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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!

New Hampshire Labor News for 10/22/11

Governor Lynch Calls For Education Funding Amendment: “Governor John Lynch surprised top Republican lawmakers today when he released an education funding constitutional amendment.
The amendment would give the state more discretion to target financial aid to schools than it has today.
Critics are concerned about how the governor’s proposal would affect court oversight of education funding.
Governor John Lynch and Republican leaders all want to see the state adopt a constitutional amendment.
Lynch, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President share the belief the state should target money to the neediest communities… even if that means other cities and towns get nothing.
The three men have been meeting to hammer out a deal since December.
The governor says his proposal is the only way he knows to give all children in the state a good education.
“It affirms the state’s responsibility for public education. But at the same time it allows the state to send more money to the communities and children who need it more than others.”

Governor’s proposal on education amendment criticized by House, Senate leaders – NashuaTelegraph.com: ““It is my strongly held belief that the state has a responsibility to ensure that every child in New Hampshire has the opportunity for a quality education,” Lynch said. “But to accomplish that goal, we need an amendment that allows the state to target aid to communities with the greatest needs, and that is what this amendment will do.”
House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, and Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, reacted with surprise, O’Brien with condemnation, after reading the latest wording through a press release.
“It is disappointing we have to read about this for the first time in the press and not hear from the governor himself,” O’Brien said in a statement. “As such, this appears to be more of a publicity stunt than an actual concrete proposal to resolve the education funding problem created by the courts.”

Media-Newswire.com: “MANCHESTER – Governor John Lynch today went to Manchester Community College where he met with several New Hampshire workers enrolled in the WorkReady NH program, a new job skills training program administered through the Community College System. WorkReady NH is the third and final component of New Hampshire Working, Governor Lynch’s innovative jobs initiative.

Governor Lynch saw firsthand how WorkReady NH is addressing gaps in worker readiness in the areas of math, reading and problem solving. It is also addressing so-called “soft skills” such as workplace behaviors, teamwork and communications.

“The stories I heard today were quite compelling. These people were eager to get back in the workplace and WorkReady is helping them by highlighting their strengths and identifying which areas they need to improve upon,” Governor Lynch said. “By earning certification through WorkReady these workers will able to demonstrate to potential employers they have the skills needed in the workplace.”

$1M for LGC lawyers ‘obscene,’ says state official | SeacoastOnline.com: “CONCORD — The Local Government Center will spend $1 million “or better” on lawyers to defend itself against claims alleging it skimmed and mismanaged $100 million of insurance money, predicts Bureau of Securities Regulation attorney Earle Wingate III.

Wingate filed a 4-count complaint against the LGC alleging breaches of corporate law, financial impropriety and his demand that $100 million be returned to funding entities, which include taxpayers, public employees and retirees. The LGC was formed as an insurance pool for cities and towns to achieve favorable rates for employees’ health coverage and property liability claims.

Wingate said his office will seek detailed financial information regarding legal costs for the LGC’s defense.”

Guinta’ propaganda:(Letter to the Editor)
 “Did anyone else receive congressman’s Guinta’s “Special Report” on taxes, energy prices and unemployment in the mail? I, for one, am disturbed that this piece of campaign propaganda was paid for with taxpayer dollars. Our congressman is spreading misinformation and distorting the truth on my dime, and I am not happy about it.
The large four-page color flyer is titled, “What’s affecting your family budget?” I can tell you one thing: Mr. Guinta’s refusal to tax the top 0.5 percent of the wealthiest Americans in order to help balance the budget is a huge problem for you, me, and our children and grandchildren.
Education funding is just one example. Guinta’s flyer boasts of his many visits to local schools to speak with elementary school children. How nice. Under the “Improving Education” section of his flyer, he states that he wants “to see how individual schools, students and teachers are facing the challenges they face.” How many visits will it take for him to realize his visits alone will not improve education for our students?”

New Hampshire Labor News: What Are You Doing Today??: “If you are looking for something to do today here are two ideas. The first is an open town hall with New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien and other state reps. He is asking for real workers to attend and talk about Jobs in New Hampshire. Do not miss this opportunity to meet with the Speaker and ask him why is he attacking the same workers he says he is trying to help.

The Second event today is Occupy NH. They will be hosting another General Assembly at Veterans Park today. The Occupy Wall Street movement has sparked many local Occupy events. The people from OccupyNH are looking for a big turnout to show that we are all part of the 99%. If you can, go and show your support for the Occupy movement. Be a part of the social revolution that is sweeping the nation.”

NH Labor News for 10/21/11, Reports on Vouchers in NH Schools, Occupy NH, VP Biden, and the American Jobs Act

OP/ED: Vouchers Offer False Hope – Concord, NH Patch: “If a medication isn’t working, a doctor would say to stop using it. If a puzzle piece doesn’t fit, you wouldn’t keep try to fit it into the space. If studies consistently conclude that vouchers don’t improve student achievement, why would you support it?

Despite the evidence, voucher advocates like state Rep. J.R. Hoell, (who wrote a Monitor Forum, Oct. 17) inexplicably want to waste scarce public dollars on tuition for private schools. Call it what you want — vouchers, scholarships, education tax credits — they’re all the same thing: an indefensible, ineffective scheme that gives families false hope that kids receiving vouchers will do better academically than students in regular public schools.”

Read the Full Op/Ed Here.  Also Rep Hoell has already posted comments on the Patch.Com site trying to prove his point again.  Even thought the facts are not in his favor he is still trying to push his anti-teacher agenda.  Post your message of support for PUBLIC Education and the Teachers who work in our public schools.

Board returns $260,000 to administrators | Conway Daily Sun: “As you know, we set aside $429,000 from the current budget for the district’s contribution to the New Hampshire Teacher Retirement System fund as recommended last year,” Nelson wrote in a memo to the board Sept. 15. “The final numbers as of August 2011 came in at several percentages less than the original 13.98 percent. That means we have $205,000 of voter-approved money which can now be utilized by the school district.”

Photo by Grant Morris
Nashua Telegraph

Biden touts jobs plan, files Obama’s candidacy papers – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Biden stayed on message throughout the day promoting the America Jobs Act and portraying the White House as middle-class defenders and GOP leaders as the protectors of the rich and Wall Street. At one point, Biden lamented the lack of a unified Republican Party and said it’s difficult for Obama to reach consensus on Capitol Hill.
“We need a Republican Party,” Biden said comparing the GOP to the post-Vietnam Democratic Party when Biden was pilloried from within for promoting a tough anti-crime bill.

Biden said GOP congressional leaders can’t negotiate with the White House without worrying about opposition from their far-right flank.
“There is nobody to make a deal with,” said Biden, a former, six-term U.S. senator.”

We at the NH Labor News have been following the Occupy New Hampshire and their struggles to get started.  They had a great showing a few weeks ago with over 100 people in Veterans Park.  Since then they moved to Victory Park and then back to Veterans Park.  The other night all of the members of Occupy NH still in the park were issued citations or arrested for violating the Manchester Park curfew.

Now they are regrouping and looking for more support this time.  If you are able please attend the General Assembly at Veterans Park in Manchester on Sat at 12:00 Noon.  For more information check out OccupyNH.Com 

NH protestors to regroup after Manchester arrests – Boston.com: “The protesters plan to gather at midday Saturday in Manchester’s Veterans Park, the site of Wednesday night’s arrests, to plot a course of action.
Eighteen protesters were issued citations by Manchester police for violating a city ordinance prohibiting people from being in the city’s parks from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., Manchester police said.
The 18 range in age from 19 to 56. Most are from Manchester.”

Kestrel considers composites plant in Berlin, NH – Boston.com: “Kestrel Aircraft Co. still hopes to build the aircraft plant in Brunswick but it’s looking to put a composites plant in Berlin, N.H, or another rural location where additional funding is available under the federal New Market Tax Credit program, said Alan Klapmeier, chief executive officer.

“It’s become more and more clear that the project cannot all be done in Brunswick as originally envisioned,” Klapmeier told The Associated Press.

The federal program Kestrel was counting on saw a funding reduction and its rules changed so that Brunswick no longer qualifies for additional funding. To tap into the program, Kestrel needs a location like Berlin that’s rural and economically distressed, Klapmeier said.”

“NH Seeks to Privatize Prisons”, is that really a good idea???

This is a new article on New Hampshire seeking to Privatize the Prison System in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire to seek bids for private prisons – BusinessWeek: “This month, New Hampshire will seek bids from private businesses to build and possibly operate a 3,000-bed men’s prison and a 300-bed women’s prison.
The bids will explore having private companies build and operate the prisons as well as the possibility of such companies building them and leasing them back to the state to operate, Corrections Commissioner William Wrenn told The Associated Press. The state also will ask the companies for other ways that privately building the prisons would save money.
The state issued bid requests this month for privately operating nursing, pharmacy and sex offender treatment operations. Wrenn said the hope is that a private contractor would hire the state workers performing those functions now.”

I wrote this post the other day about why privatization is bad for New Hampshire and this seems like the perfect time to post it.

“Shouldn’t some services like our toll roads be turned over to the private sector which understands business and how to make a profit?”

The privatization of Government services sound like a great idea in principle.  It would lower the financial burden on the state budget by allowing someone else to operate the contract or company.  This question raises the issue of Toll Roads and allowing business to operate them.  My short answer is no, and here is why.  Toll roads have been a thorn in the sides of many New Hampshire residents for many many years.  It is almost like clockwork that someone in the State Legislature will draft a bill to remove the tolls on New Hampshire roads.  Many people say the tolls are too high! I am sure you do not hear them complaining about how clean the roads are after a snow storm.  The same money they pay in tolls helps to plow the roads in the winter time and re-surface them in the summer.   So we really do not want to get rid of the tolls.  So lets go with the idea of having a “for profit” company operate the tolls.  What do you think will happen to those tolls if a company is looking to make a profit on their services? Do you think they cost of tolls will go down?  I don’t think so.  The State however uses the money brought in from toll roads to help offset the budget cost for State DOT projects.  When someone else is profiting from the tolls then we as New Hampshire residents would have to come up with that lost revenue somewhere else.

The other reason many lawmakers are pushing for “privatization” is to legally break any collective bargaining agreements it has with the workers.  By changing the Employer the Labor Unions would have to re-negotiate their contracts or even worse have to re-certify the union.  In most cases this means cut in pay, higher health costs, and less time off.  In some cases these workers will end up going from full time State Employee’s with health coverage and retirement benefits, to “part time”. By making them part time they can avoid paying for things like health, retirement, and time off.  In our current economic situation why would we want to create a situation where workers with secure jobs are forced to take pay cuts and loose work hours?  Are we trying to push more people out of work, or make them get second jobs to make ends meet?

NH Labor News Teacher Edition !!

This is a special edition of NH Labor News featuring Teachers in New Hampshire.

Check out the OP/Ed from Laura Hainey President of AFT-NH. Should be in your local papers soon as well.

New Hampshire Labor News: Vouchers Offer False Hope: Kids Need a Quality Education Agenda. An Op/Ed from Laura Hainey, Pres. of AFT-NH: “If a medication isn’t working, a doctor would say to stop using it. If a puzzle piece doesn’t fit, you wouldn’t keep try to fit it into the space. If studies consistently conclude that vouchers don’t improve student achievement, why would you support it?

Despite the evidence, voucher advocates like state Rep. J.R. Hoell, who wrote an op-ed for the New Hampshire House Republicans’ website, inexplicably want to waste scarce public dollars on tuition for private schools. Call it what you want—vouchers, scholarships, education tax credits—they’re all the same thing: an indefensible, ineffective scheme that gives families false hope that kids receiving vouchers will do better academically than students in regular public schools.”

We are still waiting to hear the results of the votes from Hillsboro.
Teachers’ contract goes to new vote | Concord Monitor: “Teachers in the Hillsboro-Deering School District are hoping voters today will approve a contract that reflects union wage and health care concessions made since voters rejected an initial agreement in March.

The district’s nurses, teachers, guidance counselors and librarians have been working without a contract since June 2009. Since then, about 55 of the district’s most veteran teachers have not had a pay raise because they hit the highest level in the contract’s 13 step increases.

The rest of the district’s approximately 110 teachers have received about 3 percent pay raises annually since the contract expired.”

WHS board under fire | SeacoastOnline.com:HAMPTON — Winnacunnet High School teachers said they have “no confidence” in the School Board in light of recent decisions made regarding curriculum and what they perceive as a total lack of respect toward them and administrators.

WHS social studies teacher Amy Scholes said the teachers intend to present a strongly worded letter to the board during Wednesday night’s meeting.

On Oct. 6 and 7, she said that 90 percent of all contract staff at the high school supported the vote of “no confidence” and not one staff member expressed they had confidence in the board.

“We have been unhappy with the direction the board has been going in as far as curriculum,” Scholes said. “We are upset with the micromanaging, the tone and the disrespect that we have seen. We believe that the overall dysfunction of the (School Board) does not allow for focused, fair and informed decisions that are best for all students.”

Teachers at odds with board at NH high school – Boston.com: “The Portsmouth Herald reports (http://bit.ly/pPPDmq) teachers feel the board is rushing the teaching of some core subjects and fear there will be a lack of opportunity for students to take electives. They say they are unhappy the board eliminated a required seminar for seniors.

Board members say there have been rumors circulating that the board was getting rid of all electives. They also say math, English and other “core” courses need to be taught year-round because the state says the school needs to improve in those areas.”

Award-Winning Science Teacher Spreads Passion to Students – Windham, NH Patch:
Bethany Bernasconi, who was recently named N.H. Teacher of the Year, continues to engineer an active classroom environment.

On an ordinary Thursday in an ordinary science classroom at Windham High School, the extraordinary Bethany Bernasconi begins her lesson plan.

The recently crowned New Hampshire Teacher of the Year starts with the simplest of questions as she walks toward the door to kill the lights.

New Hampshire Labor News for Sunday 10/16/11, talking about Good Jobs Rally, Charter Schools and Unions, and Right To Work!

NH UNION LEADER wrap up of the weeks events in New Hampshire Politics, by Tom Fahey:

Sparring to heat up over managed care | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “Another House session has come and gone, and still no movement on Gov. John Lynch’s veto of HB 474, the right-to-work bill.
Union members, including firefighters, retired teachers, AFL-CIO members, state workers and others have turned out for each House session anticipating an override vote that Speaker O’Brien has yet to allow.
The thinking now is the veto will come forward in January, whether or not O’Brien has votes for an override.
Jan. 4 marks the end of the first House session year and the beginning of a new one.
Moore said a veto override for any of the five Lynch vetoes still not acted on “has to be in this session year.’’ Override attempts would likely be taken as the old session wraps up, he said.”

Crowd gathers in Port City for jobs rally
New Hampshire; and NH House Speaker William O’Brien for attacking labor unions and supporting the Right-To-Work bill, which Barnes said is unfairly letting those who do not pay their dues with the union to still benefit from collective bargaining.

Rally in city asks: ‘Where are the jobs?’ | SeacoastOnline.com: PORTSMOUTH — Solidifying the theme of Saturday’s workers rally, business owner Nancy Beach repeatedly asked the change-seeking crowd “Where are the jobs?”

“Approximately 75 small business owners, unemployed and underemployed workers, and others gathered in Prescott Park, calling for job growth and support of President Barack Obama’s $447 billion American Jobs Act, which is opposed by Senate and House Republicans for its spending components and increased taxes on the wealthy. The rally was organized by the New Hampshire AFL-CIO and Protect New Hampshire Families.”

Read the entire Press Release from the New Hampshire AFL-CIO on the Portsmouth Good Jobs Rally here

Online city election guide available – NashuaTelegraph.com: “As is the case in all important elections, The Telegraph has created special pages to collect information about the election. They include information that’s prosaic (if you don’t know where your ward polling place is, we have a map) and pretty detailed, including biographies of most candidates and responses to an issue question or two.
Seats on the ballot include the mayor, who is running uncontested; 10 aldermen, most of which are contested races; five uncontested Board of Education seats and a short-term seat; three members of the Fire Commission; and two members of the Board of Public Works.”

Charter schools among union’s questions for BOE hopefuls – NashuaTelegraph.com: ““I do not believe that charter school employees should be able to unionize – if they want the safety, administrative constraints and benefits of the standard public school, then they shouldn’t choose to teach in a charter-designated school,” Hallowell said.
Elizabeth Van Twuyver, seeking her first political office, said union membership shouldn’t be required in a charter school.
“The purpose of charter schools is to provide education devoid of some of the restrictions that public schools have,” Van Twuyver said. “Charter schools should not have to join a union.”
“Charter schools among union’s questions for BOE hopefuls – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Bob Sherman, president of the Nashua Teachers Union, said not only should employees of a public charter school be able to form a union, but state law requires they be granted that right. The American Federation of Teachers has charter schools among its members, he said.”

Also very much in this weeks news is the Occupy New Hampshire events that started on Saturday in Manchester. Read all the different articles including “We Are The 99% here in New Hampshire” by clicking here

AFL-CIO Now: Cornell Study Shows Partnerships Between Employers, Labor and Community Groups Work

This is a cross post from the AFL-CIO Now Blog
This is great information about how Project Labor Agreements are good for workers and communities.

Cornell Study Shows Partnerships Between Employers, Labor and Community Groups Work

by Adele Stan, Oct 13, 2011

A new study suggests one path to helping people struggling in today’s economy find their way into the middle class, via Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for large-scale construction projects. Among the most successful PLAs, the Cornell University study found, are those that incorporate Community Workforce Agreements born of partnerships between community organizations, unions and employers. Community workforce provisions require the hiring of local residents on construction projects, and often target specific populations, including low-income people, women and veterans.
The best of these programs, according to the report, incorporate paid apprenticeships for those who have never worked before in the building trades, which add the longer-term bonus of helping to create a skilled workforce in a given community.
Among the report’s key findings, according to a summary from American Rights at Work:
  • Of the 185 PLAs analyzed for the report, 97 percent incorporated one or more community workforce provisions—most often including goals for hiring local area residents and utilizing apprenticeship programs.
  • 139 PLAs included Helmets to Hardhats provisions to promote the entry of veterans into the construction industry.
  • 103 PLAs included provisions to encourage hiring of women and minorities.
  • 45 PLAs included provisions for employment and career opportunities for economically disadvantaged populations.
Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work, contends that if President Obama’s jobs bill, currently stalled in Congress, were to include such community workforce agreements as those included in the PLAs studied by Cornell, the $105 billion dedicated to construction projects in the plan could yield about 525,000 good jobs, including 114,000 paid apprenticeships. The Americans Rights at Work release says that some 70,000 of the apprentice slots created by such agreements could be filled by workers of color, as well as thousands of women, veterans and low-income residents.
Freeman Brown explains:
Despite creating good jobs that benefit all Americans, PLAs continue to get assailed by special interests who embrace a “race to the bottom” business model. As growing income inequality cripples our local communities, and our military veterans are rewarded for their service with a trip to the unemployment line, we can’t afford to let attacks on a critical economic development tool like PLAs succeed.
The report, “Community Workforce Provisions in Project Labor Agreements: A Tool for Building Middle-Class Careers,” issued by the Cornell University ILR School, was co-authored by ILR’s Maria Figueroa, Labor and Industry Research director; Jeff Grabelsky, Construction Industry Program director; and research associate Ryan Lamare. A PDF version of the report can be downloaded here.

News Coverage from yesterdays NH House Session

Yesterday was a fast paced day for news and we tried to keep up. We responded with a post on Michele Bachmann’s boo’s from the crowd and her whispers to Speaker O’Brien the she would twist any arms. Read all about it here

Republican presidential hopefuls address NH House | New Hampshire NEWS0605: “CONCORD — Five Republican presidential candidates sparked applause, but two prompted loud booing, as they addressed the New Hampshire House of Representatives Wednesday.

Union members anxious about right-to-work legislation reacted when Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich called on the House to adopt the bill that Gov. John Lynch vetoed this year.

When Bachmann exhorted Republican House members to override the right-to-work veto, it set off a loud protest in the House gallery. Republicans on the House floor cheered just as loudly, setting off a contest each time she raised the issue.”

Cain’s Moment in the Sun Shines at New Hampshire Legislature – Rodney Hawkins – NationalJournal.com: “GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain enjoyed the fallout from his strong debate performance on Tuesday niht, getting a warm reception for his economic plan from New Hampshire legislators on Wednesday during a visit to the Statehouse.
At a traditional candidates’ forum hosted by the Legislature in the first-primary state, Cain said that he was actually glad his economic plan was slammed by his Republican rivals at the Republican candidates’ debate at Dartmouth College. “It attracted a lot of attention at the debates last night,” he said.  “You know you must be doing something right when you get a lot of arrows in your back.”

Debate raises Cain | Concord Monitor: “State lawmakers also heard from former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Speaker Bill O’Brien had invited each of the Republican candidates, along with President Obama, to address the chamber.

Gingrich received applause – and a few jeers – when he offered his support to right-to-work legislation, which was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch and awaits an override vote in the House. Bachmann also urged the House to adopt the policy, which prevents unions from charging fees to non-members.”

‘Good jobs’ rally planned for Prescott Park | Seacoastonline.com: “Organizers of the New Hampshire Wants to Work rally say the event will allow participants to call for bold proposals from state legislators and Congress to reverse alarming increases in underemployment and low-wage jobs during the past year.

Speakers at the event include small business owners Jack Bingman and Nancy Beach as well as workers from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

“This recession has left a lasting impact on many New Hampshire residents,” Beach, owner of Atlantic Media. “More families are living in poverty than a year ago — and the jobs that are being created to replace those lost will not lift New Hampshire families back into the middle class. Our elected leaders need to embrace urgent action to support New Hampshire’s small business owners and put citizens back to work.”

For full details on this see our previous post on the NEW HAMPSHIRE WANTS TO WORK Rally!

N.H. House approves budget fix with a catch – The Boston Globe: “The budget fix, which would save the state $8 million a year, is hung up on House speaker William O’Brien’s insistence on tinkering with the bill.

The law change cuts welfare benefits to people who also get federal Supplemental Security Income Program checks. The SSI program helps low-income disabled adults and children, as well as low-income residents 65 and older who are not disabled.”

NH labor news and politics for 9/29/11

New Hampshire Labor News: Shrinking Texas school payrolls add to unemployed: As the primary moves closer it also becomes more obvious that while the GOP is saying they are all about jobs really they are about not raising taxes and Cutting Jobs.

Government job losses in August, including teacher reductions, edged up the unemployment rate in Texas for a third consecutive month and to its highest level since 1987 — 8.5 percent. Last month was also the first time in nearly a year that net employment statewide fell. Private sector gains in August were offset by the loss of 9,400 government positions. Government jobs account for about 15 percent of the Texas workforce. (from the AP)

NH Dems, GOP blast Florida’s decision to move up primary: “New Hampshire Democrats and Republicans may not agree on much, but they found common ground Wednesday, blasting a decision by Florida to schedule its primary on Jan. 31.

If made official, the move will no doubt prompt New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to move the state’s primary earlier. Gardner has pledged to protect New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status and has the authority to move the primary as he sees fit.”See the NH Labor News write up on the NH Primary from an earlier Post.

A good LTE talking about Gov. Lynch and what he has done for New Hampshire:

The big one is yet to come — the attempted override of the governor’s veto of the Right to Work bill (HB 474). Because he doesn’t have enough votes to override the governor’s veto, Republican speaker Bill O’Brien keeps delaying this vote from one month to the next hoping that on some particular day enough opponents will be absent that he can sneak the override through the House.

The LGC review: O’Brien is right to get started:
“Last month, the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Securities Regulation issued a devastating report on New Hampshire’s Local Government Center (LGC), which runs several insurance pools for municipal employees. The report listed numerous violations of state law, including setting up illegal limited liability companies and illegally sheltering them under umbrella non-profit groups, not returning surplus money to municipalities as required by law, illegally transferring insurance premium money from one fund to another, and buying things with money it was not allowed to keep. “

GOP legislative leaders gird for battle on welfare:
“SB 198 requires Social Security disability income to be considered when a person applies for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). It is considered a technical change that fixes an oversight in the budget bill. The difference to the state is $8 million a year in extra welfare costs, about $700,000 a month.

Bragdon warned in a letter to O”Brien, House Finance Chair Kenneth Weyler, R-Kingston, and Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, that when lawmakers left town in June, the Legislature “was supposed to be done for the year.”

He said it’s wrong to bring a supposedly part-time citizen Legislature back to Concord all the time.

“We believe people should be able to serve and also work or run a business. We certainly don’t expect legislators to be in Concord all year long,” Bragdon wrote.”

From Yesterdays Blog

New Hampshire Labor News: Recap of Save the Postal Service Rally in Manchester NH on 9/27/11: “Over 300 People from across Southern New Hampshire join members from the four Postal Unions to show their support for America’s Postal Service. This was one of nearly 500 Rallies to “Save The Postal Service” across America yesterday”

Thanks you from Sharlene Labore of the NPMHU

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