

BREAKING NEWS: FairPoint, IBEW, and CWA Reach A Tentative Agreement

Fairness at Fairpoint Banner

FairPoint Communications, Inc. ; System Council T-9 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (AFL-CIO) Locals 2320, 2326, and 2327; and the Communications Workers of America (AFL-CIO) Local 1400 are pleased to announce that today they have reached tentative agreements on the terms for new collective bargaining agreements.

The Company and the Unions agree that the terms of their new collective bargaining agreements will address, in meaningful and constructive ways, the objectives of the parties and that the new labor agreements will provide employees with wages and benefits that are among the best in northern New England. At the same time, the agreements permit the Company to achieve a much more competitive position in the marketplace.

Union members will vote on ratification of the tentative agreements as soon as possible. Effective with the signing of the tentative agreements, the parties agreed that striking employees will return to work on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

Further comments will be withheld until the ratification vote is complete.

AFL-CIO Communications Director Eric Hauser issued the following statement in light of recent worker victories:

“What a difference a day makes. In the past 24 hours, Walmart workers got a raise, IBEW and CWA workers settled their strike with FairPoint, and United Steelworkers made safety at oil refinery plants a national issue. One 24 hour period shows how much progress can be made when workers come together to speak with one voice.

“Collective action must be at the heart of the growing discussion about raising wages.  Only when workers pool their power can they make progress that benefits not just union members but all workers and entire communities.”

After the announcement Governor Hassan applauded the news:

“The work done by the highly skilled employees of FairPoint Communications is critical to our state’s communications infrastructure, our public safety systems, and our regional economy. I am encouraged by the news that both parties have worked constructively to reach a tentative agreement and I look forward to the employees returning as soon as possible to their work, which is essential for New Hampshire’s economy and public safety.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton) praised the agreement in his statement:

“This is great news for Fairpoint, their workers, and the state of New Hampshire. This is a hard-earned compromise and one that strengthens our communications network, which is vital to our economy, public safety, and the quality of life we enjoy in New Hampshire.”

 “I congratulate both sides on their agreement and I am so very thankful that the workers can get back to work next week.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released the following statement in response to the tentative agreement between FairPoint Communications and its workers:

“FairPoint Communications employees support vital services for New Hampshire’s public safety, consumers and our state’s economy. The tentative agreement announced this afternoon that will allow FairPoint’s dedicated employees to return to work in the near future is great news.”

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had this to say after the announcement:

“I applaud the extraordinary courage of the FairPoint workers. They have stood together month after month in opposition to a massive assault on decent wages and benefits. Their efforts deserve the thanks of all Vermonters.”

Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern today applauded the tentative resolution of a five month strike and labor dispute between Fairpoint’s management and workers, saying the deal to bring nearly 2,000 workers back to the job next week will be good for New Hampshire consumers and workers.

“Resolving this strike will be a big step forward for thousands of workers and their families, for Fairpoint’s consumers, and for New Hampshire’s economy as a whole, and I thank Governor Hassan and our state agencies for playing an active role in protecting NH consumers,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern.

In December, when Fairpoint labor talks has stalled for months and NH consumer service levels were at dismal levels, Councilor Van Ostern asked Governor Hassan and state agencies to delay a pending $13 million Fairpoint contract for state phone services, which they did on December 23.

After the delay, Fairpoint management and its union workers returned to the negotiating table on January 4 under federal mediation, and the state contract was then passed with the addition of six upcoming public hearings across the state to add ongoing public accountability for Fairpoint. The Council began scheduling those hearings last week, on February 11. The State of NH is one of Fairpoint’s largest customers.

“I believe Fairpoint’s management, it’s workers, its consumers, and New Hampshire’s elected officials all want the same thing: a healthy and stable company that provides good service and good jobs,” said Van Ostern. “Frankly we haven’t had that lately, and today’s news is a step in the right direction – all parties involved should be proud of of this progress.”

Stay tune to the NH Labor News for more on this story as it comes out.

UPDATE:

Statement from Congresswoman Annie Kuster:

“FairPoint plays a vital role in our state’s public safety network, and the telecommunication services provided by FairPoint workers allow many of our residents to remain connected to their families and loved ones, especially during increasingly frequent weather events in the Granite State. FairPoint employees are extremely valuable to both the company and our communities, and I’m so pleased to hear that a tentative agreement has been reached. This is truly great news for the Granite State, and I commend both parties for working together to reach an agreement.”

Statement from Kelly Ayotte:

“I’m encouraged by today’s announcement that a tentative agreement has been reached between FairPoint and its employees. New Hampshire residents, businesses, and public safety departments rely on the communications services provided by FairPoint, and I am hopeful that normal operations will resume as soon as possible.”

chellie-at-fairpoint-rally1Congresswoman Chellie Pingree welcomed news today that negotiators had reached a tentative agreement to end the Fairport strike.

“The men and women who work at Fairpoint are some of the best trained, most experienced and dedicated telecommunication workers around,” Pingree said. “It’s important to keep those jobs in Maine and get these people back to work. It’s been clear that our telephone network has suffered without them on the job.”

Pingree, who visited the picket line several times and wrote to the company CEO urging and end to the strike. praised the workers for their endurance.

“They spent months on the picket line, sometimes in very cold weather, fighting to keep these good jobs in Maine. Their perseverance in very difficult conditions was impressive,” Pingree said. “And the support of the community has also been incredible, from people who dropped off food on a daily basis to the donations to the strike fund that helped workers keep their homes heated and their families fed.”