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Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee to Headline NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast

Democratic Presidential candidates Sanders and Chafee will be joined by surrogates representing the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, as well as Gov. Hassan, Senator Shaheen, Congresswoman Kuster, and numerous NH officials.

Manchester – Today NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett announced the speaking program for the 2015 NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.

“The NH AFL-CIO is very proud to welcome these amazing candidates, surrogates, and other officials to the Labor Day Breakfast,” said Brackett. “The 2016 election will be a watershed moment for working people in this country, and I know union members in NH are looking forward to hearing how the Presidential candidates will tackle the issues that matter most to workers and their families: raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and creating sustainable economic growth.”

Added Brackett, “New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary is a fantastic tradition, and the NH AFL-CIO is honored to be able to host these great candidates. We invited all five declared Democratic candidates, and we were very happy that Sen. Sanders, Gov. Chafee, and representatives of the Clinton and O’Malley campaigns were able to join us.” 

What: 2015 NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast
When:  September 7th at 9am
Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
              650 Hanover St.
              Manchester, NH

The program at the 2015 NH Labor Day Breakfast will include the following Speakers: 

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Gov. Lincoln Chafee
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow, speaking on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign
  • Alexander Sanchez, former MD Secretary of Labor, speaking on behalf of the Martin O’Malley campaign
  • Gov. Maggie Hassan
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
  • Congresswoman Annie Kuster
  • Executive Councilor Chris Pappas
  • Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern
  • Sen. Jeff Woodburn
  • Sen. Lou D’Allesandro
  • Sen. Donna Soucy
  • Rep. Jeff Goley
  • NH Labor Commissioner Jim Craig

A Blessing For Hard Working Granite Staters From Rev Gail Kinney

The Labor Movement has always relied on a strong partnership with the faith community. As union members we are always working to build a better community, and to help lift those others out of poverty.  This mentality has created a strong bond between unions and the faith community, as we are striving for the same goals.

This year at the NH AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast, Rev. Gail Kinney offered the blessing.  As always it was not your usual, “bless this meat, good god let’s eat,” type of blessing.

Listen to Rev Kinney give a bless for all working families.

Rep Annie Kuster Lays Out Her Agenda For Working Americans (VIDEO)

Annie KusterRecently she spoke at the NH AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast where Congresswoman Annie Kuster laid out her agenda for rebuilding the middle class and helping all working families.

You can see her full 5 minute speech just below, but I will give you a couple of highlights.

  • Raising the federal minimum wage.
  • Protecting workers rights, including attacks against the National Labor Relations Board.
  • Protecting collective bargaining rights.
  • Fought against federal Right to Work for less legislation.
  • Ensuring access to healthcare for all Americans.
  • Increasing funding for schools, and community & technical colleges.
  • Increasing manufacturing right here at home.

We need more people like Annie in Washington who are working to get things done, not just create more gridlock.

Sen. Shaheen Explains How She Is Working To Protect NH Jobs From Outsourcers Like Scott Brown

Jeanne Shaheen at AFLCIO

Ever since Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown announced that he was selling his house in Massachusetts and moving to his second house in New Hampshire, I knew he had big plans to run for the US Senate again.  I never liked Senator Brown when he was elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts, and I like him even less as he attempts to carpetbag his way into a Senate seat from New Hampshire.

He is a massive flip-flopper and is trying really hard to convince everyone that he is from New Hampshire, and that he truly represents the people of New Hampshire.

The facts are very different.  Just listen to Brown from just a little while back.

Senator Scott Brown only cares about Scott Brown, and Scott Brown’s bank account.

Brown is doing he best to unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen who has shown her dedication to New Hampshire as a State Senator, and as our Governor.

Scott Brown moved up to New Hampshire and as we are slowly finding out, he came with serious baggage.  First it was announced that he involved with a Florida company that was trying scam people using Brown as their front man.  Thanks to Kevin Landrigan we learned that Brown is being paid $270,000 to be on the Board of Directors of Kadant, a company that has made huge profits by outsourcing our jobs.

Yes, the same person who wants to be our Senator, serves on the board of a company that ships our jobs overseas.  It is a little known fact that New Hampshire was one of the hardest hit by these types of corporations, as we lost the largest percentage of our manufacturing base to outsourcing.

I wanted to ask Senator Shaheen what she thought about this, and I thought I would get the chance, as she was schedule to speak at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast.  I planned to get Senator Shaheen to answer my question after her speech.

I had my question all ready:

“Senator, recently it has come to light that Scott Brown is making over $270,000 as board member of Kadant, a company known for outsourcing US jobs.  What are you doing to protect Granite State jobs from these vultures who are shipping our good paying jobs overseas?”

Then I sat a listened to Senator Shaheen speak and as she finished, I crumbled up my paper and told myself, well I guess that answers that question!

Do you want to know what Senator Shaheen has done to protect Granite State jobs?

Do you want to know how Scott Brown voted against a bill that would remove incentives for corporations who outsource good paying Granite State jobs?

All you have to do is watch this short 11 minute video of her speech at the NH AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast.

How And Why Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter Has Dedicated Her Life To Helping People (VIDEO)

Carol Shea Porter 1

“The America dream is slipping away from the middle class,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter at the annual New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast.

“Carol made the commitment to helping people” said Paul O’Connor, President of the Metal Trades Council at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in his introduction of Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.

Carol Shea porter 2There is no better advocate for working families in New Hampshire than Congresswoman Shea-Porter. She has stood up against right-wing attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. She stood strong in her opposition to the “Ryan Plan” that would slash funding to programs like Head Start and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She opposed the draconian cuts mandated by Sequestration that forced furloughs on federal workers throughout the country.

In Washington she spoke up for working families countless times by calling for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. At the breakfast she explained how wage stagnation has hurt working families.

“What Americans want is a decent enough wage, they weren’t asking for 50% of the company, they just wanted to be fairly paid for their labor and they wanted to be able to take care of their families. They wanted to pay their mortgage or their rent, save for retirement, educate their children, and have a little money left over Friday night for pizza,” Shea-Porter said.

Rep. Shea-Porter and NH AFL-CIO Pres. MacKenzie

Rep. Shea-Porter and NH AFL-CIO Pres. MacKenzie

In contrast, one of Shea-Porter’s potential opponents, Brendan Kelly, actually said the minimum wage should be “a dollar and a half” in a recent GOP primary debate.

Shea-Porter went into great detail about how corporations like Walgreens (who have since reversed their decision) are moving to change their corporate citizenship, commonly called inversion, to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

Working families in New Hampshire need a true leader like Congresswoman Shea-Porter in Washington. In a recent primary debate, all of Shea-Porter’s potential opponents called for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which has already drastically lowered the uninsured population of New Hampshire.

In the First Congressional District, the choice for New Hampshire is clear and after watching this video I think you will agree.


Watch Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter tell it like it is in her short speech at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast.

Will Senator Sanders Run? After This Speech, I Hope So!

Bernie Sanders

There is a war out there and whether you know it or not, you are a part of it.  This is a war between a few ultra-wealthy families and the rest of us living here in America.

These ultra-wealthy 1%’ers have been buying elections and forcing policy changes that weaken our labor laws, weaken environmental protections, and most importantly take money from hard working Americans and put it into the pockets of Wall Street hedge fund managers.

What is a middle class worker supposed to do?

Every year we sit and watch, as our paychecks appear to shrink and our grocery bills get higher and higher.  Corporate run healthcare is costing us more and more, and yet our employers refuse to increase wages.  Effectively Corporate is slowly eating away at our take home pay.

We need someone who will fight back against Corporate America, the Koch brothers, and the Walton family greed.  We need someone who will fight to rebuild the middle class, and reach down to help those who are not there yet.

Who could that person be? Hillary Clinton? Maybe, well have to see. Elizabeth Warren? Love her, but we need her in the Senate right now.

Have no fear, Bernie Sanders is here!  

The truth is that nobody knows if Bernie Sanders is officially going to run for President or not, and trust me I tried to ask him at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.  Even though I did not get a straight answer, after watching Senator Sanders speak there is no doubt in my mind he is running. And that makes me very happy!

As an avid political commentator, and devoted follower of politics, sadly I do not think Bernie will win the Democratic Party nomination.  That being said it is vitally important that Senator Sanders puts his name in the race, because he is going to ask the questions that absolutely nobody on the right will dare answer, and he is going to change the entire debate on the left, which may make Hillary a little uncomfortable.

The fact that Senator Sanders is even considering to run has many 1%’ers running scared. The more Bernie talks about running, the more speeches like this one, get pushed into the mainstream media.  The 1% does not want you to know that they are secretly creating policies that suppress your wages, and boost their profits.  The 1% does not want you to know that they have been working to break our unions, and repeal the minimum wage. The 1% does not want you to know that they are secretly changing our environmental laws to make it easier to pollute our planet.

“The problems we face today are probable more serious than at any time since the Great Depression” warned Sanders.  “From the bottom my heart, I believe these problems are solvable, but they will not be solved unless working people come together and have the courage to take on the greed and the selfishness that we are seeing all over this country.”

At one point Senator Sanders talked about how our entire tax structure is unbalanced and that we have to do something about the vast income inequality currently dividing our country.  This is effecting our communities as local budgets are getting tighter and tighter. Lack of revenue and budget cuts have forced teachers to be laid off.  Laying off teachers is the worst thing we can do if we are trying to build strong community.  Teachers are forced out while Wall Street hedge fund managers collect obscene amounts of money.

“24 of the most lucrative hedge fund managers made more money than 425,000 public school teachers. That makes sense to nobody I know,” Sanders said.

Senator Sander also talked about David Koch’s Libertarian agenda when he ran for Vice President in 1980.  All of the things that were too extreme for main stream Republicans in 1980 like, repealing the minimum wage, the repeal of Social Security, repealing campaign finance laws, the abolition of the USPS and the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid, are now the basis of the modern day TEA Party led Republican Party.

All of these policy changes favor those ultra-wealthy 1%’ers and basically screw the rest of us.  That is not what our founding fathers wanted when they created our democracy.

Senator Sanders said, “We live in a Democracy not an Oligarchy!”

I say RUN, Bernie, RUN!!!


Watch Senator Sanders entire speech at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast below. 


Governor Hassas Praises Labor At NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast


Governor Hassan as well as many others took time out of their busy schedules to stop and honor Labor at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO’s annual Labor Day Breakfast.

Labor Day is the one day a year when the entire nation stops to look back and praise the achievements of organized labor throughout history.  Some, like Governor Hassan, respect and honor the hard work that union members do every day.

“You all make up the highly skilled workforce that makes up the backbone of our economy,” Hassan said.

Unions have always fought for better pay and better working conditions, and that leads to better pay and better working conditions for all Granite Staters.

I am proud to stand before you as your Governor and say that, with your support, we have been able to come together, and we have begun to reverse the devastating cuts and misguided policies of the last legislature,” said Hassan.

Governor Hassan has also shown she supports working families by pushing for, and signing, legislation like “Paycheck Fairness,” that work to reduce the income inequality between men and women.  She also worked to freeze in-state tuition at the University of New Hampshire schools.  She proudly announced that next year the Community College System of NH would actually lower tuition by 5%.

There was one piece of legislation that Governor Hassan was eager to see, that never made it to her desk, and that was an increase in the NH Minimum Wage.  The House passed a modest increase over two years, and Governor Hassan was very supportive of that legislation. However, when the bill got to the Senate, it was killed by a party line vote.  The Republican’s in the Senate, killed that bill and every Granite Stater should know it.

We need to ensure that this November we elect leaders, like Governor Hassan, who will stand up for working families, who will fight for a minimum wage increase, who will fight to keep expanding our healthcare options, and fight against the corporate greed that is infecting our legislature.  We need to ensure that we elect leaders who will oppose Right To Work (for less) in all its forms.

Below is the unedited address given by Governor Hassan at the NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Winners: Protecting Our Freedom (Immigration Reform) by Hilary Gorgol

This is a part of the NH AFL-CIO Scholarship essay contest.  The applicants were asked why immigration reform was so important. This is the grand prize winner, Hilary Gorgol.  Hilary’s is Stanley A. Gorgol, DPM a Shop Steward for the OPEIU 45, the labor union for Podiatrists.

Scholarship applicants only speak for themselves, and are not necessarily the views of the NHLN.

hilary 2

Hilary Gorgol (left) and Janice Kelble

Protecting our Freedom

America has been known as a melting pot; a country where all are welcome.  In 1886, France gave the United States a Statue of Liberty as a symbol of our freedom.  This freedom was offered to all, encompassed by the engraved sonnet, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  In recent years, America has closed our ‘golden door.’  Our country was originally founded in the hopes of a new start free from persecution.  For centuries, immigrants flocked to America to fulfill the American Dream: an idea that hard work will lead to increasing success; an idea that our children will never have the same struggles and burdens; an idea that anything is possible.  However, for eleven million immigrants, this American ideal will only be a dream.   They will never have the abilities to progress and create their new life.  Strict sanctions and limits on immigrants recreate the stifling government our nation declared independence from centuries ago.  Therefore, without legislative reform, the American Dream and very foundation of our country will be lost.

Hilary Gorgol

Hilary Gorgol

The Statue of Liberty greeted immigrants upon their entrance to Ellis Island.  My ancestors were some of those immigrants.  My great-grandmother and great-grandfather sailed to America to flee Russian oppression in Poland.  They came in hopes of a better life, like so many others.  However, during that time, entrance points into the United States were limited.  Immigration officials could control who was admitted into the country and who was deported home.  It is no longer so simple.  With so many forms of transportation, our immigration system is outdated.  The number of immigrants is no longer limited to the passengers of one ship.  Just as modes of transportation have advanced, our legislation must progress with time.  It can no longer be denied that immigrants are finding alternative entrances across our borders, and so a bipartisan agreement through the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is the only solution to our growing problems in the economy and healthcare.

Immigrants once flocked to America to see our roads “paved with gold,” however America is no longer a financial world leader.  We are in the midst of one of our nation’s highest fiscal deficits.  This deficit can be aided by loosening restrictions on immigration.  Currently, undocumented immigrants work demanding jobs for low wages and often under-the-table payments.  The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 creates a tangible road to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, thus increasing the size of our labor force.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates an increase of US population by 10 million (3%) by 2023 and by 16 million (4%) by 2033.  This increase in population results in an increase in federal taxes, and an increase in revenue.  The larger work force would also allow for more wages based on skill sets, as immigrants will be able to accept the jobs they are qualified for.  Thus, wages would increase by 2025 due in part to job specialization.

Not only will the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 allow for citizenship and legitimacy for eleven million workers, it will also allow for a higher productivity of labor.  By loosening, or even eliminating, limits on immigration, this Act will increase the current and future possibility of highly skilled workers.  Great inventions have historically been the product of great minds unable to expand in their own countries.  By allowing a land full of opportunity and research, we can expand technological advances.  This Act thus promotes the American Dream for those searching for a chance to better themselves and our United States.

This Act has a particularly significant impact on my future.  As a senior nursing student, I constantly see the impact of financial burdens on a family’s healthcare.  Undocumented immigrants work not only for substandard pay, but often for no benefits.  This means families cannot afford a primary care physician and are instead forced to expensive Emergency Rooms with the flu or a common cold.  Emergency Departments are subsequently surpassing capacity and healthcare professionals are unable to adequately care for serious cases.  The undocumented immigrants seek urgent care simply because they have no other option.  This often leads to advanced illnesses and poor prognosis due to the lack of preventative and primary care.  I have seen the horrendous quality of life that results from lack of healthcare such as undiagnosed terminal brain cancer.  Undocumented immigrants are not able to take advantage of all the medical advances here in America.  This can be avoided with the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, and its ensuing establishment of available healthcare.

As a natural-born American, I have had the opportunity to pursue my own American Dream.  I have worked hard, and my dedication will be rewarded.  Others should be entitled to the same possibilities.  America has always been the land of opportunity, where one can truly work their way from ‘rags to riches.’  Everyone is deserving of the American Dream and without the reform in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, undocumented immigrants will never be able to partake in our country’s most historic ideal.

NH AFL-CIO Scholarship Essay Winners: Immigration Reform by Rishi Patel

This is a part of the NH AFL-CIO Scholarship essay contest.  The applicants were asked why immigration reform was so important. This is the third place winner, Rishi Patel.  Rishi’s mother Naina Patel, is an IBEW 1505 member. 

Scholarship applicants only speak for themselves, and are not necessarily the views of the NHLN. 

Rishi Patel 2

Rishi Patel and Janice Kelble an NH AFL-CIO Breakfast.

What do you believe is the significance of the bill and why do you believe immigration reform is such a major issue facing this country?

Rishi Patel

Rishi Patel and Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Ronald Reagan once said “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” Reagan pointed out one of the major issues of immigration. He noted that that a nation cannot function to its full potential if illegal traffic comes into it, since the government only has money and resources for the legal citizens. Another issue of immigration is that employers and businesses exploit illegal immigrants in order to make a greater profit. Employers not only get more “bang for their buck” but also undermine American workers by giving jobs to illegal immigrants. America is not only losing money to the employers, but it is also losing money through taxes. The nation is not receiving the funds that it deserves which cause the whole country to go further into debt. These are the reasons why the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is important. The bill is a crucial step towards a stable future.

If this bill were to become law it would dramatically increase border security. The bill talks of deploying “at least 38,405 full-time Border Patrol agents, mandating an electronic exit system at all ports where Customs and Border Protection agents are deployed; constructing at least 700 miles of fencing, including double fencing; increasing mobile surveillance; deploying aircraft and radio communications; constructing additional Border Patrol stations and operating bases; hiring additional prosecutors, judges, and staff; providing additional training to border officers; and increasing prosecutions of illegal border crossings.” These are only some of the increases of border security, but this plan will make sure that illegal immigrants are not able to come into the country as it is expected to have “90 percent effectiveness rate in preventing illegal crossings.” This goal of 90 percent effectiveness is a guarantee as a bipartisan Southern Border Commission will be created who will be responsible for “making recommendations and spending additional funds in order to achieve border-security goals if the Secretary of Homeland Security cannot certify “effective control.” By having an effectiveness rate of 90 percent, America will significantly cut down on illegal immigrants. This will allow America to be more stable as the government will only have to spend money and resources for the legal citizens. By only spending money on legal citizens, the government is less likely to overspend and more likely to match its budget. By matching its budget the government will eventually be able to pay off its debt or at least not go further into debt.

Another part of this bill that will help stabilize America is E-Verify. E-Verify or employment verification system “is an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States by comparing information from an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records.” S.744 “requires identity verification through the use of enhanced fraud-proof documents, such as tamper- and identity-theft resistant Social Security cards, and the use of a photo tool to allow employers to verify an individual’s identity.” The bill also requires all employers to “confirm identity and employment authorization within three business days after the employee accepts the offer of employment.” By setting these requirements the government is making sure that no employer is able to cheat the system and hire illegal immigrants in order to make a greater profit. If an employer does hire a person who is not eligible to work according to E-Verify then they “are subject to increased civil or criminal penalties.” A civil fine is “increased up to $25,000 per violation for employers that have committed multiple violations related to hiring unauthorized immigrants.” Multiple violations may also result in an employer spending “two years in prison.” These penalties will not only prevent employers from hiring unauthorized workers but it will also prevent them from undermining the American workers. E-Verify will give the American workers a level playing field once again, and will also help steady the unemployment rate.

Even though both increased border security and E-Verify will lead to stabilizing the economy, none will have a greater effect than the Register Provisional Immigrant (RPI) program. This program creates a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants that have been in the United States since December 31, 2011. An immigrant who is under RPI status would be able to travel in and out of the country, and they would be able to work in United States. In order to apply a person must not be “convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors, pay their assessed taxes, pass background checks, and pay application fees and a $1,000 penalty (which may be paid in installments), among other requirements.” In order to become a citizen an immigrant must first achieve RPI status. Since RPI status lasts for six years the person must renew their status, and once they have finished 10 years in RPI status they must do 3 years of residency. Once the person has gone through this 13 year process he will then be eligible to apply for citizenship. Their application will then be put “in the back of the line.” This stabilizes the economy because it forces the immigrants to “pay their assessed taxes” and it would also require them to keep paying their taxes as long as they are in the RPI status.

S.744 is a bill that would create dramatic changes if it became law. All the changes will lead to the stability of America. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that enacting the bill would “decrease federal budget deficits by $158 billion over the 2014-2023 periods.” Making these changes will not only stabilize America but could cause the nation to beat the recession.

“A Guide to S.744: Understanding the 2013 Senate Immigration Bill.” Immigration Policy Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2013.
“Congressional Budget Office.” CBO. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2013.
Patel Family (image credit Janice Kelble)

Patel Family (image credit Janice Kelble)

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