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The Real Republican Agenda To Pass Right To Work In NH

No Right To Work

Why is the NH Republican Party pushing so hard for their so-called “Right To Work” legislation?

Is it about jobs? Hardly. It has been proven time and time again that passing “Right To Work” legislation is not the magic job-creator that the Republicans claim it to be. If passing “Right To Work” had some type of magic to create jobs, then “Right To Work” states would have the lowest unemployment rates. Instead, the majority of “Right To Work” states have the highest unemployment rates in the entire country.

Is it about worker freedom? Again, this another myth promoted by Republicans who say that no worker should be “forced” to join a union to obtain a job. This lie is brought out every time the NH Legislature discusses “Right To Work” legislation. Fact: Nobody is forced to join a union. All unions who have agency fee provisions in their contracts have negotiated and agreed to this clause with their employer. Many employers have good relationships with their unions, and want to avoid the workplace tensions that “freeloading” causes. Passing “Right To Work” actually takes away the freedom of employers to negotiate their own collective bargaining agreements with their unions.

Is it about unions taking dues money and using it for political purposes? Nope, that’s not it either. Federal law already covers this: agency fees can only be used to negotiate and administer the collective bargaining agreement. Union members can – if they choose – donate to their union’s political action fund; and the union can use those monies for campaign donations. The difference is: political money is freely given by members and completely separate from dues and agency fee money.

If it’s not about any of those things, what else could it be about? Looks like pushing “Right To Work” is about funding NH Republican political campaigns.

Political blogger William Tucker found that the National Right To Work Committee “funneled over $25,000 in out-of-state campaign contributions to five New Hampshire senatorial candidates [in 2014] in an apparent attempt to shift the balance of power in favor of right-to-work legislation.” (Tuck breaks down exactly how the money was brought in by the NRTWC and pushed out through multiple different state level PACs.)

And the National Right to Work Committee directly gave $3,000 to Bill O’Brien in 2013, $10,000 to the House Republican Victory PAC of NH in 2012, and $1,000 to District 6 Sen. Sam Cataldo in 2012.

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Governing Under The Influence (Courtesy Image)

Yes, pushing “Right To Work” legislation helps the NH Republican Party fuel their fundraising.

Yes, this is what our “democracy” has come to, these days: looking for the profit motive for pushing legislation. That’s why so many people are getting involved in the movement to overturn Citizens United. The member organizations of the Democracy Initiative are leading the way, nationally. Here in New Hampshire, the American Friends Service Committee’s Governing under the Influence project and Ben Cohen’s Stamp Stampede are working to make Big Money an issue in the presidential primaries.

“Right to Work” has been rejected by the NH Legislature – time and time again – since the 1970s. Year after year, it’s the same-old, same-old: employers getting up and testifying to the Legislature that they (still) don’t want their hands tied when it comes to dealing with their employees.

Yet politicians like Rep Bill O’Brien keep reintroducing the bill, using the same old tired arguments.

No, it’s not about any of those repeated, repeated rationales.

It’s about fundraising.

And that’s really, really sad.

 

Laura Hainey (AFT-NH): Right To Work Weakens Collective Bargaining And Hurts All Workers

 

I am here today to ask that you defeat HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

aft sqaureAFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

Keep in mind, a union cannot unilaterally require nonmembers to pay their fair share. The employer and the union must negotiate and agree that workers are required to pay their fair share for representation.

Right now, either private or public employers and employees can freely negotiate to make sure everyone who benefits from a union contract pays their fair share of the costs of obtaining and protecting those benefits. But a “Right To Work” (RTW) law would allow the government to interfere unfairly in the freedoms of private and public employers and restrict the right to negotiate with their employees. Employers should be free to negotiate contracts without government intrusion.

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.

We all know there is no evidence to suggest that passing a RTW bill will improve our economy or create jobs for NH’s working families. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard that RTW legislation creates more jobs, presumably because a state becomes more attractive to employers when unions are not present or are weakened. The research does not support this point of view.

The so called RTW proposal hurts everyone. By many measures, the quality of life is worse in states with so-called RTW laws. Wages are lower, poverty and lack of insurance are higher, education is weaker—even infant mortality and the likelihood of being killed on the job are higher.

Lower Wages and Incomes

  • The average worker in states with RTW laws makes $1,540 a year less when all other factors are removed than workers in other states.1
  • Median household income in states with these laws is $6,437 less than in other states ($46,402 vs. $52,839).2
  • In states with RTW laws, 26.7 percent of jobs are in low-wage occupations, compared with 19.5 percent of jobs in other states.3

Less Job-Based Health Insurance Coverage

  • People in states with RTW laws are more likely to be uninsured (16.8 percent, compared with 13.1 percent overall; among children, it’s 10.8 percent vs. 7.5 percent).4
  • They’re less likely to have job-based health insurance than people in other states (56.2 percent, compared with 60.1 percent).5
  • Only 50.7 percent of employers in states with these laws offer insurance coverage to their employees, compared with 55.2 percent in other states. That difference is even more significant among small employers (with fewer than 50 workers)—only 34.4 percent of them offer workers health insurance, compared with 41.7 percent of small employers in other states.6

Higher Poverty and Infant Mortality Rates

  • Poverty rates are higher in states with RTW laws (15.3 percent overall and 21.5 percent for children), compared with poverty rates of 13.1 percent overall and 18.1 percent for children in states without these laws.7
  • The infant mortality rate is 15 percent higher in states with these laws.8
  • Less Investment in Education
  • States with RTW laws spend $3,392 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than other states, and students are less likely to be performing at their appropriate grade level in math and reading.9

Higher Rates of Death on the Job

  • The rate of workplace deaths is 36 percent higher in states with these laws, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.10

In closing, industries locate in a state for many reasons, but RTW laws are not among them. Factors like workforce productivity, availability of skilled workers, transportation, closeness to markets and materials, quality of life and proximity to research universities are the keys to economic growth. We need to create good jobs throughout the state, but an RTW law will not persuade companies to move here.

Please recommend ITL on HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

AFT-NH President

 

1 Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-michigan-economy/.

2 U.S. Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State, www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/2010/H08_2010.xls.

3 CFED, Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/low-wage-jobs.

4 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Census Bureau, POV46: Poverty Status by State: 2010, related children under 18, www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032011/pov/new46_100125_04.htm;

Table 19. Percent of Persons in Poverty, by State: 2008, 2009 and 2010, www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/hstpov19.xls.

8 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

9 National Education Association, Rankings & Estimates–Rankings of the States 2011 and Estimates of School Statistics 2012, December 2011, www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA_Rankings_And_Estimates_FINAL_20120209.pdf ;

CFED, Asset & Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/math-proficiency-8th-grade , and http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/reading-proficiency-8th-grade .

10 AFL-CIO, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, April 2012, www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report .

Dexter Arnold (UAW) Testimony HB 402: Right To Work Is Just Bad Public Policy

Dexter Arnold

Dexter Arnold

Testimony in Opposition to HB 402
Dexter Arnold February 17, 2015

I live in Nashua. I am a member of UAW Local 1981, and I strongly oppose HB 402. HB402 is bad public policy that flunks a truth in advertising test. This bill is not about individual rights, which are already well protected. This bill’s sole purpose is to weaken New Hampshire workers’ ability to have a say over their jobs and working conditions. It is improper state interference with the collective bargaining process.

More than ninety years ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former President and conservative Republican, who was no friend of unions, stated that “a single employee was helpless in dealing with an employer.” That’s the key issue at stake in this bill. By requiring a state-mandated open shop, HB 402 targets the core of what unionism is all about – that together, workers are able to do accomplish things that they can’t do as individuals

I want to talk briefly from personal and family experience. My father and grandfather were New Hampshire natives. They were lifelong Republicans. And they were local union presidents. Their union responsibilities were in addition to their fulltime jobs as a printer and a machinist. They understood that unions are a way that workers can accomplish together what they cannot do as individuals. That’s why they got together with others to organize their local unions in Nashua. They believed in personal responsibility and did not confuse individual liberty with demanding a free ride on someone else’s back. They certainly would have felt that it was inappropriate to make free rides state policy.

I also want to make a point based on my own experience as vice president and grievance chair in a union that did not have a fair-share agreement. When they had problems, non-members who were paying nothing for representation had no problem coming to the union and drawing on its resources for help. As a grievance representative, I handled and won several such cases.

One case sticks in my mind. It involved a new hire who was severely misclassified – so much so that she would have lost several thousand dollars a year and been ineligible for benefits. When she spoke to management about this, they dismissed her concerns, so she brought it to our attention. She was angry – “How can you let this happen? What’s the union going to do about this?” We told her it was the first we’d heard of it, and that we’d investigate.

We worked hard on her case and won her the proper classification. She received the pay she was supposed to get and health insurance. We were able to do so because of new contract language that we had made a bargaining priority a year before.

She benefited from our ability to negotiate and enforce a contract. That representation – bargaining and enforcing a contract – is what is covered by the fair-share union-security clauses that HB 402 would outlaw.

But again, we didn’t have a fair-share clause. And she was quite content to remain a free-rider and to contribute nothing towards her representation. But I bet we’d have heard from her if she had had another problem.

That’s the reality of an open shop situation. That open-shop reality should not be imposed on all New Hampshire workers by a legislative mandate that interferes with negotiations between New Hampshire workers and employers. I urge you to reject HB 402 as Inexpedient to Legislate.

Linda Horan Statement Against Right To Work Legislation (HB402)

Linda Horan

Linda Horan at a Rally for FairPoint workers

Today the NH House Labor Committee is hearing testimony on HB 402, Right To Work legislation.  Many people are at the State House testifying for this bill.  Linda Horan, a labor activist for many years, sent us her testimony.

Statement in Opposition to HB402
February 17, 2015

Good afternoon. My name is Linda Horan. I live in Alstead. I’m a retired telephone company worker and a proud member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320.

During my 32 years as a phone worker, I had health insurance, good wages, a pension, and job security. These weren’t given to me by the company. These were things that I worked with other union members to win. And once we won them, we protected them. We didn’t do this by begging the company as individuals. We did this by working together to accomplish as a group what we couldn’t achieve as individuals. That’s the basic principle of unionism. HB402 attacks that principle.

Today, members of IBEW Local 2320, have been on strike for 124 days. This is a strike about our future and the future of telecommunications in New Hampshire. It’s a strike to defend hard won gains that have created a decent standard of living and job security. FairPoint is demanding the right to contract out every job. If that happens, all that we have worked together to gain could be gone just like that.

Again, phone workers won a decent standard of living and job security by standing together to accomplish together what we could not achieve as individuals. HB402 mocks these accomplishments and seeks to tear them down.

HB402 says that it is okay for someone to see all that we accomplished, decide they want to enjoy those benefits, but refuse to contribute to the costs of improving and maintaining them. That’s an insult. And it’s a threat to our well-being.

HB402 is nothing more than a unionbusting proposal dressed up in false claims about economic benefits and personal liberty.

Claims about personal liberty are a sham. Proponents are not bothered by other job requirements. They do not complain when employers insist on educational requirements completely unrelated to a job. They do not object when non-union retailers tell new hires that clerks are expected to wear red shirts and black pants, so go out and buy them if you want the job. We don’t hear a peep from Right-to-Work advocates about the at-will status of workers without union protections – workers who can be fired without just cause. But let an employer negotiate a fair-share contract clause proposed by its workers and somehow personal liberty is under attack.

Many of you are familiar with the children’s story book about The Little Red Hen, who couldn’t get any help from the other barnyard animals when she decided to bake some bread. But those other animals wanted to share the bread once she had done all the work. The moral of the story is don’t expect to reap without sowing. That’s an important lesson that I taught my kids. HB402 turns the moral of the story upside down. It says the little red hen violated the personal liberty of the pig, the cat, and other animals who wanted to freeload off her.
In conclusion, Local 2320 has a fair share clause in our contract. There are a handful of non-members who pay a fair share fee, which is less than full dues. I wish they were members, but at least they pay their share of the costs of bargaining and enforcing the contract that provides the benefits we enjoy. That’s because the law allows us to make a democratic decision to negotiate a fair-share agreement as part of our contract. HB402 would take away that right. That’s wrong. We don’t need the State looking over our shoulder and telling us what to bargain.

I urge you to vote HB402 Inexpedient to Legislate. Also, please accept this as testimony against HB658, which I urge you to vote Inexpedient to Legislate for the same reasons.

Republicans Push Right To Work In Missouri, New Hampshire And Wisconsin Admitting It Will Lower Wages

 

Yup, he said it! Missouri Republican State Representative Bill Lant actually admitted what labor advocates have been saying for decades, Right To Work laws reduce wages.

“In the states where right to work was passed recently, the hourly rates may have dropped 2 to 3 dollars an hour, but the amount of days per year that the workers actually got to put in on the job increased dramatically.” (Missouri Digital News)

 

View Progress Missouri’s short video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/iHzMu5CciBc

Proof positive that even the Republicans, who are peddling these ALEC inspired Right To Work laws, know exactly what Right To Work laws will do to workers. The corporations who fund ALEC want to pass Right To Work laws in every state to further suppress already low wages.

Rep. Lant is not the only one who knows that Right To Work laws crush wages. ALEC Co-Chair and Missouri State Senator Ed Emery said, “One of the things that will be advocated by the unions is look at all these right to work states, average wages all go down. Sure they go down…”

View on YouTube: http://youtu.be/zuzI8zzA8dw

This all out assault on worker and our wages is not limited to Missouri. New Hampshire will once again vote to make New Hampshire a Right To Work state. Like many other years in the past, Republicans in the House and Senate will pass a Right to Work bill and Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan will veto it. The only good thing is that everyone knows that the NH GOP does not have enough votes to override the Governor’s veto, but they will undoubtedly try anyway.

Just this week it became obvious that when the new “Wisconsin Right To Work” PAC popped up and began pushing press releases that Wisconsin workers will once again have to fight off Governor Walker and his Koch funded allies.

“The day after Wisconsin Right to Work launched, ALEC member Rep. Chris Kapenga announced that he would be introducing a right to work bill in 2015,” reported Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy.

“All year round, we knock on doors in South Central Wisconsin and we ask people what is on their minds,” said Kevin Gundlach, head of the South Central (WI) Federation of Labor. “Never have I heard anyone say ‘we need right to work’. People are worried about low wages, health care, benefits and making ends meet in this economy. Right to work will take us in the opposite direction from where people want to go.”

Right To Work is not about worker freedom it is about crushing workers and the unions who they have chosen to represent them.

Huge hat-tip the Progress Missouri and the Center for Media and Democracy for their great coverage.  
UPDATE:

After posting this article, it was brought to my attention that the NH Senate has two Republican State Senators (Sen Carson and Sen Boutin) who voted against Right To Work in the past.  If they vote against it again this year, the bill would be deadlocked at 12-12.

A Kinder, Gentler Speaker Bill O’Brien

The local press is gushing over the “kinder, gentler” Bill O’Brien as he was nominated to lead the NH House as Speaker again.

“The Bill O’Brien who will lead the House for the 2014-16 Legislature is all smiles and open arms.” (Drew Cline, Union Leader)

“The tone of O’Brien’s interview with Landrigan suggests he has learned from his leadership mistakes. But it is also clear that he will not back down from his core principles, which include shrinking the size of government.” (Nashua Telegraph Editorial)

Some were not a quick to praise O’Brien for his new game face.

Dan Touhy of the Union Leader wrote:

“… press reports yesterday portrayed O’Brien as a “kinder, gentler” leader. If there is a flower in his lapel, opponents may ask, will it squirt water?”

In multiple interviews with local media outlets yesterday, O’Brien talked about how he wants to find compromise and help move New Hampshire together, however his goals are pretty much the same as they were in 2010 when he was previously elected Speaker.

“The O’Brien agenda is to achieve significant reforms in key economic areas — business taxation, higher education, and public employee pensions — with as much Democratic support as possible, and to clarify the election laws so that only New Hampshire residents can vote here.” Drew Cline, Union Leader

His goals to make New Hampshire better, hinge on attacking public workers pensions and pushing a Right To Work law on New Hampshire.

I do not believe for a second that Speaker Bill O’Brien (2014) will be any different than Speaker Bill O’Brien (2010). Even now he is saying it is my way or else!

“You’re with us or against us and bad things happen to you if you’re in the against us category,” O’Brien said in an interview with the Union Leader yesterday.

I give it three weeks before the new Speaker O’Brien disappears and the old Speaker O’Brien reappears to brow beat legislators and threaten reporters who go against him.

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Pending State Legislative Battles

In the wake of last Tuesday’s elections, many state and local politicians have already begun to signal their intent to wage assaults on working people in their states. While national political pundits debate outcomes, the AFL-CIO and its allies also have a keen eye on the developments at state and local levels.

We have no illusions there are radical politicians who are far more concerned with appeasing their corporate donors and being a tool for groups like ALEC than standing for working family issues. This is despite the fact that the Raising Wages agenda remain of upmost important to most Americans. A majority of the electorate are struggling economically and sixty-eight percent of voters agree that raising wages is good for workers and the economy. The majority of people want rights at work. We want the ability to stay home if we’re sick. We want fair and equal pay. And we believe if you work for and earn a pension, you should get it.

Make no mistake that the labor movement is more prepared and ready to combat these attacks than ever before.

We also know that this fight will not be the labor movement’s alone. We are fully engaged with our allies in the community and more importantly know that the values we stand for are in complete sync with the majority of Americans. It will take a collective effort to preserve and expand our values, and we are up to the task.

NH Exec Council Candidate Robert Burns Explains Why He Supports Right To Work

A friend of the NH Labor News just sent me this video of Robert Burns, a candidate for the New Hampshire Executive Council in District 4, talking at the Loudon Candidates Forum about Right To Work legislation.

Click here to see above video on YouTube

Burns claims that Right To Work legislation is about “personal freedom.” It is about “Thugs trying to control you and take your money.” Burns goes on to say that Right To Work is “100% about your freedom not to give this money to a political organization you may not agree with.”

“That is why I am for Right To Work,” concluded Burns

Let me explain to you, Mr. Burns, what Right to Work really is really about.

Right to Work is not about personal freedom, it is about breaking unions.  Your claim that my union dues go to political campaigns is absolutely false.  It is completely illegal for any union to take dues money and give it to a political candidate.  You are confusing union dues, with union campaign PAC or COPE funds.  These PACs are funded by freely given small donations of individual members who want to make sure that candidates who support their way of life are elected.

Right To Work is an attack on the middle class and leads to lower wages. The average worker in a Right To Work state make $5,000 a year less.

Right To Work laws are just another way for wealthy CEOs to push workers down in the race to the bottom. They want to break the unions to force workers to pay more for things like healthcare and retirement benefits.  They are lining the pockets and giving stockholders bonuses with our hard earned money.

By supporting Right To Work legislation you are saying that you, Mr. Burns, would rather side with greedy CEOs over hard working Americans.

Right To Work is wrong for worker, wrong for the middle class and wrong for New Hampshire. 

Meet The Candidate: Jennifer Daler, A Strong Opponent Of Right To Work

Editor’s note: To continue our effort to inform voters about candidates running for office in NH this is a special guest editorial from Jennifer Daler, candidate for New Hampshire’s Executive Council in District 5.

Jennifer DalerIt is almost Labor Day. I would like to introduce myself to readers of NH Labor News who might not know me. My name is Jennifer Daler and I am running for the Democratic nomination for Executive Council, District 5. You can find out more about the Executive Council here.

I live in Temple, NH with my husband and 3 children, the oldest of whom experiences a developmental disability. I served in the New Hampshire House from 2006-2008 on the Health and Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. I know the effort that goes into creating and passing the state budget, and I am familiar with the Department of Health and Human Services, which is the largest department in New Hampshire state government.

In the race for this seat, I stood with Labor during the dark days when Bill O’Brien was Speaker of the NH House.

I was there when Rep. Ken Weyler refused to move a crowded hearing to Reps Hall and forced union members to sit on the floor or stand in the hallway and stairwell. I stood in the stairwell in solidarity.

I was at the rally in front of the State House when 5000 New Hampshire citizens demonstrated against O’Brien’s budget.

I was in the House Gallery the day O’Brien threw union  members and everybody else (including the parents of the young man who sang the national anthem) out, the first time this was done in living memory.

When things were at their worst for labor and the Democratic Party in NH, I stepped forward and ran for the seat vacated by Bob Mead, who resigned to become O’Brien’s Chief of Staff the day after being sworn in.  We won that seat with hard work and shoe leather and the support of labor, for which I am very grateful. I won every town in the majority Republican district.

The day I was sworn in was a great day of hope and we managed to turn the tide, winning the House majority for Democrats in 2012.

Serving as a Democrat and supporter of labor in the House of O’Brien was not easy. We faced constant incivility, unfair treatment and an onslaught of bills that tore at the fabric of the state. One thing they were not able to do was to override Governor Lynch’s veto of their Right to Work for Less bill.

I am honored and thankful to have the endorsement of the SEA/SEIU1984.

I am proud to have stood with labor during the toughest times in recent memory, and will continue to listen to your concerns and priorities.  I hope working men and women will stand with me and vote for me in the Democratic primary on September 9.

Thank you.

 

Linda Tanner A Real Candidate For Working Families

One of the goals of the NH Labor News is to help Granite Staters get to know the candidates who are running for office in New Hampshire. We focus on candidates who support working families, particularly those candidates who are working to rebuild the middle class and strengthen our rights as workers.

This week’s focus is on State Senate District 8 candidate Linda Tanner.

Linda Tanner NH Senate Candidate District 8
Background Information for Rep. Linda Tanner

Linda is longtime community activist, teacher, and coach. Linda has dedicated her entire life to helping others and improving her community. For over 30 years as a teacher and coach at Kearsarge Regional High School, Linda worked tirelessly to help her students succeed in and out of the classroom. During her career at Kearsarge, she served as a Department Chair, worked with the School to Work program and developed a state championship tennis program. She was honored by the NH Interscholastic Athletic Association for her years of service and elected to the NH Coaches Hall of Fame for Girls Tennis. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Education from East Stroudsburg University and her Masters from Dartmouth College. In 2012 she was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Sullivan County, District 9.

 

As a public school teacher, were you involved with your local union?

I was president of my local association, the Kearsarge Regional Education Association for three terms. I participated on many negotiation teams, worked with members on issues at the local level, and worked with management towards better working conditions. I am a lifetime member of the NEA NH and have their endorsement for this campaign.

 

As a former teacher, I am sure you have a lot to say about the current public education system. Can you give me two things you would like to see changed?  And are these changes that you can enact from the NH Senate?

Public education has been under attack by those who would privatize education, eliminate compulsory education, and eliminate teachers’ unions. I ran for my House seat because I wanted to stop these political maneuvers that were undermining what, I feel, is the most valuable institution for maintaining democracy.

I think there is a great deal we could do to promote and fund our public education system in New Hampshire. I definitely feel the move from the punitive No Child Left Behind to the Common Core is a move that will help students. The Common Core sets standards but does not dictate pedagogy, deals with progress instead of achievement or failure and is the right course towards improvement and consistency. Just like other programs, it needs to be tweaked and re-visited. I would like to see educators who are working in the schools as teachers have a larger input into programs and initiatives.

As a high school teacher, I worked with a school-to-work program for the average student to encourage them towards further education and give some basic instruction in job skills. I taught Health Occupations Co-op for several years. I feel this is a very valuable program that should be expanded to teach not only content but job skills such as being on time, being able to speak to people, shake hands, show respect for co-workers and your product.  Recently I visited the Job Corps Training facility in Vermont. We are currently building a facility in Manchester. This type of program, which targets low income youth, is vital to providing vocational training in a setting that also emphasizes those job skills. It gives an opportunity for young people to better their position and at the same time provide workers for key jobs in our State.

As a Senator I will work to help New Hampshire schools become a model system that supports innovation, is relevant to the world of work and careers, and maintains rigorous standards for all school children.

 

You are running for the NH Senate Seat in District 8 that is currently held by Sen. Bob Odell. In what ways are you similar or different from Sen. Odell?

I found my voting aligned in many areas with Senator Odell.  I voted to repeal the death penalty, expand Medicaid, and deal with the issues around the Medical Enhancement Tax. However, Senator Odell voted against returning the period for teachers to be fired without cause or hearing from 5 to 3 years, voted against medical marijuana, and voted for the repeal of automatic continuation requirement for public employees’ collective bargaining agreements. These are three examples of bills he opposed that I would have supported.

IMG_0067This Senate seat has been, under Senator Odell, a moderate vote in a 13 to 11 Republican majority. My election to the seat will balance the parties at 12 all, which would make a major shift – especially on Labor issues. Medicaid expansion has a clause that requires renewal during this next session. Both Republican candidates have stated that they will try to repeal the Medicaid expansion, fight ‘Obama Care,’ and make NH a ‘Right to Work State’ as a priority. If either of the candidates opposing me wins this seat: Medicaid will be repealed, leaving thousands without medical insurance; and ‘Right to Work” for less will be passed along with other legislation that will hurt working men and women.

 

The current minimum wage is $7.25 and the GOP-led legislature repealed the NH Minimum Wage law. What would you do as Senator to help push NH toward a real living wage? Last year, one proposal was to raise the state minimum wage over two years to $9.00/hour. Do you think $9.00 is the right number? Or do you think it should be $10.10 as the POTUS is pushing, or even higher? 

First, we need to reinstate a NH Minimum wage that was repealed under the Republican leadership of Speaker O’Brien. I served on the House Labor Committee in this past term. The bill that was introduced should be reintroduced in this next term. This bill offered modest increases over time and originally had a provision for further increases based on economic indicators. I think we need to have a bill that will pass both The House and Senate. I hope to be one of those Senators to move this piece of legislation forward.

Do you have any legislation that you would like to see or have ideas on proposing if you are elected?  

I want to defend against the so called ‘right to work’ bills. If those bills pass it will let non-union workers benefit from our hard work in negotiations without paying their fair share. It’s a union-busting tactic.

I want to ensure fairness in workers’ compensation laws for those hurt on the job – so if they can’t work, they will still be able to keep their homes and survive. At the same time, I want to see how we can reduce the rate for employers. I want to establish a minimum wage and increase it above the present $7.25 so everyone has the dignity of a decent wage. I want to protect workers from pay cards and title loans that are stripping away hard earned money with excessive fees and astronomical interest rates. I want to offer solutions for the current lack of affordable and accessible elderly and work force housing.

 

If you could pick one issue from your campaign to highlight, what issue would that be?  

I am a person who is running for this Senate seat not to be someone special or advance a radical agenda but to work on legislation that will help the working men and women of this State. I taught for 35 years in the NH public schools and over that time, you see the communities, the State, through the lives of your students. I know the successes, the struggles, and the heartbreaking issues many of our citizens face. I want to be their voice in the Legislature.

 

Why should the labor community support your campaign?  

I am a lifelong union member. As a teacher for 35 years and continuing through retirement, I have been a member of the National Education Association. During my years at Kearsarge Regional High School, I was President of my local for three terms. I served on many negotiations and collective bargaining teams working for high quality education, good working conditions, livable salaries and benefits.  I proudly served as a State Representative for Sullivan County and as a member of the House Labor Committee.  I have the experience, knowledge and the political will to help the working men and women our State.

 

What can people do to help your campaign?

I can’t win this election alone. The opposition is well-funded and as committed to winning this seat as we are. I need your help to win this election. I need your vote and I need you to talk with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to urge them to vote for me. Also, with this large, rural district, we need funds for mailings, ads, and signs. Any amount you can send to us will help us get our message out.

Please see our website lindatanner.org for more information