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Looking Back Over the Last Year, What A Ride!

Where were you a year ago?  What were you doing? I do not remember the specifics however I remember watching the news and following on twitter for any news on the growing crowds in the Wisconsin State House.  It was a year ago when Governor Scott Walker took his extreme tea party agenda out on the working people of Wisconsin by repealing their rights to collective bargain.

Since then a like a cancer these anti-worker legislations have grown all across the United States.  After Wisconsin, Ohio attempted to repeal worker rights.  The workers in Ohio stood together and delivered over one million petitions leading to the successful overturn of the newly passed collective bargaining laws.  Not to be out done other tea party legislators took aim at unions.  In Maine, Governor LePage removed the Department of Labor’s lobby mural.

– James Imbrogno photo

Now New Hampshire is following right down the same path.  The New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien is pushing dozens of anti-worker bills.  These bills range from the repeal of collective bargaining to “Right To Work” to restrictions on bargaining articles.  Every single one of these bills is an attempt for the legislators to restrict the where and what unions can negotiate.  Just yesterday members of local unions gathered at the NH House to speak against one of the many Right To Work bills being revisited in this years session.  This after we spent all of last year fighting against Right To Work.  Thankfully we have a Governor who stands up for the middle class and for workers rights.  Without Gov. Lynch, Granite Staters would all be in the same situation as Wisconsin and Ohio right now.

After Gov. Walker repealed collective bargaining in Wisconsin, labor around the country suddenly took notice.  By the end 30,000 people were occupying the State House Rotunda. Maybe this was the punch in the face that labor needed to awake the sleeping giant that is labor unions.  While labor has always been there, now labor has risen again.  People are slowly seeing the value of collectively standing together.  This has worked for over 100 years for unions and now is beginning to take shape in the Occupy Movement that is sweeping the country.  The New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie has a signature at the end of all of his emails that sums it up perfectly: “Bargain Together or Beg Alone”.

Below is a video highlighting the events from Feb 2011 and the events surrounding the Wisconsin State House. 

Anti-union measure should be rejected – NashuaTelegraph.com

Just in case you missed this great Letter To The Editor on Collective Bargaining!

Anti-union measure should be rejected – NashuaTelegraph.com:

My name is Matt, and I am a union member. That’s right, I am proud to be a union member.

Recently, the New Hampshire House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee held a public hearing on HB 1645, a bill to repeal the collective bargaining rights of public employees. HB 1645 would take away employee rights that have been working well for the last 35 years.

At the hearing, Dave Lang, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, talked about some of the first things they negotiated was safety equipment for firefighters. Last year, collective bargaining between the State Employees Association and the state saved jobs and nearly $50 million.

As a resident of Merrimack, my state Rep. Tony Pellegrino is on the House labor committee. I urge him to kill this bill now in committee.

This bill is bad for workers and bad for New Hampshire.

Matthew Murray


Public Hearing on HB 1427– Outsourcing and Unfair Labor Practices

On 1/24/12 the NH House Labor Committee held public hearings on HB 1427.  This is a very bad bill in my opinion and definitely need to to be ITL in committee.  (See previous posts on HB1427.)  This is just one of the anti-labor bills going through the House Labor Committee.  HB 1427 sponsored by Rep Neal Kirk (Hills 7) talks privatizing or outsource jobs currently covered by public unions.  Right now it is required that the public employer in good faith the impact of such a decision would have on the mandatory subjects of bargaining for the employees can be deemed an Unfair Labor Practice if it is violated.  This bill would change all of that.  It would allow the public employer to take jobs out of the community and sell them off to other companies many of which are from out of state.  This has become a very hot button issue with the possibility of outsourcing the jobs of correction officers.   This is also a way for the public employers to legally break the contracts they have with the Unions, leaving the current workers out of a job.

One of the people who spoke against this bill was American Federation of Teachers (NH) President Laura Hainey.  She was kind enough to provide her written testimony on this bill and why AFT-NH opposes this bill (below).   I do not know about you, but I have never heard of a “outsourced” job where the workers benefited.  Outsourced jobs usually means same job, less pay!

Re: AFT-NH Testimony In Opposition to HB 1427 (Outsourcing) 
(editors note, due to length of testimony parts have been omitted)

Dear Honorable Members of the Committee,

On the municipal side, we represent employees who plow roads, serve as town mechanics, perform clerical functions, and other various municipal functions like animal control officer, traffic light specialist, parking meter attendants, dispatchers, police officers, librarians and wastewater treatment attendants, to name a few.

On the school side, in addition to teachers we represent other types of positions such as guidance counselors, school psychologists, librarians, and occupational, speech and physical therapists. We also represent support staff positions that deliver custodial and cafeteria services.

We have had numerous opportunities over the years to address the issue of privatization of services or outsourcing with public employers. In all of these cases, we have been able to work with the employer and have good faith discussions and negotiations about their inclination to consider outsourcing. Sometimes outsourcing has happened and sometimes we have found an alternative path that provides a win-win for both parties.

This process is not just for the benefit of the employees but also a broader discussion about the delivery of these services and the quality of these services. Make no mistake about it—AFT-NH does not believe that outsourcing of this work produces a better product for the public. That is not why we are here today although the bill’s sponsor has apparently prejudged that outsourcing is the way to go and that the employees should not be part of the discussion whatsoever.

Our locals believe in problem solving and collaboration but we do not believe that an arbitrary decision to parcel out community jobs to often times an out of state employer is in the best interests of any of our communities. Sometimes the necessity for a public employer to stop, reflect, and receive input from those employees who have done the work for years and years serves a very valuable purpose. A knee jerk reaction to outsource without good faith discussion and negotiation with the union can lead to dire and often times unintended consequences for employees and the community. One specific example of harm to employees would be automatic exclusion from the NH Retirement System. Negotiation and collaboration provides for a discussion of how that can be resolved.

When I was President of the Rochester Federation of Teachers, we had the occasion to organize the cafeteria workers. Shortly after we organized these employees, the School Board decided they wanted to outsource. Well in Rochester, the district had previously contracted out custodial services and it soon became apparent that it was a disaster and they reverted back. Nevertheless, the damage had been done to employees and to our schools.

We did not want to see the same thing happen to our café program. To make a long story short, we found a middle ground position. The School Board was able to contract out the “management” of the cafeteria program to provide for efficiencies of purchasing in bulk, use of company resources such as menus, working with federal grants, and maintenance and/or replacement of equipment. Our cafeteria ladies remained school district employees. This local union has negotiated a number of collective bargaining agreements since that time and this issue has never surfaced again.

This is not the only situation where we have addressed outsourcing but we have resolved all of those issues successfully with our employers through the negotiations process. In fact, on one occasion our support staff members in Raymond heard “rumors” that the school board might be considering outsourcing custodial and/or cafeteria services. Our local union decided the voters should have a say, so they submitted a non-binding petition to be presented during the Senate Bill Two town meeting. Well, the voters overwhelmingly rejected the notion of outsourcing these school jobs. Another example where on the local level, the issue was handled quite well. 

We believe this bill unnecessarily reaches into one aspect of the sort of topics that are discussed between a public employer and the local union. We do the hard work to find solutions. This bill does not reflect the good work done by both employers and unions throughout the state. Let’s start focusing on the positive!

I would note that the sponsor of this bill never appeared before the study committee to discuss this issue.

Therefore, I ask that the Committee recommend this bill as Inexpedient to Legislate.
Thank You
Laura Hainey
President AFT-NH

Thank You Occupy NH for the Video from the Lobby Day!!!

Videos of House Labor Committee recorded by Occupy NH Live Stream.  Since USTREAM is a free service to broadcast live events through mobile devices there will be ads, as well as quality may not be the greatest.  However it will give you a chance to see and hear some of the people who spoke at the Public Hearing.

Opening of Collective Bargaining statements by Rep Lambert, Rep Manuse, and Rep Jasper (30 mins)

President of the NH PFF Dave Lang (3 mins)

Continues (5 mins)

More Testimony against HB1645 including the Republican Teacher who is president of Manchester Education Association (15 mins)

Lobby Day Part 5: HB 1645 Collective Bargaining.

Lobby Day Part 5: HB 1645 Collective Bargaining

Rep Lambert Explains Why We Must Repeal Collective Bargaining

Around 3pm on the 19th the Labor Committee opened the public hearing on HB 1645, “AN ACT prohibiting all public employees from participating in collective bargaining“.  This is another bill put forward by Rep George Lambert and Rep Manuse.   First to speak was Rep Lambert from Litchfield, who tried to explain that he made a “freshman mistake” in letting the legislative services write this bill for them.  He wanted to eliminate the “exclusivity” of unions.  His intent was to allow people who wish to enter into a contract with the state could do so and those who do not would not.  He also said he believes in the “Constitution article two: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that includes a right to a job.”  Well that may be his interpretation but nowhere does the Constitution guarantee you a job. So after Lambert continues to confuse Right To Work and Collective Bargaining issues they move to the next Sponsor wanting to speak for this bill, Rep Manuse.

Rep Manuse, starts off by saying that he “all the public workers in this room and not in this room, respect fully however the union involvement in the public sector has gone too far”. He continues his testimony by saying “this bill has nothing to do with public sector employees, whom I respect and trust in their important public service roles. This is a bill about public sector unions.” Here is something you may not know Rep Manuse, Public Sector Unions are Public Sector Employees! Just wait it gets better.  Rep Manuse continues later by trying to explain that Public Employees are not taxpayers and a Net Loss to the State!

Now, I’ve heard some public sector employees say they too are part of the tax base, that they too are taxpayers. This sentiment is not altogether true. In reality, public sector employees’ contribution is still a net loss to the people in general. For example, say they make $100 from the government (i.e., the taxpayer) and then they pay $10 in taxes. This still requires $90 out of the tax base to support these public workers’ salaries. For this reason, public sector employees cannot argue that they are truly net positive contributors to the tax base. (1) 

So it is obvious to me that this is a person who does not believe that any public employee, who he says he “respects” has any value in our society.

In a small surprise the next speaker Rep Jasper, who shocked many people when he rose on behalf of himself to oppose this bill.  He talked of being a selectman in Hudson and at that time the town only one union.  He continued on by saying that his goal was to ensure that the town treated the Non-Union employees the same as Union employees.   He remembered a year when the town budget included a section that gave all the non-union employees a ten percent raise. He said that Hudson moved to Town Council form of government and that council really took it to sticking it the non-union members.  He said that he was “happy to see the people from the Hudson Fire Department here…and I would never take away their ability to negotiate with us (town government)”.  He closed by saying that “they (public employees) do not deserve this”.

After a definite shift in momentum in opposition to this bill, Rev Gail Kinney got up and spoke in opposition to the bill.  She stated, “This is not a path New Hampshire wants to go down” and she is right. She continued to talk about the “Voices of the Workers” and “Their rights to be able to discuss wages and working conditions”.   After quote from Martin Luther King, Rev Kinney received a two minute standing ovation from the crowd.  While the crowd was feeling better, the committee was unhappy with the time delay and applause.  They called a brief recess to allow people to calm down, before starting again ten minutes later.

Standing Ovation for Rev Gail Kinney

Then one by one Union Members got up to talk about why they opposed this bill. PFF President Dave Lang, told everyone to be silent durning the hearing an to show their support by standing when they felt like appaulding.  Needless to say by the end of his speech, every member of the audience was on their feet!

I think that Mark MacKenzie summed it up best when he said: “The real purpose of these hearings today is dismantling the collective bargaining law at the state level and at the local level. This law has been effective. We have negotiated thousands of collective bargaining agreements and attracted terrific employees to the public sector — this is not a broken system. Our legislators need to take their eyes off of this and focus on what really matters. They need to focus on creating jobs.”

Another funny moment was when SEA / SEIU 1984 President Diana Lacey got up and said: “If Rep Manuse says that I am not a taxpayer, then the State owes me nearly a quarter of a million dollars in taxes”

This personal account of collective bargaining went on for at least three hours before AFT-NH President Laura Hainey was called up to speak. Before she read her testimony, she held up in the air a large packet of papers.  Hainey said that she was holding over 5,500 signed and online petitions telling the committee not to repeal the collective bargaining rights of NH public employees.  She talked about how Rep Lambert wants to “Fix” collective bargaining.  She said: “The truth is there is nothing to fix, he is trying to correct a problem that does not exist”.  However the best line of all was her closing statement: “Although we may disagree from time to time, I appreciate the work that you (the committee) have to do and know that you will cherish New Hampshire Values. I ask the committee to Defeat this bill…AND Rep Lambert Your 15 Minutes are UP!”

AFT-NH President Laura Hainey
Delivers 5000+ petitions

Shortly after 7pm the hearing finally closed on Hb1645.  In all of the Labor Committee Hearings on 1/19/12 only one person got up to speak in favor of the bills being offered other than the sponsors.  Are these attack on public employees really what New Hampshire wants, or is some Corporate agenda pushing our legislators to pass laws against them?

1: http://amanuse.rlcnh.org/2012/01/19/testimony-of-rep-andrew-j-manuse-for-hb-1645-prohibiting-all-public-employees-from-participating-in-collective-bargaining/

Timberlane Teachers Association (AFT Local #4796) Uses the Power of Collective Bargaining to Save Money for the Towns

After all of the massive budget cuts and retirement increases forced on towns and school boards this year, the Timberlane Teachers Association should be commended by bringing the voters a one year contract with ZERO PERCENT increase.

In a brief statement today, Laura Hainey President of the American Federation of Teacher (NH) said:

Timberlane Teachers’ Association, AFT Local #4796 and the School Board have settled a one year proposed contract which reflects the needs of the community. The teachers proposed and the Board accepted a one year freeze on salaries and steps resulting in a 0% increase to be approved by voters. Teachers once again understanding the needs of their community! They do make a difference every day!

While State Legislators are trying to repeal the collective bargaining rights of these same teachers. This shows how through mutual collaboration and respect, collective bargaining can be a cost saving measure as well.  Without this contract and voter approval yet to occur, the school board would be forced to increase their proposed budgets and possibly raise taxes this year.

Public hearing attracts few parents, critics: School Board Chair Lori Aubrey said: “A one-year collective bargaining agreement reached between the Timberlane Teacher’s Association and the Timberlane School board calls for a zero-dollar increase in salaries and benefits at the current staffing levels,”

Another warrant article authorized $200,000 to be added to the school’s Capital Reserve Fund. However, the money will not affect the tax rate because it comes entirely from the 2011-2012 school budget surplus.

“There’s really nothing there to argue against,” he said. “The teachers cost zero. By not passing that, would the voters be saying we want it to cost more? Even the towns are for the most part doing 2 percent raises this year. The total budget is down.””

NH Labor News 1/14: Standing Up For Verizon CWA, Obama talks of “In-sourcing”, MLK Events this weekend…

The New Hampshire Labor News Daily Clips 1/14/12

Vermont Workers are taking a stand with the Middle Class Workers of the Communication Workers of America, who went on strike against Verizon over the summer.  The Vermont Workers Center has been leafletting the Verizon Wireless stores on a daily basis to show their support.  Includes is a short video from the Vermont Workers Center….

N.H. Workers Prepare for Attack of Zombie Bills | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG: “New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie explained that these bills are just the latest wave in a continuous assault on workers’ rights in New Hampshire.

As New Hampshire struggles out of this recession, Speaker [William] O’Brien has shown no wavering from the extreme Tea Party agenda that has cost us thousands of jobs in the Granite State. These laws are just another sign that the Speaker cannot admit defeat. He will push his agenda at any cost—regardless of how it impacts the people of New Hampshire.”

Daily Kos: President Obama announces ‘in-sourcing’ initiative to help reverse off-shoring of U.S. jobs: “The White House announced Wednesday that it would step up its efforts to improve the economy by encouraging both U.S. and foreign companies to generate more jobs at home of the sort that have been shipped overseas or lost to foreign competitors, a process being called by the new buzzword, “in-sourcing.” Included in those efforts will be tax breaks and $12 million in new resources for the SelectUSA initiative begun last year:”

MLK programs scheduled in Greater Nashua – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Two remembrances of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held in Greater Nashua on Saturday and Monday to honor the slain civil rights leader.
The first event is a tribute to King at 6 p.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Nashua, located on Manchester Street. The event is free.
The keynote speaker will be Valerie Cunningham, an African-American historian from New Hampshire.
The second event is the Southern New Hampshire Outreach for Black Unity’s annual MLK Jr. Breakfast Program on Monday.”

Area Red Cross should bargain with workers – Monmouth, IL – Daily Review Atlas: “Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the Red Cross broke federal law in eight Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) and federal Judge James Shadid issued an injunction that the Red Cross rescind changes in employees’ terms of employment and bargain in good faith. The NLRB said the Red Cross illegally changed wages, hours and working conditions following the June 1, 2007, representation election. Workers voted 112-48 in favor of unionizing, according to the certification – made on October 7, 2010, after Red Cross litigation delayed even counting ballots for more than three years.
The Red Cross nationally says that it treats all employees fairly.”

Remember The Past Or It Will Come Back To Bite You Again

Remember The Past Or It Will Come Back To Bite You Again

While some of the people reading this are learning about this for the first time, I am sure many of you actually remember when New Hampshire did not have a Collective Bargaining Law.  Let me take us into the history books for a minute.

In 1974, New Hampshire did not have a law requiring collective bargaining between Unions and Town or State.  While it was permissible it was not mandatory.  This was good and bad.  It allowed some towns to begin to work together with their employees to build a better town.  While in some towns the idea of “Bargaining” was still frowned upon.  This was the case in the Timberlane Regional School District.  A group of about 100 teachers who at the time were seeking representation from the school board.  Due to the fact that NH did not have any law requiring bargaining, the Board rejected them.  The Teachers decided to go on strike!  When the teachers walked out the school board said “You’re Fired”.   The Timberlane Teachers Association, who was at the time represented by the National Education Association (NEA), filed lawsuits against the state for wrongful termination.  While the court refused to get involved:

“The Court concluded that stopping the strike would frustrate bargaining, since “the essence of the collective bargaining process is that the employer and the employees should work together in resolving problems relating to employment.” The Court made it clear that it thought the time had come for a bargaining law.”(NHBA)

This prompted Republican Governor Meldrim Thompson and NH General Court to create new Collective Bargaining laws for New Hampshire Public employees.  In 1975 Gov Thompson signed the bill into law.

The Act declared that the State must “protect the public by encouraging the orderly and uninterrupted operation of government.” The Act made bargaining mandatory and created a Public Employee Labor Relations Board “vested with broad powers to assist in resolving disputes between government and its employees.”(NHBA)

This new law was beneficial for the Workers and the State.  Workers got the voice they need in their workplace to negotiate fair wages and benefits. Workers also got a place with the establishment of the NH Public Employee Labor Relations Board (NH PLERB) where they could bring their disputes or impasses.  The State created strict rules against striking:

RSA 273-A codified the common law rule that strikes by public employees are illegal.
Thus, engaging in a strike or other job action is an unfair labor practice, RSA 273-A:5, II(e), giving the PELRB jurisdiction. Unions also are subject to Superior Court jurisdiction under RSA 273-A:13, which also makes strikes and other forms of job action by public employees unlawful.” (NHBA)

Flash forward 35 years. The PLERB has been working well in New Hampshire, and the Collective Bargaining laws have been tested and upheld for both sides.  Yet our Tea Party led House and its leader Bill O’Brien are attempting to repeal this very Collective Bargaining law and dismantling the PLERB.  HB1645 would strip those right from workers and public employees through out the State.  Why are we trying to break something that has worked so well for 35 years?

If you believe that all workers deserve the right to Collectively Bargin please sign this Petition from AFT-NH!

Historic Attack on NH Public Employees and Union Rights–2012 NH House Bills

Historic Attack on NH Public Employees
and Union Rights
2012 NH House Bills

January 8, 2012

The Extreme NH House Agenda
Here is the first set of bills attacking your union and your rights in the workplace filed through January 8th. This list does not yet include the further attacks on retirement, education, working conditions and town meeting process. These are the bills relating directly to collective bargaining.  Some of the bills may apply to county and state employees but remember they could be amended at any time to include everyone and we know if they attack one group they will attack the next group in line. HB 1645 would repeal collective bargaining entirely.  All of these bills must be defeated!

The deadline for House Bills to be submitted is January 11th.

Actions Requested:
1.     Please make sure to gather signatures on the Petition to Support Collective Bargaining Rights . Please click here to download your copy and turn in to your local president on or before January 16th! You can also fax to us at 226-0133. We need to reach out to friends, family and colleagues to sign this petition. Our goal-20 signatures per member—think of the impact!

2.     Please click here   Petition to Save Collective Bargaining for NH Public Employees-Defeat HB 1645  and sign the Petition today!     

3.     Also, please plan to be at the State House on Thursday, January 19th at 8:30am as most of these devastating bills will be heard before the House Labor Committee. Even if you do not wish to speak you can sign a card in opposition at the hearing and show your opposition!  *The very important HB 1645, the bill to repeal collective bargaining is scheduled for 3:00pm—if you can arrive at 3pm or shortly thereafter, please plan to be at the state house.

Please RSVP to Laura Hainey at lhainey@aft-nh.org or Terri Donovan at terridd@metrocast.net if you can be at the State House for any portion of the day on January 19th.

We must draw the line in the sand. Enough!

Thank you.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Collective Bargaining Bills

HB 1163     (Union Dues)  Makes it illegal for an employer to withhold voluntary union dues from wages.  Prime Sponsor- Rep. George Lambert (R-Litchfield) Represents Hudson and Litchfield
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 9:00am

HB 1174   (Negotiations)  Requires members of the county delegation to be present during  negotiations. [This would be the same as permitting  members of a city council or board of aldermen to be present during all negotiations.] Prime Sponsor- Rep. McCarthy  (R-Carroll County-District 1)
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 10:00am

HB 1206     (Union Dues)    Prohibits the state from withholding voluntary union dues from state employees. Prime Sponsor- Rep. Donna Mauro (R-Salem)
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 9:01am (This is similar to HB 1163 and the reason for the hearing time.)

HB  1237  (Negotiations)   Changes advisory committee for state negotiator who deals with state employees. Anyone who has ever been a member of a union would be precluded from serving on this advisory committee. This is an interference in the process. It would be similar to the legislature telling local communities who can advise local school board and city negotiating teams. Prime Sponsor: Rep Gimas (R)  Hillsborough, District 12 and Rep. Bates (R), Rockingham, District 4
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 10:30am

HB 1426 (Negotiations)
  Public employer can state intent to change health insurance unilaterally. If the Union does not agree then just the matter of health insurance would go to arbitration based on last best offer. The arbitrator’s ruling would go to legislative body and would be binding unless rejected by 2/3rds vote. This process happens if the public employer can show a decrease in total paid in premiums. The bill states at least ¼ of the savings goes to town or city’s general fund and ¼ to employees in certain forms. This bill strikes at the heart of negotiating an entire contract, which considers wages, benefits and working conditions. Prime Sponsor: Rep. Neal Kurk, Hills. 7 (R-Weare)
Public Hearing: House County and Municipal Government Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 1:30pm

HB 1427  (Outsourcing)  Allows a public employer to contract out union work and it would not be considered an unfair labor practice. Prime Sponsor: Rep. Neal Kurk, Hills. 7 (R-Weare)
Public Hearing Not Yet Scheduled

HB 1513   (NH PELRB)   This bill guts the current balanced composition of the NH Public Employee Labor Relations Boards. Currently there is one management representative, one labor representative and a neutral appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Executive Council. This bill requires the House, Senate and Executive Council to appoint members not the Governor.  “Each member shall be a legal resident of the state of New Hampshire and shall own or shall have previously owned a business in New Hampshire. No person who is currently, or was previously, employed by the federal government or a state or municipal government shall be a member of the board.” This bill also states that all contract negotiations would have to occur in Concord with the expense being shared by the public employer and local union. Prime Sponsor: Rep. Paul Simard, Grafton, District 8 (R-Bristol)
Public Hearing Not Yet Scheduled

HB 1570    (Exclusive Representation) This bill states a union does not have to represent non-members. Sound good? Not at all. This means non-members would negotiate individually with the employer. We know what that means-unfairness, nepotism and chaos in the workplace.   Prime Sponsors:  Rep. Joanne Ward, Rockingham District 13 (R-Stratham);  Rep. Philip Munck, Strafford District #2 (R-Somersworth); Rep. William Smith, Rockingham District (R-Newcastle).
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 11:30am

HB 1645     Repeals collective bargaining for public employees. Prime Sponsor- Rep. George Lambert (R-Litchfield) Represents Hudson and Litchfield  
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 3:00pm

HB 1663  (Right to Work “for less” for Public Employees and Exclusive Representation) 
  This bill makes it illegal to collect an agency fee from non-members. The bill also states that “An employee who does not pay union dues or fees shall have opted out of representation by the bargaining unit.” Sponsor- Rep. George Lambert (R-Litchfield) Represents Hudson and Litchfield and Rep. Andrew Manuse, Rockingham, District #5 (R-Derry)
Public Hearing: House Labor Committee, Legislative Office Building, Rm 307- Thursday, January 19th at 1:15pm

HB 1677 (Right to Work “for less” for Public Employees and Exclusive Representation)   Similar to HB 1663. Prime Sponsor- Rep. William Smith, Rockingham District (R-Newcastle); Rep. David Bettencourt (R –Salem) (also House Majority Leader); Sen. James Forsythe (R) Distrtict 4 (Alton, Barnstead, Belmont, Gilford, Gilmanton, Laconia, New Durham, Strafford and Tilton.
Public Hearing Not Yet Scheduled

HB 1685  (Changes definition of supervisors and excludes certain supervisors from being represented by a union -excludes firefighters and nurses)  This bill could have a significant impact on AFT-NH public sector locals by affecting town and police locals. Prime Sponsor- Rep. Dave Robbins (R –Nashua)
Public Hearing Not Yet Scheduled

For the text of these bills, you can click here: Find a bill

“Fighting For Our Future”

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Legislative Series: HB 1645: The Bill to Remove Collective Bargaining in NH!!!

This is the next in a series of posts highlighting some of the blatant attacks on workers and Unions through legislation. We will also include some of the more Zany bills we have come across. This is also how we interpret the bill and what we believe it may mean for workers and families in New Hampshire.

As expected Rep. Lambert, Hills 27 & Rep. Manuse, Rock 5 have introduced HB 1645: “AN ACT prohibiting all public employees from participating in collective bargaining.”  This strikes at our teachers, firefighters and police officers. Despite the fact that NH voters support collective bargaining for public employees by more than 60%. This extreme agenda of Speaker O’Brien is not in touch with NH voters. That’s right, this bill if passed will send us into the same chaos, confusion and shame we have seen in Wisconsin and Ohio. This is not the NH way. We would join the ranks of Wisconsin and Ohio, who repealed the collective bargaining rights of public employee’s and created a backlash from middle class families that the Nation had not seen in years.  Reports of 30,000 people filled the rotunda in Madison after the bill was passed.  Now they are pushing to recall Governor Walker for his actions. Do we want this level of acrimony here in NH? Is this what we voted for? Where are the jobs?

Back to New Hampshire, if you follow this blog at all you know all the reasons why Collective Bargaining is important.  It protects the workers, it help the employer through collaborative projects, and helps the entire workforce (union and non-union) by creating a wage standard. Collective Bargaining has also helped to create programs like Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) whose entire purpose it to hold workers and employers accountable for the Safety of their workforce.  Labor Unions through Collective Bargaining gained us things like the 40 hour work week, vacation time, sick days, health benefits, and retirement programs.  Do you honestly think the majority of these companies and corporations would just give these things away?  If you say yes then look at what Wal-Mart is doing to their employee’s by reducing there health care plan for part-time employee’s.

Not only would this law repeal all Collective Bargaining of public employee’s public employees (firefighters, teachers, police officers, state employees such as: NH DOT drivers, liquor store workers, social workers,  and every city, town and county employee) it would also take away the NH Public Employee’s Labor Relations Board (which I talk about here) since there would be no further need for it-no bargaining, no board..

From HB1645The Public Employee Labor Relations Board repeals RSA 273-A:1 through 273-A:17, provides that any general agreements or contracts between any public employer and any labor union entered into after the effective date of the bill shall be void, and also eliminates the Public Employee Labor Relations Board. The Board states in FY 2013 it has a general fund appropriation of $400,259 in the state operating budget, however costs related to employee terminations would net against potential savings of this bill. The Board is unable to determine the potential overall net savings as it is unable to predict total termination costs at this time.

Notice also that in the bill it mentions the cost saving associated with Terminating employee’s could add to the savings in the General Fund in FY13.  So whether you are a Labor Union Member, or just a worker in New Hampshire this bill would destroy us all.  Through Collective Bargaining, Labor Unions fight for higher minimum wage, and employment programs when you do loose your job.  We cannot let this pass.  According to the NH General Court website the bill will be introduced on 1/4/12 and referred to Labor Committee.

We must stop it in Committee or the Republican Majority would pass this bill in a second flat.   Contact your Reps and tell them now to Kill This Bill before it Kills New Hampshire Workers.

Here is a list of the Committee Members: LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES

Previous Posts
HB-1574 A bill removing your lunch break.
HB-1200 A bill to reduce county budgets till the county shuts down.
HB 1427 Contracting out would Not Be an Unfair Labor Practice.
Legislative Good News Post.
HB 1174 – How Can the State Legislature Take Away Your Next Contract??
HB 1161-Do you want Out of State Voters, Voting in your Town??
HB1385: How to Loose Money by Reducing Tolls on Holiday Weekends…
HB536 &HB194 A Bill to Allow Criminals to Carry Loaded Weapons into Court and Schools!!!
HB 1185 More Money From Departments to General Fund
HB 1587 A Bill to Reduce Safety Programs in the Workplace???
HB 1344 Prohibiting Public Employees from running for office
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