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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

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.

AFT-NH Testimony On HB 551 A Bill To Prevent Diversion Of Business Income To Tax Havens

aft sqaureLaura Hainey, President of the New Hampshire American Federation of Teachers (AFT-NH), spoke out in favor of HB 551, a bill to “prevent diversion of business income to tax havens.”  Read her official testimony submitted to the Ways and Means Committee.

Dear House Ways and Means Committee Members:

AFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

AFT-NH asks that your support HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

New Hampshire, along with 22 other states, already requires multinational corporations doing business in New Hampshire to treat all of their affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States as one entity that is taxed as such. This practice, known as combined reporting, limit’s companies’ ability to move taxable income from one subsidiary to another across states to avoid a particular state’s corporate tax.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire, however, can still avoid paying tax by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and state loss millions every year in taxable corporate revenue. Here in New Hampshire a study by the U.S Public Research Interest Group (PIRG) estimated that we had a revenue loss of $98 million in 2011.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “waters edge” loophole and require companies not only report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting. This bill HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens does just that. Montana and Oregon have enacted legislation to treat a proportionate share of the income that corporation’s book to know tax havens as domestic income and have collected millions in additional tax revenue. The US PIRG study estimated that a similar change in New Hampshire’s combined reporting requirements would yield $26.1 million in additional revenue for the state.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this remains true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

In closing please support HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

Laura Hainey (AFT-NH): Right To Work Weakens Collective Bargaining And Hurts All Workers

 

I am here today to ask that you defeat HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

aft sqaureAFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

Keep in mind, a union cannot unilaterally require nonmembers to pay their fair share. The employer and the union must negotiate and agree that workers are required to pay their fair share for representation.

Right now, either private or public employers and employees can freely negotiate to make sure everyone who benefits from a union contract pays their fair share of the costs of obtaining and protecting those benefits. But a “Right To Work” (RTW) law would allow the government to interfere unfairly in the freedoms of private and public employers and restrict the right to negotiate with their employees. Employers should be free to negotiate contracts without government intrusion.

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.

We all know there is no evidence to suggest that passing a RTW bill will improve our economy or create jobs for NH’s working families. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard that RTW legislation creates more jobs, presumably because a state becomes more attractive to employers when unions are not present or are weakened. The research does not support this point of view.

The so called RTW proposal hurts everyone. By many measures, the quality of life is worse in states with so-called RTW laws. Wages are lower, poverty and lack of insurance are higher, education is weaker—even infant mortality and the likelihood of being killed on the job are higher.

Lower Wages and Incomes

  • The average worker in states with RTW laws makes $1,540 a year less when all other factors are removed than workers in other states.1
  • Median household income in states with these laws is $6,437 less than in other states ($46,402 vs. $52,839).2
  • In states with RTW laws, 26.7 percent of jobs are in low-wage occupations, compared with 19.5 percent of jobs in other states.3

Less Job-Based Health Insurance Coverage

  • People in states with RTW laws are more likely to be uninsured (16.8 percent, compared with 13.1 percent overall; among children, it’s 10.8 percent vs. 7.5 percent).4
  • They’re less likely to have job-based health insurance than people in other states (56.2 percent, compared with 60.1 percent).5
  • Only 50.7 percent of employers in states with these laws offer insurance coverage to their employees, compared with 55.2 percent in other states. That difference is even more significant among small employers (with fewer than 50 workers)—only 34.4 percent of them offer workers health insurance, compared with 41.7 percent of small employers in other states.6

Higher Poverty and Infant Mortality Rates

  • Poverty rates are higher in states with RTW laws (15.3 percent overall and 21.5 percent for children), compared with poverty rates of 13.1 percent overall and 18.1 percent for children in states without these laws.7
  • The infant mortality rate is 15 percent higher in states with these laws.8
  • Less Investment in Education
  • States with RTW laws spend $3,392 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than other states, and students are less likely to be performing at their appropriate grade level in math and reading.9

Higher Rates of Death on the Job

  • The rate of workplace deaths is 36 percent higher in states with these laws, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.10

In closing, industries locate in a state for many reasons, but RTW laws are not among them. Factors like workforce productivity, availability of skilled workers, transportation, closeness to markets and materials, quality of life and proximity to research universities are the keys to economic growth. We need to create good jobs throughout the state, but an RTW law will not persuade companies to move here.

Please recommend ITL on HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

AFT-NH President

 

1 Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-michigan-economy/.

2 U.S. Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State, www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/2010/H08_2010.xls.

3 CFED, Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/low-wage-jobs.

4 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Census Bureau, POV46: Poverty Status by State: 2010, related children under 18, www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032011/pov/new46_100125_04.htm;

Table 19. Percent of Persons in Poverty, by State: 2008, 2009 and 2010, www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/hstpov19.xls.

8 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

9 National Education Association, Rankings & Estimates–Rankings of the States 2011 and Estimates of School Statistics 2012, December 2011, www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA_Rankings_And_Estimates_FINAL_20120209.pdf ;

CFED, Asset & Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/math-proficiency-8th-grade , and http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/reading-proficiency-8th-grade .

10 AFL-CIO, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, April 2012, www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report .

AFT-NH Legislative Update 2-16-15: The Governor’s Budget, Dividends Tax, And Right To Work

Things are moving at the State House. The governor presented her budget on Thursday, with the theme of:  “Responsible Budget Builds on Bipartisan Progress to Encourage Innovation, Expand Middle Class Opportunity, Support Job-Creating Businesses, and Attract and Retain More Young People”. This year there will be many hard decisions that will need to be made and they will not be easy ones.  

We know that in New Hampshire we have few revenue sources and we have a regressive tax system, meaning that citizens that have the least to spare pay the most. To read more on this click here. When reviewing bills AFT-NH keeps in mind that we support incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors.  All of this is vital to our shared economic success.

AFT-NH is supporting the following bills which will bring in necessary revenues while closing loop-holes in our current tax system:

  • HB 634-FN-A; relative to applying the interest and dividends tax to trusts, increasing exemptions, and extending the tax to capital gains; and relative to homeowners property tax relief and
  • HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens

The Governor’s presentation of her budget is the first step in a long process. The budget will now move to the House where they will hold hearings and recommend a budget for the full House to vote on. Once this is done it will be the Senate’s turn. During all of this I am sure there will be many closed door meetings to try to reach some agreement.  The final step is the Committee Of Conference, where the House, Senate and the Governor will work on a final recommendation to be voted on by both chambers. This final vote will take place in late June.

There have been many bills on Common Core And State Assessments.  Just like last year, AFT-NH understands that local school districts are in different stages of development with regards to Common Core and assessment.  Therefore, for any new standard to work we need to ensure that:

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice,
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,
  • Provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students,
  • Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply,
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments,
  • Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers,
  • Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards need to be offered,
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.

To read AFT-NH the full statement on Common Core and state Assessments click here.

There were also several bill hearings on raising the minimum wage this past week. Here are a few facts gleaned from the hearings:   

Those earning minimum wage in NH who would benefit from an increase–

72% are not teens, they’re 20 or older

36% are 30 or older

59% are women

14% have children

32% work full time

New Hampshire workers cannot make ends meet on today’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

With a full-time schedule, minimum wage workers earn less than $300 a week. After buying groceries or paying the rent, there’s little or nothing left to buy other basic necessities like heat, clothing, or gas for the car.

The Granite State is consistently recognized as a top place to live, work, and raise a family. But for minimum wage workers, it’s a real struggle to get by, let alone afford the basics.

New Hampshire’s low-wage workers work hard, play by the rules, and deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

The public agrees: the time to raise the minimum wage is now.

Poll after poll shows widespread support among the public for an increase in the minimum wage.

Public Policy polling results released January 15, 2014, found 60% of NH voters support increasing minimum wage to $10/hour, with only 29% opposed.

AFT-NH asks that the House Labor Committee make a recommendation to pass in increase in the minimum wage here in New Hampshire. It time we stand up and doing something that would benefit nearly 76,000 New Hampshire workers –or 12% of the labor force.

This coming week there are several hearing on the so called ‘Right To Work’.

The so called ‘Right to Work’ (RTW) proposal hurts everyone.  By many measures, the quality of life is worse in states with so-called “right to work” (RTW) laws. Wages are lower, poverty and lack of insurance are higher, education is weaker—even infant mortality and the likelihood of being killed on the job are higher.

We all know there is no evidence to suggest that passing a “Right To Work” bill will improve our economy or create jobs for NH’s working families. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard that Right to Work legislation creates more jobs, presumably because a state becomes more attractive to employers when unions are not present or are weakened. The research does not support this point of view.

RTW laws create a loophole in our labor laws that allows workers who decide not to be a part of a union to fully benefit from union representation—including higher wages, benefits, training, safety and protection from unfair discipline—without having to pay a single penny for it. That’s unfair to their co-workers who play by the rules and pay their fair share. And it weakens all workers’ ability to stand up for themselves and each other. That’s why these laws are called “right to work for less” laws.

We must also ask whether it the place of state government to tell private companies what they can and cannot agree to with a union?  Please take the time to consider the implications on the current working relationships in the workforce which for the most part have been productive and collegial. Why upset this balance?

AFT-NH will be asking the both chambers to defeat this and any legislation that either erodes or repeals NH’s collective bargaining laws for public employees.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

AFT-NH President


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Upcoming hearings for the week of February 16, 2015

Tuesday, February 17

Senate COMMERCE, Room 100, SH

2:20 p.m. SB 107-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB

9:00 a.m. SB 25-FN, relative to epinephrine administered in schools.

9:30 a.m. SB 152, requiring the state police to disclose the results of a criminal records check to school officials.

10:00 a.m. SB 190-FN, relative to payment of costs for career and technical education center programs and administration by the department of education, and establishing a tax credit against business profits taxes for donations to such centers.

10:30 a.m. SB 227, relative to calculating the cost of an adequate education.

11:00 a.m. SB 228-FN-L, relative to the maximum total education grant, adjustment of stabilization

Senate WAYS AND MEANS, Representatives’ Hall, SH

9:00 a.m. SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS, Room 302, LOB

1:15 p.m. HB 596-FN-L, relative to health insurance plans of public employers.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB

10:30 a.m. HB 568-FN, requiring a supervisory law enforcement officer to arrest a law enforcement officer when the supervisor knows that the law enforcement officer has committed a criminal offense.

11:00 a.m. HB 669-FN-L, requiring law enforcement agencies to report on the receipt of certain equipment and grants from the federal government and on the deployment of tactical teams.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

10:00 a.m. Executive session on

HB 116, relative to the renomination of teachers,

HB 124, relative to the implementation of new college and career readiness standards,

HB 126, establishing a commission to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school,

HB 142, relative to student social media policies by education institutions,

HB 206, relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students,

HB237, requiring vocational education centers to prioritize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula as a condition for funding,

HB 243, changing the definitions of “focus school” and “priority school” in the school performance and accountability law,

HB 253, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application,

HB 283, requiring school districts to establish a policy permitting a pupil’s parent or legal guardian to observe his or her classes, and

HB 302, requiring a public hearing prior to the submission of a grant application by the department of education.

2:30 p.m. HA 1, for the removal of certain state officials in the department of education.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB

11:00 a.m. HB 488, relative to an abusive work environment and the health and safety of public employees.

FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB

Budget presentations as follows:

2:45 p.m. Department of Education

FINANCE – (DIVISION II),Room 209, LOB

11:15 a.m. Work session on HB 651-FN-L, transferring the portion of special education costs directly related to health issues to the department of health and human services.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB

In Representatives Hall

1:00 p.m. HB 402-FN, establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

WAYS & MEANS, Room 202, LOB

10:30 a.m. HB 386-FN-A, reducing the rate of the business profits tax.

Wednesday, February 18

10 am House in session

Thursday, February 19

10 am Senate in session

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

9:30 a.m. HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school buses by special education pupils.

10:00 a.m. HB 519, establishing a committee to study department of education policies affecting dyslexic students.

10:30 a.m. HB 471, relative to the powers of the state board of education and the duties of school boards.

11:15 a.m. HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data.

1:00 p.m. HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information.

1:45 p.m. HB 527, establishing guidelines for school districts relative to the use of school resource officers.

2:15 p.m. HB 375, relative to providing information about effective forms of child discipline to parents.

2:45 p.m. HB 555, relative to participation of chartered public school students in school district cocurricular activities.

3:15 p.m. HB 578-FN, relative to state board of education compliance with unfunded federal education mandates.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 206, LOB

10:00 a.m. HB 600-FN, relative to paid sick leave for employees.

10:45 a.m. HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.

Friday, February 20

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

9:30 a.m. HB 603, relative to student exemptions from assessments, questionnaires, or surveys.

9:55 a.m. HB 566-FN-L, relative to consolidation of school administrative units.

10:20 a.m. HB 611-FN, requiring legislative approval of all agreements, contracts, grants, or waivers involving the department of education or the state board of education.

10:45 a.m. HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil.

11:10 a.m. HB 474, relative to grounds for denial of a chartered public school application.

11:35 a.m. HB 424, relative to the accessibility of assessment materials.

1:00 p.m. Executive session on

HB 322, relative to protection of personally identifiable data by the department of education,

HB 323, relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program,

HB 332, relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material,

HB346, relative to criminal history records checks for school employees and volunteers,

HB 375, relative to providing information about effective forms of child discipline to parents,

HB 424, relative to the accessibility of assessment materials, HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data,

HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information, and

HB 527, establishing guidelines for school districts relative to the use of school resource officers.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB

9:00 a.m. HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

10:00 a.m. HB 630-FN-A, establishing the New Hampshire video lottery.

11:00 a.m. HB 680-FN-L, relative to establishing the rate for and the collection of  the education property tax and establishing a homestead exemption from the education property tax.

AFT-NH Legislative Update 2-3-15: Kicking Off The Session

AFT NH Legislative Update

The 2015 session of the NH State legislature is underway and as always, there are many bills to follow and monitor.  Some legislative proposals will garner our support but others will earn our enmity and opposition as we defend the interests of our members and of working people in New Hampshire.  As we review proposed bills, we will determine our support or opposition based upon the basic legislative objectives listed below:

Education

  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight for neighborhood public schools that are safe, welcoming places for teaching and learning.
  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight to ensure that teachers and school staff are well-prepared, are supported, have manageable class sizes, and have time to collaborate so they can meet the individual needs of every child.
  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight to make sure our children have an engaging curriculum that includes art, music and physical education

Retirement

  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight for universal access to secure retirement plans into which the state of NH and its cities and towns pay their required yearly contributions.
  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight to ensure all workers are covered by retirement plans that provide consistent and adequate income to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight to ensure earned retirement benefits are fully funded and safeguarded from market volatility or changes in employers’ economic situations.

Public employees

  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight for first-rate public services that support communities and keep them safe, healthy and vibrant.
  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight to ensure public employees are well-prepared and supported so they can provide the high-quality services our communities depend on.

Collective bargaining

  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight for collective bargaining laws in the state of NH and will work to defeat any and all legislation that either erodes or repeals NH’s collective bargaining laws for public employees.

Revenues

  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight for incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors, and vital to our shared economic success.

Charter Schools Accountability

  • AFT-NH will stand up and fight for laws and regulations requiring full transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies.  We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voices in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools.

So far this session the House Education Committee heard testimony on HB 116: relative to the renomination of teachers. This bill reduces from 5 to 3 consecutive years of teaching required for a teacher to be entitled to notification and a hearing if the teacher is not reappointed. This bill would falls under our objective of “AFT-NH will stand up and fight to ensure that teachers and school staff are well-prepared, are supported, have manageable class sizes, and have time to collaborate so they can meet the individual needs of every child.”

AFT-NH believes that all teachers deserve due process when being non-renewed.  Due process is the right to a legitimate reason, or “just cause,” before a teacher can be fired and requires a notice and an impartial just cause hearing before termination. We are asking to be treated fairly and without prejudice.

A Red Issue Alert went out this week about the above bill and if you have not taken action there is still time by clicking here.

They are also many bills moving through both chambers in regards to Common Core and state assessments. These bills would fall under the objective of; “AFT-NH will stand up and fight to make sure our children have an engaging curriculum that includes art, music and physical education.”

If these Standards and assessments are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing the Standards:

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice,
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,
  • We must provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • We need to ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • We must communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students,
  • We must develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply,
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments,
  • We need to make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers,
  • We must be certain that assessments are aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
  • We need to have professional development and training in the Standards, and
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.

With regards to assessments, AFT-NH believes in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are aligned with curriculum rather than narrow it.  Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn. Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve.  Assessments should not be designed to deliver sanctions that undermine students, teachers and schools.  Development and implementation of such tests must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.

Further, AFT-NH believes that assessments designed to support teaching and learning must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing itself.

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on SB 1 reducing the rate of the business profits tax.This bill would fall under AFT-NH’s objective to “stand up and fight for incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors, and vital to our shared economic success.” AFT-NH has concerns with this bill. We have heard over and over that there is a $30 million shortfall in this current budget. With a hole of $30 million why would you cut roughly another $30 million in this biennium budget? How will this amount be made up or where in the budget will cuts be made?

Keep in mind that the state of New Hampshire already underfunds catastrophic special education aid to district by capping it at 72%.  With this cap of 72% the state has downshifted roughly $8 million onto communities.  There has been a moratorium on Building aid which has hindered many districts from complete upgrades, making repairs to buildings or building new schools. Remember:  50% of our school buildings are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

Lastly, what are the assurances that by reducing the business profits tax jobs would be created?  I see this as only leading to reductions in the public services that all citizens of New Hampshire rely upon.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

AFT-NH Red Alert: Standing Up Against Timberlane Regional School District Budget Cuts

A special message from AFT-NH

aft sqaurePLEASE ATTEND THE 2015 DELIBERATIVE SESSION

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 7:00 pm
at the Timberlane Regional High School Gymnasium
Registered voter check-in will begin at 6:00 pm in the TRHS Cafeteria

The Timberlane Regional School District is under attack at the deliberative session on February 5th.  Students and staff will suffer serious consequence if this cut passes. The District is comprised of the following towns: Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown.

We know based on public comments made by Arthur and Donna Green (budget committee and school board members) there will be a motion to cut the proposed school budget by at least $2.8 million or more.

The naysayers rely on the fact that we won’t show up—but we will when the education of our children is at stake.

If you live in the Timberlane Regional School District, PLEASE attend your deliberative session and support the school budget. Some of the threatened cuts suggested run so deep as to significantly impact programs, loss of positions and user fees for bussing, music and athletics.   The proposed budget has already been significantly reduced resulting in only a 0.58% increase. Yes- just above a one-half percent (1/2%) increase. There is no room for a cut of this magnitude without a diminishment of programs and significant loss of teaching and paraeducator positions.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and colleagues and ask them to attend the meeting! Your voice matters and you can control the destiny of your schools and protect public education in your town.

Please reach out to your local union leadership in the Timberlane Teachers’ Association and the Timberlane Support Staff Union on ways you can help.

Stand Up For Your Schools!

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Public Employees: Speak Up Knowing You Are Protected!

Written by
Terri D. Donovan, Esq.,
Director of Collective Bargaining and Field Services
American Federation of Teachers-NH

NH House Committee Hearing (Image by Christopher Schmidt CC on FLIKR)

NH House Committee Hearing (Image by Christopher Schmidt CC on FLIKR)

All of a sudden there are many meetings in our cities, towns and school districts consumed with budget hearings and deliberative sessions where funding decisions will be made about our schools and vital public services. You read the headlines. The loud voices to slash budgets seem to be heard above all. Will you sit on the sidelines or speak up about important public services and your schools?

You go to work every day and teach your students, plow the roads, answer a burglary call or respond to a house fire. You wonder do these naysayers really know what is happening every day in your workplace. Do your fellow community members realize the pride you take in your work? Or are you just a line item in a budget?

This time of year there are many questions from our members and other public employees if they are allowed to speak at a public meeting. If they speak, can they be disciplined? Fired? The answer is NO. As a public employee in NH you have a right to free speech. Just because your paycheck is from a city, town or school district does not diminish your right to be heard.

If you are covered by a union contract you have protections. In fact, AFT-NH Local #6214, Pittsfield Town Employees, filed an Unfair Labor Charge at the NH Public Employees Labor Relations Board in 2012 which addressed a gag order which had been imposed by the Pittsfield Board of Selectmen. The gag order was passed when union members spoke out against an egregious budget cut and actions taken to implement this cut. The Selectmen retracted this order shortly thereafter but the Union pursued the claim to stand up for public employees’ free speech rights. The NH PELRB was clear in supporting public employees in their rights to speak public about their collective bargaining agreements and their working conditions.

The NH PELRB ordered the following, “The Town shall cease and desist from any activity, including the development and enforcement of any policy, that would prohibit bargaining unit employees’ communications with the public or media on the issues related to collective bargaining or the terms and conditions of their employment.”

Also as a public employee in New Hampshire you have unique statutory protection under Chapter 98-E, Public Employee Freedom of Expression. If your employer is a county, city, town, school district, SAU, precinct or water district you are protected.

 98-E:1 Freedom of Expression. – Notwithstanding any other rule or order to the contrary, a person employed as a public employee in any capacity shall have a full right to publicly discuss and give opinions as an individual on all matters concerning any government entity and its policies. It is the intention of this chapter to balance the rights of expression of the employee with the need of the employer to protect legitimate confidential records, communications, and proceedings. 

Please check for important meetings in your city and town. Deliberative sessions and budget hearings are happening now! You may not be comfortable speaking but jot down a few notes so you feel more comfortable. Speaking from the heart and with sincere concerns will resonate with fellow community members. Your opinion does matter to them. Be sure to avoid disclosing any confidential information you may know as a result of your work. You should rely on your Union to advise when it is appropriate in the collective bargaining process to speak out publicly. Once a contract is presented to the voters for approval, it is very important for you to reach out for support in the community.

You can speak to what you would believe to be the impact of budget cuts and speak proudly of the work done in your district or municipality. When you speak out you offer encouragement and support for others in the community to also have their voices heard.

Please don’t be silenced!

 

 

 

The Colbert Report Highlights The FREE KEENE Robin Hoods

Screen shot of the Colbert Report 11-19-14 show on Free Keene

Screen shot of the Colbert Report 11-19-14 show on Free Keene

Last night the Colbert Report covered something that we in New Hampshire have been talking about at length for years, the Free Staters, specifically Free Keene.

The Colbert Report focused on the Free Keene Robin Hooders and their harassment of parking attendants.  The NH Labor News was one of the first to break the story about the harassment of Keene police officers in our story, “Free Keene from ‘Free-Keene': A Story Of Harassment In The Workplace.

I am glad to see that The Colbert Report is bringing some national attention to the outrageous and threatening actions of the Free Keene Robin Hoods.

American Federation of Teachers-NH Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan and Strong Education Record for Re-Election

Hassan_AFT_Endorsement_2014MANCHESTER—Citing her unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity for New Hampshire’s working families, the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH) announced its endorsement of Governor Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Maggie Hassan has been a relentless fighter for the priorities of working families, particularly for strengthening our schools and making it easier for families to afford college. We must re-elect her so that we can continue striving to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed,” said AFT-NH President Laura Hainey. “It’s all too clear that Walt Havenstein does not share the priorities of working Granite Staters as he pushes a so-called ‘plan’ that would create a $90 million hole in the state’s budget to give more tax breaks to big businesses at the expense of middle class families. From working across party lines to expand health coverage to 50,000 Granite Staters, to freezing in-state tuition and preserving funding for K-12 education, Governor Hassan has proven that she will always be there for our state’s children and working families, and that’s why we’ll be there for her this November.”

“It’s an honor to have earned the support of AFT-NH, whose members help educate our children, protect our citizens, and strengthen our communities each and every day,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Over the past year and a half, we have proven that we can come together to balance our budget without a sales or income tax and invest in the priorities that will help create good-paying jobs and expand middle class opportunity. Our children and our state simply cannot afford to let my opponent take us back to the same devastating cuts to education, health care and public safety that hurt our economy and middle class families during the Bill O’Brien era. We must keep our New Hampshire moving in the right direction toward a brighter economic future for all children and families.”

Governor Hassan worked across party lines to pass a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that maintained funding for K-12 education and restored funding for higher education – making it possible to freeze in-state tuition at the university system and reduce tuition at our community colleges.

The Governor created a Science Technology Engineering and Math Task Force to modernize STEM education in our public schools, and launched a new effort to partner manufacturing companies directly with classes at local schools, building relationships that can lead to a stronger workforce pipeline. She also established a public-private initiative with Manchester-based Media Power Youth aimed at reducing the risk of violence and crime in our schools and communities.

The Governor will continue working to ensure that we maintain New Hampshire’s status as one of the safest states in the nation, and that our children have access to a world-class education in order to be prepared for success in the 21st century economy.

About AFT-NH

AFT-NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members 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.

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