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NH AFL-CIO President Brackett’s Statement On SB11 Hearing, “Right to Work (For Less)”

Statement From New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett
On First Legislative Hearing For SB11-FN, So-Called “Right to Work” Bill

Concord – New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett, released the following statement after the conclusion of the first hearing of the legislative session on a so-called “Right to Work” bill (SB11-FN): 

“I am grateful to all of our brothers and sisters who traveled from towns and cities across the Granite State to stand in Solidarity with us as we voiced our opposition to SB11, another so-called ‘Right to Work’ bill that is now before the New Hampshire State Senate. I was disappointed that after listening to four hours of impassioned testimony, from over one hundred speakers, that three members of the committee immediately voted to pass SB11 without further discussion or research. I would like to thank Senator Donna Soucy, and Senator Bette Lasky for voting against this deceptive legislation and standing up for New Hampshire working families. We will need your support in the fight ahead. 

Every two years, corporate special interest come to New Hampshire to try and pass ‘right to work for less’ legislation that would make life harder for New Hampshire working families. And every two years, concerned citizens, activists, union members and community leaders come together to fight for working families. In New Hampshire, bi-partisan support has defeated efforts to pass so-called ‘Right to Work’ legislation for decades because these laws only weaken workers’ freedom to bargain for respect, fair pay and safety on the job. Fraudulently-labeled ‘Right to Work’ is theft by deception legislation, and it remains wrong for New Hampshire. 

If the legislature is seriously interested in creating jobs and bringing business to New Hampshire, they should focus on lowering the cost of energy, and investing in education and infrastructure. New Hampshire deserves real solutions to real problems, and not partisan politics. The legislature was elected to advocate for the best interests of all New Hampshire working families, and that is why they must protect our rights and stop any form of so-called ‘Right to Work.’” 

Granite State Progress Calls on Governor Sununu, Majority Leader Hinch to Name At Least 5 Businesses That Will Move to NH If Right to Work Passes

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress is calling on Governor Chris Sununu and House Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch to name at least five businesses that will move to New Hampshire if so-called Right to Work passes. Both politicians made statements during last week’s inauguration and interviews that passing Right to Work is important for business development and that businesses will move to the state upon passage. However, when media outlets questioned NH Speaker Bill O’Brien over the same claim in 2011 he was unable to name even a single business. Instead, both NH’s Commissioner of Labor and NH’s Commissioner of Resources and Economic Development at the time confirmed that not a single business had asked about the legislation:

Union Leader, Businesses are not asking for the right-to-work bill by George Copadis, NH Commissioner of Labor: “Not once has the topic of right-to-work ever come up in all of [their] discussions with New Hampshire businesses and prospective businesses.” [5.24.11]

“Right to Work is wrong for working families and its wrong for New Hampshire,” said Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins. “This is nothing more than an attempt to undermine workers’ rights and create another hurdle for working families to come together to negotiate for good jobs with reasonable wages and benefits, job safety, and job training. The politicians and special interest backers pushing this policy should instead support raising wages, end off-shoring of our jobs, and pass family-friendly workplace policies that respect the contributions workers bring to increasing profits in our country.”

Senate Bill 11, this year’s version of so-called Right to Work, is up for a public hearing on Tuesday, January 10th at 1:00 pm in Representatives Hall in Concord. Granite State Progress is publicly calling on Governor Sununu and Majority Leader Hinch to release a list of the companies they purport will bring jobs to New Hampshire if the state passes legislation that hurts working families.

New Hampshire AFL-CIO Releases List of Endorsed Candidates

NH AFL-CIO Logo

Hookett – The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is proud to release its list of endorsed candidates for the upcoming General Election on November 8th, 2016. At the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Legislative Conference on Saturday, September 17, the delegates from the New Hampshire AFL-CIO affiliates voted to endorse candidates for Governor, New Hampshire State Senate, and the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO has endorsed candidates that we believe will be champions for New Hampshire working families and will continue to move New Hampshire forward! 

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is proud to announce its endorsement of Colin Van Ostern in his Gubernatorial race, and the following candidates for New Hampshire State Senate. A full list of endorsed candidates running for the New Hampshire House of Representatives can be found on our website, by clicking here.

New Hampshire Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Colin Van Ostern, released the following statement after his recent endorsement by the New Hampshire AFL-CIO in his Gubernatorial race.

“I am proud to stand with the hardworking members of New Hampshire’s AFL-CIO,” said Democratic nominee, Colin Van Ostern. “Our next Governor must ensure New Hampshire’s economy works for everyone, not just those at the top and we’ll do that by safeguarding the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection plan, which has insured over 50,000 Granite Staters, investing in public education, raising New Hampshire’s lowest in the nation minimum wage and standing against the so-called ‘right to work’ legislation my opponent favors that strips hardworking people of their right to collectively bargain altogether. It’s critical that we work together to build on the progess we’ve made and move our state forward, not backward.”

The following candidates running for New Hampshire State Senate have been endorsed by New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Senate District 1: Senator Jeff Woodburn (D)

Senate District 2: Charlie Chandler (D)

Senate District 3: John White (D)

Senate District 4: Senator David Watters (D)

Senate District 5: Martha Hennessey (D)

Senate District 6: Joe Casey (D)

Senate District 7: Senator Andrew Hosmer (D)

Senate District 8: John Garvey (D)

Senate District 9: Lee Nyquist (D)

Senate District 10: Jay Kahn (D)

Senate District 12: Former State Senator Peggy Gilmour (D)

Senate District 13: Senator Bette Lasky (D)

Senate District 14: Tammy Siekmann (D)

Senate District 15: Senator Dan Feltes (D)

Senate District 16: Scott McGilvary (D)

Senate District 17: Nancy Fraher (D)

Senate District 18: Senator Donna Soucy (D)

Senate District 19: Kristi St. Laurent (D)

Senate District 20: Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D)

Senate District 21: Senator Martha Fuller-Clark (D)

Senate District 23: Alexis Simpson (D)

Senate District 24: Tom Sherman (D)

NH AFL-CIO President Brackett Praise Friedrichs Decision And Calls On Senator Ayotte To #DoYourJob

Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold four decades of precedent that have protected our public employees:

NH AFL-CIO Logo “The Supreme Court handed working men and women a major victory yesterday,” said Brackett. “Here in New Hampshire, this ruling protects more than 80,000 public employees. The Court’s decision represents a significant blow to the wealthy special interest that seek to control our democracy and undermine the rights of working families in the Granite State. Workers in New Hampshire and across America should take notice of the fact that the same wealthy corporate interests that helped fuel the attacks on workers in Friedrichs are also trying to prevent President Obama from fulfilling his Constitutional duty to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. That is why I am calling on Senator Ayotte to do her job, and demand a full public hearing and an up or down vote in the Senate on Judge Garland’s nomination.”

The plaintiffs in the Friedrichs case sought to destroy public sector unions by forcing them to give free services, such as contract negotiation, to public employees who choose not to join a union. Yesterday’s decision upheld decades of precedent, established in the 1977 case of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, that prevents free-riding by non-union public employees who benefit from union bargaining efforts. This decision does not in any way alter the requirement that all contributions to political action committees or union political activities must be made voluntarily.  

Yesterday’s decision should make it very clear how important the Supreme Court is to our democracy. We have an obligation to let our Senators, in every state, know that we will not stand for political games when it comes to the Supreme Court. Senator Ayotte should allow President Obama’s nominee to have a timely and fair hearing. The Granite State elected Senator Ayotte to represent our best interests, and it would be in her best interest, to listen to her constituents, and do her job. 

NH AFL-CIO Praises DNC & NHDP’s Decision To Pull WMUR Sponsorship

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett’s statement on DNC & NHDP’s decision to remove WMUR as a co-sponsor of the December 19th Democratic Debate in Manchester:

NH AFL-CIO LogoHooksett – Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO issued the following statement in support of the Democratic National Committee and the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s decision to remove WMUR as a sponsor of the December 19th Democratic Debate due to WMUR’s refusal to negotiate in good faith with their workers. 

“I am proud of our brothers and sisters of IBEW 1228 for standing up for their rights as WMUR workers. I am grateful to the DNC, New Hampshire Democratic Party, and the Presidential candidates for their decision to stand with New Hampshire workers and hold Hearst Corp. accountable for their refusal to negotiate in good faith with their employees.

I would like to thank DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz and NHDP chair Ray Buckley for their support throughout this endeavor.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO would also like to thank Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley for the statement he released yesterday calling on WMUR to be removed as a sponsor of this debate. 

Although we regret the Hearst Corporation’s repeated unwillingness to move contract negotiations forward with their employees, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO and its fellow brothers and sisters in organized labor, look forward to the upcoming debate and the opportunity to see three great candidates make their case to New Hampshire, and working men and women across the country.”

Governor Hassan Will Continue To Fight To Increase Wages And Expand Middle Class Opportunity

Hundreds gathered at the NH Raising Wages Summit in Concord Saturday to listen to elected leaders talk about how they are continuing to push for better wages for all workers.

Governor Maggie Hassan was first to address the crowd. Many of the people in the room were the same people who helped get Maggie elected three years ago.

From her first gubernatorial campaign speech a few years ago, to the one here at the Raising Wages Summit (below), Maggie Hassan has stood firm in her belief that New Hampshire must increase the state’s Minimum Wage.

Governor Hassan is a true champion for working families. She supports increasing wages for working families and at the same time working to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

“New Hampshire’s highly skilled and dedicated workforce is the backbone of our economy, making our communities strong, protecting the well-being of our people and keeping our state moving in the right direction,” said Governor Hassan.

“In order for our economic growth to truly accelerate, working families and individuals must be confident in their own financial circumstances and able to afford critical goods and services.”

“I will continue fighting to support the priorities that are critical to increasing wages and expanding middle class opportunity,” Hassan said.

As Governor Hassan finishes out her term, she has already accepted a new challenge, running for US Senate against Kelly Ayotte.

As Senator, Kelly Ayotte voted against raising the minimum wage and a whole host of other bills that would help working families. The good news is that she won’t be in that seat after November of 2016!

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

NH Labor Leaders Speak Out Against Jeb Bush’s Outrageous Comments About Working Longer Hours

NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett on Jeb Bush’s economy:
“A disaster for anyone not named Bush”
 

On July 8th, Jeb Bush made national headlines and nearly blew up Facebook with his comments that “people should work longer hours.”

(Read the full NH Labor News coverage here.)

Today, Glenn Brackett the newly elected President of the NH AFL-CIO talked with reporters about how outrageous Jeb’s comments were to real working families.

Glenn Brackett, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President said:

“This comment makes it as clear as day – Jeb Bush won’t stand up and fight for the middle class as president. He would continue to do things the way he’s always done them – he would put himself and people like him over everyday Americans… Gov. Bush is trying to explain his policy ideas away, saying that we need to cut back on part-time workers and blaming the Obama administration’s policies. But he’s leaving out key points here. That surge in part-time work? Well, that was caused by his brother’s recession. Right now we are adding more full-time jobs than part-time jobs in this economy And we’ve had a record-setting 64 straight months of private sector job growth under President Obama.

Now that we have that straightened out, let’s talk about what Bush – and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates are NOT proposing. Raising the minimum wage. Giving assurances that women are paid as equally as men for the long hours they already works. Protecting workers’ rights and safeguarding the retirement age for future seniors who have put in their fair share of long hours…

If Jeb Bush keeps this up, it won’t be hard for hard-working Granite State families to see that trusting another Bush with the American economy would be a disaster for anyone not named Bush.”

Jeb Bush was born with the silver spoon in his mouth and obviously does not understand what life is like for real working families.  Karen Ladd, high school teacher and member of NEA-NH State Executive Board explained how even having a full time job working as an education professional is not always enough.  

“I wanted to speak today because the first time I heard Jeb Bush’s comments this week, I actually laughed out loud. I laughed out of disbelief that someone running to be the leader of our country could say something so unbelievable. Something so far removed from the average person… I love my job, but Bush’s comment that workers should work more hours is just out of touch with the reality of everyday people like me…I know many teachers that have part-time jobs in addition to their teaching jobs because they aren’t paid enough as teachers to support their families. And the data backs me up on this. Americans work more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world… 

But beyond what Bush said, it’s what he’s not saying that makes it even worse. Bush’s economic plan seems to demand that the middle and working class work longer hours, while refusing to do anything to help them get ahead. He’s not supporting a federal minimum wage or championing paycheck fairness for women.”

Jeb Bush’s comments were offensive to working families.  Jeb opposes raising the minimum wage at the same time he is pushing to raise the retirement age before receiving Social Security benefits.  It is policies like this that have hurt our economy over the last thirty years and definitely the wrong direction for working families.

Hundreds Protest Governor Walker At NH GOP Event In Concord

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The people of Wisconsin have known for many years now how Gov. Scott Walker feels about working families and specifically about unions.

“Scott Walker is politics incarnate having spent almost his entire adult life in elective office,” said One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne. “Take it from us here in Wisconsin, he’ll do or say anything to get himself elected. And once he does, he’ll think nothing of turning around and doing the opposite.”

They even tried to warn the good people of the Granite State to beware of Walker’s “Trail of Deceit, Cronyism, Corruption and Incompetence.

“New Hampshire voters are accustomed to vetting Presidential candidates, and we won’t stand for politicians pandering just to get elected,” Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “While he is here, Walker will be pressed to state his position on major issues of the day and he will be held accountable for his recent actions catering to the delusional fringe of the Republican Party.”

This morning over 350 workers gathered outside of a NH GOP event in New Hampshire today to condemn Scott Walker’s anti-working family agenda and call for an apology following his recent CPAC comments equating working men and women with the terror group, ISIS.

“Today I’m joined by working men and women not only from New Hampshire, but from across our region, who are under attack,” said NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. “They are under attack by politicians like Governor Walker who has put his own political and corporate interests ahead of working families. It’s these interests, not working people, who are the central agenda of his campaign for President. We’re calling on Governor Walker to apologize for his comments at C10559966_1411792929127380_6660353811694176751_nPAC comparing working people with the group ISIS. Whether it’s attacking the rights of workers or attacking their patriotism, Governor Walker has shown that he’s not on the side of working families and we know that working families won’t be on his side.”

“I’m a retired letter carrier and Vietnam veteran. I worked for 35 years with the US Postal Service after my time in Vietnam,” said New Hampshire resident Lew Henry. “My service, both overseas and here at home, allowed me to provide for my family and make a good life for myself. It’s a right that all workers should have and that all workers are fighting for. But when Governor Walker said that our fight for worker rights was the same as the terror group ISIS, he went too far. There are millions of former veterans currently working across our country today, and many of them union members. They fought hard to make this country a safer place, and they don’t deserve to be compared to terrorists. Governor Walker should apologize – not only for his un-American comments on ISIS, but for his repeated attempts to silence the voices of workers.”

“We’ve seen what Governor Walker’s priorities are: taking away the voice and rights of workers, degrading workers by comparing us to terrorists, and saying whatever he needs to in order to become President,” said Jeff Bourque, a New Hampshire public school teacher. “The people you see here today have a different agenda – we want a voice in our workplace, we want respect from our so-called leaders, and we want an apology from Governor for his comments and his actions.”

Walker’s widely publicized and condemned comments attacking workers came only days before he signed legislation into law aimed at stripping critical rights and protections from workers in Wisconsin. At the press conference and rally, New Hampshire and regional labor leaders and workers promised to hold Walker accountable for his words and actions throughout his Presidential campaign in the First in the Nation Primary state.

(This is a short video of the press conference)

Workers Rally To Ask Congress To Stop Delaying America’s Mail

A boisterous crowd gathered in downtown Manchester on a blustery Friday evening to urge lawmakers not to decimate the U.S. Postal Service. This rally was part of a National Day of Action to stop the closing of 82 mail processing plants starting in January. The deconstructing of the Postal Service network continues despite the fact that on this same day the U.S. Postal Service reported a $1.4 Billion operational profit for the year.

The incredible list of Speakers included NH AFL CIO President Mark McKenzie, SEA/SEIU #1984 President Rich Gulla, IBEW #2320 Business Manager Glen Brackett, AFT NH President Laura Hainey, Gene Porter – husband of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter, Norm Welsh Manchester Newspaper Guild President, Liz Skidmore , Carpenters #118 Business Manager and NALC State President Wayne Alterisio. NPMU Rep Ed Barnes was the informative MC and this amazing event was made possible by the incredible work of APWU leaders Janice Kelble and Kim Hayes. (I apologize for those I failed to mention)

The lawmakers that are endorsing these plant closures and eliminating Saturday mail delivery are not trying to save or reform the postal service they want to destroy it. A highly efficient and popular government agency does not fit their mindless anti government ideology that they sell to the American Public to get elected.

Add to the fact that the postal service is highly unionized and the anti worker politicians come out in mass. The battles to shrink worker pay and take back benefits are all around us. Friday’s speakers detailed those battles locally with the bitter strike at Fairpoint being the most ominous. The newspaper guild is still searching for fairness for its employees. The continuous war on reducing public employees is what Teachers and State Employees fight everyday. The workers at the U.S. Postal Service are the next target in our nations ongoing war on workers.

The war against postal workers not only affects the hundreds of thousands of postal workers but the millions of people in our country who rely on timely mail delivery. The elderly waiting for their medicine or child waiting for delivery of their birthday present or a small business waiting for essential documents should not be considered insignificant collateral damage in the attack on postal workers.

Congress should focus on eliminating the onerous $5.4 billion annual retirement healthcare prefunding requirement that has caused financial hardship for the USPS. That unprecedented requirement has to be modified and instead of shrinking the network it should be looking to expand it.

Good USPS financial news abounds with the strong $1.4 billion operational profit just reported.  Add to that Sunday parcel delivery for Amazon Packages is becoming a reality for many parts of the country next month. Letter revenue is up as our economy grows. The USPS can further enhance its skyrocketing 9.1% package revenue growth in the past year. It’s time to build on these success moving forward. Killing the Postal Service for ideological reasons seems more absurd now than ever before

Saving the Postal Service is what united this impressive crowd today. As I listened to the speakers and crowd response another theme became clear to us all. This spirited event highlighted a unified work force in NH that will be a formidable obstacle to those politicians and businessmen who want to erode workers pay and benefits. Our solidarity is a force that must be reckoned with.

Below is a short video of Janice Kelble, Legislative Director for the NH Postal Workers Union talking about the rally and the issues facing the USPS.

You can view all of the videos from the rally in this playlist. 

 

UPDATE:
Other local coverage from WBIN NH1 :http://www.nh1.com/news/postal-service-workers-protest-in-manchester-over-pending-cuts/

New England Cable News (NECN) http://www.necn.com/news/business/Postal-Workers-Say-Cuts-Will-Kill-Service-282766071.html
National USPS Rally Coverage:
Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/11/12/postal-workers-to-protest-plant-closings-and-service-reductions/

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