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Trump and Pence’s Union Busting Is Nailed Into The GOP Presidential Platform

Right To WorkBy BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump brags that he has “tremendous support within unions.”

He claims “the workers of this country are going to vote for me, [because] I’m going to create jobs.”

Jobs? Trump, the narcissistic, neo-Know Nothing GOP presidential nominee, has yet to reveal anything remotely resembling a comprehensive jobs plan. Meanwhile, he’s paying workers in China and other low-wage countries to make his line of duds and other products.

Unions? Trump says he prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states like Kentucky, where I live and pack a union card. He chose a running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is gung-ho for RTW. (So are tea party Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.)

Trump is cool with U.S. companies exiting one state for another. In other words, he’s down with bosses busting unions in non-RTW states and moving to RTW states.

At the same time, Trump has battled to keep his Las Vegas hotel workers from organizing a union.

Meanwhile, Trump and Pence are running on a GOP national platform that promises, “We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking ‘card check,’ enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative. We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty. Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty. We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.”

There’s more from the platform that Trump’s people helped nail together: “We salute the Republican Governors and State legislators who have saved their States from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions. We urge elected officials across the country to follow their lead in order to avoid State and local defaults on their obligations and the collapse of services to the public. To safeguard the free choice of public employees, no government at any level should act as the dues collector for unions. A Republican President will protect the rights of conscience of public employees by proposing legislation to bar mandatory dues for political purposes.”

“Many a truth has been spoken in jest,” is an old expression.

“A union member voting Republican would be like a rabbit voting for hunting season to open,” former Kentucky labor secretary and Machinists union official J.R. Gray joshed when he was chair of the House Labor and Industry Committee and one of labor’s best friends ever in the state legislature.

It’s still true with the union-despising Trump-Pence and Bevin-Hampton teams.

Jeanne Dietsch Releases List Of Endorsers In NH Senate District 9 Race

Elected officials and community leaders praise Dietsch’s experience, vision for building NH’s future 

Peterborough, NH—The campaign of Jeanne Dietsch, Democratic candidate for the New Hampshire State Senate in District 9, released a partial list of campaign endorsers today. The list includes a range of state and local elected officials, residents serving on town boards and committees, candidates for public office, and other community leaders.

“Jeanne will be a strong voice for progressive values in Concord. Because she can speak as a successful global tech entrepreneur, she’ll be able to challenge the lobbyists who advance a regressive ‘trickle down’ economic agenda and she’ll make a powerful case for investing in New Hampshire’s future,” said NH State Rep. Dick Ames (D-Jaffrey).

“Jeanne understands the give and take aspects of politics, has the ability to find common ground, brings people to consensus and gets things done,” stated Barbara Miller, Chair of the Peterborough Select Board. 

“As a retired teacher and member of the teachers’ association, I support Jeanne because I know she’ll fight for good schools and for keeping the state’s promises to our students and our teachers. She’ll work to restore teachers’ freedom to actually teach, give our youth a top-notch education, restore state aid to schools to help lower property taxes, and honor the commitments the state has made to retired educators. I’ve known Jeanne for over 20 years, and I know she’ll be there for us,” wrote Greg Scerbinski, economics teacher at Conval High School for 34 years and former Conval Education Association president, (Peterborough).

“Jeanne has led creation and implementation of our community’s economic vitality strategy with fantastic vision and energy. This includes a positive connection for Peterborough in the global economy,” said James Kelly, Peterborough Master Plan Steering Committee

Jeanne’s background as a successful small business owner and her work on local economic development issues are winning over voters and endorsers on both sides of the aisle, important in a district like District 9 where a candidate needs to earn Republican votes to win in November.

One of these endorsers is Ed Juengst, a current member of the Peterborough Select Board. Said Juengst:

“I have generally been a Republican my whole life but now see in Jeanne a Democrat that I can fully trust to do what she says and believe in without reservation. Jeanne is a true leader who I strongly believe we need in our legislature now.”

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Dietsch made news last week when she spoke out against the Americans for Prosperity “Pledge” by burning their pledge on the steps of Peterborough’s historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall on Grove Street.  By signing the pledge, candidates submit their allegiance to AFP and will vote to repeal Medicaid, pass Right to Work, cut taxes and oppose any tax increases.

The partial list of Dietsch endorsers includes: 

Current state elected officials:

NH State Rep. Dick Ames (D-Jaffrey)

NH State Rep. Ivy Vann (D-Peterborough)

NH State Rep. Peter Leishman (D-Peterborough)

NH State Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsborough)

Current and former Peterborough select board members:

Chair Barbara Miller (who endorsed Andy Sanborn in 2014)

Tyler Ward

Ed Juengst

Joe Byk (former)

Elizabeth M. Thomas (former)

Other local community leaders:

Lisa Beaudoin (D-Temple), candidate for NH State Representative (endorsed Andy Sanborn in 2014)

Greg Scerbinski, retired economics teacher (taught at Conval High School for 34 years) and former Conval Education Association president, Peterborough

James Kelly, Master Plan Steering Committee, Peterborough

Charles Whitten, Peterborough Economic Development Authority

 

Democrats Burn AFP NH’s Pledge To Support Right To Work

IMG_2220

Democrats speak out against the Americans For Prosperty “pledge” to oppose Medicaid expansion and pass Right to Work

 

Americans For Prosperity PledgeOn Wednesday morning, District 9 State Senate candidate Jeanne Dietsch and State Rep. Ivy Vann burned the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) “pledge” in front of Peterborough’s historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall on Grove Street. Their action was simultaneous to the public signing of that same pledge by some Republican candidates for the State House and Senate at an event sponsored by AFP in Concord. AFP is a “dark money” political group co-founded and supported by the Koch brothers. Its pledge commits signers to “Oppose all forms of ObamaCare in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion.” 

“When we on the Peterborough Economic Development Authority (EDA) asked Monadnock Community Hospital what we could do to help them,” said Dietsch, chair of the EDA strategic planning committee, “the only thing they asked was help in passing Medicaid expansion because it brings hundreds of millions of dollars from Washington to New Hampshire’s hospitals. It also provides needed health coverage for 48,000 people in New Hampshire. Yet the elected officials who sign this pledge promise to vote against that. Why are we letting two men from Kansas tell us how to vote and how is this possibly in the best interests of New Hampshire?”

Said Rep. Vann, “Serving in the legislature, I’ve seen the damage this pledge has inflicted on our ability to get things done in Concord. On Medicaid expansion, on marshalling the resources we need to deal with the opioid crisis, on funding for our children’s education – on all these issues, this pledge has forced too many of my Republican colleagues into lock step with the extreme anti-government agenda of the Koch brothers. It’s time to send this pledge where it belongs – up in smoke.”

IMG_2274Dietsch and Vann chose the GAR Hall as backdrop for their action as a symbol of the principles that founded our nation, that government should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor, also spoke out against the AFP pledge calling it “shortsighted” and “backward looking.”

The pledge demands that elected officials cut back on critical government services, including healthcare, and support so-called Right to Work legislation, an outdated policy that New Hampshire voters, workers, and lawmakers—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—have rejected for more than a decade.”

“This secretive, Koch-funded organization has spent years pushing its relentlessly regressive platform on Granite Staters, and I call on my Republican opponents to stand up and admit they’re the ones pretending these ideas have merit. This is a true test of priorities,” added Connolly. 

ICYMI: Forrester Joins Edelblut in Pledging to Pass “Right to Work”

Concord, N.H.—State Senator and candidate for governor Jeanie Forrester made her fealty to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers official Monday, signing the 2016 Americans for Prosperity Pledge.

By signing, candidates pledge to “work tirelessly to… Pass a Right to Work Law in New Hampshire.” The Pledge also includes commitments to pursue right-wing economics and oppose all forms of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion, a program that has extended health benefits to nearly 50,000 Granite Staters.

In signing the pledge, Forrester joins state Representative Frank Edelblut as the first two candidates for governor to have signed the 2016 Pledge. Chris Sununu has signed the Pledge in the past, while Ted Gatsas has stayed silent on whether he’ll pledge allegiance to the Koch brothers.

“Jeanie Forrester’s pledge to support the Koch brothers extreme far-right agenda should put to rest any questions about whose interests she’d serve as governor,” said NHDP Press Secretary Evan Lukaske. “She now has officially declared that her priority will be to do the bidding of out-of-state billionaires and to strip health care from nearly 50,000 Granite Staters. Any notion that she’d fight for middle-class families just went out the window.”

Headquartered in Virginia and funded by the ultra-conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, Americans For Prosperity is an out-of-state special interest group that supports right-wing candidates and far-right ideology. AFP is known for spreading misinformation about climate science and promoting failed and debunked trickle-down economic policies. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski previously served as their executive director.

At AFSCME Conference, Clinton Pledges to Fight for Working Americans as President

‘We have to send a loud, clear message: “right to work” is wrong for workers and wrong for America’

AFSCME_Hillary_ClintonIn remarks at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton reiterated her commitment to fighting for working families as president and defending labor unions from Republican attacks.

“I can’t imagine how we could run our country if we didn’t have people like you, and the members you represent, working on our behalf every day,” Clinton said.  “That’s why it’s so outrageous when Republican governors steamroll public employees and stomp on workers’ rights.  In Wisconsin, the cradle of the labor movement, Scott Walker has ripped the heart, he’s ripped the heart, out of public-sectors workers’ right to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.  In Illinois, Bruce Rauner has been holding the budget hostage for months, endangering public colleges and universities, hurting families, and demanding outrageous concessions from public-sector unions.”

“And even though workers’ rights won the day in the Supreme Court in the Friedrichs case, make no mistake—we haven’t seen the last of efforts to use the courts to undermine your rights,” she said.  “So I promise you this: I will be by your side in this fight every step of the way. When I am President, working people will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House.  Because I believe that when unions are strong, America is strong.”

Clinton highlighted Trump’s plan to repeal Wall Street reform laws passed in the wake of the Great Recession. “I predict that Donald will try to con you with tough talk about Wall Street.  Don’t believe him,” she said.  “Donald Trump wants to tear up Dodd-Frank and let Wall Street run wild again.”

Clinton also highlighted Trump’s hiring of a union-busting firm, his consistent practice of shortchanging contractors – driving some out of business – and a consensus among economists that his policies would plunge us back into a recession.

“Unions helped build the strongest middle class in the history of the world. You pioneered the basic bargain that made our country great. You know what it is: if you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead,” she said. “And you’ve been on the frontlines of the fight for affordable health care, safe working conditions, fair schedules and fair wages. And I know you’re not just fighting for your members, as important as that is – you’re fighting for all working families.”

“I’m proud to be in the trenches fighting alongside you to raise wages, protect pensions, and keep the ‘public’ in ‘public sector.’  That includes ending private prisons and detention centers that profit off our criminal justice and immigration system,” Clinton said.  “And we have to send a loud, clear message: ‘right to work’ is wrong for workers and wrong for America.”

“We will pursue a bold, progressive agenda that lifts our country up. So that no one is left out or left behind,” she said.  “AFSCME helped to make our 2016 Democratic platform a strong vision.  It’s wonderful to be with people who want to build America up, not tear Americans down.”

A transcript of Clinton’s full remarks to the AFSCME Annual Conference is available here.

Union Members Don’t Love Donald Trump As He Claims

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

‘Looking for love in all the wrong places’

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, bragged about his “tremendous support within unions.” “The workers love me,” he claimed.

The Donald likely would be looking for love in all the wrong places if he campaigned in some deep western Kentucky union halls.

“When Donald Trump says that American workers are overpaid, obviously then he’s not in love with the union member,” said Jimmy Evans, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 816 in Paducah. “Union members don’t love him.

“He’s pro-‘right to work.’ He’s one of the biggest outsourcers of manufacturing his own apparel. My union members are not going to say they love Donald Trump.”

Dusty Owens is one of Evans’ members and he’s not a Trump lover. “If he’s for the union man, why are all his factory overseas?” asked Evans, Local 816 Political Action Committee chair.

Jarrod Shadowen

Jarrod Shadowen

Training director Jarrod Shadowen said if Trump dropped by Local 816’s hall, “We would probably tell him no, we don’t love him, and he can leave.”

The comments by Evans, Owens and Shadowen were echoed by several other union members at a recent meeting of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. The umbrella organization represents AFL-CIO-affiliated union locals in the Bluegrass State’s 13 westernmost counties.

Western Kentucky is arguably the most conservative corner of the Red State Bluegrass State, whose GOP caucus he won. Trump vowed he’s “going to get millions of people from the Democrats,” presumably union members among them.

He had nobody at the Paducah union meeting.

“We’ve never lived like he has and he’s never lived like we have,” said Howard “Bubba” Dawes, directing business representative for International Association of Machinists District Lodge 154 in Calvert City. “There’s no way we’re going to support him.”

Jim Key, vice president of Paducah United Steelworkers Local 550, doesn’t “have the time of day for Donald Trump.” Added Key: “You take a man that’s filed for bankruptcy as many times as he has, and closed down every initiative that he has started up–he’s not for the working men and women of this nation.”

Jim Rodgers, a Local 550 trustee, mused that if Trump visited his hall, “I’d have to ask him to give me a name of one of those union members who he says loves him–just one.”

Lou Nell Busby, a member of Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 277 who was visiting from Henderson, Tenn., issued a challenge to Trump. “If he can find any union women who would love him, I’d like to meet them.”

Brandon Duncan

Brandon Duncan

Gary McManus, council financial secretary-treasurer and retiree from Calvert City USW Local 227, was incredulous over Trump’s claim that unions love him. “He’s crazy. There’ s no way that all union people love him. There’s no way.”

Brandon Duncan of Paducah, Local 227 president, said Trump “is about division and divisiveness. “We as Americans can either head down his path, which will take us back years and years, or we can stick together and be progressive and make this country better.”

Jarrod Shadowen

Council President Jeff Wiggins doesn’t mince words about his lack of love for The Donald. “He’s a union-busting, union-hating good-for-nothing,” said Wiggins, who is also president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City.

GOP Gubernatorial Candidates To Push ‘Right To Work’ On NH Once Again

Right To Work is Wrong for NH

As Yogi Berra once put it, “It’s like Déjà vu, all over again.”

The Republican Gubernatorial primary candidates just showed how out of touch they are with working families. WMUR reported this week at all of the GOP candidates for New Hampshire’s Governor came out in strong in support of the so-called Right To Work legislation.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told WMUR that, “we voted for Right to Work when I was in the Senate, so my position is clear.”

State Sen. Jeanie Forrester said, “I think it’s a good place for New Hampshire to be, and I would support that if it came forward again.”

Not to be outdone, Executive Councilor Chris Sununu played up Right to Work as a job-creating bill.

“We haven’t brought a major business into the state in over eight years. Right to work is part of it.”

Right to Work laws do nothing but hurt workers and their communities through lower pay, less benefits, less job security, less workplace safety, less, less, less…

These laws are specifically designed to break unions and tear workers down in the never-ending race to the bottom.

In January of this year, PEW released a blistering new report that showed workers in Right to Work states are less likely to have access to retirement plans than workers in free bargaining states.

“Access to workplace retirement plans varies widely across the states,” said John Scott, director of Pew’s retirement savings project. “Recognizing the savings challenge faced by so many Americans, half of the states are looking at their own solutions.”

Pew found that more than 30 million full-time, full-year, private sector workers ages 18 to 64 lack access to an employer-based retirement plan, whether a traditional pension or a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k).

At 2.6%, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate is second in the country behind North Dakota, who is experiencing a boom from newly expanded oil and gas drilling.

Recently, other states have forced their own Right to Work legislation through and what has happened? After passing Right to Work legislation, claiming it would create lots of new jobs, Wisconsin the lost a record 10,000 jobs in 2015.

“We are in the midst of an economic crisis. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs at a rate we haven’t seen since the Great Recession and our middle class is shrinking faster than any other state in the nation,” said Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Thousands of families are struggling to find a job because the policies being pushed by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans simply aren’t working.”

Policies like Right to Work, are destroying good paying jobs and replacing them with low-wage jobs that continue to hurt working families.

Now the entire Republican Gubernatorial delegation in New Hampshire is campaigning on this failed policy. Granite Staters deserve a leader in the corner office who will stand up for their rights and support collective bargaining that ultimately benefits all workers.

Labor Praises Supreme Court Ruling On ‘Friedrichs’ And Offer A Warning For The Future

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Today, the assault on working families came to an abrupt halt as we received news that the Supreme Court could not come to a decision in the Friedrichs v California Teachers Association. The court ended in a 4-4 tie. This means that the California Supreme Court decision to uphold agency fees will stand.

After the decision labor groups across the country rejoiced and applauded the decision that could have made it illegal to charge non union member an agency fee, essential pushing Right To Work nationwide without legislative approval.

“Today, working people have persevered in the face of another attack on our rights,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “All over the country working people are showing that we won’t allow wealthy special interests or their politicians to stand in our way to join collectively and make workplaces better all across America. In the face of these attacks we are more committed than ever to ensuring that everyone has the right to speak up together for a better life.”

“At the Supreme Court today, working people won a huge victory,” wrote Rudy Lopez, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. “Fighting back against powerful anti-worker interests that spent millions of dollars and many years to manufacture a Supreme Court challenge of collective bargaining, workers stuck together and prevailed, defending the right of unions to collect dues to all who benefit from its membership.”

“But while today’s victory is a milestone for working people and their right to collectively bargain, the fight for worker justice is far from over,” added Lopez. “The Freidrichs case was a carefully planned campaign to break unions and decentralize worker power and the wealthy interests behind it are not going to simply give up because they lost today.”

“Today’s Friedrichs decision by the Supreme Court was a big win for anyone who believes in the promise of America,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “Unions are about giving workers and their families a voice on the job and a fair shot to get ahead, and today’s decision enables those aspirations. And as the Center for Individual Rights’ legal maneuver this afternoon suggests, this decision, affirming four decades of precedent, was a blow to the right-wing special interests who are trying to rig the economy and our democracy in their own favor.”

“It’s no surprise that the Center for Individual Rights is continuing its assault on working people and the unions that represent them. By refusing to accept the court’s ruling and petitioning for a rehearing, they expose their agenda for what it is—a brazen political assault on working people. This Koch-backed think tank plotted to fast-track this case to the Supreme Court, and we know the wealthy few behind these efforts will continue doing everything they can to undermine the voice of working people in America,” added Weingarten.

Public sector workers will continue to benefit from the collective voice of union representation under a decision by the Supreme Court today that affirms nearly 40 years of constitutional law, the head of the largest federal employee union said today.

“The Supreme Court has kept in place a 1977 ruling that ensures public sector employee unions will be able to continue fighting for better pay, benefits, and working conditions for all represented workers, whether or not they choose to join the union,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

“When the union negotiates a contract for workers, everyone who’s covered by that contract takes home higher pay and benefits, has greater job security, enjoys improved health and safety standards, and gets help in settling workplace disputes. It is only fair that all employees share in the cost of securing those benefits,” added Cox.

“A decision by the Supreme Court to overturn its 1977 ruling would have made it grossly unfair to place the burden of paying for the level of representation that all employees need and deserve on only some public employees as opposed to asking each to pay a fair share,” concluded Cox.

“Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association case safeguards, at least for now, the right of public workers to engage in meaningful collective bargaining,” wrote the Communication Workers of America.

CWA highlighted the connection between Friedrichs and the union busting, anti-worker firms that have been pushing Right to Work in states all across the country.

“The case had been financed by anti-worker and corporate education supporters who have been working for years to stifle the voices of teachers and other public workers and weaken their collective bargaining rights. It clearly shows how extreme the right-wing assault on workers and their right to bargain, whether public or private sector, has become,” stated CWA.

For many years now CWA has been on the front lines fighting to end the obstructionism in Washington, specifically the US Senate. They used the considerable influence and membership to help secure five members to the National Labor Relations Board as well as worked to change the “filibuster rule” that Senate Republicans used to block every major Presidential nominee in the past few years.

Now they are calling out the Senate and the same right-wing, anti-worker organizations that are holding up hearings to replace Justice Scalia in the Supreme Court.

“These same right-wing interests want to block any consideration of President Obama’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s time for senators to do their job and take up the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, not continue the “politics as usual” that ignores the voice of the American people,” CWA said.

There is no doubt this decision will have an impact on the upcoming elections as Republicans in the Senate are continuing to refuse to even meet with Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision on the Friedrichs case is no doubt an important win for organized labor,” said International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President Kenneth Rigmaiden.  “However, it should also serve as a significant wake up call for working families who are not convinced that their vote in the political process matters in this upcoming election.”

“Anti-union special interests succeeded in bringing their tactics to the Supreme Court in an effort to stop workers from deciding their collective fate on the job by a vote.  We won this one, but the fight is far from over.  It is time to get to work on putting pro-union candidates in local, state and federal offices.  The leaders we successfully fight for on the campaign trail will be our line of defense in Washington to keep our unions strong,” added Rigmaiden.

As Republicans continue to obstruct filling the vacant seat in the Supreme Court, this election is proving to be the most important in history. This election could be the difference between a progressive Justice like Merrick Garland or another right-wing ideolog like Justice Scalia. As more and more attacks to our collective bargaining rights make it to the Supreme Court confirming a nominee that will uphold our rights is of the utmost importance.

Unions Push Right To Work Off The Table In Kentucky

rtw logoBy BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360
 

Think voting really doesn’t matter? Talk to a pair of Kentucky labor leaders.

Because union-endorsed candidates won three of four special House elections this month, “right to work” is dead for now in the General Assembly, said Bluegrass State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan and Bill Finn, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council director.

State Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, announced Friday that the “Kentucky Right to Work Act,” Senate Bill-3, “is off the table this session,” Finn added. “The sole reason was the Democrats holding on to a majority in the state House, which the Democrats now control 53-47.”

Stivers also pulled Senate Bill-6, so-called tort reform. “It is rare for the proponents of such bills to kill their own bills and it is even rarer for the president of the Senate to credit their deaths to the one factor that we all know has been holding back the onslaught of anti-worker legislation: Democrat-control of the Kentucky House,” Londrigan said.

Unions were a big reason Democrats still have the legislature’s lower chamber, according to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

“I don’t think you can overstate just how important organized labor was in the special elections,” he said. “They gave us a strong foundation to work from, and they were crucial for our ground game.”

RTW was very much alive last fall. Tea party Republican Matt Bevin was elected governor on a RTW platform, leaving the Democratic-majority House of Representatives as the only barrier between the Bluegrass State and RTW. The state Senate has a 27-11 pro-RTW Republican majority.

The Democrats’ 54-46 House margin shrunk by four when a pair of Democratic lawmakers switched to the Republicans and two more took posts elsewhere in state government.

The GOP hoped to run the table in the four special elections, thereby making the House 50-50. (Two Republicans had to leave after winning constitutional offices in November.)

A GOP sweep—or even wins in three of the races—would have given the Republicans significant momentum going into this fall’s elections.

Now Old Mo seems to be with the Democrats. 

Stivers filed SB-3 on Jan. 6. “SB-3 was sent to the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee on January 7 where it lay pending the outcome of the House special elections on March 8,” Finn explained.

He added, “there could not be a clearer picture for our members…that their vote matters than President Stivers’ admission that a Republican majority in the House would have passed SB-3.”

Click here to see Stivers’ surrender on SB-3.

“President Stivers stated clearly that ‘elections have consequences’ and the consequences of the failure of the Republicans to win all four special elections and tie for control of the Kentucky House is the death of RTW and tort reform–as well as the previous death of prevailing wage repeal in the House Labor and Industry Committee–and so many other terrible pieces of legislation the Republicans had ready if they won those four critical seats,” Londrigan said.

Londrigan added that the special elections again prove that all elections matter. “In this case, the consequences were sufficiently positive to maintain control of the Kentucky House.”

But he cautioned against “resting on our laurels. We are heading right back into a full blown effort by our opponents to ‘flip the house’ – a mantra the Republicans have been using for about the past six years.

“We have prevented them from doing so this time, and only by an enormous and united effort will we be able to do so this November. The consequences of failure can be understood by simply looking at our neighboring states of Indiana and West Virginia.” Both states became RTW states, West Virginia most recently.

“The wolf is at the door again,” Londrigan warned. “The question is will we in the Kentucky trade union movement have the strength and courage to keep the wolf at bay and prevent Bevin and company from turning back the clock even further on Kentucky’s hard-working men and women.”

Londrigan thanked “all of those who worked so diligently and effectively in the four special elections. Our opponents thought they had all four of them won. Our labor program and grassroots and workplace efforts won these elections and the hard work and dedication of so many union members, representatives, released staff and national staff gave the Kentucky labor movement a great win and a chance to win again in November.”

Finn is also grateful to union members—especially those who pack building trades cards—for their work in the special elections. “This is more proof that organized labor’s effort can change the directions of Kentucky.”

Kentucky is the South’s only non-RTW state. The Kentucky House is the only chamber in a Southern legislature with a Democratic majority.

A New Hampshire Republican Tries To Sneak In A New Kind Right To Work For Less Bill

The proposed bill puts a new twist on an old, well known union busting Right to Work law

Right To Work is Wrong for NH

Tomorrow, the NH House Labor Committee will hold their public hearing on HB 1341 a new and very sneaky way to pass a Right To Work for less bill.

Republican Representative John Martin introduced HB1341 as a way for non-union members, who are covered by a union contract, to get out of paying their fair share by allowing them to make a donation to the charity of their choice.  This would allow the non-members to freeload off the union by skipping out on their share of the administration costs.

This is exactly the same as every other Right to Work for less bill except in this version non-members would still have to pay, they just would not have to pay the union.

Right to Work is a union-busting tactic has been used for decades. Bust the union by attempting to bankrupt them.

We already know that Right to Work laws are designed to destroy unions and further the Race to the Bottom.  Workers in Right to Work states make about 3% less than workers in free bargaining states. This means workers will make on average, $1500 less in Right to Work states.  Workers are also much less likely to have access to healthcare, retirement plans and other negotiated benefits like family leave and paid sick time.

This piece of legislation could allow these freeloading non-members to take money that should have gone to the union and funnel it directly into anti-worker groups like the Americans for Prosperity, who are officially listed at a charity by the state.

Passing Right To Work has been one of AFP-NH’s main legislative goals for many years.

Did the Americans for Prosperity have a hand in writing this bill? I do not know, but I am pretty certain they will be there to support it.

If you agree that this type of underhanded attack on workers is wrong then join us at the NH State Capitol’s Legislative Office Building, Room 307, tomorrow (2-11-16) to make your voice heard.

If you cannot make it to the State House tomorrow, you can write or call the members of the House Labor Comittee (click here to email the committee) and tell them to vote this bill “INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE” to kill the bill.

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