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UNH Spends Almost $200K To Block Union Organizing Efforts

University reports close to $200,000.00 in payments to law firm to prevent employees from exercising legal right to organize.

CONCORD, April 12, 2017 – The University of New Hampshire has finally provided a partial response to Representative Cushing’s Right to Know request. Earlier this year, Rep. Cushing sent two Right to Know requests to the University seeking, among other things, the names of any outside vendors advising management on anti-union efforts, the amounts paid to these organizations, and copies of communications with these organizations.

In their partial response, the University reported spending $193,565.13 on legal fees and expenses with Jackson Lewis Law Firm from June 2016 to March 2017.

“I’m shocked to find that UNH has spent a couple hundred thousand dollars to hire outside help to fight university employees who simply want to exercise their legal right to collectively bargain,” said Representative Cushing.

“We can assume that there will be additional payments made to Jackson Lewis as the University continues to fight their employees’ efforts to organize,” stated Megan Tuttle, NEA-New Hampshire President. “Is this really the best use of the University’s funds?”

The University noted in their response that “this expense is not being paid from any of the following: state appropriation, tuition dollars or operating funds.”

“Regardless of where the money is coming from, at this point the University has chosen to spend close to $200,000.00 on things other than tuition reduction, campus improvements, or to help make the salaries and benefits of the dedicated OS and PAT staff more competitive,” continued Tuttle.

In addition to asking for information regarding management’s anti-organizing efforts, Rep. Cushing’s request also sought information regarding the University’s outsourcing plans.

“We are aware that the University has hired consultants to find ways to save money.  Far too often, these savings are balanced on the backs of OS and PAT employees,” said Tuttle.

The University declined to provide any information on these topics.

State Representative Cushing stated that he will be looking to take further action to determine the actual source of the funds used to pay Jackson Lewis, and to address the lack of disclosure with the rest of his request for public information.

“I don’t see union busting as a line item anywhere in their budget,” stated Cushing.

A copy of Rep. Cushing’s Right to Know request is available here and below.

RepCushing Right To Know

OCA Calls on Sen. Bernie Sanders to Lead the Effort to Protect Consumers’ Right to Know

Leading Consumer Advocacy Group Published ‘Open Letter’ to Sanders and Launches National MoveOn.Org Petition

FINLAND, Minn. –  The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today published an “Open Letter” to Sen. Bernie Sanders, and launched a petition asking Sen. Sanders to lead the effort to protect consumers’ right to know about GMOs.

The letter and the petition specifically ask Sen. Sanders to issue a public statement opposing H.R. 1599, passed on July 23 by the U.S. House of Representatives, and to urge fellow Senators to reject any future Senate version of H.R. 1599 that would preempt state or federal mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

“Senator Sanders is in a unique position to draw mass media attention to this anti-consumer, pro-industry legislation, and to persuade fellow members of the U.S. Senate to make certain H.R. 1559, or any bill preempting state or federal mandatory labeling of GMOs, never becomes law in this country,” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director.

On July 23 (2015), the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states’ rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and would prevent passage of a federal mandatory GMO labeling law.  

According to a report from Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, the 275 members of the U.S. House who voted in favor of H.R. 1599 received $29.9 million in contributions from the agribusiness and food industries in the 2014 cycle. 

H.R. 1599 legally sanctions corporate deceit by guaranteeing the legal right of food manufacturers to withhold the fact that their products contain GMOs. In place of requiring food manufacturers to disclose this information—information that these same companies are required to disclose under labeling laws enacted in 64 other countries—H.R. 1599 creates a government-run, voluntary non-GMO labeling program that places the burden of labeling on producers of non-GMO products. Contrary to what the bill’s proponents claim, it does nothing to ensure that the 90 percent of consumers who want GMO foods labeled will ever actually have this information. 

“H.R. 1599 was sold to Congress on the basis of unfounded claims that mandatory labeling will raise food costs, that state GMO labeling laws will create a ‘messy patchwork’ of regulations creating a financial burden for food manufacturers, and that there is scientific consensus that GMOs are safe. All of these claims have been proven false, over and over, by legitimate economists, scientists and journalists,” Cummins said. “We call on Sen. Sanders to lead the charge against this unconstitutional bill.” 

Read the Open Letter . 

Read the MoveOn Petition.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

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