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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!

Anti-union measure should be rejected – NashuaTelegraph.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew Murray


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!

An Update on HB1513: NH Public Employees Labor Relations Board…

Last month in our Legislative Series, I talked about HB1513: “The NH House Want to Remove All Impartial Aspects of State Labor Relations Board“.  In case I was not clear enough before I am going to say it again.  This bill is bad for workers and bad for the State.  It shows the extreme anti-union agenda that is being rushed through the New Hampshire Legislature.

The first time I spoke about HB1513,  I focused on the New Hampshire Public Employees Labor Relations Board (NHPELRB).  This is an intergal  part of the relationship between employee unions and the public employer.  It is set up to be a impartial voice in disputes between the employee and the public employer.  Admittedly I overlooked another key point to this legislation.

HB 1513: “VIII. All negotiations are to be held in Concord, at a venue agreed to by the parties. Any expenses associated with the negotiating venue shall be shared by the public employer and the employee organization.”

While this seemingly simple line could have huge ramifications on the public employers and the unions.  This line suggests that ALL, negotiations between the union and public employers will be held in Concord at a shared expense.

One of the biggest things about the public hearing held on Tuesday (1/24) was that the sponsor of the bill did not really know and understand what the bill text meant.  He implied that he had spoken with Legislative Services about his idea and they drafted this bill.  It was not what he intended, however they are moving forward with it.  Terri Donovan (AFT-NH) told me: “We hoped that they would kill this bill outright, but they have it on their open list of bills”. This is twice in a week I have heard the “Legislative Services” wrote this bill incorrectly argument.  Last week is was Rep Lambert who said it at the Collective Bargaining hearing on HB1645.

You do not have to take my word for it.  Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH submitted written testimony opposing HB1513.  She is saying the same thing, and we both agree this bill is bad for New Hampshire Public Workers and The State!

Re: AFT-NH Testimony In Opposition to HB 1513 (editors note – due to length parts have been omitted)

Composition of the PELRB

We believe the current composition of the labor board is balanced. No one is completely happy with every decision and that is the way it should be when you have a board resolving disputes. Please take some time to visit the PELRB website and review how many times the decisions issued are unanimous. Remember, this is not wild west law. The Board is charged with resolving disputes consistent with RSA 273-A. The Board interprets the law. A party who does not agree with the decision of the PELRB can appeal the decision to the NH Supreme Court. The Board understands their decisions can be reviewed by the Court.

Besides the balance considered when appointing committee members, it is also important to maintain the high quality of work done by the PELRB. The proposed bill does not take into consideration the need to have competent panel members. Board members need to have some basic working knowledge and experience in labor relations to be able to effectively hear evidence and render decisions consistent with the law.

So with respect the current composition and appointment method for the PELRB there has been no demonstrated need for a change. Please keep the current composition of the Board.

Negotiations to Occur in Concord?
With respect to the new Section in Section VIII that all negotiations shall occur in Concord and the parties share the expenses. The PELRB does not engage in negotiations. Negotiations between a public employer and an employee organization usually occur in the city or town where both the employer and employees are located. There are no PELRB members present during contract negotiations. Does the bill’s sponsor really mean to have public employers, school board members, city council members, administrative personnel and the public employees who serve on the union’s negotiating team travel to Concord? I have to believe this is a mistake. Why would a representative propose such a cost to local cities, towns and school districts?

As I said in the beginning, this bill is so flawed it is hard to rebut in a thoughtful fashion.

I certainly hope that you act quickly to recommend this bill as Inexpedient to Legislate.

Thank you.
Laura Hainey
President AFT-NH

Public Hearing on HB 1427– Outsourcing and Unfair Labor Practices

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

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

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

Dear Honorable Members of the Committee,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADVISORY: National Experts to Testify on Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution Retirement Plans

For Immediate Release:                                                                                 
January 24, 2012
Contact: Chuck Gilboy
PRESS ADVISORY:  National Experts to Testify on Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution Retirement Plans
Diane Oakley, Ross Eisenbrey, Gerri Madrid-Davis, and Hank Kim Will Testify Before the House Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform
Concord N.H. – On Friday, January 27th, at 10:00 am in the Legislative Office Building Room 305-307 the New Hampshire House Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform will hear a presentation on Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution retirement plans.
The New Hampshire legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 229, which would close the current Defined Benefit retirement system for police officers, firefighters, teachers, and state and municipal employees, and mandate that all new hires participate in a Defined Contribution plan.  There has been a vigorous debate over this legislation.  Recently, independent actuaries found that the proposal is more costly for employees and employers, it lowers benefits for retirees, and it increases the unfunded liability of the retirement system. 
To further advance this important debate, the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition has arranged to bring in four national experts Diane Oakley, Ross Eisenbrey, Gerri Madrid-Davis, and Hank Kim.  Please see the attachment for a detailed biography on each of the four experts.  They will each provide testimony on the advantages of Defined Benefit plans, the importance of retirement security to all New Hampshire citizens, the local economy and small businesses, and each will provide insight into what New Hampshire will look like if we do away with the current system.  The presentation will be at 10:00 AM on Friday, January, 27th in Rooms 305-307 LOB.
WHAT:  House Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform: Presentation on Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution Plans
WHO:  Diane Oakley, Ross Eisenbrey, Gerri Madrid-Davis, and Hank Kim
WHERE: Legislative Office Building Room 305-307
WHEN:  Friday, January 27th, 2011 10:00 AM
The New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition is made up of the following organizations:
American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 93
American Federation of Teachers – New Hampshire
NE Police Benevolent Association
NEA – New Hampshire
New Hampshire AFL-CIO
New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs
New Hampshire Police Association
New Hampshire Retired Educators Association
New Hampshire State Permanent Fire Fighters Retirement Association
New Hampshire Troopers Association
Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire
NH School Administrators Association
State Employees Association of New Hampshire – SEIU Local 1984
Teamsters Union Local 633

Statement from New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie on Passage of Right-to-Work in the Indiana House

For immediate release
Contact: Nora Frederickson 603-785-4211
January 25, 2012
Statement from New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie on Passage of Right-to-Work in the Indiana House
The move by the Indiana House of Representatives to use the same undemocratic tactics as the leadership of the New Hampshire House did last year to pass a right-to-work law just demonstrates that this bill is part and parcel of an ideologically extreme national agenda to undermine workers rights and destroy the middle class in our country.
Indiana’s right to work law was passed out of committee in little under a week with no public hearings, little to no debate, and no testimony from the voters. A joint committee of the Indiana House and Senate debated on the measure for all of six minutes this week before voting to pass the bill. In New Hampshire, Speaker O’Brien barred citizens from the public gallery, bullied Republican legislators for their support and tied the Legislature up in knots for months in an unsuccessful attempt to pass HB 474.
The fact that both Speaker Bosma in Indiana and Speaker O’Brien in New Hampshire had to resort to dirty tricks to pass right-to-work just reinforces the fact that this bill is about politics, not economics. Put simply, right-to-work will not confer any economic benefits to states that pass it, and the only way that these legislators are able to cover that up is by playing political games.
New Hampshire is facing a second round of attacks on collective bargaining rights this year. In fact, the House Labor Committee has already scheduled a hearing on a new right-to-work bill in February. Looking at the reaction of working people and legislators to these bills, it should be clear to everyone that dismantling people’s rights will not put us on the path to economic prosperity or help to restore the middle class. We need to focus on jobs, not political attacks on working families.

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

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

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

President of the NH PFF Dave Lang (3 mins)

Continues (5 mins)

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

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