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State Employees Raise Over $11,000, Collect More than 7,000 Food Items for NH Food Bank

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today announced that state employees from eighteen different state agencies have completed a food drive to benefit the New Hampshire Food Bank, which resulted in donations of $11,211.20 and 7,192 food items combined.

“It is so important that we give back to our communities during the holiday season and throughout the year, and thanks to the generosity of New Hampshire’s state employees, the holidays will be a little brighter for hundreds of New Hampshire families,” Governor Hassan said. “Too often, New Hampshire residents go to sleep hungry because they are forced to make an impossible choice between accessing medical care, paying their rent, heating their homes, or feeding their families. Through their support of the New Hampshire Food Bank, New Hampshire’s dedicated public servants help us continue to make progress in the fight against food insecurity, improving lives by decreasing hunger. I want to thank all of the state employees and agencies, as well as the New Hampshire Food Bank, for their unyielding commitment to strengthening our families, our communities and our state.”

The food drive was initiated when employees from the Department of Revenue Administration prompted Commissioner John Beardmore to create a competition, in good fun, amongst state agencies to see which agency could collect the donations for the Food Bank this holiday season. The other agencies and commissioners accepted the challenge, with the ultimate winner being the people of New Hampshire who are served by the Food Bank.

When all of the results were totaled, the Office of Energy and Planning won the agency challenge with a per capita rate of 45.11 items from their staff.

“This is truly an amazing amount of support and team work by all of the state departments and their employees who generously donated during their recent food drive.  Working together with incredible partners like this is yet another way that together we can solve hunger,” said Mel Gosselin, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Food Bank.

The state agencies that participated in the food drive challenge include the Adjutant General’s Department, the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice/Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Banking, the Department of Cultural Resources, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Education, the Office of Energy and Planning, the Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire Fish and Game, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Insurance Department, the Department of Labor, the Liquor Commission, the Department of Revenue Administration, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Treasury.

According to the New Hampshire Food Bank, one out of every nine people in New Hampshire doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. The New Hampshire Food Bank distributes food to approximately 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, children’s programs, and other human service agencies throughout the state.  For more information, visit www.nhfoodbank.org.

State Reaches Contract Agreement with New England Police Benevolent Association

CONCORD – The State of New Hampshire has reached a two-year contract agreement with the New England Police Benevolent Association (NEPBA), one of four unions representing state employees. The agreement, ratified by all five NEPBA Locals in New Hampshire, will provide the first cost-of-living pay increases to these state law enforcement professionals in five years and help reduce the state’s projected growth in health care costs.

The NEPBA represents members at the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Corrections, and the Liquor Commission law enforcement division.

“The first responsibility of state government is to keep our communities safe, and New Hampshire’s dedicated law enforcement professionals are working hard every day to ensure public safety,” Governor Hassan said.  “After years of budget cuts and layoffs, this fair agreement will create important health care savings for the state and help our law enforcement professionals make ends meet for themselves and their families. I greatly appreciate the good faith negotiations of the NEPBA and look forward to continuing our efforts to keep the people of New Hampshire safe.”

Members will receive a 1.5 percent raise effective July 12, 2013; a 2.25 percent raise effective July 11, 2014 and a 2.25 percent raise effective January 9, 2015.

In return, employees are agreeing to take a more active role in managing their health and health care costs. The state will switch to a site-of-service plan, where for certain services employees will have the option to go to select providers or pay a deductible. In exchange for working to improve their own health through activities such as taking a health assessment test, getting a physical, getting a flu shot or having their blood pressure checked, employees earn up to $500 a year through a health reimbursement account and a wellness reimbursement program.  This money can be used for health care expenses such as deductibles or eye glasses. Employees also agreed to contribute toward their dental plan.

The changes will help reduce the state’s future liability for the federal “Cadillac tax” on health plans, scheduled to go into effect in 2018.

Employees also agreed to changes in sick-leave policies in return for a short-term disability policy.

Ron Scaccia, the Chief Negotiator for the New England Police Benevolent Association, said, “Once again the State of New Hampshire has come to its employees and asked them for assistance in battling the ever increasing costs associated with health care, and once again the loyal employees who work for the State have agreed.  In accepting the changes in health care which will cost the employees higher deductibles and paying for dental insurance, the State will realize over 10 million dollars in savings while the employees will receive very modest increases in salaries, the first they have had in over 5 years.  It took over six months of hard work by both sides to come to an agreement that is fair for everyone, the State, the employees, and the citizens of New Hampshire.  It is an honor for me personally to represent some of the finest State Employees that New Hampshire has.”

 

State Senator Pushes Bill That Could Cost You To Collect Your Salary

Prime Sponsor of SB 100 – Sen. Bradley – Doesn’t Know Difference Between Payroll Cards and Direct Deposit

Bradley Confuses Forms of Payment in Committee and on the Senate Floor Despite Being Previously Corrected; SB 100 Seeks to Abolish Paper Paychecks

Concord, NH – The prime sponsor of SB 100 – Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) doesn’t know the difference between payroll cards and direct deposit. Alternatively, it’s possible he just doesn’t care.

SB 100 seeks to abolish paper paychecks in New Hampshire, pushing employees over to direct deposit or payroll cards. Payroll cards act as a form of debit cards, often carrying a brand such as Visa or Mastercard, and are used as such – right down to the fees for withdrawals, payments and balance checks. SB 100 would allow an employee to withdraw their full salary once per pay period, but multiple withdrawals would cost an employee out of pocket to collect their salary. An amendment to SB 100 provided by a DC lobbyist from the American Payroll Association additionally removes the requirement that employers show employees a list of fees associated with the cards, and that they no longer need to collect a signed form demonstrating that this step had been taken.

In testimony opposing SB 100, the Department of Labor spoke about fees associated with payroll cards that may come at a cost to employees. It is important to note that not all cards are the same and that each card has its own rules. Examples of payroll withdrawal caps and fees can be found here and here.

Introducing the bill in Senate Commerce, Senator Bradley told fellow lawmakers that the State of New Hampshire requires state employees to use payroll cards as part of their contract; an assertion which helped secure a 5-0 committee vote.

That is simply not true. There is no such requirement in the contract – a fact which an official from the State Employees Association told Bradley the next day. In that conversation, Bradley assured the staffer he knew the difference and that the confusion had been cleared up in committee.

On the Senate floor last week, however, Sen. Bradley told fellow lawmakers the same thing regarding payroll cards – this time saying a SEA official had told him about it.

Senator Bradley’s False & Misleading Information on Senate Floor

“Now, I would just say that one of the provisions of the latest contract with the State Employees Association insisted on this provision. And it’s been implemented and accepted from what one of the representatives of the SEA has told us quite well.”

 NH Senate Session, March 14, 2013 AM at Audio Mark 1:26:16

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/Media/Session_Media.aspx

The statement was quickly corrected by Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) who had a copy of the state contract with her.

“Senator Bradley either doesn’t understand how his legislation would actually work, or he just doesn’t care. In any case, the Senate should absolutely not move forward with this bill under these conditions,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Payroll cards can be a viable alternative for both employees and employers if everyone understands the fees associated with them and there are significant consumer protections in place to assist the less financially savvy. Senator Bradley’s aim, however, is to eliminate paper paycheck options and force employees without bank accounts to move to payroll cards. No one should have to pay to collect their salary or be concerned about their payroll card expiring.”

“Moreover, SB 100 removes all requirements that employees be informed of these potential fees. That alone should raise red flags about why this legislation is wrong for workers in New Hampshire.”

A Consumer’s Union analysis of the pros and cons of payroll cards can be found here: http://defendyourdollars.org/pdf/Payroll_Issue_Paper_2011.pdf.

 

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases and other information available online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

An Update on Retirement System Legislation From AFT-NH Pres. Laura Hainey

This year we are not facing the attacks we did last year on our retirement system but there are eight bills we are tracking. The NHRSC (NH Retirement Security Coalition) is the driving force in introducing and advocating for the passage of three of these 8 bills. When these three bills were introduced, we did so keeping in mind that we support efforts to maintain a defined benefit pension provided by the New Hampshire Retirement System for retired public employees and to ensure the long-term viability of the plan for current and future public employees.  These benefits are essential tools for recruiting and retaining a skilled and qualified workforce—educators, police, fire fighters, and other essential public servants—to provide vital services in the citizens of New Hampshire.
These three bills are:

HB 341
: relative to the cost of fiscal analysis of legislation relating to the retirement system.

  • This bill requires that the administrative and professional cost of the fiscal analysis of proposed legislation done by the retirement system not be paid from retirement system assets or charged as an expense of administration.
  • In the last two sessions it cost the New Hampshire Retirement System over $100,000 to fund the costing of bills put in. This is money coming out of our system that could fund close to three pensions.
  • If a legislator puts in a bill then the funds to cost this should come out of their budget not ours.
  • This bill was retained in committee and will be worked on and brought back next session.

HB 342: relative to part-time employment of retired members of the retirement system.

  • This bill has been amended in its entirety into a reporting requirement,
  • It will provide valuable information regarding NHRS retirees. Employers will report the number of hours worked and the compensation earned to the NHRS on a quarterly basis, so NHRS can collect and maintain data that is unavailable now.
  • The bill does not take effect until 120 days after passage to allow time to prepare, and includes a sunset provision in 2018, which allows time for sufficient data to be developed.
  • The New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition (NHRSC) hired, Thomas Lowman from Bolton Partners and he provided us his actuarial opinion stating that the practice of “double-dipping” is setting the state up for greater costs down the road. He included numerous reasons why employers who either hire more part-time positions than full-time, or encourage full-time employees to retire and then hire them back part-time, are negatively impacting the overall state retirement system and the Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability. To read the full letter click here.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended passage as amended. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.

HB 364: relative to notice required concerning employment of a retired member of the New Hampshire retirement system of the limitations on part-time employment.

  • This bill was amended its in entirety.
  • This bill requires New Hampshire retirement system employers to notify existing and prospective part-time employees, who are retired members in the retirement system, of the annual limitations on hours for part-time employment. The bill also requires the retirement system to provide similar notice to all retired members.
  • An employer shall provide written notice of the hourly limitations on part-time employment and the potential effect that exceeding such hourly limitations could have on the retired member’s retirement benefits.
  • The retirement system shall annually provide written notice to all retired members of the retirement system of the hourly limitations on part-time employment and the potential effect that exceeding such hourly limitations could have on the retired member’s retirement benefits.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended passage as amended. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.

OTHER RETIREMENT BILLS

HB 124: relative to the determination of gainful occupation for a group II member receiving an accidental disability retirement allowance from the retirement system.

  • This bill reinserts a provision which removes the application of the gainful occupation reductions to retirement allowances of group II accidental disability beneficiaries who have years of service plus years of accidental disability retirement which total at least 20 and who have attained the age of 45.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee is still working on this bill. AFT-NH supports the recommendation of passage.

HB 455: establishing a committee to study the use of a cash balance retirement plan for new state employees.

 

  • This bill establishes a committee to study the use of a cash balance retirement plan for new state employees and other groups electing to participate.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration committee recommended defeating this bill. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.

HB 620: relative to the adjustment of member and employer contribution rates in the retirement system.

  • This bill provides that contribution rates for members in the retirement system and employers shall be calculated by assigning one half of the biennial change to the liabilities of the system to each.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration committee recommended defeating this bill with a vote of 18 to 0. It will go to the full house on March 13th for a full vote. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.


HB 627
: requiring unused vacation and sick leave to be converted to service time for purposes of calculating retirement system benefits.

  • This bill provides that at retirement the accrued but unused sick and vacation time of a retirement system member shall be converted to hours and applied as additional creditable service.
  • This bill changes current over 10 years of services and it’s not counted into your earnable comp when you retire.
  • This bill was retained in committee and will be worked on and brought back next session.

SB 132: relative to part-time employment in the retirement system and establishing a committee to study police special details.

  • This bill was amended by the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee to establish a committee to study police special details and will move to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
  • The committee is tasked with studying the use and efficacy of police special details, and alternatives which may be available to towns, cities, and the state.

As always, if you have any questions, please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.

In Solidarity
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

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

MONDAY, MARCH 11

FINANCE
White Mountains Regional High School, 127 Regional Road, Whitefield.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments ofthe state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and
HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst Street, Nashua.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and
HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

PLEASE SUPPORT FELLOW AFT-NH MEMBERS
Town Election Day is Tuesday, March 12th

We have AFT-NH locals that have contracts coming before the voters on Tuesday March 12th. Your colleagues need your support! We also support our other Union colleagues who have contracts on the ballots in these towns and ask you to support them. For example, in Hudson many of the town employees have been without contracts for several years.  Please review the voting information below and vote on Election Day!
As fellow union members, we know we can make a difference in local elections! We are asking that if you live in one of the towns listed below that you support your fellow union members.
Please pass the word along and encourage others to get out and vote. Our members have negotiated extremely reasonable contracts. Any support you can provide would be great!

Ellis School Support Staff, AFT Local #6223  (Fremont)
Fremont Safety Complex  7am-8pm
Yes on Articles #5 and #6 (Please support the Fremont Teachers as well!)

Hudson Federation of Teachers , AFT Local #2263 and Hudson Federation of Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel, AFT Local #6245

Lions Hall (Community Center) 7am-8pm
Yes on Articles #2 and #3  (Please also support the town employee contracts!)

Raymond Educational Support Staff  AFT Local #4863
Iber Holmes Gove Middle School Gymnasium 7am-7pm
Yes on Articles #3 and #4

Timberlane Teachers’ Association, AFT Local #4796
(Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown)
Atkinson: 7am-8pm: Atkinson Community Center
Danville: 8am-7pm: Danville Fire Association
Plaistow: 7am-8pm: Pollard School
Sandown:  8am-8pm: Sandown Town Hall
Vote Yes on Articles #4 and #5

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 113-L, relative to a school district’s transportation responsibility for pupils of divorced parents with joint decision making responsibility.

9:15 a.m. HB 160, relative to a school district’s transportation responsibility for pupils of divorced parents with joint decision making responsibility.

THURSDAY, MARCH 14

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 246, relative to falsity by employer.
10:30 a.m. Or immediately following the hearing, executive session on HB 246, relative to falsity by employer.

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
Budget Work Sessions:
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015,
HB 2-FN A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

FRIDAY, MARCH 15

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
Budget Presentations:
11:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015,
HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:00 p.m. Full committee work session on revenue items contained in HB 2 -FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds revenues, and expenditures (currently in Finance).

MONDAY, MARCH 18

FINANCE
Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center, 111 South Street Claremont.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Rochester Community Center, 150 Wakefield Street, Rochester.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and HB 2 FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

 

“Fighting For Our Future”
www.aft-nh.org

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INZANE TIMES: State to Spend $171,000 on Prison Consultant



State to Spend $171,000 on Prison Consultant

New Hampshire’s Executive Council voted 5 to 0 this morning to approve a contract with MGT of America to review 8 proposals from 4 private firms interested in building and operating prisons in the Granite State.  In a meeting characterized by debate-less votes on contracts and appointments, this one at least merited comments from most of the Councilors and responses from Department of Corrections and Department of Administrative Services leaders.

Linda Hodgdon, who heads the Department of Administrative Services, said state workers did not have time to analyze the 60 boxes of documents from the 4 bidders.  The MGT analysis, which is supposed to be completed by October 5, will enable an “apples to apples comparison” between the proposals, and also with continued state operation of the prisons.

She said she has received an email from MGT assuring her that their analysis will be objective.

[Click here for the MGT contract.]

Hodgdon said there is “no pre-conceived outcome” of the process.  “The Statewrenn hodgdon July 11, 2012could decide not to do anything,” she said.

“We may decide it’s not worth our while to go with any of the 8 proposals,” added William Wrenn, Commissioner of Corrections.

Governor John Lynch also stressed that build-lease, in which a private firm would finance and build a new prison then lease it to the State, is also an option.

Both Wrenn and Hodgdon insisted the data from MGT will inform a discussion of whether privatization is a good idea.

Exactly how and when this policy discussion will take place is as yet unclear.  What is clear is that the MGT report will be released just as the election campaign is heating up.  Since John Lynch and two of the five Executive Councilors are not seeking re-election, a process that allows a decent amount of time for public discussion could extend beyond their terms of office.

Get more information at www.nhprisonwatch.org.

$171K to Analyze Merits of Private Prison Proposals

By Arnie Alpert from InZane Times
Cross Posted with permissions 

New Hampshire’s Executive Council will vote July 11 on a $171,347 contract with MGT of America to analyze proposals from four companies interested in taking over the state’s prisons and running them for profit.

So far the fact that private prison companies have extensive records of scandalous performance has not halted the process.  The record from other states provides ample evidence that instead of producing savings or improved services, privatization leads to decreased public safety, worse conditions for prisoners, worse working conditions for prison employees, and no savings for taxpayers.  If the Executive Councilors are doing their homework, they will say “no” now to privatization, reject the consultant contract, and save the state a pile of money.  That’s not likely.

But the tawdry record of the privateers could be revealed if MGT does its job.  The contract explicitly calls on the consultant to “identify performance and financial risks associated with privatization options” and to “compare the costs and benefits of government management of the detention system with potential privatization of the facility.”  We won’t know, though, until their report is completed in early October.

In a recent opinion column published in the Concord Monitor, Nashua Telegraph, andKeene Sentinel, I wrote that “the public deserves a full and open airing of the privatization issue,” which has thus far been evaluated mostly beyond eyes and ears of the public.

Privatization opponents (I’m one of them) have just launched a new web-site to make information and action needs easy to find.

According to the documents under review by the Executive Council, “Late last year the Department of Administrative Services in conjunction with the Department of Corrections (DOC) released a series of three Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the construction and/or renovation/expansion of prison facilities for the State.  As a result of these RFPs, the State received a host of responses from interested vendors, offering a wide array of options for facilities design, construction, renovation, expansion and/or operation.”

“During the process of evaluating these varied proposals,” the document continues, “it was determined that it would be beneficial to hire a consulting firm to assist in the evaluation, particularly in relation to the operational/financial analysis of the proposals.”  MGT of America appears to have been the sole bidder for the job.

The privatization inquiry was initiated by the Legislature, which ordered the DOC to consider privatizing the state’s prisons.  Four firms – Corrections Corporation of America, the GEO Group, Management and Training Corporation, and the Hunt Justice Group, which has recently merged with the CGL Corporation – submitted bids.   Unlike most contract proposals, in which the state proposes to purchase a specific product or service, the prison RFP gave vendors a wide variety of options.  And since the DOC was ordered only to investigate privatization, it is also an option for all four proposals to be rejected.

The job of the consultant, assuming the contract is approved, is to develop a way for the state to compare proposals from the four companies, and also compare them with the non-privatization option.

MGT’s work would start July 11 and extend through the end of October, according to the contract.  Its report – which could recommend a contract with one of the 4 vendors or reject the privatization option — would be submitted by October 5.

New Hampshire’s Executive Council is a relatively obscure but extremely powerful part of the state government.  In a sense a leftover from the early post-colonial period when American revolutionaries were intensely suspicious of executive power, the five members of the Council have to ratify most gubernatorial appointments and all contracts above $10,000.   The Council would also vote on a privatization contract if one emerges from the MGT study.  Based on the timing, details of a privatization deal could become public just as the election campaign is heating up.

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.

More Nails in the Right to Work Coffin

More Nails in the Right to Work Coffin
Concord, NH – Today the NH Senate tabled HB383 and refused to revive the ongoing right-to-work (for less) fight. Senator Raymond White (R, District 9) brought forward the motion to table the bill and it was carried by a unanimous voice vote. This bill was Right to Work with a twist ─ it applies only to state employees. Labor leaders had noted the discrimination against one set of workers associated with this legislation. “Once again, some members of NH leadership tried making the state employee the undeserving scapegoat,” said Diana Lacey. “Our members are very pleased with the outcome of this vote. This show of hands today by our Senate signals they do not support House Speaker O’Brien and his mean-spirited obsession with this sort of legislation.”

Rep. Neal Kurk sponsored this bill that the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended as Inexpedient to Legislate by a 2 – 1 vote. “We are happy to see the Senate acting in a more sensible and judicious way than the House,” said Lacey. “We are pleased they are putting this issue to rest and are interested in addressing the issues that really matter to our State, such as strengthening the middle class by securing good jobs with livable wages, fair benefits, and safe work sites.”

Labor leaders assert that this bill, and others like it, was designed by Speaker O’Brien and his Tea Party allies as an attempt to push an extreme agenda on New Hampshire. They believe they are unnecessary and do nothing to create jobs or strengthen our economy. “As we move towards election season, we must ask our legislators just who they represent: Speaker O’Brien and the Tea Party, or the working men and women of New Hampshire,” said Lacey.

“We will hold our elected leaders accountable –for yet another last ditch effort to pass bills that disrespect New Hampshire’s traditions, laws, and people,” said Lacey. The Senate, thankfully, signaled today that they don’t believe attacking working people is a New Hampshire value.”

“I thank all of the other labor leaders for their support in opposing this bill. They join us in recognizing this bill for what it is, another attempt to weaken the voice of middle class workers,” she stated.

###
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Beth D’Ovidio
271-3411 ext. 105
Cell: 717-1983

Anger Blogger Ahead! Labor Committee Moves More Anti-Worker Legislation to the House

Warning Angry Blogger Ahead!!!

I can barely put into words my disgust for the NH Labor Committee today. Yesterday the NH House Labor Committee voted 12-5, “ought to pass” on a slew of obviously anti-union legislation.  With the exception of Herbert Richardson (R- Lancaster) the committee voted right down party lines. I have talked about most of these bills in great detail since they were introduced.

These were the bills voted out of committee included (from NH AFL-CIO PR):

  • HB 1677: a new right-to-work for less bill similar to last year’s bill (Vote 11-6, 4 Dems, Rep. Richardson and Rep. Sullivan R-Hampton)
  • HB 1685: a second right-to-work bill that is a backup in case HB 1677 fails
  • HB 1645: a bill that once repealed collective bargaining rights for teachers, firefighters and other public workers; was stripped and amended in committee to allow employers to lead decertifications of public unions
  • HB 1663: a bill that strips the requirement for a union to be the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit out of the collective bargaining law
  • HB 1237: a bill that gives the Legislature veto power over state and municipal employee contracts
  • HB 1206: a bill that prohibits automatic payroll deduction of union dues, but was stripped and amended to split increases in health insurance 50-50 between employers and employees if a contract expires
I even spoke to some of the people on the Labor Committee the other night at a town meeting.  One of them told me that the Committee was doing what WE (unions) wanted.  WHAT? Are you kidding me?  He explained to me that last year they tried to pass Right To Work and the unions said it was “unfair to have freeloaders”.  He continued to tell me that “now we are going make it so you do not have to cover them, and the unions complained about that”.   He honestly believed that bills like Right To Work and Exclusive Bargaining are going to INCREASE union membership.  He told me that he is trying to help the unions.  I wanted to scream (Expletives Deleted)!!!

What is the purpose of these bills? After 30+ years does the Labor Committee want to dismantle labor in NH?  Has something changed in the collective bargaining process that would warrant these actions?  YES, and it is not from NH.  PAC’s like Americans for Prosperity (Koch brothers) and other TEA Party organizations are pushing to get all of these bills through.  They use other organizations like ALEC to write the bills (example).  It is just another example of these Anti-Union, Anti-Worker, and Anti-Middle Class republicans pushing their Anti-Union ideologies on the rest of us in NH.

Tell them how you feel about their decision to move forward with these bills.  Email them at NH Labor Committee.  Tell them how disgusted you are that they would do this.  While you are there be sure to thank the five people who voted to kill these bills: Jeffrey Goley (d) Charles Weed (d) Chip Rice (d) Andrew White (d) and Herbert Richardson (r)!  Thank them for standing up to the TEA Party leaders in the house and working to protected the rights of the working class from the extreme “Right”.

Lobby Day Part 4: Right To Work For Public Employees …HB1663

Lobby Day Part 4: Right To Work For Public Employees …HB1663

Carol Shea-Porter
Former Congresswoman shows her support for
Public Employees

Well we are getting there now.  HB 1663 is not your basic Right To Work bill. The prime sponsor, Rep George Lambert of Litchfield, added a little twist.

HB1663: No collective bargaining agreement between a public employer and the employee organization certified by the board as the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit shall require a public employee who is not a member of the bargaining unit to pay any union fees, dues, or other agency fees. An employee who does not pay union dues or fees shall be considered to have opted out of representation by the bargaining unit.

Do you see the difference? Let me show you. An employee who does not pay union dues or fees shall be considered to have opted out of representation by the bargaining unit.  They basically want to pass a Right To Work bill and an exclusive representation bill all at the same time.  So non-members would not have to pay an agency fee and would also not be represented by the union.

Rep Lambert

RTW for Public Employees would be a first of its kind.  Like HB1570 have never even attempted something like this before.  Right To Work has always been pushed as a “Job Creator”.  How is being a Public RTW State going to bring in jobs?  What it will is make it easier for the Legislature to eliminate pople, by eliminating positions.    One of the things about exclusive representation is that the Unions Represent the people, and the bargaining unit that defines who is covered is the positions they work in.  For example, a file clerk at the state courthouse is covered by SEA /SEIU even if that clerk decided not to join the union. When that file clerk leaves that job and a new person comes in, they would now be covered by the union.  HB1570 confuses this issue.  They say the only people that can be represented are those who choose to join.  The creates more questions as to what positions does the Union represent?  PFF-NH President Dave Lang said it best when he said: “Contracts cover positions”.

PFF-NH Pres. Dave Lang

There was one very important part of this hearing that I would like to bring up.  Some people are going around Concord telling legislators that the NH Unions asked for HB1570.  This is simply a lie.  Representing non-members is just as much a part as representing the dues paying members.  Where they confused this issue I cannot tell you, but almost every Union President who spoke make this point very clear.

This is another bill that should not pass. It is confusing and would be challenged in court.

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