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Clinton Thanks NATCA After Endorsement Of A Clinton-Kaine Ticket

NATCA Clinton Kaine

Last month The National Air Traffic Controllers Association announced their endorsement Hillary Clinton for President of the United States and Tim Kaine for Vice President of the United States.

NATCA’s National Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse the Clinton-Kaine ticket after carefully considering how each of the presidential candidates’ records and statements, as well as their parties’ platforms, would affect its membership.

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi called Secretary Clinton “a strong advocate for working families who shares our commitment to ensuring that the National Airspace System (NAS) remains the safest, most efficient, most complex, and most diverse in the world.”

Rinaldi also praised Senator Kaine, calling him “a great friend to NATCA members during his time in the United States Senate.”

“Senator Kaine recognizes the need to ensure stable, predictable funding for the NAS so that we can remain the world’s leader in aviation,” Rinaldi said.

NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert said, “Secretary Clinton supported our members when she was a Senator from New York and was an advocate for employees’ rights as Secretary of State. She believes in organizing and collective bargaining, rights that are fundamental to all unions.”

“This is an election that presents a clear choice,” said Rinaldi. “Secretary Clinton and Senator Kaine will fight for our members’ rights and are committed to improving the infrastructure of the NAS so that our members operate with the best equipment and technology. They recognize the professionalism with which our members perform their duties, ensuring the safety of the flying public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. NATCA proudly endorses Clinton-Kaine.”

Today, as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s hold their bi-annual convention in San Diego, Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

“I would like to congratulate Paul Rinaldi and everyone with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association for a successful convention in San Diego.  I am honored to have earned the endorsement of this proud organization’s 19,000 members.

“Every day, hard-working and highly-skilled air traffic controllers keep our country moving, growing, and thriving.  Almost 900 million passengers travel by air in the United States each year, and NATCA’s members ensure we get to our destination safely—helping us take business trips, meet our families, and explore the country and the world.  And through it all, this organization has fought for good benefits and wages for all workers and helped build our country’s middle-class.

“As President, I will stand with NATCA and organized labor like I have my entire career.  My top priority will be building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.  We will make the biggest investment in American infrastructure since the end of World War II—including in the National Airspace System.  We will defend the right to organize and bargain collectively and fight against right-to-work legislation that is wrong for workers and wrong for America.   And we will help workers retire with the dignity and security they have earned.

“If I am elected, American workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House—because when unions are strong, families are strong, and America is strong.”

An Open Letter To NH Candidates From WMUR Production Union Steward On The State Of Negotiations

Below is an open letter to all of the New Hampshire candidates.  The Union, IBEW Local 1228, has previously asked candidates to continue to boycott WMUR sponsored debates including the scheduled debates next week. 

NewsHourControlRoom2005

PBS News Hour Control Room


Dear Candidates,

My name is Brian Wilson. I am a shop steward for the Production Department bargaining unit at WMUR. I am writing to you to explain the difficult situation our workers have faced as we have fought for our first labor agreement with Hearst Corporation, the station’s owner.

But, I would first like to express my sincerest appreciation for the support that all of you give to workers across New Hampshire. It is critical that our leaders take a stand for working families who are struggling to make ends meet during these still difficult economic times. We are happy to see a group of candidates who have already shown their strong support.

Our union was certified 16 months ago in April of 2015. Over the past year we have never been able to schedule more than two days to meet in most months and on some occasions have had to wait 6 weeks or more between negotiation dates offered by Hearst.

One of our most important issues is retirement security. Many of our bargaining unit members have a company pension which pre-dates the certification of the Union. Since the beginning of negotiations, Hearst has maintained that they will not allow these employees to continue earning service credit toward any pension plan under a collective bargaining agreement. No one should be forced to lose their retirement security just because they exercised their right to union representation. This is an egregious union busting tactic that has no place in a fair negotiation.

Our other major issue has been pay. WMUR pays low wages. Several of our bargaining unit members are paid a flat $10 per hour with no opportunity for an annual merit increase. We have repeatedly offered wage plans that are competitive with other stations in the market but the company has countered with offers that do little to improve the majority of our workers’ wage situation. There has also been no explanation nor solution offered for gross pay inequities among many similarly positioned workers.

Although it has been over a year and half since we voted to organize, our unit still shares a strong sense of optimism and a willingness to continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve a better future for members.

I want to thank you again for your attention to our issues and for your support. We must protect our right to organize. It is clearly under attack.

Sincerely,

Brian Wilson

Production Asst.

WMUR-TV

Berry Craig: ‘An injury to one is the concern of all’

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Knights_of_labor_seal_standardI often think about the old Knights of Labor on Labor Day.

Okay, I’m a retired history teacher who still packs a union card.

The Knights “tried to teach the American wage-earner that he was a wage-earner first and a bricklayer, carpenter, miner, shoemaker, after; that he was a wage-earner first and a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, white, black, Democrat, Republican, after,” historian Norman Ware wrote.

The Knights stressed that whatever else divided working people, work itself was what they all had in common. Work was, by far, the most important factor in their lives. Thus, workers should unite as members of the working class, the Knights urged.

Active in the late 19th-century, the Knights were among the pioneers in our union movement. There were even Knights in western Kentucky, where I was born, reared and still live. The Fulton group published a newspaper called The Toiler.

The paper and the Knights are long gone.

But the union’s basic principle is still relevant: Working people, no matter what jobs we have, are wage earners first. “An injury to one is the concern of all,” was the Knights’ famous motto. It still rings true.

Anyway, I spent twenty-four years as a teacher. I was a newspaper reporter for almost 13 years before that.

But I was always a wage-earner and a worker first. I belong to the working class just like a factory worker, construction worker, dock worker, miner, truck driver, carpenter, painter, plumber, electrician, firefighter, garbage collector, grocery clerk, secretary and every other worker. We all belong to the working class.

History is plain about what has most benefitted the working class: unions and New Deal-style government action on our behalf. A big part of the New Deal guaranteed our right to organize unions and bargain collectively for better wages, hours, working conditions and benefits.

My maternal grandparents, Susie and Diehl Vest of Mayfield, my hometown, remembered how the union and the New Deal made their lives better.

“Bobo” belonged to the Almagamated Clothing Workers at the old Merit Clothing Co. “Grandadden” worked out of Paducah Painters Local 500, which is still around.

The Vests voted for Franklin D. Roosevelt all four times he ran. (FDR and Abraham Lincoln tie as their grandson’s favorite presidents.)

Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey was one of my favorite politicians. Molly Ivins was one of my favorite newspaper columnists. Both of them also knew what helped the working class the most.

“America is a living testimonial to what free men and women, organized in free democratic trade unions, can do to make a better life,” said HHH, whom I voted for in 1968, the first year I was eligible to cast a ballot.

Said Ivins: “Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers (sadly, that percentage has shrunk as so many of our good union jobs have been shipped out of the country) are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Happy Labor Day!

AFT-NH Endorses Roger Tilton for NH Senate, District 11

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Roger Tilton, Democratic candidate for NH Senate in District 11 (Merrimack, Amherst, Milford, and Wilton) has received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers-NH.  Doug Ley, president of AFT-NH, praised Roger’s commitment to public education, raising NH’s minimum wage, and embracing a politics of common sense and openness, not ideology and divisiveness.  AFT-NH represents some 4,000 New Hampshire working people, ranging from para-educators to police, teachers to public employees.

“We share in AFT’s vision of advocating for fairness, equal opportunity, and high-quality public education as a key lever to economic growth,” Tilton said, “The vitality of our democracy depends on the health of our public sphere.  I support our educators, police, and other public employees who provide essential services that are too often taken for granted.”

Tilton will be visiting public high schools in District 11 this fall, talking with students and teachers about civic responsibility and his choice to run for office.  “I first became aware of politics as and eight-year-old, in 1968, due to the assassination of two great leaders.  In 1974, inspired by Jerry Brown’s run for governor, I ran for class president.  I won, and I have been inspired to help, and lead, ever since,” he said.

Tilton has been a long time supporter of organized labor including a stint as a union organizer. Tilton helped AFTRA organize production workers at KING5, Seattle’s NBC affiliate in the late 80’s. As a former union organizer, Tilton understands the true power unions and collective bargaining.

“The past 40 years have not produced fair gains for the people who put the economy in motion, and without taking steps in the other direction we will not change anything. I know first-hand the immediate and long-term beneficial impact that organizing workers has on their working conditions and standards of living. I will support both those who have organized, and those who need help in doing so,” said Tilton in a May interview with the NH Labor News.

Tilton said he opposes so-called Right to Work legislation and any other attacks on workers rights to form unions and collectively bargain.

“So-called ‘right to work’ legislation has been shown to reduce wages, decrease worker safety and protection, and slow regional economic development. ‘Right to Work’ makes sense for big businesses taking big profits out of the local area, but it makes no sense for the people in towns like Wilton, Milford, Amherst, or Merrimack,” added Tilton.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Endorses Lee Nyquist for State Senate

Nyquist Continues to Build Support Among Working Families Across District

New Boston — Lee Nyquist received the endorsement of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 today as the result of his decades long record of community involvement and his willingness to give voice to the challenges facing hardworking Granite Staters.

“Lee has a strong record of serving his community, and that’s what I look for in a candidate,” said Bedford resident and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member Jeremy Dupuis. “We need a senator who stands up for working people, who’ll fight to make sure all workers earn a living wage, and will work to create educational opportunities that allow our businesses and communities to thrive.”

Nyquist, who has served as the town moderator of New Boston for 24 years, as a past president of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, and serves on New Hampshire’s Workforce Investment Board will be a fierce advocate for working people in New Hampshire’s state senate. 

“I am honored to have the endorsement of SEA/SEIU Local 1984, and I look forward to working hard for our hardworking families in the state senate,” said Nyquist. “Right now, many hardworking Granite Staters are forced to make impossible choices as their bills continue to come due while they earn the federal starvation wage of $7.25 an hour. In the state senate I look forward to using the experience I’ve gained from serving on New Hampshire’s Workforce Investment Board to help build partnerships between stakeholders in our education, business, and labor communities.”

SEA/SEIU 1984’s endorsement of Lee Nyquist follows the endorsements of the New Hampshire Chapters of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers last week. Nyquist’s record of advocacy for all New Hampshire families continues to resonate with working families, representatives, and unions throughout District 9.

Actors’ Equity Association Votes to Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

equitylogorgbcolorNew York City,  – In an historic decision, the National Council of Actors’ Equity Association (Equity), the labor union representing professional stage actors and stage managers, voted during its August meeting to endorse the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton. This marks the first time in Equity’s 103-year history that the organization has endorsed any political candidate. 

Though the union’s practice has uniformly been to remain neutral with regard to elections, throughout its history Equity has taken strong positions and adopted numerous policies meant to help provide a voice to the disenfranchised of this country.   

Advising the Council, Equity’s Executive Director Mary McColl said, “If you look back at your history, you have taken political stands on many occasions. You have been leaders and staked out political positions opposing blacklisting and segregation; you have marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You have stood up and led the charge at key moments when society had tears in the fabric. I think this is one of those moments in time when you must stand again.”   

“What do people actually look to the union for?” asked Councillor Francis Jue. “This election is about whether people can carry guns into theaters, about whether or not people can take adolescent gay and lesbian teens and torture them into believing that they are straight. It’s about whether or not we are going to have a Department of Education. This election is about so many of the values we believe in and policies that we put into practice. I think it is incumbent upon us to lead.”  

The union’s core values are workers’ rights, fair pay and a safe workplace free from discrimination for its members. Additionally, Equity has long-standing policies that promote arts funding and education, affordable housing, single-payer health care and marriage equality. Equity continues to advocate for human rights, on behalf of those with HIV/AIDS and for voting rights for all Americans. Most recently, Council authorized the union to support responsible gun law reform.

Equity President Kate Shindle said, “Our union has historically chosen to remain nonpartisan and above the fray. But at such a critical time in our country’s history, this union does not have that luxury if we hope to protect our members. We have to fight with everything we have for our survival.  God forbid we stand passively on the sidelines and watch as some of these people get elected, people who aggressively want to dismantle unions. We will look back at this moment knowing that we could have said something and we chose not to because we were afraid people wouldn’t like it. I don’t think that’s the way a union in 2016 America can afford to operate.” 


ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 50,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included).

For Her Strong Support Of Working People, Kuster Receives Endorsement Of AFT-NH

Concord, NH — Today, AFT New Hampshire announced its endorsement of Congresswoman Annie Kuster for reelection in the Second Congressional District.

Rep Annie Kuster

Rep Annie Kuster speaking at an event sponsored by AFT-NH in October of 2014

“Congresswoman Kuster continues to be a leading voice for New Hampshire’s teachers and a steadfast supporter of public education,” said AFT NH President Douglas Ley.  “She is dedicated to standing up for working men and women, increasing access to affordable health care, and making sure every child has the chance to achieve the American dream. We are proud to stand with her and support her reelection in November.”

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement and support of New Hampshire’s teachers and the education community,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “In order to continue attracting new businesses and investment in the Granite State, we must support our public schools and stand up for our teachers and education professionals.  I’m proud to stand with AFT NH to build a better future for families and communities in the Second District.”

Over the past year Congresswoman Kuster has helped to reverse the dreadful effects of No Child Left Behind. On December 2 of 2015, Kuster joined a bipartisan majority of her House colleagues in voting in favor of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which passed the House by a vote of 359 to 64.  Kuster praised the Senate after they voted in favor of the final version of ESSA. 

“I am so pleased to see that the Senate has approved the final conference version of the ESSA, which will rectify many of the flawed provisions implemented during the well-intentioned but failed No Child Left Behind Act,” Kuster said. “Since coming to Congress, I have heard from so many New Hampshire educators and parents about the need to fix these misguided standards.  While the ESSA is not perfect, it represents a genuine bipartisan compromise, and I look forward to continuing to hear from students, parents, teachers, and school leaders as these important reforms are implemented.

“I have consistently advocated for an education system that meets the needs of all students, takes steps to address inequality, and empowers parents, teachers, and school leaders—those who know students best—to be active participants in educational decision making.  Education and innovation are vital engines of a successful economy, and students in the Granite State and throughout the country need and deserve access to quality schools.  We must ensure that all students receive a comprehensive, well-rounded education, and this legislation takes important steps toward that goal,” Kuster stated in a December 9th press release. 

Congresswoman Kuster has also been a strong advocate for working people in New Hampshire and launched her Working Families Agenda. Kuster’s new Working Families Agenda includes initiatives to address pay equity, family leave time, and access to affordable child care and health care, among other issues.  Congresswoman Kuster held multiple round table discussions throughout the state to hear their concerns and directly address their issues. 

As part of her Working Families Agenda, Kuster has cosponsored a number of bills to reduce the strain on working families, including the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and the CARE Act, which allows more families to benefit fully from a valuable child tax credit and afford child and dependent care.

AFT NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.  The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 here in New Hampshire. These members are teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty, and town employees.  AFT NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, which represents over 45,000 working men and women. 

Mark Connolly Takes A Bold Stand For Union Workers At WMUR

Last week we posted a story about how WMUR/ Hearst Television is refusing to negotiate with the members of IBEW local 1228 and are refusing add them to the pension system that other station workers already participate in. This contract negotiation dispute resulted in WMUR’s sponsorship of the NH Democratic Presidential debate. The NH Democratic Party reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the WMUR workers, by continuing to boycott WMUR sponsored debates.

“We told WMUR Station Management earlier this year that New Hampshire Democratic candidates would not participate in WMUR sponsored debates as long as the negotiations between the Union Production workers and Hearst were not resolved.” said Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “We have not changed our position and the station knows it.”

This week, WMUR scheduled a Democratic Gubernatorial debate for next Tuesday night.  IBEW Local 1228 members are planning to hold an informational picket at WMUR’s Manchester studio the night of the debate.

Today, Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor, released the following statement regarding the scheduled gubernatorial debate hosted by WMUR Manchester and its parent company, Hearst Television, Inc. 

“Though I appreciate the opportunity provided by WMUR/Hearst, I strongly believe that each and every worker in the Granite State deserves a fair wage and benefits, and I stand with the dedicated workers of IBEW Local 1228.

“These workers are committed to delivering important information to the people of New Hampshire on a daily basis, and I strongly support their right to a collectively bargained contract. 

“Without an agreement in place between WMUR/Hearst and Local 1228, I will not cross the picket line to participate in next week’s debate. I encourage the other candidates to take the same stand.”

After receiving the news, Fletcher Fischer, Business Agent for the IBEW 1228 who represents the Union Production Department at WMUR who are struggling for their first contract said that they “greatly appreciated” the statement of support from Connolly.

“We are hopeful that all New Hampshire candidates running for Governor and any other office feel the same and show support to the working men and women who don’t deserve this type of Corporate attack. All they did was exercise their American right to form a Union and did not expect this type of retribution from the Company they have served so loyally for years,” Fischer added.

Pat Devney, campaign manager for Colin Van Ostern also released a statement in support of the IBEW workers but did not state whether Van Ostern would also skip the debate.

“With a full seven days between now and the debate, we encourage WMUR/Hearst management to sit down with employees and make meaningful and long-overdue progress toward a fair employment agreement.”

“We will continue to monitor negotiations and sincerely hope that progress can be made toward an agreement so that voters will have the opportunity to hear from all candidates about how we can keep New Hampshire moving forward.”

At the time of publication Steve Marchand had not responded to my request for a statement.

AFT-NH Announces Their Endorsement Of Andru Volinsky For Executive Council

Public School Advocate And Claremont Decision Lawyer Receives Big Endorsement From AFT-NH

Andru Volinsky CroppedConcord, NH—Yesterday, Executive Council candidate Andru Volinsky received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers of New Hampshire after years of dedication to public employees and supporting public education.  

Volinsky an attorney and most widely known for being lead counsel in the historic Claremont School District v Governor of New Hampshire case.  Volinsky was one of the three lawyers who represented the Claremont School District in their fight against the State for adequate school funding.  The Claremont decision forced the State to reevaluate how they disperse state funds to local schools and increased the stated contributions by over 8%.

WMUR reports that “[Volinsky] is currently representing the City of Dover in its lawsuit against the state contending that the cap on state adequacy money to school districts violates the state constitution.”

Volinsky also served as lead special counsel for the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation in its administrative prosecution of the Local Government Center.  That proceeding resulted in an Order requiring the return of over $50 million to local communities which will serve to reduce local property taxes and support the employment of teachers, firefighters and other public employees.

aft sqaure“From his work as the lead attorney on the Claremont School Funding suit to his continued involvement in fair public education funding and preserving the integrity of New Hampshire’s retirement system—issues of vital interest to the members of AFT-NH—Andru has proven his dedication to the working people of our state,” said AFT-NH President Doug Ley. “AFT-NH is proud to endorse Andru Volinsky for the Executive Council in District 2.”

“AFT-NH’s endorsement, and the support of New Hampshire’s education community, is a great honor,” said Volinsky. “As Executive Councilor, I will continue to fight to ensure that every New Hampshire child receives a quality education, regardless of their zip code and every New Hampshire retirement system member, including educators, first responders, and state employees, is supported.”

NEA-NH Endorses Maggie Hassan For US Senate Over Kelly Ayotte

CONCORD – Today, National Education Association-New Hampshire (NEA-NH), the state’s largest educator and public employee union, announced its backing of Governor Maggie Hassan for United States Senate.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of the National Education Association-New Hampshire and to stand with them as we continue working to advance educational opportunities for all of our students,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “When our young people are equipped with a strong education, we are able to expand opportunity and ensure that our workforce can to compete in our changing global economy. And it is unacceptable that politicians in Washington like Senator Kelly Ayotte have put their special interest backers ahead of our students. Every student, no matter their zip code, deserves to have access to a quality education, and in the United States Senate, I will continue fighting to support all of our students and educators.”

“Throughout her time in office, Maggie Hassan has consistently stood up for students, educators, and their families,” said NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray. “As our Governor, Maggie has fought to protect funding in our K-12 schools and has worked tirelessly to make college more affordable, and we know she’ll continue fighting for us in the Senate. Unlike Senator Kelly Ayotte, who has consistently put her political party and special interest backers before Granite State students, Governor Hassan will always put New Hampshire first. Governor Hassan understands that our state and nation are better off when students have access to a quality education, and we are proud to recommend her to be our next United States Senator.”

At the K-12 level, Governor Maggie Hassan has fought to protect funding levels for New Hampshire’s public schools, launched a Science Technology Engineering and Math Task Force to modernize STEM education, developed a new program to partner manufacturing companies with local schools and led efforts to reduce standardized testing in favor of more locally managed assessments – a model that is expanding nationally based on New Hampshire’s success. Governor Hassan has also fought to make college more affordable for students and families while building a 21st century workforce pipeline for our businesses. Under Maggie’s leadership, New Hampshire froze in-state tuition at our universities for the first time in 25 years and reduced tuition at community colleges.

In the Senate, Governor Hassan will fight to expand early childhood education, focus on STEM and encourage more participation by girls and young women, give New Hampshire schools the flexibility to put federal dollars to the best possible use and continue the Granite State’s leadership in empowering local school districts, students and teachers. Maggie will also fight to expand Pell Grants, lower interest rates on student loans, allow borrowers to refinance at today’s lower rates and work toward the goal of debt-free public college for all. She will also work to expand apprenticeship opportunities and make federal higher education grants and loans more flexible to support adult workers who are learning new skills.

Meanwhile, Senator Kelly Ayotte has put her party leaders and special interests backers ahead of Granite State students. Senator Ayotte has said she would eliminate or drastically cut the Department of Education, and has supported reckless Paul Ryan budgets that included steep cuts to K-12 education. Ayotte has also voted for deep cuts to Pell Grants while voting against allowing students to refinance their student loans

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