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INZANE Times Post “Right to Work” bill put into limbo by NH Senate

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This is a new post from our friend and ally against Right To Work, Arnie Alpert and his blog the InZaneTimes.

“Right to Work” bill put into limbo by NH Senate
by aalpert

This year’s drama over proposed Right-to-Work legislation hit a climax today when the Senate voted to table HB 1677, the latest version of this anti-labor proposal that has been kicking around the State House for decades.

This was not the defeat we would have preferred, but as NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie said at an impromptu rally on the State House steps, it’s a “step in the right direction.”

HB 1677 was the third bill on the Senate agenda this morning. As soon as it came up, Senator Jim Forsythe moved to table it. The non-debatable motion was quickly approved on a voice vote, with no apparent dissent. Dozens of labor activists in the Senate Gallery seemed a little stunned by how quickly it had happened.

HB 1677 can be removed from “the table” and put back on the Senate agenda any time by a majority vote, but this bad idea seems to be dead for the year. Unlike their House colleagues, Senate Republicans apparently decided there was not point in waging a losing battle since their prospects for over-riding a promised veto were slim.

“Hopefully, we won’t see 1677 again,” MacKenzie said .

The message of today’s vote is that the attack on the rights of workers “will not stand in the state of New Hampshire,” said the Rev. Gail Kinney.

Still alive in the Senate is HB 383, a version of “right to work” that applies only to state employees. This one should meet a similar fate.

Original Post
URL: http://wp.me/pXzWL-h2

NH Lobby Day Against Right To Work April 4 and 5

Right to Work Senate Hearings – Your Help Needed

The worse-than-the-first right to work bill, HB 1677, has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee next week on Wednesday, April 4th. And Speaker O’Brien’s back-up right to work bill for state employees, HB 383, will be heard in the Senate’s Executive Departments and Administration Committee one day later, on Thursday.

This is your LAST CHANCE to speak out against these bills.  If you or your friends and neighbors want to make your voices heard, please come to our labor lobby day on Wednesday. We’ll be gathering at the America Votes office at 4 Park Street at 8 a.m.

Can’t make it during the day on Wednesday but still want to help out? We will be phonebanking members on Wednesday, asking them to talk to their Senators about  what these bills are and why they need to oppose them. Join us in our Hooksett office from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening. For more information, please call Judy Stadtman at 479-7207 or the NH AFL-CIO at 623-7302.

Can’t come on Wednesday? We will be holding a second, smaller lobby day on Thursday. Same time, same place.

Our strength is our solidarity. Help us show the NH Senate a strong united labor movement!

Labor Lobby Day
Wednesday, April 4th, at 8 a.m.
4 Park Street, Concord

Labor Lobby Day
Thursday, April 5th, at 8 a.m.
4 Park Street, Concord

The Speaker Of The House Takes Another Swing At Right To Work

For almost a year Granite Staters have been fighting to stop the Right To Work (for less) bill from becoming law.  This bill has been proven to lower wages and is part of an anti-union agenda being forced down from Speaker Bill O’Brien and organizations like ALEC.  Well today was another push against the middle class workers as Speaker Bill O’Brien changed his own schedule to bring up Right To Work (HB 1677) this morning.  The measure of course passed again by 198-139.

There is a silver lining in all of the this.  The Governor vetoed HB474 last session and they could not twist enough arms to get an override vote.  Once again the vote was not a veto proof margin.  The magic 139 number.  That is the same number that blocked the veto override.

I would like to say THANK YOU to all of the reps who voted against Right To Work for less.

I would also like to bring attention to the fact that while many of the labor organizations have been very vocal about Right To Work, this was not the only labor bill that came up in front of the house today.  All of them passed (of course) but they all held the same 139 -ish votes.

HB 1677 (right-to-work): 198-139
HB 1645 (decertification bill): 194-141
HB 1206 (healthcare bill): 198-137

Also the famed “lunch break bill” came up today.  The house nearly defeated it completely when they voted 168-161.  It is good to see some of the people stand up to the Speaker and say “No we will not let let you continue your assault on the middle class workers in New Hampshire”. 

Right To Work Redux: The Circus Continues

BY Nora Fredrickson

Full of Tea Party zeal after voting to repeal lunch hours for all employees, the House Labor Committee took up a new right-to-work bill over the loud objections of the nearly 400 workers and community members who filled Reps Hall for today’s hearing.
As Speaker O’Brien did last fall, Labor Committee chairman Gary Daniels invited political candidates to stump on the floor of the House in return for their endorsement of right-to-work. Gubernatorial candidates Ovid Lamontagne and Kevin Smith did the honors.

Never mind that both business owners and labor leaders think it’s time to move on from the contentious battle over right-to-work that shook the Legislature last year.

As Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO testified:

“We have lower poverty levels, higher graduation rates, and higher wages than any right-to-work state. We have negotiated thousands of successful collective bargaining agreements. This law is not broken. There is no need for right-to-work.”

Peter Church, owner of a small union printing shop in Manchester, agreed. From the Huffington Post:

“This is not something that New Hampshire needs. It’s certainly not something that anyone operating a business in New Hampshire wants.”

And we can’t forget about Robert Lynch, staunch Libertarian and celebrated author, who used his fifteen minutes at the microphone to promote both right-to-work and his new book, “Guardrails, God and Santa Claus”, on the importance of freedom.

The overarching arguments haven’t changed much from last year. Opponents say that right-to-work will take away workers’ rights and lower their wages. (A new report from EPI economist Gordon Lafer bears out those conclusions.)

Proponents, on the other hand, will try to sell you something: either a book, or a candidate, or a complete fallacy about what our economy needs and how it works.

Right To Work (HB1677) Public Hearing from Earlier Today.

Well today was the big Right to Work hearing.  This is what I found out about todays events.  The Professional Firefighters of NH once again showed up with a number of members, along with American Federation of Teachers, State Employees (SEA/SEIU).  There was also a big showing from the private industry unions in NH like Communication Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and United Steel Workers.

As we have said on numerous occasions Right To Work is a union busting bill.  It is ment to divide the workforce and put members and non-mombers against each other.  Since everyone by now knows the basics of the bill HB1677 since all the RTW Laws are pretty much the same.  The difference in this one is that if you are not a member of the union, the union does not represent you either.  This is essentially two bills combined into one, a RTW bill (HB383) and an Exclusive Representation bill (HB1570).

As the Sponsor of the Bill Rep Smith was one of the first to speak on the bill.  He started right off by saying that this bill will hold the “Union Bosses Accountable”.   He then goes on to say that “HB1677 is a Pro-Union Bill”,  immense laughter erupted from the mostly union audience.

As in previous hearings and votes on Right To Work, the major republican party members got up to speak for the bill.  In previous sessions, GOP Candidates were allowed to speak to the NH House all who opposed RTW.  Today candidates for NH Governor, Ovide Lamontagne spoke for Right To Work.  However Mr Lamontagne did not know if Right To Work would bring more jobs to New Hampshire.  This has been one of the key “talking points” for the GOP Leadership in previous sessions.  It was also asked if as “if as a lawyer, Lamontagne was a member of the NH Bar Association (also a union)? Also candidate for Governor Kevin Smith also spoke essentially the same points as others.  He stated that is about “freedom of choice”.

Then began the parade of union members, leaders, Democrat legislators, and faith organizations, who spoke against the bill.  PFF-NH President Dave Lang got right up and said boldly “I am a union boss, and a taxpayer.” He went on to say that bringing this bill up again is not the NH way. Rep Marjorie Porter tell the committee “this is just a union busting bill” and an “unnecessary intrusion in our tradition of local control”.  Rev. Gail Kinney spoke next and gave her testimony in “prayer” form.  She reminded the committee that “Workers rights are human rights, you are either for or against those rights”.  A Steelworker got up and asked the committee, “are we trying to become the Alabama or Mississippi of the Northeast?”

NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie was next to speak.  He used economic data to oppose RTW. “New Hampshire has lower poverty levels, higher graduation rates and higher wages that RTW States”.  He talked about programs like NAFTA making Right To Work programs useless. He said “We are competing with China not Massachusetts”.

While the testimony raged on for quite a while I think you get the point.  The majority of the people who testified overwhelmingly opposed RTW in any form.

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