The police officers (AFSCME council 93 members) and the firefighters (PFF-NH) have been going back and forth with the town for years now. They are now in their 6th year without a contract. Six years with no pay raises. Six years of watching their paychecks shrink due to rising retirement costs by the state and always increasing inflation.
To make matters worse, the town is giving thousands of dollars in raises to the department heads. They say it is because they need to keep these valuable employees. I guess that means they do not value the people who are there protecting the streets at night, or protecting the town by putting out fires.
Arnie Arnesen, host of ‘The Attitude’
AFSCME Council 93 released a new radio ad informing everyone in the Claremont area what is happening in their town. After the ad was released, State Rep and AFSCME member Andrew O’Hearne has been pushing the message on local radio talk shows. Yesterday O’Hearne and Brian Rapp (IAFF) went on the Attitude with Arnie Arnesen to talk about the struggles they have had with the town of Claremont.
Defending the New Hampshire Retirement System benefits for our members remains a top priority for AFT-NH. An important aspect of this work is being done through litigation. Our first pension lawsuit was filed in August 2009 and is still working its way through the court system.
A summary of the status of each of the cases is provided below. There are three lawsuits that have been filed in continuing efforts to defend our pension.
1. AFT case (Merrimack County, Judge Smukler)
NEXT ACTION – filing updated briefs by Dec. 14, 2012.
This is the first case we filed back in Aug. 2009 (amended in May 2010) challenging the pension changes effected by HB1645 (2008) and HB653 (2007). This case focuses on changes to the definition of ‘earnable compensation’ (specifically the removal of “other compensation” as a pensionable benefit – the big items here being clothing allowances and payments in lieu of taking health insurance) and the changes to the language regarding COLA’s (as well as the funding mechanism for the ‘Special Account’).
After getting bogged down in the trial court over class certification issues, we attempted to move the case directly to the NH Supreme Court on an interlocutory basis (without ruling, prior to final judgment) in order to get the matter resolved more quickly. However, in September (this year) the Supreme Court denied our request and sent the case back the Judge Smukler.
We had a status conference with Judge Smukler on November 19th and all agreed to submit updated briefs to the Court on or before December 14th for final ruling with expected appeals to follow. We expect that Judge Smukler will substantially follow the ruling of Judge McNamara (see below) and find that there is indeed a contract in RSA 100-A between the State and public employees and that the Legislature may not constitutionally alter the terms of that deal. Still ahead, however, is the fight over who is vested – 10 year folks or those who have attained permanent employment status. Stay tuned.
2. NH3 (Merrimack County, Judge McNamara)
NEXT ACTION – status conference scheduled Jan. 17, 2013
This is the challenge we filed in June 2011 after the passage of HB2 (2011) involving the increase in employee NHRS rates and the artificial lowering of the employer rates. In Feb. 2012, Judge McNamara ruled in our favor and held that the increase in employee rate for vested NHRS members is unconstitutional. The Judge also ruled that vesting occurs after ten years of service, a ruling we strongly disagree with (settled NH case law holds that vesting occurs after permanent employment status) and we will appeal this ruling to the NH Supreme Court.
The coalition agreed with counsel’s suggestion that we move this case by ‘parking’ the issue of employer rates (for now) and appealing the case on an interlocutory basis to the NH Supreme Court (especially in light of the very favorable ruling by the Supreme Court in the Cloutier case ). However, like the AFT case, the NH Supreme Court, in Sept. 2012, declined to accept the appeal on the suggested expedited basis and sent the case back to Judge McNamara who scheduled a conference in January. We will urge the Court to issue a final ruling (there are issues to resolve involving the injunction / attorney fees etc) so as to get the case to the NH Supreme Court as soon as possible.
3. NH4 (Hillsborough County, Judge Abramson)
NEXT ACTION – November 26th filing proposed interlocutory appeal statement
This case was filed in Feb. 2012 following the effective date of the HB2 (2011) changes to NHRS pension benefits. Here we challenge the changes in earnable compensation (including the averaging of extra and special duty pay), the Group II changes in age and service requirements, the change from 3 to 5 years for calculating the “Average Final Compensation”, the new ‘maximum benefit’ level, and the repeal of the gainful occupation exemption (Group II). This case was fully briefed and argued before Judge Abramson on August 27th 2012. The Judge issued a ruling on September 25th opting to seek to have the issues resolved by the NH Supreme Court on an interlocutory appeal basis (like the other two other cases). After this ruling, of course, the NH Supreme Court declined the interlocutory appeals in the AFT and NH3 cases, thus we filed a motion to reconsider with Judge Abramson noting that any further interlocutory request is likely doomed as well.
However, on October 29th the Judge denied the motion to reconsider. Thereafter, we have circulated yet another interlocutory appeal statement with the State and NHRS and filed those pleadings today.
Praise Hassan for Her Work to Make Communities Better, Safer for All Residents
MANCHESTER – Praising her work to improve the safety of New Hampshire communities, the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire today endorsed Maggie Hassan for Governor.
“Fire fighters and paramedics protect the families and neighborhoods of this state,” said Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. “We know how important it is to have a Governor who is actively working to make New Hampshire a safer place for all of us, and that is why we are supporting Maggie Hassan. Maggie has worked, and will continue to work, with the public safety community to pass laws that make our communities better and safer places.”
Hassan is also offering an Innovation Plan that will help middle-class families succeed, by focusing on freezing college tuition costs; ensuring access to job training; and providing tax credits and technical assistance that will help attract new businesses and jobs. She will veto an income or sales tax.
“Maggie understands the importance of a balanced budget and will continue to ensure fire fighters and paramedics have the necessary resources to successfully do our jobs,” Lang said. “New Hampshire needs a leader who shares our values, and will look out for all people. That’s Maggie Hassan, and that’s why we are supporting her today.
Hassan said it was an honor to accept the endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.
“A governor’s first job is to ensure the safety of the people of New Hampshire, and I am proud to be a strong supporter of public safety. As governor, I will work hard every day, with all of you, to protect our communities and keep our state moving forward,” Hassan said.
As a leader in the State Senate, Hassan worked with public safety officials on critical priorities, including creating a death benefit for first responders killed in the line of duty, directing the Department of Safety to develop a reverse 911 system so that first responders can reach citizens in an emergency, strengthening domestic violence laws, and working with Governor John Lynch to pass one of the toughest laws in the nation to protect children from sexual predators.
“This is the most extreme Legislature the state of New Hampshire has ever seen,” said former state senator Jackie Cilley of Barrington. “My hope is . . . that folks go out there and actually look at who they are voting for and that we have a different Legislature.””
Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley — two former state senators — and businessman Bill Kennedy tried to persuade voters in Tuesday’s primary they deserved to replace retiring, four-term Democratic Gov. John Lynch.
Hassan emphasized the need for the state to support education to foster job growth. She touted her plan to restore state aid to the university system cut by Republicans. In exchange, she would ask that student tuition be frozen and more slots opened for resident students.
Cilley said business wants good roads, bridges and an educated workforce. New Hampshire isn’t making investments in those areas, she said.
“There is no magic formula to job creation,” said the 61-year-old Cilley, of Barrington.”
Granite State Debate: Democrats closing statements,
Hassan the clear choice for Dems – NashuaTelegraph.com: “For 14 of the past 16 years, a Democrat has been governor of New Hampshire. If the party wants to continue its recent dominance of the corner office, it will select Exeter’s Maggie Hassan as its gubernatorial nominee Tuesday. The former Senate majority leader offers the most electable package of experience, perspective and temperament of the three Democratic candidates seeking to succeed four-term Gov. John Lynch.”
Human Rights Campaign Endorses Maggie Hassan for Governor
Calls Hassan a “Champion” for Equality and Fairness
MANCHESTER – Today the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – announced the endorsement of Democratic candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan.
“We are proud to endorse Maggie Hassan for Governor of New Hampshire. Maggie has been a champion for fairness, and a leader in the fight for marriage equality here in New Hampshire,” said Marty Rouse, HRC’s national field director. “Anti-equality forces are at work to try and turn back the clock on New Hampshire’s historic marriage equality law. The stakes in this election couldn’t be higher, and we know that Maggie Hassan is the strong leader New Hampshire needs to protect the rights of all families,” added Rouse.
Lamontagne talks education with Herald editors | SeacoastOnline.com: “When asked about the recent 50 percent funding cut for the state university system, Lamontagne said he would like to restore that funding if elected governor, but would not want to see it used to pay for infrastructure. Rather, the funding should be placed in a scholarship support system, he said.”
Don’t turn the clock back on kindergarten | Concord Monitor: “The evidence is clear. Children who attend kindergarten are less likely to need special education or repeat a grade, more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to get in trouble with the law. Students who attend kindergarten, particularly if they have a good teacher, also receive benefits like better social skills and higher earning power that last a lifetime. Despite that, Republican gubernatorial candidates Ovide La-montagne and Kevin Smith oppose the state’s mandate that every school district offer public kindergarten. Their opposition is ideological, not educational, and voters should take note of it.”
State Senate Canidate Donna Soucy invites everyone to hear Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters.
Donna Soucy is also citing sponsors: APWU Local #230, IATSE Local #195, IBEW Local #2320, Ironworkers Local #7, IUPAT District Council #35, Laborers Local #668 & Local #976, Manchester IAFF Locals #856 & #3820, Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association,NEA-NH, Professional Fire Fighters of NH, Teamsters Joint Council 10 of New England, UA Local #131, and United Steelworkers Local #8938
The Second Congressional District in New Hampshire has been a highly contested district over the last few elections. Congressman Charlie Bass has been in and out of Congress a few times and once again faces Ann Kuster for the CD2 seat.
Ann Kuster and NH Letter Carriers from the Union Night at the Fishercats
Ann Kuster narrowly lost the 2010 election by 3,500 votes. Speaking at the NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast, Annie Kuster started off by thanking the unions and their leaders who helped her campaign in 2010, and are still helping today. Kuster said, “I want to thank my good friend Dave Lang (President of the Professional Firefighters of NH) for taking a chance on me three years ago, and Joe Casey (President of the NH Building Trades Council), the Building Trades Rock”. Kuster continued, “We build that, we build America together”.
Private Prisons: The Public’s Problem – A Talk by Caroline Isaacs – Nashua, NH Patch: “The three companies that run for-profit prisons in Arizona have all submitted bids to take over New Hampshire’s prison system. Caroline Isaacs, who directs the AFSC’s Arizona Program in Tucson, has thoroughly investigated their performance and found it lacking. Her report, published in Feburary, revealed widespread and persistent problems in the areas of safety, accountability, and cost.
She will share her findings during a three-day speaking tour in New Hampshire, whicih will come to Nashua’s Unitarian Universalist Church on Wednesday, September 5, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The LGC, a nonprofit organization that manages health insurance pools for public workers and retirees in New Hampshire, was found to have improperly collect and retain surplus funds for health and property liability funds it maintained for state and local employees and retirees. ”
Lang, himself at one time was a board member of the LGC and researched the center’s finances. His research resulted in a court order to refund $52 million dollars to public employees, retirees and municipal members who bought health and other insurance coverage from the non-profit. LGC has already said it will appeal the ruling.”
Once again the media is blaming the teachers in the MHT School district for budget problem….
“This year we’re talking about an 8 million dollar gap. And there’s no way that we’re going to make up 8 million dollars. In the past it might have been 1 or 2 million. It sounds a lot in some cases, it doesn’t sound a lot in others. So we always made it work. We’re not going to make it work this year.””
Attorneys for both the town and the firefighters’ union presented their cases to the Board of Selectmen at its meeting on Aug. 20, with the union claiming that three firefighters were due a step increase pay raise in 2011, from $16 an hour to $17.28, an 8-percent increase.”
This assessment ties in with the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate for July. According to NHES, the July 2012 unemployment rate for New Hampshire was 5.7 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the June rate, which remained at 5.4 percent after revision. The July 2011 unadjusted rate was 5.5 percent.
The national unadjusted rate for July 2012 was 8.6 percent, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from the June rate and a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from the July 2011 rate.”
While the LGC announced Thursday it will appeal, much credit for the $52 million order can go to David Lang, a retired Hampton firefighter and president of the New Hampshire Professional Fire Fighters Association. Related agreements that the SchoolCare risk-management pool will refund municipal members $8.5 million and the Primex pool will refund between $16 million and $21 million can also be linked to Lang’s tenacity.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner said Friday that without Lang’s series of Right To Know requests for LGC information, “none of this would be happening right now.””
But only half of sequestration’s impact is on defense.
Non-defense cuts will also hit hard, costing more than 2,700 New Hampshire jobs. Why? Because sequestration makes deep cuts to investments that matter for New Hampshire kids and families.
More than 17,000 New Hampshire families would lose health services through the federal Maternal & Child Health Block Grant, and 1,400 would lose quality nutrition through WIC. More than 3,600 New Hampshire children would lose educational help, including nearly 2,300 with disabilities.
From Jackie for NH Flicker Page (all rights reserved) http://www.flickr.com/photos/75823069@N06/7552601376/
Democratic candidate for governor and Firefighters send message stressing the importance of the middle class
Jackie Cilley will be joining the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire on a trip across New Hampshire offering free meals and a message of progress to crowds in Londonderry, Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Keene, and Dover next week.
David Lang, president of the firefighters union, said contrary to the poll results, firefighters are paying attention and are ready to work hard to elect Cilley. Next week, they’ll join her on a two-day, six-town tour.
“Our folks are property taxpayers, they live in the communities they work in … they care about their communities,” he said. “So they are engaged and looking at this governor’s race.” (AP)
Voters across the state are invited to take this opportunity to meet Jackie, hear her vision for New Hampshire and understand the importance of the middle class in building the economy. Bring a friend!
FREE chili, hot dogs, chips, condiments, and drinks at the
Fields Grove at the end for Field St.,
Nashua from 5:00-6:30 on Tuesday, August 21st!
JACKIE CILLEY, Democratic candidate for Governor, thinks you should get something free for a change! Bring a friend for a FREE meal and meet JACKIE CILLEY, Democratic candidate for Governor. Eat for FREE and hear her plan to rebuild the economy and create good jobs for the middle class! Take this opportunity in a town near you to meet Jackie, hear her vision for New Hampshire, and how she wants to strengthen the New Hampshire economy and create good jobs. BRING A FRIEND!
If you can’t make it in Nashua, join us in…
FREE bagels and coffee at the Londonderry Town Commons
from 9:00 to 10:30 on Tuesday morning, August 21st !
FREE hot dogs, chips, and drinks at the Cohas Brook Fire
Station (Station 8) 280 East Industrial Park Drive,
Manchester, from noon to 1:30 on Tuesday, August 21st!
FREE bagels and coffee at McKee Sq., on McKee Dr. off Fort
Eddy Rd. from 9:00 to 10:00 on Wednesday, August 22nd!
FREE hot dogs, chips, and drinks at the Keene Gazebo,
Central Square, Keene, from noon to 1:30 on Wednesday,
FREE chili, hot dogs, chips, condiments, and drinks at Henry
Law Park from 4:00-5:30 on Wednesday, August 22nd!
Concord: Women answer the call | Concord Monitor: “Some of the teen girls and firefighters at the annual camp this week had heard of Sarah Fox. Something about breast cancer. Something about courage, about the will to live, about breaking down doors to extinguish fires, and breaking down barriers to open doors.
In more acute terms, 24-year-old Durham firefighter Katie Everts, a volunteer at Camp Fully Involved at the state’s Fire Academy, spoke for many when she said, “She’s one of our idols that young female firefighters like myself can look up to. She’s a hero, an incredible woman. It’s so sad that she’s passed.””
Lang said his union has launched a fundraising effort and are “literally calling everyone in the state.” Proceeds, he said, will fund statewide safety and lifesaving instruction programs beginning in January of 2013.”
Don’t blame union for bankrupt cities – USATODAY.com: “Across the country, public employees are being blamed for an economic crisis they didn’t create. The problems cities and counties face are real. But scapegoating workers who make an average of less than $50,000 a year , and retire after a career of public service with a pension averaging less than $20,000 a year, is not the answer. Public employees are making sacrifices— such as salary cuts, benefit cuts and furlough days — to help their communities weather the storm. Rather than pointing fingers at those who keep our cities safe, educate our kids and make sure our air and water is safe, let’s pull together to find real solutions to fiscal problems facing our nation’s communities, cities and counties. Lee Saunders is the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.”
Ayotte, McCain have short memories on sequester – NashuaTelegraph.com: “The Budget Control Act of 2011 also called for at least $1.2 trillion in additional cuts to be hashed out by what would mistakenly become known as the “supercommittee” – six Democrats and six Republicans with a combined 190 years of Washington experience – by the end of November. If they couldn’t reach a deal, and they didn’t, $1.2 trillion in cuts split evenly between defense and other discretionary spending would begin in 2013.
And that’s where we are today.
Predictably, many of these same Republican lawmakers who supported this deal – including McCain but not Ayotte – now want to renege on it, even though it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last summer in the House (269-161) and Senate (74-26).”
David Macaray: 7 Reasons You Should Join a Union: “For men and women who plan on entering the job market as non-professionals — who see themselves more as blue-collar “workers” than as white-collar “careerists” — here are seven practical reasons why they should consider being represented by a labor union.
1. Money. Generally speaking, union jobs pay significantly more than non-union jobs. You want to be part of the American middle-class? Join a union. From top to bottom, industry to industry, region to region, union wages are going to be roughly 10-20 percent higher than non-union wages. Which is why companies resist them; they don’t want to pay one dime more than they have to.”
Now investors are signaling optimism that a golden moment has arrived. They’re pouring private equity and venture capital into scores of companies that aim to profit by taking over broad swaths of public education.
The conference last week at the University Club, billed as a how-to on “private equity investing in for-profit education companies,” drew a full house of about 100.”
The contract is the culmination of negotiations between IATSE and the producers of the hit made-for-basic-cable series following voluntary recognition of the union by the employer.
The bargaining unit consists of camera operators, video technicians, audio technicians, graphic/chyron (character generator) operators, technical directors, audio assistants, video assistants, videotape/EVS operators, utility technicians, teleprompter operators, costume designers/stylists, and makeup/hair stylists.
The contract provides the represented employees with health and retirement benefits for as well as the continued maintenance of all existing conditions. IATSE and its represented crew look forward to a continued constructive and mutually cooperative relationship with the “The Daily Show.””
In an effort to show their true dedication to the safety of the public they serve The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire are proud to announce their “Caring for Our Communities Safety Tour” kicking off in January 2013. This tour will be held in up to 20 locations per calendar year across the state of New Hampshire, and will be taught by your local professional firefighters and paramedics. Members of the community will learn about important life saving tips including: their local fire department, fire safety, first aid, using CPR and AED (Automatic External Defibrillators), preparing for a natural weather event, and safety tips for the home.
The “Caring for Our Communities Safety Tour” is free of charge with the presentation of a PFFNH Concert Voucher. The PFFNH is pleased to continue its nearly two decade relationship with FireCo, a professional fundraising company. The public has enjoyed quality family entertainment for nearly the last two decades at a top notch venue through supporting the PFFNH musical concerts. This fall’s concert features country star John Michael Montgomery performing on November 11, 2012 at the Whittemore Center at UNH in Durham, NH.
“If we call you, please take a moment and listen because your professional firefighter representatives are calling with an important community based project of ours,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of NH. “The only way we contact you is through these calls. If we catch you at a bad time please don’t hang up, just let us know and we will be glad to call you at another time.”
“Each and every day firefighters are there when you need them most. What you will learn at the ‘Caring for Our Communities Safety Tour’ is just another way for your local firefighters to help keep you and your family safe in the event of an emergency. What you will take away from these events may save your life or somebody else’s,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of NH.
“We are pleased to be working with the Professional Fire Fighters of NH on this potentially lifesaving project. Without your support, the PFFNH would not be able to offer this exciting new program,” said Jayson Knoblaugh, FireCo NH Office Manager.
Officer Daniel Doherty, 25, was honored for his actions during a March 21 foot chase on the West Side when the man he pursued turned and fired multiple shots at Doherty, striking the officer five times as he fired 10 rounds in return and fell to the sidewalk. Myles Davis of Litfchfield faces attempted murder and related charges.”
In a 51-44 vote, the DISCLOSE Act failed to obtain the 60 votes needed to clear a Republican filibuster. The bill would have required disclosure of anyone who donates to independent groups that spent more than $10,000 on campaign ads — or their functional equivalent — and other election spending.”
The job fair is scheduled Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the New Hampshire Works office in Berlin.
Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons are expected to be on hand to discuss job openings, many of which are for corrections officers.”
Letter: Morally repugnant | Concord Monitor: “It seems that Carolyn McKinney has read too much Ayn Rand. In her column, “N.H. in position to resist Obamacare” (Monitor Forum, July 12), she brags about the roadblocks the Legislature has built to prevent the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, recently ruled the law of the land by the Supreme Court.
It reminds me of the South’s response to the federal civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Then, southern governors led the fight against letting the black citizens of their states eat at public lunch counters, attend all-white colleges, and vote. Now McKinney wants New Hampshire to emulate the southern governors who have declared that they will not extend health insurance to all of their citizens by expanding insurance coverage through Medicaid.”
On June 7, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution commending the firefighters and emergency personnel of 23 Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut departments who joined forces to keep the flames from reaching nuclear material.” ELECTIONS
Former state senators Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley, along with former military man Bill Kennedy, participated in a debate at a packed Nashua City Hall, touting their own experiences and opinions they claim make them worthy for the governor’s seat.
“We agree on probably 80 percent of the issues,” Kennedy said of the three Democratic candidates. “But I ask you to look at the other 20 percent.””
Dems hopefuls’ focus anti-GOP – NashuaTelegraph.com: ““This state is definitely on the wrong footing and heading in the wrong direction. (The Republican Legislature) has exacerbated the problem,” Cilley, a small-business owner and business professor from Barrington, told the crowd.
“The 2012 election is the most important election of your lifetime, and mine,” added Hassan, a business attorney from Exeter. “The Republican candidates for governor have both sided with Speaker Bill O’Brien and his extreme Legislature.””
The exact location of the campaign event hasn’t been set in stone yet.
There is also no word on whether the trip will include an announcement from the campaign about a vice presidential running mate.”
Letter: Bass’s scare tactics about health care | Concord Monitor: “My wife and I recently received via the mail a political brochure sent from Congressman Charlie Bass and his secret PAC American Action Network. The content was upsetting to read for it deceptively led readers to believe that their Medicare benefits would be cut due to the Affordable Care Act passed in Congress. Trying to frighten older New Hampshire residents regarding the future of their health care is dishonest.
Having the Affordable Care Act has kept our son, who is under 26 years old, insured. This has saved our family thousands of dollars in additional health insurance premiums. We also have several friends who unfortunately have cancer, but now can not be denied coverage of health care thanks to this law.”
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