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Today Is The Birthday Of A Great Man, Do You Know Who It Is?

I wanted to take a minute to celebrate the birth of a great man.  A man who was taken from us in his prime.  That man was John F Kennedy, and today would have been his 95th birthday.  The Kennedy family has always worked to make the middle class stronger and build America to the greatest nation in the world.   Though his time in office was short he helped the middle class greatly.

From The White House.Com

His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty. 

Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society. 

He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.

He was a leader in the civil rights movement as well as the labor movement.  In January of 1962, President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988 that allowed those workers in the Federal Government to form and join in a union.  The 1960s and 70s were the peak of Unionism in the United States but EO10988 is still in effect.  Shortly after its passage many of the states adopted their own version of public sector bargaining laws.  Now, public sector unions are the largest section of union workers in America.

Without President Kennedy none of this would have happened.  I thank you President Kennedy, and Happy Birthday!


Fighting for our Future!
May 18, 2012

While we had a collective sigh of relief this week when the Senate tabled HB 1206, the automatic increase in insurance contributions, there are still a few weeks left in this session. We will be tracking tabled and amended bills very carefully as Committees of Conference for the House and Senate begin their work.

Here is what we know as of now.  May 17th was the last day to act on bills for both the House and Senate but they still have until  May 24th to form Committees of Conference. We know that we will need to remain vigilant on all of the Committees of Conference since at any time a committee member can still try to add on language from other bills.

Keeping all of this in mind,  IT’S NOT OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER. The legislature has until June 7th to act on all Committees of Conference reports. We will keep you informed and let you know of requests for action which will definitely be with short notice given the nature of conference committee work.

A summary of the status of our key bills is provided below.

Let’s not slow down now—the commitment you have shown since the legislature convened in January, 2011 has been remarkable. We are stronger as a result of these attacks and we will march to victory in November.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President


Here’s where we are:

HB 1677 relative to choice as to whether to join a labor union and eliminating the duty of a public employee labor organization to represent employees who elect not to join or to pay dues or fees to the employee organization.—PASSED BY THE HOUSE AND TABLED BY THE SENATE

HB 1685 relative to public employee opt-outs from labor organization membership and dues payments. TABLED BY THE HOUSE

HB 1206 relative to continuing obligations under expired public employee labor agreements.   PASSED BY THE HOUSE TABLED BY THE SENATE

HB 1645(New Title) relative to decertification of a bargaining unit. PASSED BY THE HOUSE AND  REFERRED TO INTERIM STUDY BY THE SENATE.  THE HOUSE THEN PUT THE LANGUAGE OF THIS BILL ONTO HB 378 allowing municipalities to remove snow from private roads and driveways and class VI highways, and relative to decertification of a bargaining unit.

We have not learned yet what the Senate intends to do with HB 378 now that is has been amended. They can either agree with it (which then it would move to the Governor’s desk for signature or veto), not agree (which would kill the bill) or ask for a Committee of Conference.

Late yesterday,  HB 1704,  relative to political contributions and expenditures, reporting by political committees and nomination of political organizations,   WAS TAKEN OFF THE TABLE BY THE SENATE and passed as amended. We are reviewing the implications for our organization and the fall elections.

We have the two education tax credits bills,  HB 1607 and SB 372. The Senate passed HB 1607 by a vote of 17 to 7. While the House passed HB 378 by a vote of 236 to 97. The next step is to see if either side concurs or non- concurs with the other. If either side concurs, then that bill passes and goes to the governor. If either side non- concurs, they can ask for a committee of conference or the bill dies.

At this point, we don’t know what they will do or what will happen. We do know they have until May 24th to form a Committee of Conference.

We do know that CACR 12’s  (educational funding constitutional amendment) Committee of Conference will be meeting May 22nd and 23rd to try to work something out. We also know that there is new proposed language circulating for the amendment.  It has been developed entirely by House leadership and its advisers and the speaker is working hard to get Republicans behind it.  The Senate is said to have agreed to this language, but the Governor has not made a public announcement.

There is much to review in regard to all the pension bills and a complete pension update will be forthcoming this weekend.

Good News Out Of Wisconsin, Makes A Better Case Against NH House Legislation

Yesterday, a Federal Judge in Wisconsin threw out sections of the Act 10 amendment that removed collective bargaining rights on the workers in Wisconsin.  While this was not a complete win for the workers, it does make a statement.

The court sided with state officials in upholding limitations on what can be bargained, but found the two other provisions violated the union members’ equal protection and First Amendment rights, considering that the same rules did not apply to unions for public safety workers such as police and firefighters. 

“So long as the State of Wisconsin continues to afford ordinary certification and dues deductions to mandatory public safety unions with sweeping bargaining rights, there is no rational basis to deny those rights to voluntary general unions with severely restricted bargaining rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge William M. Conley.”

What they did say is that you cannot say one union is different from another.  If you say that Public Safety Unions have rights to bargain, then all Unions have the right to bargain.  They did however say that the State maintained the right to limit what could be bargained. Therefor unions will not be able to bargain over pay.

Peg Lautenschlager, the attorney for the Wisconsin State Employees Union, called the decision a “great victory” for her client.  

“Obviously, we’re thrilled,” Lautenschlager said. “The collective bargaining part is a disappointment. But the notion that a federal judge has said to Scott Walker that he’s gone too far on this law is fabulous.”

Peg is right! This is a reason to celebrate.  The courts have stated that Governor Walker went to far.  This could also has implications in other states as well.  What does this mean to current legislation being pushed in the New Hampshire House?

However, Conley found that the two other changes – annual recertification and the ban on automatic dues deduction – violated the First Amendment rights of the affected workers. 

“The court would be remiss not to at least note the likely burden the annual recertification process imposes on the members’ speech and association rights,” he wrote.

This statement alone could mean that if the NH House passes HB1645 it is likely that it would be overturned in a court of law.  HB 1645 includes provisions similar to Act 10 that mandate a de-certification vote initiated by the employer.  With significate and recent federal case law to back it up the argument could here in NH that HB 1645 is unconstitutional.

Do we  really want to spend more of New Hampshire’s valuable time and resources to fight this battle in court.  I think the State Legislature should look at this recent ruling and what it would mean to the current batch of collective bargaining laws amendments.  It would be in the best interest of the State and the Taxpayers of New Hampshire to reject these laws now.  The ball is in your court NH Senate!

Full Article

Republic Airlines Sues Teamsters For Telling The Truth

For many people in New Hampshire and around the United States, flying is part of everyday life.  Many people commute to work on small aircraft. In New Hampshire, I personally know people who commute to New York, and DC weekly.  The Manchester / Boston Regional airport uses a mix of major and commuter airlines to provide airline service to New Hampshire.  Republic Airlines, which I will discuss more about, is the largest commuter airline to fly in and out of New Hampshire.

For pilots, flying can be a great career choice.  Big airlines seem tempting with perks like international trips, retirement plans, five day on / seven days off, and pay that could  exceed $250,000.  For most pilots, these luxury flying jobs are becoming harder and harder to get.  Most of the pilots flying today are flying smaller commuter jets, and for smaller commuter airlines.  Commuter airlines used to be the place where newer pilots would work to gain hours and experience before being hired for a “major” airline.

As the aviation industry grew and fuel costs get higher and higher, airlines have been forced to cut back.  They have raised the prices of tickets and cut the wages of pilots.  According to AvScholars.com the average commuter airline pilot makes between $16,000 and $60,000 per year. That may seem like a good number but what they are not telling you is that starting pay is $16,000 and their top pay is $60,000.   For Republic Airlines the starting salary for a co-pilot (entry level) is $35,000.  This does not seem like adequate pay for someone who is handling the lives of millions of people a year.  The life of a commuter pilot is no picnic.  They work 10-14 hours per day, and fly around 23 days a month.  This means they get 7 full days off in a month, that is if you live at the home base of the airline. If you have to commute to your airlines hub airport to start your work week, you may loose one of your days off.

Pilots have long known the power of organizing and being members of unions.  Most of the major airlines are represented by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA).  Recently the Teamsters have been working to organize some of the commuter airlines.  Indianapolis based Republic Airlines (RAH)  is one of the largest commuter airlines in the market. For the last five years RAH Pilots have been working without a contract.  It has become so bad with RAH and the Teamsters that Local 357 members have already voted to strike.  They have been in heated contract negotiations since 2007.

Now RAH is attempting to sue the Teamsters for their website RAHcontractNow.org.  Why would you ask? Because it is causing problems with RAH hiring new pilots.  “As a result of these inaccurate statements,” the airlines said, “Republic has had an increase in the number of pilots who have not called back for interviews and dropped out of the application process (1).”  RAH is working to quickly hire enough pilots to continue operations if and when the union goes on strike.  The Teamsters are just telling the prospective applicants what it is really like working for RAH.
Here are a few examples (2):

  • Incredibly long upgrade time. Currently 5 years. For a pilots hired today, they need the fleet to double, or for roughly 800 current First Officers to upgrade before they could upgrade.
  • It is not uncommon to have a few flights of your schedule canceled. Flights cancel, that’s life. But at RAH, you don’t get paid for them unless the company finds something else for you to do. For many of our pilots, this could constitute a 20% pay cut any given month. Cancellations strike without regard to seniority, paycheck, or previous cancellations.
  • RAH displaced an entire base of pilots from HNL (yes, Honolulu) to LGA (yes, New York City). How much time were the pilots given to make the move, you ask? 3 weeks. 3 weeks to cancel their leases and relocate their lives 5,000 miles away.

As you can see these are merely statements of facts from the people who are actually working for the airline, not people paid to promote the airline.  These points are also very important to potential pilots.  Remember how I said that RAH starts pilots out at $35,000 per year.  Without any contract, the pilots have not received any raises in over four years, and the average “upgrade time” is five years. That means if you take this job, it will be five years or more before you will move from co-pilot to captain, and you will make $35,000 max.  That is if you fly all of the flights they have planned for you.  Lets hope they do not cancel any of your flights, because if your not flying their not paying.

Good pilots are hard to find.  Republic Airlines should be respecting their pilots and working with the Teamsters to create a collective bargaining agreement. They should not be trying to hire a secondary workforce so they can fire all the union workers when they go on strike.  These corporate tactics should not be allowed and public needs to be aware of these actions as well.  I applaud the Teamsters for speaking the truth and working to spread the word about the horrible treatment of Republic Airlines employees. I went to college with many pilots who now work for Republic Airlines.  To them I say, Stay Strong!

Additional Information
Teamsters Local 357 represents pilots and airline crew from Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines, Shuttle America, and Frontier Airlines.

1) http://www.ibj.com/republic-airlines-file-federal-suit-against-pilots-union/PARAMS/article/33538
2) http://www.rahcontractnow.org/

UPDATED: March 22nd National Day of Action: CWA and IBEW at Verizon, the Fight for a Fair Contract Continues | Working Families United for New Jersey

5-7 PM Thursday
Manchester and Portsmouth NH

Thursday March 22 Stand in Solidarity with our brothers and sisters in CWA!

From CWA: 

Last August, 45,000 members of CWA and IBEW went on strike in order to pressure Verizon to bargain. The company went back to the negotiating table, but many issues remain unresolved and no contract is in sight. Verizon wants to eliminate jobs and promote outsourcing. Workers want to save their health benefits. 

We need to preserve middle class jobs and to fight against unrestrained corporate greed. Verizon’s top five executives made $283 million in the last 4 years, and from 2008-2010 Verizon did not pay any federal corporate income taxes. Despite billions in profits, Verizon is targeting worker health benefits and jobs that provide a middle class standard of living. 

Now is the time to show our solidarity and support for our brothers and sisters in CWA and IBEW. Be there for them and for yourselves on the March 22nd Day of Action! Details will be forthcoming on how you can participate in the March 22nd Day of Action for Verizon workers.

I have also included a Flyer (right) about the local CWA action at the Verizon Wireless Store on South Willow Street, A OR Verizon Wireless Store 1801 Woodbury Ave, Portsmouth, NH from 5-7.  Please make an effort to stop and take part of the this event.  I will be there to hand out information and show my support.  For more information contact Felicia at 

Below is a short video from CWA that talks about the struggles that CWA has had with Verizon and negotiating their new contract.


MARCH 14, 2012

Today is a dark day for the well-being of New Hampshire’s middle class and in the history of collective bargaining in the Granite State.  Elected by voters on a platform promising jobs, the New Hampshire House today passed three devastating anti-labor and anti-middle class bills that will gut collective bargaining.  A system that has worked to everyone’s benefit for over 35 years is now to be overthrown.  Just days after “springing forward” into Daylight Savings, under the leadership of Speaker O’Brien the House voted to turn the clock back to the early 1970s if not earlier! We are grateful to those House Republicans and Democrats who are standing strong with us and will be there to help us sustain a veto of these bills.

If this legislation becomes law, the stability and security of middle-class New Hampshire families will be sacrificed to the grasping greed of corporate-funded and out-of-state lobbying groups like ALEC and Americans for Prosperity (funded by the billionaire Koch brothers).  Do you really want to return to the past of lower wages, few job protections, and a cutthroat work environment filled with nepotism and favoritism? NO!!!   We will look forward, knowing that we stand for those who are the backbone of this state and this nation—the great middle-class!

So, what lies ahead?  In the State House, the next step is three of these bills will move over to the Senate where each will have a hearing. It will be crucial that we reach out to our Senators and ask that they defeat these bills. Let’s double down and try to defeat these bills in the Senate and not be held hostage for the next 9 months at the whim of Speaker O’Brien in calling for a veto override vote. Remember last year?  For each of these bills we do have the numbers to sustain a veto but let’s not leave it all up to that chance–LET’S GET THEM DEFEATED IN THE SENATE!

Below is what the votes were today on HB 1206, HB 1677, HB 1645, and HB 1685.

HB 1206 passed 198 to 137

This was originally a bill to prohibit automatic deduction of union dues, but all the original language was replaced with a proposal that calls for an automatic split of health care cost increases for public employees occurring after a contract expires, regardless of the original terms of the expired contract. This would cause your health insurance costs to skyrocket upon expiration of any contract.

HB 1645 passed 194 to 141

Originally, this bill would have repealed ALL public sector collective bargaining. Again, the extremists replaced all the original language and what emerged was a bill permitting employers to initiate and run, under certain circumstances, decertification elections in public sector unions. Currently, only employees can ask for a decertification election and this can occur only when at least 30% of workers in a workplace ask for it. This bill would allow public employers to decide when the union would be forced to have an election even though current NH labor law has a process in place and there is NO evidence it is broken.

HB 1677 passed 198 to 139

They are at it again with this re-write of the Right to Work “for less” bill that the House failed to override last session. It has in it an additional provision that would strip public sector unions of exclusive representation, introducing chaos and confusion into public workplaces. This bill will create an environment ripe for favoritism and nepotism and would be an administrative nightmare for our cities, towns and school districts. The bill would permit workers in the public sector to opt in and out of the union as often as they like, creating confusion for employers as well as unions and laying the groundwork for endless lawsuits and grievances.  It is a recipe for poisoning the workplace and will cost taxpayers dearly while striking at the middle-class.

HB 1684 was tabled with a vote of 281 to 32. Keep in mind that this can be taken off the table at any time.

This is another bill that was gutted and totally re-written in Executive session.  As it now stands, the bill would mandate a totally new system of membership and redefine bargaining unit positions.  Unions would be able to require workers to pay a newly established “negotiating fee” but workers would be able to pull entire positions out of the bargaining unit if they could get 100% of people in those positions to agree to do so. It is unclear how positions would move in and out of bargaining units over time. This is just another attempt to water down the current collective bargaining laws, divide employees into factions, and weaken your union.  Why?  Because the corporate lobbyists endorse it!  NO ONE has ever testified to claim it is an existing problem!

We face assaults on education and on collective bargaining from almost every direction in the State Legislature. Our opponents are extremists who will do incalculable damage to our state, damage it will take years to repair! They hope to exhaust you, to confuse you, to wear you down. DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN! STAY ACTIVE AND STAY INFORMED!!

Keep up the great work and thank you for all you are doing! They will know that AFT-NH members care and will be heard now and in November!

For late breaking news and all updates, please visit AFT-NH on Facebook and “like us!

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

“Fighting For Our Future”  www.aft-nh.org

Groundhog Day in the New Hampshire House (via Blue Hampshire)

This is another cross post from a labor blogger on Blue Hampshire

If madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, it may be time for Speaker O’Brien to see a therapist.

As we had all predicted, Speaker O’Brien held a vote on New Hampshire’s newest right-to-work bill (HB 1677) today.

Predictably, it didn’t follow the House calendar.

Predictably, it passed.

Predictably, it didn’t get the two-thirds vote needed to overturn a governor’s veto.

Even the vote count (198-139) was essentially unchanged from last year, leaving workers and labor leaders asking: what exactly was the point?

“Speaker O’Brien has made absolutely no headway in pushing his pet piece of legislation with legislators and the public over the last year,” New Hampshire AFL-CIO president Mark MacKenzie said in the Nashua Telegraph’s write-up of the vote. “Right-to-work is just as wrong today as it was last year, and today’s vote reflects that.”

The vote came just weeks after Speaker O’Brien and his allies promised to focus on jobs in the new legislative session. In a statement released after the vote, MacKenzie decried the Republican leadership for wasting more time on the Speaker’s pet legislation:

“Poll after poll has shown that Granite Staters are sick of the right-to-work fight and sick of politicians who put personal agendas before their commitment to New Hampshire. At a time when New Hampshire residents are looking to the Legislature for action on jobs, we cannot spend another year arguing over right-to-work.”

Statement from NH Labor Leaders on Right-to-Work for Less Vote

Statement from New Hampshire Labor Leaders on New Hampshire House Vote on HB 1677

After the New Hampshire House failed to get enough votes to pass a repeat of right-to-work by veto-proof margins, New Hampshire’s labor leaders lambasted Speaker O’Brien for pushing an extreme, unnecessary right-wing agenda over the real needs of Granite Staters for the second year in a row. The vote count (198-139) was essentially unchanged from last year.

“Speaker O’Brien has made absolutely no headway in pushing his pet piece of legislation with legislators and the public over the last year. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans who voted to sustain the governor’s veto of right-to-work have wavered.  Right-to-work is just as wrong today as it was last year, and today’s vote reflects that,” said Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

“At a time when New Hampshire residents are looking to the Legislature for action on jobs, we cannot spend another year arguing over right-to-work. Poll after poll has shown that Granite Staters are sick of the right-to-work fight and sick of politicians who put personal agendas before their commitment to New Hampshire. The working men and women of this state want jobs, not attacks on workers.”

“Speaker O’Brien is trying to import an economic strategy that will not work for New Hampshire,” said Diana Lacey, president of the State Employees Association. “Businesses are coming to NH and increasing their size because NH already has the right mix of business development support, regulation and most notably, a highly skilled and educated workforce.  Business owners know that making the right decision to invest in workers creates all the difference in the world.  Businesses are not demanding attacks on worker rights and their unions.  It is time for the Legislature to focus on the issues that really matter for good job growth…quality education and innovative business programs.”

Rhonda Wesolowski, president of NEA-NH, pointed out that today’s votes would gut a system that is already fair, transparent and representative. “Yesterday, voters across New Hampshire went to the polls to decide the fate of contracts for teachers, aides and support staff, giving taxpayers the last word on what, for many, is the largest portion of their local tax bills.  The final tally is far less important than the fact that the current collective bargaining system, guaranteeing local control and democratic decision making, works without interference from lawmakers in Concord and has for decades.”

For immediate release
Contact: Nora Frederickson, New Hampshire AFL-CIO, 603-785-4211
              Beth D’Ovidio, SEA, 603-271-3411
               George Strout, NEA-NH, 603-244-7751###

NH AFL-CIO: Union Leader in no position to ask for “compromise” on RTW

For immediate release
Contact: Nora Frederickson, New Hampshire AFL-CIO 603-785-4211

NH AFL-CIO Pres. Mark MacKenzie: Union Leader in no position to ask for “compromise” on collective bargaining

Demonstrating just how out of touch the Union Leader is with Granite Staters and members of its own staff, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper urged legislators last week in the New Hampshire House to adopt HB 1677, a new right-to-work bill that applies only to public employees.

“It comes as no surprise that a newspaper that cannot manage labor relations with their own employees is telling the state to step in and get rid of the collective bargaining law,” said President Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, citing contentious contract negotiations that lasted five months and were only settled in February. Staff at the newspaper have been laid off or forced into part-time work, and several have quit in response to their treatment from management. “An employer with such a troubled history has no right to tell any other employer in New Hampshire how to manage relationships with their employees.”

“At a time when New Hampshire residents are looking to the Legislature for action on jobs, the editorial board at the Union Leader would rather see our elected officials waste another year arguing over right-to-work than take meaningful action to create jobs,” continued MacKenzie. “Poll after poll has shown that Granite Staters are sick of the right-to-work fight. The working men and women of this state want jobs, not attacks on workers.”

President MacKenzie disagreed with editors at the Union Leader who had called this new right-to-work bill a “compromise” that “strikes a better balance” between the leaders, workers, and businesses who want to preserve fifty years of collective bargaining law and extreme Tea Party legislators who want to bar collective bargaining outright.

“It is not a compromise to present a right-to-work bill as an alternative to a bill that revokes public employees’ rights. Both of these bills dismantle our state’s collective bargaining law and threaten the right of New Hampshire workers to have a voice at work. Asking legislators to settle on one of them as a compromise is a deliberate ploy to pick apart the law in any possible way. The Union Leader should either recognize Speaker O’Brien’s strategy for what it is or stay out of the debate on the collective bargaining law.”


An In Depth Look At How NH Education Exceeds All Right To Work States

“Fighting For Our Future”
March 11, 2012

Public Education Matters and Collective Bargaining Works

As Speaker O’Brien and his extremist allies in the Statehouse continue their assaults on collective bargaining, let’s take a moment to focus upon education.

We’ve already seen how data disproves claims that Right to Work—For Less legislation does not yield new jobs, contrary to the claims of its vocal supporters.  We also know that New Hampshire outperforms ALL RTW states on a wide array of social and economic indicators.

Compared to every RTW state, NH has a

  • Lower violent crime rate
  • More health insurance coverage
  • Fewer children under age 6 living in poverty
  • Higher median family incomes
  • Higher individual weekly earnings. (i)

But what about education?  What can statistics tell us about New Hampshire’s education system, as compared to states with RTW-for less or states with no collective bargaining rights for educators?(See note for list of states).

The current assault on collective bargaining here in New Hampshire is sponsored not just by groups who dislike organized labor. No, many of them dislike and would love to dismantle public education itself, the very system which Time Magazine just a few months ago labeled the single biggest contributor to social and economic mobility and the key to the very survival of THE AMERICAN DREAM.!(ii)   What are these extremists trying to do?  Do they really think destroying collective bargaining in education will somehow improve the system?  What can we learn from the data?

As reported by the National Center for Education Statistics in their November 2011 “Nation’s Report Cards” on reading and on math (iii) :


  • NH students score higher than all 22 RTW states and all 16 states without educator collective bargaining rights in READING at the 4th and 8th grade levels.
  • NH has a higher % of 4th and 8th grade students testing as proficient or advanced readers than students in all 22 RTW states.
  • NH has a higher % of 4th grade & 8th grade students testing as proficient or advanced readers than students in virtually every one of the 16 states lacking collective bargaining for teachers (only 8th graders in Colorado equal NH).


  • NH 4th grade students outperform students in all 22 RTW states and all 16 states without educational collective bargaining.  Their scores are higher AND a larger % of NH 4th graders rate as proficient or advanced in Math compared to students in these states.   
  • NH 8th grade students outscore students in every 21 of 22 RTW states and 15/16 anti-collective bargaining states (only North Dakota students exceed those of New Hampshire).  Even so, more NH 8th grade students rank as proficient or advanced in math than students in EVERY ‘right-to-work’ and EVERY anti-collective bargaining state.  

In other words, NH’s 4th and 8th graders, learning from teachers and in schools operating under the collective bargaining laws in place since 1975 OUTPERFORM students in all the states limiting or prohibiting collective-bargaining for teachers.

Collective bargaining is certainly not the only factor contributing to New Hampshire’s excellent educational performance, but the stability and fairness created in the workplace by collective bargaining makes for a better work environment.  A better working environment leads to more productive workers, and in this case, that means superior learning and test performance by New Hampshire’s students.

There is more data supporting the reality that collective-bargaining supports and enhances effective public education.  For example, according to US Census Bureau and US Dept. of Education statistics as summarized in the book THE MEASURE OF AMERICA, 2010-2011 (iv) :

  • NH’s high school graduation rates in 2007 and again in 2009 exceeded those of 18/22 ‘right to work states’ (all but the sparsely populated Great Plains states of North & South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa).
  • NH’s high school graduation rates in 2007 and again in 2009 exceeded the rates in 15 out of the 16 states with no collective bargaining rights for teachers (only Missouri barely exceeded NH).
  • In 2008, only one state (Wyoming) had a higher percentage of its adult population possessing high school diplomas.  The other 21 RTW and 15 anti-collective bargaining states had a smaller % of their adult population having finished high school and obtained a diploma.
  • In 2008, New Hampshire featured a rate of adults possessing college degrees (Bachelor’s or higher) than 21/22 of the RTW states and 14/16 anti-collective bargaining states.  Only Virginia and Colorado exceeded New Hampshire.  

Once again, many factors influence high school graduation rates but having a corps of dedicated and committed teachers working in a stable and fair workplace definitely contributes to New Hampshire’s excellent performance.  Moreover, the more highly-educated a state’s population, the more effective are the engines of economic growth and prosperity, and the more likely we are to live out the AMERICAN DREAM.  Is this what we want to put at risk?

Finally, we have ACT and SAT scores available to us to compare our 2011 New Hampshire students to those in other states (v). 

  • In 2011, 18% of NH high school students took the ACT exam, hoping to use it to gain admission to colleges and universities in regions outside the Northeast and East.  Their mean ACT composite score was higher than the mean composite score for students in EVERY ‘right-to-work’ and every anti-collective bargaining state.
  • In 2011 77% of NH high school seniors took the SAT.  If we look at only states with at least an 18% participation rate like that of NH on the ACT, NH high school seniors had a mean SAT combined score higher than those in 21 of 22 ‘right to work’ 15 of 16 anti-collective bargaining states (only Idaho and Colorado had at least 18% taking the SAT and doing better than NH seniors).  

Using SAT and ACT scores is a bit difficult, because students in each state tend to mostly take one or the other exam.  Those who take the alternate exam (the ACT in New Hampshire, the SAT in many ‘right to work’ or anti-collective bargaining states) tend to be highly-motivated and strong students seeking admission to colleges and universities outside their home state and their region.  Still, if we level the playing field and look only at states with at least an 18% high school senior participation rate on the ACT or the SAT, New Hampshire outperforms virtually every ‘right to work’ and anti-collective bargaining state.  What does this show?  Once again, New Hampshire’s high school seniors demonstrate their proficiency and high level of accomplishment and learning.  They do this as products of an educational system that is stable, fair, and built upon the bedrock of collective-bargaining.

In other words, WE ALL BENEFIT from collective bargaining rights.

Prepared By Dr. Douglas Ley, Associate Professor of History
Franklin Pierce University
Vice President, Rindge Faculty Federation (AFT 2433)

‘Right to Work-for less’ states in 2011:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming.

States which do not ensure collective bargaining rights in education:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.


i  Lafer, Gordon.  “Right to Work:  A Failed Policy.  A New Hampshire Update.”  2011.  Economic Policy Institute.
ii  Zakaria, Fareed.  “When Will We Learn?”  Time.  November 14, 2011.
iii  National Assessment of Educational Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card:  Mathematics 2011” & “The Nation’s Report Card:  Reading 2011,” released November 1, 2011, available at National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/).
iv  Lewis, Kristen & Sarah Burd-Sharps, The Measure of America, 2010-2011.  NY:  NYU Press & Social Science Research Council, 2010.
v  “Mean 2011 SAT Scores by State,” Commonwealth Foundation, September 19, 2011 at http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/policyblog/detail/sat-scores-by-state-2011; “2011 ACT National and State Scores,” at http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2011/states.html.

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