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NH Labor News 8/28/12: Private Prison: The Public’s Problem, LGC Battle Continues, NH DES Says Economy Slightly Worse, and more..

Private Prisons: The Public’s Problem – A Talk by Caroline Isaacs – Nashua, NH Patch: “The three companies that run for-profit prisons in Arizona have all submitted bids to take over New Hampshire’s prison system. Caroline Isaacs, who directs the AFSC’s Arizona Program in Tucson, has thoroughly investigated their performance and found it lacking.  Her report, published in Feburary, revealed widespread and persistent problems in the areas of safety, accountability, and cost.

She will share her findings during a three-day speaking tour in New Hampshire, whicih will come to Nashua’s Unitarian Universalist Church on Wednesday, September 5, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Secretary of state in Dover about LGC ruling: ‘This is not a simple matter’ – Fosters: “DOVER — A public forum Monday night held to help area residents better understand the ruling against the Local Government Center left many questions unanswered and people still wondering when and how they will get their money back.

The LGC, a nonprofit organization that manages health insurance pools for public workers and retirees in New Hampshire, was found to have improperly collect and retain surplus funds for health and property liability funds it maintained for state and local employees and retirees. ”


Sec. of State Holds Public Forum On LGC Ruling | New Hampshire Public Radio: ““The public was very concerned about their money, where it’s parked right now, what’s going to happen to it.  I think those all  legitimate concerns.”

Lang, himself at one time was a board member of the LGC and researched the center’s finances.  His research resulted in a court order to refund $52 million dollars to public employees, retirees and municipal members who bought health and other insurance coverage from the non-profit.  LGC has already said it will appeal the ruling.”


Once again the media is blaming the teachers in the MHT School district for budget problem….

Manchester Begins The School Year After $8 Million Budget Shortfall and Teacher Union Impasse | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Manchester School District Superintendent Thomas Brennan says the teacher layoffs and program cuts came because Manchester schools faced the worst budget shortfall in recent memory.

“This year we’re talking about an 8 million dollar gap. And there’s no way that we’re going to make up 8 million dollars. In the past it might have been 1 or 2 million. It sounds a lot in some cases, it doesn’t sound a lot in others. So we always made it work. We’re not going to make it work this year.””


Goffstown selectmen deny firefighters’ retroactive raise | New Hampshire NEWS07: “electmen have denied a grievance filed by the Professional Firefighters of Goffstown that sought pay increases for three firefighters in 2011. At its regular meeting Monday night, Vice Chairman Scott Gross moved to “respectfully decline” the request of the firefighters.

Attorneys for both the town and the firefighters’ union presented their cases to the Board of Selectmen at its meeting on Aug. 20, with the union claiming that three firefighters were due a step increase pay raise in 2011, from $16 an hour to $17.28, an 8-percent increase.”


“ROCHESTER — The latest statistics released by New Hampshire Employment Security shows that the state’s economy is in slightly worse shape than a year ago. It is estimated that there were 629,000 private sector and government jobs in the Granite State in July, which is 2,100 fewer than 12 months ago, with the private sector accounting for all of this decline.

This assessment ties in with the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate for July. According to NHES, the July 2012 unemployment rate for New Hampshire was 5.7 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the June rate, which remained at 5.4 percent after revision. The July 2011 unadjusted rate was 5.5 percent.

The national unadjusted rate for July 2012 was 8.6 percent, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from the June rate and a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from the July 2011 rate.”


Lang’s battle with LGC results in state order for $52M refund | SeacoastOnline.com: “A firefighter’s nine-year effort to open the Local Government Center’s books to the public has directly resulted in an order that $52 million be refunded to public employees, retirees and municipal members who bought the LGC’s health and/or property liability insurance.

While the LGC announced Thursday it will appeal, much credit for the $52 million order can go to David Lang, a retired Hampton firefighter and president of the New Hampshire Professional Fire Fighters Association. Related agreements that the SchoolCare risk-management pool will refund municipal members $8.5 million and the Primex pool will refund between $16 million and $21 million can also be linked to Lang’s tenacity.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner said Friday that without Lang’s series of Right To Know requests for LGC information, “none of this would be happening right now.””


Sequestration budget cuts bad for New Hampshire | SeacoastOnline.com: As staff writer Aaron Sanborn reported (Ayotte: cuts reach ‘too far,’ Aug. 23, Portsmouth Herald), federal budget sequestration has dangerously real consequences for New Hampshire.

But only half of sequestration’s impact is on defense.

Non-defense cuts will also hit hard, costing more than 2,700 New Hampshire jobs. Why? Because sequestration makes deep cuts to investments that matter for New Hampshire kids and families.

More than 17,000 New Hampshire families would lose health services through the federal Maternal & Child Health Block Grant, and 1,400 would lose quality nutrition through WIC. More than 3,600 New Hampshire children would lose educational help, including nearly 2,300 with disabilities.

Labor and Civil Liberties Organizations Come Together To Fight Against NH Voter ID Law

Organizations from across New Hampshire have come together to urge the Justice Department to reject the new Voter ID law.

A coalition including League of Women Voters, N.H. Civil Liberties Union, America Votes, American Friends Service Committee, Credo SuperPAC, Demos, Fair Election Legal Network, Granite State Independent Living, Latinos Unidos, NAACP Branch 2070, NH AFL-CIO, NH Citizens Alliance, NH Young Democrats, NEA-NH, SEIU Local 1984,  Service Employees International Union and Working Families Win submitted letters today to the U.S. Department of Justice asking the Department to deny pre-clearance of the state’s new voter photo identification law (Chapter 284) and new voter registration law (Chapter 285).

New Hampshire is required to submit all changes in voting laws to the U.S. Department of Justice for pre-clearance before the laws can go into effect. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires the department to deny pre-clearance of state laws that have either a discriminatory purpose or the effect of suppressing the right to vote on account of race or color or membership in a language minority.

“There’s no legitimate reason for the radical changes the photo ID law makes to the way we vote in New Hampshire,” said Joan Flood Ashwell, election law specialist for the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire. “Years of investigations by the Attorney General’s office have confirmed that we don’t have a problem with voter impersonation fraud. That’s not surprising since that kind of voter fraud is virtually unheard of anywhere in the United States. We believe the real intent of this photo ID law is to make it more difficult for certain groups of people to vote, including students, the elderly, minorities and the disabled.

“Members of the House and Senate heard testimony that thousands of New Hampshire citizens don’t have a photo ID 25,000 to 50,000 according to the Secretary of State,” Ashwell said. “In this presidential election, students will be able to use their student IDs but that will change in 2013 when the law becomes the strictest in the United States. It will be unnecessarily more difficult for students to vote, especially those who come here from other states and are much more likely to be minorities.”

Jessica Clark, political and field director of America Votes, said the ever-changing requirements of the photo ID law and the lack of an education program seemed designed to discourage people from even trying to vote.

“We’ve already seen incorrect headlines in the papers saying that a photo ID will be needed to vote this November,” Clark said. “This is an overly complex law that requires a statewide education campaign using newspapers, TV and radio in addition to brochures and handouts. Some members of the House Election Law Committee tried to include an education campaign in the law but that was rejected by the sponsors of the legislation and by the House and Senate leadership. Voters need to know that they can sign an affidavit and obtain a ballot. In 2013, they’ll have to have a photo taken as well. America Votes believes the affidavit and photo are offensive and unnecessary but we also believe people should know there’s an option that is better than no vote at all.”

The second law, Chapter 285, changes the voter registration form to include a statement requiring people to agree that they must register their car in New Hampshire and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license within 60 days of registering to vote. The wording of the new voter registration form contradicts New Hampshire motor vehicle laws which make it illegal for those who intend to leave New Hampshire at a specific point in time to register a car or obtain a driver’s license in New Hampshire.

“Chapter 285 is an attempt to change the definition of ‘domicile’ in Part 1, Article 11 of the New Hampshire Constitution,” said Claire Ebel, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “A 1984 New Hampshire Supreme Court decision – George J. Every v. Supervisors of the Madison Checklist  – defined ‘domicile’ as distinct from residence. According to Ebel, “There is no question that Chapter 285  is meant to keep out-of-state college students from being able to register and vote in New Hampshire However, that question was decided by a federal district court decision in 1972 in Newberger v. Peterson, which established the right of students to vote where they attend school.  Students, visiting faculty, members of the military and others who know that they will leave New Hampshire at some definite point in the future have the right to register and to vote here while they live here.”

The coalition’s submissions describe the two new election laws as retrogressive and discriminatory and said they will reduce minority voting across the state. They criticize the Legislature for not presenting data to determine the impact of the laws, especially since these issues were brought to their attention repeatedly in hearings and in letters. The coalition said the laws are unnecessary, and the Justice Department should deny preclearance because the state failed to meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

 

 

NHRS Employer Notice: Legislative Change to Definition of Part-time Employment of Retirees

Important Press Release about changes to the New Hampshire Retirement System.  If you have questions contact your local union representative or the NHRS directly. 

NHRS Employer Notice: Legislative Change to Definition of Part-time Employment of Retirees
 2012 Legislative Change to Definition of ‘Part-time’ Employment of Retirees

CONCORD, N.H. – Senate Bill 244 (Chapter 0194, Laws of 2012) contained changes to the definition of “part-time” employment of New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS) retirees employed by NHRS participating employers.

The revised statute reads:

RSA 100-A:1, XXXIV. “Part-time,” for purposes of employment of a retired member of the New Hampshire retirement system but excepting per diem court security officers and court bailiffs, means employment during a calendar year by one or more employers of the retired member which shall not exceed 32 hours in each normal calendar week. Employment in some instances may exceed 32 hours in any normal calendar week provided that in such case, the part-time employment of the retired member shall not exceed 1,300 hours in a calendar year, so long as such part-time employment does not occur outside of a 5-consecutive-month period in any 12-month period.

The revised statute, which took effect upon passage, limits NHRS retirees working for one or more NHRS employers to a maximum of 32 hours per week, regardless of whether they work for one or more employer and regardless of whether some of the hours are in a Group I (Employee, Teacher) position and some of the hours are in a Group II (Police, Fire) position. The previous statute capped part-time employment at 32 hours per employer, not per retiree and also counted Group I and Group II hours separately.

The 5-month, 1,300-hour exception contained in the statute remains in effect. Please note that retirees who fall under this exception may not work for any NHRS participating employer outside of a 5-consecutive-month period in any 12-month period.

This statute does not, and has never, affected NHRS retirees working for non-NHRS participating employers.

NHRS has prepared answers to some frequently asked questions that employers and retirees may have concerning the part-time employment of retirees by an NHRS participating employer. The FAQ is available at:

www.nhrs.org/documents/NHRS_Retiree_Employment_FAQ.pdf

Retirees and employers with any questions about whether a position meets the definition of “part-time” should contact NHRS at (877) 600-0158, extension 3681, or info@nhrs.org.

NH Labor 2012 Election News 6/19: New Endorsements For Jackie and Maggie

New Hampshire Labor News: The State Employees Association Endorses Jackie Cilley for NH GOV:
“CONCORD – Surrounded by friends and supporters from the union, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley today gratefully accepted the endorsement of the State Employees Association of New Hampshire at their office in Concord today. Cilley, who has made investments in the state’s education, communication, and transportation infrastructure systems a centerpiece of her campaign, was happy to have earned the support of the people with whom she will be working closely – the state’s public sector employees. 

“Our public sector workers are the folks who make our state welcoming to visitors, who provide the services businesses count on and who make many of our citizen’s life just a bit easier each and every day,” said Cilley. “I am very proud to have earned their confidence and endorsement. I look forward to partnering with our employees, as well-run businesses do, to address the challenges we face.”


State employees union supports Cilley in governor’s race – Fosters: “Receiving the backing of the SEA will potentially bring a financial and organizational boost for Cilley. SEA members will receive requests for donations on her behalf throughout the campaign, as well as solicitations to volunteer for her.

SEA Board Director Ana Ford will also organize house parties and phone banks for the Barrington Democrat, and SEA will sponsor canvassing activity for her.

Before picking Cilley in the governor’s race, SEA members conducted a three-month review process, which included developing an “electoral vision” that reflects the group’s goals over the next several years.

On Monday, SEA spokeswoman Beth D’Ovidio said right-to-work legislation and collective bargaining issues were among the group’s chief concerns in the 2012 election.”


Cilley picks up endorsement of state’s largest public employee union – NashuaTelegraph.com: “CONCORD – Leaders of the state’s largest public employee union said Democrat Jackie Cilley’s opposition to a pledge to veto a sales or income tax played a “significant factor” in her getting their endorsement Monday.
The State Employees Association announced it had chosen Cilley, a former state senator from Barrington, over Maggie Hassan, an ex-Senate majority leader from Exeter.
“I look forward to partnering with our employees, as well-run businesses do, to address the challenges we face,” Cilley said.”

“Meanwhile, a seventh organized labor group got behind Hassan.

“We are very proud of all the support we have – including a major endorsement by the Teamsters today,” said Matt Burgess, Hassan’s campaign manager. “We respectfully disagree with SEA leadership on an income tax. It is wrong for New Hampshire’s economy and middle-class families who are struggling.”


New Hampshire Labor News: Teamsters Local 633 Endorse Maggie Hassan for Governor: “MANCHESTER– Saying she will work for economic growth and to help ensure middle-class families have the opportunities they need to succeed, the Teamsters Local 633 today endorsed Maggie Hassan for Governor. 

“We are proud to endorse Maggie Hassan for Governor,” said David Laughton, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 633.  “In the state Senate, Maggie consistently stood up for middle-class families and we know she’ll do the same as our next Governor. As Governor, Maggie Hassan will bring people together to make New Hampshire an innovative, business-friendly state where companies can create good jobs and families can succeed.”

Teamsters Local 633 includes thousands of members working for Anheuser-Busch breweries, soft drink production and delivery, beer distribution, bakeries, laundry facilities, power plants, municipalities, public works, airport maintenance, sheriffs, police departments, librarians, school principals and race track employees.”


Great list of people running from the Seacoast Area
Candidates file for N.H. House, Senate | SeacoastOnline.comCONCORD — Following the redistricting of the New Hampshire House and Senate, new district lines have been drawn. The filing period ended June 15 and the candidates include:


The State Employees Association Endorses Jackie Cilley for NH GOV

Via Twitter @jackieforNH

Jackie Cilley thanks the State Employees Association for their endorsement

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley thanked members of the state’s largest labor organization for their endorsement of her candidacy for governor

CONCORD – Surrounded by friends and supporters from the union, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley today gratefully accepted the endorsement of the State Employees Association of New Hampshire at their office in Concord today. Cilley, who has made investments in the state’s education, communication, and transportation infrastructure systems a centerpiece of her campaign, was happy to have earned the support of the people with whom she will be working closely – the state’s public sector employees.

“Our public sector workers are the folks who make our state welcoming to visitors, who provide the services businesses count on and who make many of our citizen’s life just a bit easier each and every day,” said Cilley. “I am very proud to have earned their confidence and endorsement. I look forward to partnering with our employees, as well-run businesses do, to address the challenges we face.”

“Jackie Cilley is a New Hampshire leader who has never forgotten her roots or the values that make life in the Granite State special. Senator Cilley has a strong record of fighting for the issues most important to working families — good jobs, education, healthcare, safety, the environment and so much more. She understands how interconnected the success of working families is to the success of our business community, and how these come together to build a better future for our state,” said Diana Lacey, President of the SEA.

The State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1984 represents nearly 12,000 members throughout the New Hampshire and at all levels of government in the state. They join labor organizations representing electricians, letter carriers, and building trades professionals in their support of Jackie’s run for governor.

Solid As Granite Series part 6: Craig Lange SEA/SEIU 1984

The next video in our series is Craig Lange.  Craig is a member of the newly formed union for adjunct instructors at the Nashua Community College.  They are now members of the SEA /SEIU 1984.  This was a long struggle to become recognized and it took a lot of work.  After you listen to his story you will understand why it was so important to become members.  They are still working to negotiate thier first contract, and Craig is one of their negotiators as well.

NH Senate Declines Action on HB1206

NH Senate Declines Action on HB1206
Concord, NH – May 16, 2012 – Earlier today, the New Hampshire State Senate tabled a measure aimed at weakening employees’ right to collective bargaining and reinforcing health insurance providers’ stronghold on profits derived from spiraling health care costs. The bill was tabled aside without discussion by voice vote.
House Bill 1206 would have required public employees working under an expired contract to pay half of any increased costs to their insurance premiums. In effect, it would have negated any incentive for management to negotiate new contracts with public employees. There would be little regard for negotiating cost effective health insurance contracts due to the automatic cost shift to the employees. “This bill brought forward another attempt by the legislature to marginalize workers and their families,” said Diana Lacey, President of the State Employees’ Association. “While we are encouraged by the Senate’s response to this damaging bill today ─ placing it on the table  ─ we are reminded that much of the legislature’s time this session has been spent considering extreme bills aimed at crippling middle class working families.  That time would have been better spent on enacting public policy that curbs the obscene profit margin for health insurance companies and provides all NH families with affordable quality health care.  The emphasis should be placed on people, not profits.”
“We thank the Senate for today’s action regarding this bill, however, our hope had been that the Senators would have killed the bill outright,” said Lacey.
Members from labor organizations across the state placed phone calls to their Senators urging them to vote against HB 1206.  “These members made a strong commitment to engage their Senators on this issue that is so important to working families,” said Lacey. “They really did a great job getting their Senators to listen to their concerns.”
Both the NH Senate and House of Representatives are in the final days of this session’s work.  Tomorrow, May 17, is the last day for both sides to act on bills.

We Are as Solid As Granite (VIDEO)

This is the introduction to the Solid As Granite video series.  This video has clips from all of the speakers who spoke at the Solid as Granite Rally on May 5th 2012. Over the next 10 days the NH Labor News will post each of the speakers in order from the Solid As Granite Rally.  This will give you a taste of what is to come.

NH Labor News Solid As Granite Video Series;
Part 1: Nashua Teaches’ Union Robert Sherman
Part 2: Paul O’Connor, President of the Metal Trades Council at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Part 3: NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie
Greater Nashua Labor Council Member Deb Howes (NTU) Presents Certificates of Appreciation to local State Reps for opposing Right To Work
Part 4: State Employees’ Association / SEIU 1984 President Diana Lacey
Part 5: Sheet Metal Workers Business Agent, Ed Foley
Part 6: Adjunct Instructor from Nashua Community College, Craig Lange
Part 7: National Postal Mail Handlers Union, Representative, Ed Barnes
Part 8: NH COSH Member Al Bouchard
Part 9: AFT-NH President Laura Hainey

Check back every day for a new video!

New Hampshire Workers “SOLID AS GRANITE” Rally a Huge Success!!!

Saturday, May 5th members of multiple unions from around New Hampshire gathered in Nashua at Greeley Park for the New Hampshire Workers “Solid As Granite” rally. The rally was organized by the Greater Nashua Labor Coalition (GNLC) to bring local union members together with community partners to help fight against the continued attacks on workers. The GNLC gave away tee-shirts and gifts for people who attended as well as had a bounce house and face painting for the kids. 

The event brought in some high powered speakers from the New Hampshire labor movement. While each one had a different point of view and topic to discuss the overall theme was obvious. “We must work together to take back our government and stops these attacks on working families”. The over 100 people who attended the event were very receptive to the stuggles that each of the speakers talked about.

NTU President
Robert Sherman

Robert Sherman, President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union talked about what it was like for teachers in Nashua in the 1970s prior to have the right to collectively bargain. He talked of all of the advances that their union contracts have given them including: job security, maternity leave, sick time, health benefits, and much more.

The event included Paul O’Connor, member of the IBEW and President of the Metal Trades Council at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Mr O’Connor talked about how being a union member and a “Shipyarder” is in his blood.  His father was a shipyarder and now for 34 years he has been a shipyarder. O’Connor called on the crowd to “stop listening to the rhetoric that puts worker against worker”.  He also talked about how thank to the unions at the shipyard the PNS is the most efficient and safest of all the Naval Shipyards in the country.

State Employees’ Association President Diana Lacey talked about how we need to work together to save the middle class jobs of state workers.  She talked about legislation and actions being pushed by a Tennessee company that is trying to privatize New Hampshire prisions.  This out of state company is also pushing to make it illegal for a union to organize non-union shops.

SEA/SEUI 1984
President Diana Lacey

One of the more moving speeches came from US Postal Service employee Ed Barnes.  Ed is a member of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.  He talked about how all the postal unions are working without contracts and they have seen a dramatic increase in temporary and part time employees.   He said at one point that thanks his union and their collective bargaining agreement he as a single parent “can feed my kids, and help my son pay for his college education”.

NH AFL-CIO President
Mark MacKenzie

As passionate and fiery as always was the NH AFL-CIO President  Mark MacKenzie.  He talked of how this last two years have been the worst attacks on workers he has ever seen in all his years.  He said we need to come together to hold these legislators accountable in November.  He called out to legislators “Which side are you on? It has never been more clear who stood with us.”

Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH closed the event with a short and powerful speech.  She reminded people of the attacks that came from our State Legislature over the last 18 months.  As the those attacks became stronger and more pointed everyone stood up to say no!
Pres. Hainey continued:

AFT-NH President Laura Hainey  

“They first came after collective bargaining rights. They want to eliminate workers’ voices. Will we let that happen? 

They came after women’s health care rights?  Will we let that happen?

They want to eliminate public education as we know?  Can we let that happen?   

 It is through the efforts of our members, their families and concerned NH citizens that we know we can defeat these extremists. “

All of the speakers talked about making sure we know who we are voting for in November.  We need to ensure that who we vote for supports labor and the workers in New Hampshire.

Also at the event Ed Foley
 Representative of the
Sheet Metal Workers Local 17. 




Be sure to check back to the NH Labor News for updates on this event.  The NH Labor News is working on posting video of the entire event over the next week.

Members of the Greater Nashua Labor Coalition include:
Andy Capin, State Employees’ Association / SEIU 1984

Deborah Howes, Nashua Teachers’ Union
Sylvia Gayle, Community Organizer
Matt Murray, National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Marianne O’Connor, Nashua Teachers’ Union
Magnus Pardoe, SEA/SEIU 1984 Chapter 59

(Nashua Community College) 

Related Posts: Greater Nashua Labor Coalition Honor State Representatives Who Stood Against Right To Work.

NH Unions Statement on NH Senate Decision to Table Right to Work for Less

Statement on NH Senate Decision to Table Right to Work for Less
The NH Senate voted today to table repeat right to work for less legislation, acknowledging the legislation would fail but leaving the door open for extremely anti-worker House Speaker Bill O’Brien.
Following the vote, New Hampshire workers, labor leaders and community allies expressed hope that the Senate would take a similar approach to additional anti-worker bills from the House and move on to more important issues.
“The Senate took a step in the right direction today in voting to indefinitely table HB 1677. Their vote follows confirms what we hear each and every day: people are tired of right to work for less dominating the discussion in Concord,” said President Mark MacKenzie. “Yet New Hampshire’s working families still face threats in our Legislature. We hope that the Senate follows through on its promises to focus on jobs and rejects any other proposals to curtail the rights of Granite Staters.”
“Today we saw our senators demonstrate leadership by putting aside Speaker O’Brien’s never ending war against working families,” said Diana Lacey,  President of the State Employees Association. “Unlike their 2011 vote, all of the senators know now that this bill has no chance of becoming law and it is good to see them signal to the House that the focus needs to be on job creation.”
Most workers and community members believe that NH House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s extreme Tea Party ideas are to blame for the continued attack on workers, public infrastructure and essential services. Rhonda Wesolowski, president of NEA-NH, called for the Senate to reject that agenda and instead take the lead on job creation initiatives. “We now look forward to the Senate enhancing the opportunity for better jobs through renewed support of public education and educators.”

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