Teachers, Postal Workers, and Public Employees Cry Out, “The Mail Is Not For Sale”

Members from AFT MN  (image by @pmueller)
Via twitter @DeniseSpecht

Via twitter @DeniseSpecht

Last night at their bi-annual convention, the American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution to support of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) in a national boycott Staples Inc. for their attempt to steal jobs from dedicated postal employee’s and continue the race to the bottom.

It resolves “that members of the AFT, along with friends, colleagues and family members, are urged to no longer shop at Staples stores until further notice.”

Read the resolution here.

Staples and the USPS are set to begin pilot program in 82 retail stores that would have “postal counters” that would provide most of the safe services as a local post office.  These postal counters would be staffed by Staples low-wage, non-union workers, and not by the dedicated clerks of the APWU, who take care of you at you local post office.

These postal counters could mean the end of our local post offices.

Similar resolutions were passed by the California Teachers Union, AFT Michigan, AFT Massachusetts and AFT New Hampshire asking members to shop somewhere else when it came time to buy their “back to school” supplies.

“Postal workers are the most amazing public servants,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Who does Staples really want and need to come into its stores every single day? Teachers. The best way we can help is if we say to Staples: ‘You do this to the postal workers, and we aren’t buying supplies in your stores.’”

AFT President Randi Weingarten (Image by @AFTunion)

AFT President Randi Weingarten (Image by @AFTunion)

School supplies are a key market for Staples, accounting for up to one-third of the company’s sales, according to some estimates. The company, faced with declining sales and revenue, has announced plans to close 225 stores by 2015.

After adopting the resolution, AFT members joined their APWU brothers and sisters in a massive rally outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. AFT President Weingarten and thousands of AFT convention delegates joined members of the American Postal Workers Union and other community members in a rally telling the United States Postal Service and the Staples corporation that the “Mail Is Not for Sale.”

This action is a continuing part of the AFT’s effort to reclaim the promise of an America where consumers are safe, workers are valued and well trained, and middle-class jobs are protected.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein addressed the importance of America’s middle class standing together against the effort to privatize and demonize U.S. postal workers. He said, “We too are in the public sector, we too are meeting the needs of people. We’re facing some of the same problems you are—I call it divert, defund, demoralize, demonize and dismantle.”

APWU President Mark Dimondstein (image by @AFTunion)

APWU President Mark Dimondstein (image by @AFTunion)

I applaud Randi Weingarten and all of the AFT members who adopted this resolution and will show their support for postal workers by boycotting Staples!

Below are pictures taken at the AFT/APWU rally last night.  All images are from twitter.

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Senate Republicans Blaming Public Employees for State’s Revenue Shortfalls

NH Retirement Coalition

NH Retirement Coalition

CONCORD – Yesterday, New Hampshire Senate Republicans were quick to attack their fellow legislators and public employees after Standard & Poor announced New Hampshire’s bond rating was adjusted following a court ruling on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET).

In 2007, responsible and bipartisan retirement reforms were enacted. Instead of allowing these changes to work, in 2011 Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and his fellow Senate Republican colleagues added to the unfunded liability (UAAL) by slashing employer contributions. Due to Senate Republicans’ so-called pension reforms in 2011, they increased the UAAL by 11.5% – adding over $400 million to the state’s underfunded status, exacerbating the problem. These failed policies were a contributing factor to New Hampshire’s lowered bond rating.

Embracing real pension reform for newly hired employees and encouraging an open discussion with public employee groups would have been a responsible solution to our state’s financial concerns. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans refused to discuss retirement security for all public workers, and sentenced newly hired police officers and fire fighters to a future reliance on taxpayer-funded services.

 

For more information on the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition, please visit nhretirementfacts.com and follow us @NH_RSC

Feel Like There’s A Target On Your Back? Multiple Lawsuits Target Unions

Image by ogimogi 
CC Flikr
Image by ogimogi  CC Flikr

Image by ogimogi
CC Flikr

All these lawsuits asking the Courts to rule against unions?  They’re NOT about First Amendment rights.

And now, one of the groups behind the lawsuits is admitting that.  And they’re saying it’s about stopping public sector unions. 

And they’re even portraying it as a strategic assault. 

Read it for yourself in this week’s National Law Journal: “Courts Should Seize the Opportunity To Disempower Public-Worker Unions” (free registration required).

They’re looking at this as a one-two punch. First: Harris v. Quinn (Supreme Court ruling expected any day now). Then, the NLJ editorial suggests, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association could deliver the final blow.

“Although there may not be five votes to end compulsory dues in the Harris case, Friedrichs v. CTA could provide the pivotal fifth vote for fundamentally re-ordering of public-employee union law.”

While you’re reading… don’t forget to translate!

  1. “Compulsory dues” translates to “union agency fees” (which cover the costs of negotiating and administering the contract, and nothing else.  Agency fees are NOT union “member dues”.).
  2. “Law that requires all public employees to join and support a union as a condition of employment” actually refers to California Government Code Chapter 10, which establishes a framework for teachers to collectively bargain – if they want to.  (Just like NH RSA 273-A provides a framework for collective bargaining; yet New Hampshire has lots of public workers who are not represented by any union.)

Don’t forget to look at the players!

  1. Plaintiffs in the Harris case are being represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation… which is affiliated with the National Right to Work Committee… which those of us here in the Granite State know all-too-well, right?
  2. According to the NLJ editorial, plaintiffs in the Friedrichs case are being represented by the Center for Individual Rights.  Read the Sourcewatch article here.
  3. But according to the actual Court filings in the Friedrichs case… plaintiffs are being represented by the law firm Jones Day.

Yeah, Jones Day.  Seems they’ve been quite active lately. The City of Detroit bankruptcy. The Patriot Coal bankruptcy. The Hostess Brands bankruptcy.   Verizon’s “de-risking” of its pension obligation.

And, can’t forget the Court case over nominations to the National Labor Relations Board.  (Read “How They Won It: Jones Day Invalidates Obama’s NLRB Picks” here.)

Are you feeling targeted yet?

Remember: you’re not the only one being targeted these days, you’ve got lots of company.  Public employees everywhere.  Anyone with a union pension or health care benefits.  Workers, in general.  The middle class.

Education is the best way to fight disinformation campaigns. Please share this with your friends on Facebook, or Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, or other social media.  It’s really easy; just click the buttons on the left.

3-3-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Recording Public Officials On Duty, NHRS, Charter Schools, and More

AFT NH Legislative Update

UPCOMING FULL HOUSE VOTES-WEDNESDAY MARCH 5TH & THURSDAY MARCH  6TH

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended passing HB 1550, permitting the audio and video recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties.  AFT-NH asks that this recommendation of Ought to Pass be defeated and a motion of Inexpedient to Legislate be brought forward.  AFT-NH asks the Representatives to consider the public employee when voting on this bill. All employees being public or private should have a reasonable understanding that when they are performing their jobs that they are not intimidated or harassed, that they should have a safe working environment.

Representative Geoffrey D Hirsch shares many of our concerns with this bill as he stated in his minority report:

“While recognizing the need for open and accountable records of public officials conducting the duties of their office, this bill as written expands the realm of public officials beyond law enforcement (as in the Glick v. Cunniffe decision) to all public officials. This expansion exceeds what the Constitution requires, creating problems of potential interference with duties as well as potential invasion of privacy. The term “physically interfere” is too broad and can lead to costly court time over interpretation. The terms “public official” and “generally accessible” are also open to varied interpretations. This bill has unintended consequences. If defined as within this bill, public officials (town clerks, school teachers, counselors, for example) could easily be intimidated by the prospect of audio recording and might be reluctant to perform even routine duties. Issues of privacy can arise when the official is recorded interacting with a private citizen getting a ticket, receiving medical treatment, being calmed at an accident or fire, registering to vote, or any activity where public officials are performing their duties. This bill contains no provision to protect the privacy of citizens as the recording must be returned to the owner within 10 days. This bill is too problematic to become law.”
AFT-NH supports the recommendation of ‘Inexpedient to Legislate made by the Executive Departments and Administration Committee on HB 1126, establishing a committee to study alternative public employee retirement plans.  There have been several committee / commissions that have studied this topic and at this time it is not needed.

AFT-NH also supports the recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislate made by the Finance Committee on HB 1394-FN-A, relative to funds for chartered public school facilities and making an appropriation therefor. We ask that the full House support this recommendation and defeat this bill.  Would it be fair to pass this bill when for the past 6 years there has not been any new money given to public schools for building aid? Please see AFT-NH’s statement on charter schools by clicking here.

The Legislative Administration Committee made the recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislate on HB 1207, relative to identification of the source of legislative bill proposals. AFT-NH is in support of the bill and would have like it to pass but will work with the House leadership to make sure this makes it into House rules next session.

This bill as written would require disclosure when sponsoring legislation. Too often now, we are seeing national cookie-cutter model legislation coming through the halls of our State House. Not drafted in response to any local interest or community concern, this ‘cookie-cutter’ legislation is instead often intended solely to benefit the bottom line of the special [corporate] interests writing the bill. Often, legislators or constituents don’t even know who was originally behind the bill.  Knowing who is writing our state laws is an important part of having an open and transparent government. That’s why it’s important to know who drafted a bill and why.

This committee has also made the recommendation to engage in further study on HB 1440-FN, which includes the writing, promoting, or distributing of model legislation to elected officials as lobbying and requiring disclosure of scholarship funds, money, or other financial support received from such lobbyists by elected officials.

How legislation is drafted is the most fundamental purpose of lobbying, yet New Hampshire’s lobbying requirements leave a huge, gaping hole for reporting and disclosure of this lobbying activity. Reporting and disclosing lobbying exists to ensure legislators, the public, and press knows who is behind how our public policies are being crafted and introduced in New Hampshire. Transparency and accountability in our legislative process are an important part of ensuring the integrity of how public policies are adopted, and in preventing the corporate corruption of our legislative process.

AFT-NH will work with the subcommittee to address areas of concerns in the language of this bill and are hopeful we can reach an agreement and bring an amendment forward.

Upcoming Labor, Industrial And Rehabilitative Services Committee
Executive Session March 4th

The full Committee will be making a recommendation on HB 1228: establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.  AFT-NH opposes this bill and asks the Committee to recommend Inexpedient to Legislate on this bill. There have been many committees/commissions that have studied this issue and too often, it only seems to open the door for destructive legislation.  Rather than risk opening a Pandora’s Box with a study commission, AFT-NH urges legislators to consider some suggestions from the past which have been ignored or set aside:

•    Change the start date when negotiation can commence with towns from 120 days to 180 days out from when budgets must be submitted.
•    The NH Public Labor Relation board should offer training for all employers participating in local negotiations on the skills and process of negotiations.
•    If local contracts are not approved on towns’ traditional voting days there should be a way to call for a special meeting to bring forward a new tentative agreement for the community to vote on.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

Please visit www.aft-nh.org and AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”?
Late breaking news appears on our web site and on Facebook!


UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS


MONDAY, MARCH 3

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 492-FN-L, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 414-FN,relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a child’s individualized education program.

House CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1206, relative to juvenile placement in shelter care facilities and at the youth development center, HB 1236, establishing a committee to study supervised visitation centers, HB 1260-FN-L, relative to communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards, HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.
10:30 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data, HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.
11:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials, HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools.
1:00 p.m. Executive session on:
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards,
HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy,
HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials,
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 1101-FN, relative to the recovery of overpayments by the retirement system and establishing a committee to study the policies and procedures of the retirement system for benefits wrongfully paid, HB 1130-FN-L, relative to the Northeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact, HB 1152-FN, terminating the benefit program for call, substitute or volunteer firemen administered by the New Hampshire retirement system,
HB 1493-FN-L, relative to members of the retirement system working after retirement, and relative tomembership of political subdivision officials appointed for fixed terms.

House FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. Executive session on HB 1189, relative to temporary worker rights,
HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 1285, relative to recommendations by the department of revenue administration regarding municipal fund balance retention, HB 1560-FN-L, prohibiting the use of funds received from a political subdivision of the state to lobby.

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5

Senate Executive Departments and Administration, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

10:00 a.m. House in session

THURSDAY, MARCH 6

10:00 a.m. Senate in session

1:00 p.m. House in session

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:30 a.m. Full committee work session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education

TUESDAY, MARCH 18

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

Private-Sector Union Membership Grows in 2013

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

Public-sector workers remain under attack; Unions grow in the South;
Total percentage of workforce unchanged

(Washington, D.C.) In 2013 the total number of workers in unions rose by 162,000 compared with 2012, led by an increase of 281,000 workers in private-sector unions. There were strong gains in construction and manufacturing, against a background of strike actions by low-wage workers in the private sector.  But destructive, politically motivated layoffs of public-sector workers continued to hurt overall public-sector union membership, leaving the total percentage of the workforce that is unionized virtually unchanged.

“Wall Street’s Great Recession cost millions of America’s workers their jobs and pushed already depressed wages down even further.  But in 2013, America’s workers pushed back,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said of the figures released Friday by the Department of Labor. “At the same time, these numbers show that as unorganized workers have taken up the fight for their right to a voice on the job, union employers are hiring—creating good jobs our economy desperately needs.”

Despite the overall gains of 2013, workers in the public sector continued to bear the brunt of the continuing economic crisis, weak labor laws and political assaults on their rights on the job.  In Wisconsin, political attacks on public-sector workers’ right to collectively bargain resulted in bargaining coverage falling. Broadly, federal, state and local governments continued to lay off needed public workers, leading to an overall loss of 118,000 union members.

“Make no mistake, the job of rebuilding workers’ bargaining power and raising wages for the 99% has a long way to go,” said Trumka. “Collective action among working people remains the strongest, best force for economic justice in America. We’re building a stronger, more innovative movement to give voice to the values that built this country. From Walmart workers to fast food workers to homecare workers, the rising up of workers’ voices against inequality – both inside and outside of traditional structures – is the story of 2013.”

SEIU 1984 Part-time Workers’ Rights Upheld by NH-PELRB

SEIU 1984 Logo

On Monday, the NH Public Employees’ Relations Board (PELRB) officially answered the issue of whether hundreds of part-time state employees are considered members of the Executive Branch collective bargaining unit. The PELRB ruled that the State has indeed committed an unfair labor practice and ordered the State to recognize these workers as public employees, re-establishing their important rights guaranteed by the contract.

As you may know, last fall, Matt Newland, the state’s Manager of Employee Relations, suddenly and arbitrarily made unilateral changes to the rights and pay of more than one thousand NH Liquor Commission employees and many other part-time workers in state service. He did so through a memo stating that part-time employees were not considered “public employees.” Newland also refused to hear any grievances about nearly all part-time employees and went so far as to order agencies to withhold and intercept union membership cards such workers were trying to submit so that they could join this fight.

Newland’s decision undid decades of past practice and created tremendous disharmony in the workplace. In response, the SEA filed an Unfair Labor Practice with the PELRB, which now finds the vast majority of these employees do, in fact, have the same contractual rights and protections as their full-time colleagues.

Since the beginning of the recession, full-time jobs are increasingly difficult to find. Many workers, including state workers, have been forced to piece together multiple part-time jobs to earn enough to support their families. At the same time, the NH State Liquor Commission is relying more and more heavily on the efforts of part-time workers to fulfill its mission to raise much needed revenue for the state.

“We are very pleased and grateful to the PELRB for standing up for the rights of the many frontline workers in our retail operations. As a NH liquor store manager, I see firsthand the outstanding work our part-timers put forth,” said Richard Gulla, SEA Director and Steward. “Retail hours are unlike those of 9 to 5’ers. We are open many hours each and every day of the week.  We are pleased the PELRB recognizes our part-time workers as being key to the success of NH liquor store’s operations.”

To be clear, this unfair labor practice petition (ULP) was filed well before NH Governor Maggie Hassan took office. “We encourage Governor Hassan to embrace this decision and to carry it forward as an example of employer’s responsibility to treat all workers with dignity, respect and whole people with lawful rights,” said Diana Lacey, SEA president. “She is the CEO of NH’s largest employer. Her good example will benefit all workers.”

Prior to Newland’s bold and unexpected move, a few grievances had been filed involving part-time employees. It is speculated that Newland’s challenge to their rights to representation may have been in response to this fact.  Further, a number of current grievances brought forward by part-time employees have been stalled, waiting for this important PELRB decision.  The process can now move forward for these workers who have been waiting to be made whole.

Note: In 1982 the NH State Liquor Commission employed approximately 276 part-time employees. Because of budgetary considerations and the numerous retail hours to be covered, there are now 916 part-time workers; and only 213 full-time employees.

5-6-13 AFT-NH Legislative Update From President Laura Hainey

aft sqaure

DISAPPOINTING VOTE BY THE FULL SENATE THIS PAST THURSDAY

The full Senate voted on HB 142: relative to teacher evaluation systems. Senator Kelly brought forward an amendment to reinsert the following language:  Nothing in this subparagraph shall supersede collective bargaining rights under RSA 273-A. However this failed on a 12 to 12 vote and the following passed:
1 New Paragraph; School Boards; Duty to Provide Education. Amend RSA 189:1-a by inserting after paragraph II the following new paragraph:

III. School boards shall adopt a teacher performance evaluation policy, with the involvement of teachers and principals, for use in the school district. A school board may consider any resources it deems reasonable and appropriate, including any resources that may be provided by the state department of education. In this paragraph, “teacher” shall have the same meaning as in RSA 189:14-a, V.
AFT-NH is opposed to this bill as amended. It does include the involvement of teachers but it left out “Nothing in this paragraph shall supersede collective bargaining rights under RSA 273-A”.  We will ask that the House Education committee not agree with this amendment and the amended bill with then either be defeated or go to a committee of conference.

AFT-NH thanks Senator Kelly for putting forth the amendment with the collective bargaining language and also all the senators that voted in support of the amendment.

Once again, HB 187: relative to deliberative sessions in towns that have adopted official ballot voting, was special ordered to next session. This is the second time this has happened, and no date has been posted for when they will be meeting in full session.

This bill was submitted by retired AFT-NH member Marjorie Porter. This bill provides that the dollar amount agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement between a public employer and an employee organization shall not be modified by the legislative body of the public employer and that amount is what the voters should vote on.

AFT-NH supports this bill; we believe that what is negotiated in good faith should go before the voters for a vote and not be sidelined by a few. We hope that the Senate will pass it as well.

POSITIVE SENATE VOTES

The full senate did vote in favor of passage on HB 178: relative to public employer collective bargaining agreements. This will have the NH Public Labor Relations Board:

  • Post online training for collective bargaining and,
  • Maintain a record how political subdivisions vote on collective bargaining agreements and provide the legislature with an annual report.

AFT-NH supported  passage of this bill.

FULL HOUSE VOTE ON MAY 8TH

The full House will be voting on SB 166, relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services, with a committee recommendation of ‘Ought To Pass.’ This bill establishes that information divulged during critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services is confidential, with limited exceptions specified in the bill. AFT-NH supports the passage of this bill. We feel it is important that we do something for our first responders to support and help them thought difficulty times.

ONGOING COMMITTEE WORK

The House Labor committee is still working on SB 100: AN ACT authorizing electronic payment of payroll. This bill will affect all public employees in New Hampshire. This bill will do the following:

  • Delete the requirement that an employer who pays wages by electronic fund transfer offer employees the option of being paid by check.
  • Permits an employer to pay wages with a payroll card after offering employees the option of being paid by direct deposit.

AFT-NH is opposed to this bill.  We understand that many employees do receive their paycheck by direct deposit but there are many who prefer the paper check and they should still have this option. It might be different if they were proposing the cost savings be shared with the employee.

SB 82: This bill establishes a commission for the purpose of identifying strategies for developing and implementing a competency-based public education. AFT-NH is staying neutral on this bill. We understand that moving to a competency-based system will take much time and consideration when developing this system. AFT-NH hopes that the final report will include recommendations for adequate time and staff development for the educators charged with implementing this new system.

If you are currently moving forward in implementing a competency-based system and you have concerns, suggestions and recommendations please send them to
LHainey@aft-nh.org. This way we can makes sure they are passed along.

BUDGET HEARINGS

The Senate will be holding public hearings on HB 1: making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015, and on HB 2: relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

This is a good time to attend and express your support or concerns with the proposed budget. The Senate is working from the House’s budget and they will be making changes as they move through the process. To review all the documents that have been discussed click here.

These hearing are being held in Representatives’ Hall on May 9th at 3:00 p.m. − 5:00 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m. − 8:00 p.m. If you are not able to make the hearing you can listen to it at: mms://gencourt.state.nh.us/wmtencoder/housemedia.wmv

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

UPCOMING HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK
Note the ones in
red are priority bills for AFT-NH

TUESDAY, MAY 7

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:30 a.m. Continued executive session on SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll,

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. Hearing on proposed non-germane amendment #2013-1356s to HB 124-FN, relative to the determination of gainful occupation for a group II member receiving an accidental disability retirement allowance from the retirement system.

THURSDAY, MAY 9

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on SB 48, relative to school performance and accountability.

10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 82, establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for developing and implementing a competency-based public education system,

FINANCE, Representatives’ Hall, SH
3:00 p.m. − 5:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015.
HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
6:00 p.m. − 8:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Please note: The above Finance hearing will be streamed live via the internet at the following web address: mms://gencourt.state.nh.us/wmtencoder/housemedia.wmv

MONDAY, MAY 13

STATEWIDE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAM LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 193-C:7), Room 103, LOB
10:00 a.m. Regular meeting.

TUESDAY, MAY 21

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on retained HB 494, relative to the administration of glucagon injections for pupils.

THURSDAY, MAY 23

STATE FEDERAL RELATIONS AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, Room 203, LOB
9:00 a.m. Full committee discussion with the Congressional Delegation.

4-22-13 AFT-NH Legislative Update From President Laura Hainey

aft sqaure

IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Given the week we just had, take a moment to thank all our first responders who keep us safe and help those in need.  Please stay safe!  And please, keep in your thoughts and prayers those who lost their lives or were injured in the tragic events of this past week.

EVENTS LIKE THIS CAN BE TRAUMATIC TO CHILDREN.

Here are free resources from Share My Lesson to help children cope with traumatic events. Schools are the most important places in a community for an educator or student to receive support when a crisis occurs. Schools provide a familiar environment where the many needs of grieving students and faculty can be met in one place. Administrators and educators need to be prepared to deal with any crisis that might arise; such preparation will better equip them to respond to students’ emotional needs in the wake of a crisis.

FULL SENATE VOTES TAKEN ON APRIL 18TH

The Senate tabled HB 370the repeal of the education tax credits, on Thursday. We might have lost this one but the fight is not over. Within the budget there is no funding for the education tax credit program.  Both HB 1 and HB 2: the state budget bills, are still being worked on in the Senate and we will need to monitor the progress to see if the voucher money is put back into the budget.

2014-2015 STATE BUDGET

The Senate is working its way through putting together their version of the State budget for the next two years. Much of their time has been spent hearing from Department Commissioners on the needs of their departments. From this they will start putting together final proposals for the full Senate to vote on. The Senate has till June 6th to take this vote. We do know that just like in other years, the budget bills (HB 1 and HB 2) will be sent to a Committee Of Conference. This is where members for the House and Senate will hash out a deal. They will have till June 20th to sign  off on the final deal and both chambers will have till June 26th to vote on the Committee’s report. AFT-NH will continue to monitor this as it works its way through the Senate and Committee of Conference.

UPCOMING FULL HOUSE VOTES ON APRIL 24TH

The House will be voting on SB 132, establishing a committee to study police special details. The House Executive Departments and Administration committee made the recommendation of inexpedient to legislate by a vote of 14 to 3. AFT-NH is in support of this recommendation and asks that all House member vote in support of this recommendation.

Rep. Dianne E Schuett said it best: “This bill proposed to study the efficacy of police special details, particularly at traffic construction sites. The committee was presented with a recent department of transportation study delineating use of police details versus flag persons at state construction sites. The committee also believed that decisions on whether to employ police or flag persons on municipal construction sites should be left to local control. Therefore, the committee could see no need for this study.”

HEARING HELD THIS PAST WEEK

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs held a hearing on SB 166: relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services. This bill establishes that information divulged during critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services is confidential, with limited exceptions specified in the bill. AFT-NH supports the passage of this bill. We feel it is important that we do something for our first responders to support and help them thought difficulty times.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org or call 603-661-7293.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

UPCOMING HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK
Note the ones in
red are priority bills for AFT-NH

MONDAY, APRIL 22

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Public Employee Labor Relations Board

TUESDAY, APRIL 23

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on SB 129-FN, relative to court-ordered placements in shelter care facilities and at the Sununu Youth Services Center, relative to the children in need of services (CHINS) program, and establishing a committee to study programs for children in need.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:30 a.m. SB 18, conferring degree-granting authority to the American University of Madaba.
11:00 a.m. SB 27-FN, relative to monitoring by the Department of Education of programs for children with disabilities.
1:15 p.m. SB 82, establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for developing and implementing a competency-based public education system.
2:00 p.m. SB 48, relative to school performance and accountability.
2:30 p.m. SB 97, relative to high school equivalency and relative to illiteracy.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 166, relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services,

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24

PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
9:30 a.m. HB 178-FN-L, relative to public employer collective bargaining agreements.

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
1:00 p.m. Or one hour after the House session ends, executive session on SB 129-FN, relative to court ordered placements in shelter care facilities and at the Sununu Youth Services Center, relative to the children in need of services (CHINS) program, and establishing a committee to study programs for children in need.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 303, LOB (Please note room change.)
1:00 p.m. Or after the end of the House session, executive session on
SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll.

TUESDAY, APRIL 30

JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:40 a.m. HB 433, relative to procedures for juvenile delinquency petitions filed by a school district or school official.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 134-FN, relative to the division of higher education and the higher education commission,
SB 162-FN, repealing the student tuition guaranty fund and making provisions for the disbursement of remaining funds, and relative to the membership of the higher education commission.

THURSDAY, MAY 2

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on retained HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils, HB 243, relative to the board of trustees of a chartered public school, HB 424- FN, relative to review of chartered public school applications by the state board of education.

4-15-13 AFT-NH Legislative Update By President Laura Hainey

aft sqaure

FULL SENATE VOTES ON APRIL 18TH

On the Senate consent calendar they will cast one vote for 23 bills if none are removed. One of these bills is HB 187, relative to cost items in negotiated agreements, with a 5-0 committee recommendation of ‘Ought To Pass.’  Remember this bill was submitted by retired AFT-NH member Marjorie Porter. This bill provides that the dollar amount agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement between a public employer and an employee organization shall not be modified by the legislative body of the public employer and that the agreed-upon amount is what the voters should vote on.

AFT-NH supports this bill; we believe that what is negotiated in good faith should go before the voters for a vote and not be sidelined by a few. We encourage the full Senate to pass this bill.

The Senate will be debating and voting on HB 370, repealing the education tax credit program. The Senate Health, Education & Human Services made the recommendation to defeat this bill by a 3 to 2 vote. AFT-NH does not support this recommendation and advocates that this recommendation be overturned and a recommendation of ‘Ought To Pass’ be made and supported.

If you have not taken action there is still time by clicking here. This tax credit program initiated in 2012 is an ill-disguised attempt to begin privatizing and dismantling our public education system in NH while weakening our good schools. We are justly proud of our schools in NH and these “vouchers” disguised as tax-credits will only harm public education.

HEARINGS THIS PAST WEEK

This past week the Senate Executive Departments and Administration, held a hearing on HB 364, relative to providing required notice concerning limitations on part-time employment for any retired member of the New Hampshire retirement system.  AFT-NH supports the passage of this bill.  HB364 shares the responsibility of understanding the rules and regulations for part-time work between the NH Retirement System, the employees, and the employers. This bill does not hold employers liable for employees who violate the regulations; all it asks of them is to provide written notice so that both they and their employees understand the limitations.

The House Executive Departments And Administration held a hearing on SB 132, establishing a committee to study police special details.  The charge of this committee is to study the use and efficacy of police special details, and alternatives which may be available to towns, cities, and the state. AFT-NH spoke in opposition to this bill. The NH Department of Transportation has already completed a study on this topic; click here to read the full report. AFT-NH believes this bill is unnecessary and could interfere with what has been negotiated at the local level. These discussions should happen at the local level with all stakeholders at the table.

SENATE COMMITTEE TOOK NO ACTION ON HB 142

The Senate Health, Education & Human Services still yet to make a recommendation on HB 142: relative to teacher evaluation systems. We have asked the Committee to keep this bill as is.  We especially do not want the Committee to follow the recommendation from the School Board Association, which wants to delete “support system” and make themselves the only ones whose approval is needed to adopt the system—thus leaving out the voice of the teachers.

As we have said many times, the best evaluation system is devised when each district works with all stakeholders as they develop, implement and modify an evaluation system which will meet the needs of the children of the community and is fair to our teachers. When something is imposed it is usually not well-received.

UPCOMING HEARINGS

On Tuesday, April 16th the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee will be hearing testimony on HB 260. This bill authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to provide voluntary services to a child who would otherwise be found to be a child in need of services under RSA 169-D. For more background information on this click here.

AFT-NH is supporting the efforts of the New Hampshire Child Alliance Network and ask the committee to make the recommendation of ‘Ought To Pass.’

This coming Tuesday, April 23rd the House Labor committee will hold a hearing on SB 100: AN ACT authorizing electronic payment of payroll. This bill will affect all public employees in New Hampshire. This bill will do the following:

  • Deletes the requirement that an employer who pays wages by electronic fund transfer offer employees the option of being paid by check.
  • Permits an employer to pay wages with a payroll card after offering employees the option of being paid by direct deposit.

AFT-NH is opposed to this bill.  We understand that many employees do receive their paycheck by direct deposit but there are many who prefer the paper check and they should still have this option.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

UPCOMING HEARINGS
MONDAY, APRIL 15

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
1:00 p.m. N.H. Retirement System.

STATE RETIREE HEALTH PLAN COMMISSION (RSA 100-A:56), Room 302, LOB
1:00 p.m. Organizational meeting.

TUESDAY, APRIL 16

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:30 a.m. HB 260-FN, relative to the children in need of services (CHINS) program.

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 129-FN, relative to court-ordered placements in shelter care facilities and at the Sununu Youth Services Center, relative to the children in need of services (CHINS) program, and establishing a committee to study programs for children in need.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
1:30 p.m. Executive session on
SB 132-FN, establishing a committee to study police special details.

JOINT COMMITTEE OF FINANCE AND WAYS AND MEANS, Representatives Hall
11:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 44, relative to the disposal of controlled drugs by law enforcement officers.

LONG-RANGE CAPITAL PLANNING AND UTILIZATION (RSA 17-M), Room 201, LOB
2:00 p.m. Special meeting – Community College System of NH.

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 2, relative to the calculation of the local tax cap.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
3:00 p.m. SB 166, relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services.

THURSDAY, APRIL 18

10:00 A.M. SENATE SESSION

TUESDAY, APRIL 23

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 166, relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24

Please join a diverse selection of NH’s leading labor, environmental, social and citizen advocacy organizations on Wednesday, April 24th from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the State House Cafeteria for a Legislative Breakfast Briefing. Staff and key leaders will be on hand to discuss issue priorities and legislative briefings on cross-over bills. A light breakfast and drinks will be served.

10:00 a.m. House Session

 

AFT-NH Holds Biennial Convention With A Focus On Stopping The Corporate Attack On Schools

AFT-Convention Image

Image courtesy of AFT_NH

This past Saturday AFT-NH held its Biennial Constitutional Convention at the NH Audubon Society in Concord. With 52 delegates, alternates and guest in attendance we heard from AFT National Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson. She stressed: “Politicians, corporate interests, and so-called reformers have launched an attack on public education, public services, AND our ability to collectively bargain.” Continuing, she reminded delegates that “We need to unite our communities around our brothers and sisters while also making sure that the other side cannot divide and vilify us!”

We also heard from Dave Lang, President of the NH Professional Fighters, who reviewed the current retirement law suits moving their way through the courts and updated the convention on the Local Government Center and the ruling against them. Joe Casey Business Manager of IBEW introduced the Apprenticeship program they have in Concord to train individuals to become Electricians. Lastly, we heard Mark MacKenzie, President of NH AFL-CIO, who spoke on AFT’s history in the labor movement and its powerful advocacy on behalf of teachers since 1916.

The delegates unanimously passed a resolution that “TESTING SHOULD INFORM, NOT IMPEDE, TEACHING AND LEARNING.” Since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, we’ve seen a growing fixation on high-stakes testing as a central piece of the effort to improve schools. Unfortunately, the result has been exactly the opposite. The low-level, high-stakes tests that now hang over our teachers and students—and their extreme misuse as a result of ideologically and politically driven education policy—have seriously damaged our public education system. AFT-NH believes that Learning Is More Than a Test Score and delegates were unanimous in supporting this resolution. To read the full resolution click here.

AFT-NH Officers

AFT-NH held elections for its Executive Board as well, we are excited to announce that Laura Hainey was elected for President, Robert Sherman for Vice President, Dora Hill for Treasurer, Mark King for Secretary and Ellen Fioretti for At-Large. We are ready to move AFT-NH forward for we are dedicated professionals serving NH individuals and families through collaboration with others, striving to advance NH communities and improve the workplace with integrity and commitment.

“AFT-NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members here in New Hampshire.   These members are teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty and town employees. AFT-NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO which represents over 40,000 working men and women.”