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Right To Work For Less Lobby Day and Public Hearing Tomorrow!!!

The extreme Anti-Worker agenda is in full swing once again in Concord.  Right To Work for Less is also back for another round.  Speaker Bill O’Brien made promises to make New Hampshire a Right To Work State no matter who opposes him.  Now that the bill is introduced, the public gets a chance to speak on the bill.  Be there to tell the NH House Labor Committee we do not need Right To Work.

It was bad for New Hampshire last year, and its worse this year!

What Have American Unions Ever Done For Us?

How many times have you heard this, What Have Unions Ever Done For Me? Well after watching this video, you may have a better idea.  The truth is that unions have been fighting for the working class for over 100 years here in the United States.

What Have American Unions Ever Done For Us?

Produced by MoveOn Creative 

Here is a short list (36 items) of how unions have help all workers. Taken from the Union Plus website.

  1. Weekends without work
  2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
  3. Paid vacation
  4. Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  5. Sick leave
  6. Social Security
  7. Minimum wage
  8. Civil Rights Act/Title VII – prohibits employer discrimination
  9. 8-hour work day
  10. Overtime pay
  11. Child labor laws
  12. Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
  13. 40-hour work week
  14. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
  15. Unemployment insurance
  16. Pensions
  17. Workplace safety standards and regulations
  18. Employer health care insurance
  19. Collective bargaining rights for employees
  20. Wrongful termination laws
  21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  22. Whistleblower protection laws
  23. Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
  24. Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
  25. Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
  26. Sexual harassment laws
  27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  28. Holiday pay
  29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
  30. Privacy rights
  31. Pregnancy and parental leave
  32. Military leave
  33. The right to strike
  34. Public education for children
  35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 – requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
  36. Laws ending sweatshops in the United States

Right To Work For Less: NH Middle Class Fights Again!

The extreme Anti-Worker agenda is in full swing once again in Concord.  Right To Work for Less is also back for another round.  Speaker Bill O’Brien made promises to make New Hampshire a Right To Work State no matter who opposes him.  Now that the bill is introduced, the public gets a chance to speak on the bill.  Be there to tell the NH House Labor Committee we do not need Right To Work.

It was bad for New Hampshire last year, and its worse this year!

Labor and Interfaith Leaders Come Together….

Even before Unions started to protect the workers rights in the workplace, churches have been there helping workers when they were in need.  Right now the economic recession we are in has put enormous strains on workers paychecks.  Some have even struggled to pay their bills or put food on the table.  When people are in need the first place they go is their church.  Unions and churches have always worked hard supporting the same goals.  Unions fight for better wages, and the church is there when sometimes those wages are not enough.

Now the NH AFL-CIO and other labor organizations are working hand in hand with Interfaith Worker Justice to fight back against the wave of anti-labor bills in the NH House.  Last year these Interfaith Leaders provided assistance in fighting back Right To Work laws in New Hampshire.

Due to weather, the January service was canceled.
The new date is FEBRUARY 2nd
at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
21 Centre Street, Concord

After the service, Rev Paul Sherry will lead the group in a Faith-Labor Dialogue at 530pm.

For more info or to RSVP for the 5:30 p.m. meeting, contact: Gail Kinney, 603-381-7324 or economicjustice.nhcucc@gmail.com

The Return Of Right To Work For LESS!!!

The extreme Anti-Worker agenda is in full swing once again in Concord.  Right To Work for Less is also back for another round.  Speaker Bill O’Brien made promises to make New Hampshire a Right To Work State no matter who opposes him.  Now that the bill is introduced, the public gets a chance to speak on the bill.  Be there to tell the NH House Labor Committee we do not need Right To Work.

It was bad for New Hampshire last year, and its worse this year!

One More Day Till The Primary Is Over!!!

Like many Granite Staters the Primary can not come soon enough.  While there is no denying the fact that the First In The Nation Primary does give a boost to the New Hampshire economy (not as much as in previous years). This years primary seems to be worse than ever.  Maybe it is because it seemed like the primary has been building here for what seems like forever.  While I may be exaggerating a little, we have been regularly visited by GOP Candidates since last summer.  Some people love the Primary.  It gives them a chance to get involved in politics.  They ask questions in town hall meetings, and “Really Get To Know The Candidates”.  It is hard to ignore them when they are dominating everything from the TV, print media, littering our streets with signs, and overrunning our local restaurants.  I even heard of one restaurant here in New Hampshire that said “No More Politicians”.  Why would a business turn away customers like that?  In reality they are not turning away customers, they are allowing their real customers the opportunity to eat a meal without someone bothering them, trying to win their vote.

Mostly I am tired of the rhetoric.  We need to create more jobs! We need to lower taxes on rich and corporations in order to create jobs! We need to limit the power of the Unions, because Unions support Obama! (I will not even go into some of the more controversial social issues here.)  Most of all I want this group of candidates to stop getting involved in our local politics.  Stop telling Me that You know more about New Hampshire than the people who actually live and work here.

One of the biggest issues in New Hampshire over the last year has been the much talked about Right To Work bill.  This has brought national attention to our small state because for the first time in a decade RTW passed and was sent to the Governor.  Thankfully Gov. Lynch vetoed HB 474.  This opened a “pandora’s box” for every candidate to tell us at every town hall meeting that we “Need Right To Work” or “We Must Pass Right To Work”.  Mitt Romney even went as far as to say: “If I were a voter, I’d encourage state representatives, state senators and the governor to do whatever is necessary to make New Hampshire a right-to-work state to create more jobs for the people of New Hampshire (1).” That is almost laughable coming from a Governor who never once pushed for Right To Work in Massachusetts.

So as you go out to cast your vote for whoever tomorrow remember a couple of things.  All of the current GOP Candidates support Right To Work.  Some even suggested they would create a National Right To Work law.  Most of the GOP Candidates have said they would like to destroy the National Labor Relations Board.  Newt Gingrich wants to do away with Unions and reduce the child labor laws to allow our children can work in the schools they attend.  However on the other side President Obama has instituted policies that push for more Union jobs.  Pres. Obama mandated Project Labor Agreements for all Federally Funded Projects which ensure fair wages and benefits to all the project workers.  Pres. Obama has pushed to strengthen Unions not destroy them.

So whether your a Republican or a Democrat there is a Primary for you tomorrow.  Get out there and vote.  While this Primary vote does not really count for anything, it does give you the chance to really see what the candidates are saying. Are they Pro-Labor or Anti-Worker?

Remember, this is the primary, we only have eleven more months till the actual election!

Find your local polling place
If you have problems voting or are denied the right to vote contact 866-OUR-VOTE, a non-partisan voter protection organization

Canadian Labour International Film Festival, Comes to Manchester 12/19/11…

The Canadian Labour International Film Festival (http://labourfilms.ca/) is coming to MANCHESTER! 
After a very long year of struggling with Right To Work legislation and a monstrous attack on workers now is the time to sit back and recharge your Labor Batteries.  Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and come watch three independently made movies about the Labor Movement and the 99% in the United States and Canada.

A description and preview of each of the movies is located below.

We will be showing these movie on:
When: MON. Dec 19th at 6pm
Where: Manchester Public Library Auditorium
405 Pine Street, Manchester (directions)

For more information and to RSVP contact Matt Murray.


You can also RSVP right here…

BreathtakingTime: 43 minutes Year: 2010
Director: Kathleen Mullen
Producer: Kathleen Mullen
Country: Canada
Language: English, French, Hindi, Gujarati (English subtitles)
Preview available at: http://www.kathleenmullen.com/breathtaking/

“Breathtaking” takes on the asbestos industry through a moving and personal investigation into the deaths of Kathleen’s father from mesothelioma, and the confounding present-day use of asbestos in Canada and other countries that continues to exact a human toll. Valued since prehistory and commercially mined since the Industrial Revolution, asbestos was nicknamed the ‘magic mineral’ for its fabric-like properties and its capacity to protect against fire. It’s been used in everything from brake pads to oven mitts. After it was discovered to be carcinogenic, asbestos use was banned in many countries and limited in others.

Locked outTime: 60 minutes
Year: 2011
Director: Joan Sekler
Producer: Joan Sekler
Country: USA
Language: English
Preview available at: http://www.lockedout2010.org/

This David and Goliath story reveals how 560 unionized miners in California refused to accept wage and benefit cuts by their employer, Rio Tinto, a giant multinational mining company. They were locked out of their jobs and replaced by scabs. They organized a mass movement of support and after 107 days, Rio Tinto backed down, signed a decent contract and the miners went back to work.

Triangle: Remembering the Fire
Time: 38 minutes, 47 seconds
Year: 2011
Director: Daphne Pinkerson
Producers: Daphne Pinkerson, Marc Levin
Country: USA
Language: English
Preview available at: http://vimeo.com/18481061

“Triangle: Remembering the Fire” marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, an event that changed the course of history. It is the story of a great uprising of young women, whose protest ended tragically in flames. A cinematic tone poem of remembrance, the films also stands as a cautionary tale about the dangers of returning to the attitudes of the Gilded Age.

TRIANGLE: Remembering the Fire from Blowback Productions on Vimeo.

NH Labor News, RGGI brings in 17 mil and added 150 jobs, New Candidates for GOV.

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE LABOR NEWS Daily Clips for 11/17/11

RGGI report: N.H. benefits, but not as much as others: “New Hampshire received a net economic benefit of $17 million and has added 150 jobs a year over the three years since the cap and trade program went into effect in 2008, according to the report, which was put together by the Boston-based consulting firm Analysis Group and released by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.”

Bob Bridgham Letter Bob Bridgham: In NH Democratic policies helped create jobs | Conway Daily Sun: “Looked at in this light, the unemployment statistics tell a different story than the one Mr. Hoyt spins for us. Using seasonally adjusted data we find that New Hampshire’s unemployment peaked at 6.7 percent between September 2009 and January 2010. From then to May 2011, while state policy and budget reflected actions of a Democratic legislature, unemployment dropped steadily to 4.8 percent. From June 2011, unemployment rose steadily to the recently reported 5.4 percent, a rise that coincides with the effects of actions by the new, Republican-controlled legislature. In other words, Democratic policies helped to create jobs; Republican policies have taken them away.”

More TEA runs the Governor’s Seat? If you thought O’Brien is bad as the House Speaker, just wait till you see what would happen if Kevin Smith becomes Governor.

New Hampshire and Manchester news, weather, business and sports – New Hampshire’s newspaper: “The Granite Status has learned that former Cornerstone Action executive director Kevin Smith, after thinking long and hard about it, has decided to run for governor.

“I’m in,” Smith said in an interview. “I’m definitely running.”

He has opened a “Kevin Smith for New Hampshire” political action committee and will begin raising money and organizing a leadership committee. KevinSmithforGovernor.com will be online Thursday morning.”

GOV. Perry was hitting the streets of New Hampshire Yesterday and drumming up new controversy. The same man who passed legislation to provide education to illegal immigrants in TX now barrs them from Town Hall Meeting.

Perry all business in NH amid immigration woes – Boston.com: “Citing federal regulations, a company employee sat beside a Perry campaign staffer at the door and asked people for driver’s licenses or other identification to prove citizenship.

The employee, who refused to give her name, said non-citizens wouldn’t be allowed in.

Another company employee, assembly manager Shawn O’Hagan, later said immigrants should not have been barred from attending. But he said anyone who couldn’t prove their citizenship would have to be escorted inside.”

Manchester: Perry urges ‘brow-beating’ | Concord Monitor: “As for government agencies, Perry supported downsizing and redefining the Environmental Protection Agency and delegating the TSA’s responsibilities to a private-sector company.

When asked if Perry would cut government employees through attrition, the candidate said he would “cut with an axe.””

MARK Provost will be speaking at the NH AFL-CIO Coodinator’s Meeting tonight…..

Occupy NH to Protest Primary – Concord, NH Patch: “In a posting on the Occupy NH website, organizer Mark Provost said members will travel to several communities leading up to the Primary to drum up support.

The exact nature of the Primary protest was unclear.

“If we protest in numbers, we will contribute to changing the consciousness of people in New Hampshire and across the country,” Provost wrote. “Occupy New Hampshire has a very rare and privileged opportunity to shape the national political debate. We could set the tone for the rest of national primaries.”

The group also plans to travel to Concord, Exeter, Keene, Nashua, Portsmouth and the university towns of Durham, Keene and Plymouth leading up to the Primary on Jan. 10, 2012.

The First-in-the-Nation state welcomes various interests every four years. They birddog the candidates, or try to, and they struggle to have their voices heard over the presidential primary tumult.

OWS has drawn some Democrat and independent supporters in the state, and it has drawn the ire of the substantial New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition.”

NH Labor News for 11/2/11, News on NH Power Outages, Education, Health Care Bill,

For many in NH, power won’t be on soon | New Hampshire NEWS11: “CONCORD – Thousands of New Hampshire residents begin today without power as many schools remain closed for a second consecutive day and scores of roads are impassable.

(Click here for a list of closings and delays from WMUR.com)

Sunshine and warm temperatures – today’s high in Manchester is forecast at 47 degrees – will prove little consolation for those suffering through the Halloween weekend snowstorm. Public Service of New Hampshire on Monday identified two large areas where it expects power to be out for several days: areas south of Route 4 from Concord to the Seacoast, and the southern tier from Temple eastward.”

Lawmakers freeze salaries for some legislative workers | New Hampshire NEWS06: “The move saves about $50,000 and affects 56 workers who work jointly for the House and Senate. The vote to freeze their pay passed 7-2, and was opposed by Democratic leaders Sen. Sylvia Larsen of Concord and Rep. Terie Norelli of Portsmouth.”

What We Learn (or Don’t) From Test Scores – NYTimes.com: “I was devastated by Michael Winerip’s article on how the No Child Left Behind Act has affected the creative teaching at a New Hampshire middle school. It used to be that eighth graders at Oyster River Middle School chose semester-long “genre” projects in English class. They’d pick “a subject area like mysteries, read masters like Agatha Christie, study the writer’s craftsmanship (‘Explain how the author foreshadows doom’), then draft their own.” In science class they would spend two weeks building a real underwater vessel; in social studies they reenacted the Boston Massacre.”

Panel approves watered-down health mandate bill: “A bill that set out to repeal all of the health insurance mandates passed when Democrats last had control of the New Hampshire Legislature will effectively repeal only one – a mandate that insurers pay for midwives – at least in the version passed Tuesday by the House Commerce Committee.

But House Bill 309 does say that a number of other mandates would be subject to a utilization review under rules adopted by the state Insurance Department — early intervention therapy services for developmental disabilities, autism and hearing aids.

The utilization review would allow insurers to deny services, but only for specific reasons.”

The standards of political redistricting – SentinelSource.com: Guest: “The standards of political redistricting
Every 10 years New Hampshire has to redraw voting districts for the House to reflect the federal census. These new districts must comply with both the federal and state constitutions. The federal principle that must be followed is commonly called “one-person-one-vote.” What it means is that districts must be drawn so that everyone’s vote carries approximately the same weight.”

New Hampshire GOP is pushing to get out of the RGGI program. However this program has brought millions into the state and eliminated pollution equivalent to 2500 cars. Why would we want to stop a program that cleans our air and provides needed revenue for New Hampshire? (by NHLNN)

Report: RGGI’s energy savings $4.2m – NashuaTelegraph.com: “New Hampshire got $33 million from these credit auctions over the past three years. The money has been spent on energy-efficiency projects for private businesses, nonprofits and cities and towns.
House Republican leaders mocked the results and said this report reinforces their desire for New Hampshire to leave the program.”

Heating aid levels not looking so hot – NashuaTelegraph.com: “The widespread power outages that accompanied last weekend’s surprise October snowstorm have introduced thousands of people to what it’s like not have heat on a crisp New Hampshire day – and an even chillier New Hampshire night.
Fortunately, this will be a temporary inconvenience for most, one quickly relegated to history once power is restored in a few days.
But what about those individuals and families whose struggle to heat their homes during a typical New England winter is not tied to a freak snowstorm, an ice storm or some other type of meteorological mayhem?”

Wal-Mart Puts More Pressure on Struggling Workers!

By Matt Murray
for the NH Labor News

Photo from NYT Article

Here in Red Sox Nation we refer to the New York Yankee’s as the Evil Empire.  In the world of Labor, Wal-Mart is our Evil Empire.  It was announced on 10/22, that Wal-Mart, the nations largest employer would be making significant changes to their employee health care program.  While the changes have not been fully released the New York Times has reported on some of these changes.

The first of the three major changes is that Wal-Mart will no longer allow part time employees (emps. who work less than 24 hours per week) a health care option.

The second is that if you work between 24 and 33 hours per week would qualify for health insurance coverage.  The change is that now only employee’s and their children would be covered.  Spouses are no longer covered.

The third change is to the full time employees.  They will still qualify for health insurance, however they will be paying more per week and have significantly higher deductibles. Some of the deductibles are near $5000 per year.

In Wal-Mart’s 2012 health offerings, premiums will increase for some plans by more than 40 percent, although many of their workers pay relatively low premiums in comparison to more generous plans offered by other employers. But many Wal-Mart employees complain that their low premiums are accompanied by high deductibles that sometimes exceed 20 percent of their annual pay. (NYT)

Why is this happening? Well we all know health care costs have risen, and Wal-Mart is no exception.  Is Wal-Mart in finical trouble?  Well the fact is that Wal-Mart is the number one of the Fortune 500 companies. Last year alone they made 14.3 Billion dollars in profits.  That is operating costs for the employment of 2.1 million workers nationwide. In times of economic depression, like we are in now, people are racing into Wal-Mart stores to save ten cents on a box of pasta.  They are trying to save pennies where they can, and every penny counts right now.

So what can the Wal-Mart employee’s do about these changes?  Right now, nothing.  In my opinion the workers really only have one option, UNIONIZE!  A few years back there was a bill in the US Congress that would make it easier for workers to unionize.  It was called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).  While it was supported by workers and labor unions, corporations like Wal-Mart feared it.  Wal-Mart knew that if workers unionized it would cut into their profit margins, and they would have less “flexibility” to institute changes like these on Wal-Marts employee’s.  So after months of fighting EFCA seemed to disappear after the 2010 elections.  Now with an anti-union Tea Party in Congress we are not likely to see anything like EFCA again anytime soon.

So why should the workers unionize Wal-Mart?  Unions have always fought for workers over profits. Without the protection unions provide we are likely to see more changes as Wal-Mart paves the way for Corporate America steamrolls its workers.  Combined with low pay and no benefits some Wal-Mart employee’s are force to get programs like Medicare and Medicaid to get any health coverage.  The same people in Congress who are making it hard to unionize are now also trying to take away their Medicare too.  This will cause great social problems.  Workers without health coverage are one hospital trip away from bankruptcy. So they will avoid going to the doctor knowing they can not pay for it.

Unions have always fought to ensure that every worker gets a decent pay and health coverage.  Before the Unions fought for it health care options were not even offered.  In 1997, the Teamsters went on strike agains UPS because UPS would not cover part time employee’s health care.  Now all workers at UPS receive the company funded health benefits.  With such friendly corporations like Wal-Mart it is no wonder that workers are protesting Wall Street.  We need corporations like Wal-Mart to care more about their workers and less about their stock prices!

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