Shaheen Campaign Statement on Scott Brown Officially Entering New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate Race


Time for Scott Brown to Sign the Same People’s Pledge He Proposed and Signed for Massachusetts

Concord – With Scott Brown officially entering the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire, it is time for him to sign the People’s Pledge for the Granite State and stop out-of-state third parties from spending millions on attack ads here.  Brown proposed and signed this exact same People’s Pledge in his last race in Massachusetts, and as recently as just a few weeks ago, bragged about how well it worked.

“In 2012, Scott Brown said Massachusetts voters deserved better than outside third-party attack ads.  Well, the people of New Hampshire deserve better too.  We hope, now that he is officially a candidate, Scott Brown will commit to the same standard he set in his last race on the other side of the border and tell the special interests to stay out,” said Shaheen for Senate Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich.

Vlacich continued, “As our Governor and now our U.S. Senator, Jeanne Shaheen has always put New Hampshire first. She is a common sense leader who makes a difference for people here: strengthening job-creating small businesses, expanding job training and opportunity, and protecting taxpayers and consumers.”

The Rules change that could end gridlock in the US House

GOP pretzels

Record dysfunction in Congress: it’s NOT just the Senate, and NOT just the filibuster.

Republican extremists in the House have also been using parliamentary tricks to block legislation – including bills that had bipartisan support and would have passed if our elected Representatives were actually allowed to vote.

“The use of ‘closed rules’ has excluded most House members from full participation in the legislative process,” Rep. Louise Slaughter, ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, wrote earlier this week.

“Under a closed rule, no amendments are allowed on the House floor. As a result, House Republicans are able to pursue a politically driven agenda without allowing commonsense amendments that could achieve bipartisan compromise.  This approach has also empowered the most extreme members of the House to pursue narrow policy goals at all costs.”

Like, say, the government shutdown.

“On Sept. 30 — the eve of the government shutdown — Republicans on the House Rules Committee changed the rule so only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) could call up a Senate-passed clean funding bill — a bill that has the votes to pass the House and would end the shutdown, if it were given a vote.”

One man, standing in the way of a vote that impacts millions of Americans.  (Remind you of anything?  Such as: then-Senator Scott Brown single-handedly blocking an extension of unemployment benefits, back in 2010?  The Senate couldn’t vote until they added an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.)

This is what’s REALLY wrong with Congress:  our elected Representatives aren’t being allowed to vote on legislation that has bipartisan support.

GOP leadership is using the “closed rule” process to keep the House from passing legislation.  Last year was the most “closed” year in House history.  “In fact, the House GOP passed as many closed rules in a single week in October as during the entire last year of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) speakership.”

The Senate is finally reforming the filibuster.

Isn’t it time for the House to reform the “closed rule” process?

The NH AFL-CIO Hosts Annual Labor Day Breakfast (Video’s of speeches)

NHAFLCIO breakfast 11

NHAFLCIO breakfast 10The struggle and successes of New Hampshire workers was the basis of the this year’s Labor Day breakfast hosted by the NH AFL-CIO.

The event opened with short and fiery speech from NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. He started the morning off by reminding everyone of the connection between labor unions and the community.  Reflecting on the anniversary of the March on Washington, MacKenzie highlighted how we defeated Right To Work for less and the rule of Bill O’Brien.  We also worked as a community to elect Maggie Hassan and flip the NH House.  MacKenzie talked about the dream that car wash workers and McDonalds workers have of a higher minimum wage, a living wage enabling workers to live a decent life. Everyone deserves an opportunity to live the American Dream: to have a good job, a pension, and decent healthcare.

MacKenzie also addressed the attacks on voting rights across this country.   He said “When people wake up in this country, they have a dream that they can go to the polls without harassment. Voter rights is still an issue in this nation and we have to put this behind us.  Everyone should have the right to vote.

After President MacKenzie, we heard from Governor Maggie Hassan.  Her speech was a list of all that we have accomplished since she took office.  Unlike other some other Governors (for instance, Scott Walker), Governor Hassan admires and respects our dedicated public employees.

“You make up the highly skilled workforce that attracts innovative businesses and allows them to succeed. You are the ones who make our communities strong and protect the well-being of our people.” 

She also focused on the issue of mis-classification of workers.  “We must continue to enforce existing laws to prevent the mis-classification of workers, so that workers receive the full benefits and protections they deserve.”

After an introduction that included a long and distinguished list of her accomplishments, we heard from NH’s senior Senator, Jeanne Shaheen.

“It is wonderful to be with all of you to celebrate the enormous contribution that working men and women and organized labor have made to build a strong New Hampshire.”

She spoke about the obstructionism that fills the US Senate.  The GOP has been blocking every one of President Obama’s nominees.  She said she still would like to see the filibuster rule changed.

Sen. Shaheen also spent a few minutes on the subject of Syria.  When she returns to Washington, she will listen to classified briefings and be part of the decision about what our country should do.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also addressed the crowd.  The last time she was at the Breakfast, she was campaigning for New Hampshire’s Second District seat.  Now she is the sitting Congresswoman representing the largest geographical portion of the state.  She took a moment to thank the people in the room who helped elect her.

“I want to thank all of our friends in labor. It is very clear to me that I would not be standing here without each and every one of you.”

She also talked about her ‘Congress in your company’ campaign, that is working to connect Congress with local businesses and manufacturers, in a effort to strengthen our ‘Made in America’ brand.

Just before we ate Reverand Gail Kinney offered a prayer.  Rev. Kinney is an ordained minister from South Danbury, as well as a dedicated union member (UAW) and long time activist.

Her blessing for workers is so strong and powerful that I cannot begin to tell you about it, just watch it for yourself!

Below are a few random images from the event.  All photos and video were taken by Matt Murray.

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AFSC Says Senate Immigration Bill Much Less Than Meets the Eye

american friends service committee logo (AFSC)

Bill’s narrow path to citizenship still sustains human rights hardships

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) finds the Senate immigration bill passed today “offers much less than it should, and at great sacrifice to quality of life for all US residents.”

The bill creates a narrow path to citizenship for some immigrants and makes modest progress on some worker rights issues, the Quaker organization said.  “But the dramatic expansion of current failed policies make it a far cry from the just and humane reforms that immigrant communities, faith, labor and advocacy groups have been calling for,” commented staff for the organization’s New Hampshire Program.

“The Senate bill makes it possible for some share of undocumented people currently living in the U.S. to embark on a path toward legalization. But  it would not end the current cruel, costly and inefficient system of detention and deportation, and it provides for astounding investments in the border militarization industrial complex – meaning billions for the contractors and continuing crises for people on both sides of the border,” said Maggie Fogarty, who coordinates the AFSC’s New Hampshire Economic Justice Project.    

“The path to legalization is a precarious one, likely to leave many people behind,” commented Arnie Alpert, AFSC’s New Hampshire Coordinator.  Under the terms of the Senate bill, many commonplace situations—such as a period greater than 60 days of unemployment during the ten year provisional period—will make immigrants ineligible for Legal Permanent Residency, he said.

“Making the highly flawed E-Verify system a requirement for all employers is a recipe for further exploitation and marginalization of immigrant workers and people of color,” said Fogarty, who coordinates AFSC’s national Campaign for Humane Immigration Policies.

Fogarty also noted that the bill’s original provisions for border militarization and other enforcement programs were “already excessive.”  Despite hearing directly from border communities about the impacts of living in a militarized area, Senate amendments added more money for “‘border security’ measures that will make border communities less secure,” she added.

With the immigration debate shifting to the House of Representatives, the AFSC implores Representatives to adopt compassionate, effective immigration policies, grounded in the following principles:


•           Develop humane economic policies to reduce forced migration.

•           Protect the labor rights of all workers.

•           Develop a quick path to legal permanent residency and a clear path to citizenship.

•           Respect the civil and human rights of immigrants.

•           Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border.

•           Make family reunification a top priority.

•           Ensure that immigrants and refugees have access to services.

AFSC detailed its recommendations in A New Path,  which outlines policy priorities for immigration reform that protects the human rights of all.  The New Path principles are derived from nine decades of work with immigrant communities, whose voices guide AFSC’s work on immigration policies.

From its origins working with civilians affected by war in Europe during World War One, AFSC has decades of experience working with people who have left their homes due to violence, discrimination, and economic desperation.

For more on AFSC’s immigrant rights work, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

AFL-CIO President Trumka On Senate Immigration Reform Debate and ‘Hard Triggers’

Time is now Immigration reform

Working people, including the 12 million members of the AFL-CIO, would like to remind our elected leaders why there is no higher legislative priority than immigration reform, which must include a certain and inclusive path to citizenship and respect the rights of America’s workers.

The threat of deportation leaves millions of immigrant workers subject to abuse by greedy employers, injuring the workers and undermining the entire U.S. labor market. That workplace crisis is a powerful economic argument for citizenship. And yet now that the Senate has begun to debate the bill, we are hearing insistent calls for more border security and the imposition of hard triggers.

“Americans in all but paper” deserve a certain road map, not an obstacle course based on hard triggers whose true purpose is to significantly reduce the number of immigrants eligible for legalization. So long as they do their part, pay back taxes, pass a background check, go to the back of the line, then they must be allowed to get on the road to citizenship. They cannot be held responsible for border security, and punishing them for any possible future border control failings is particularly perverse in light of the fact that President Obama has presided over record deportations.

We oppose any amendments to the bill that impose hard triggers whose real purpose and real impact will be to close off the opportunity for eligible immigrants to become citizens. Aspiring Americans deserve a certain path to citizenship if they do their part. Anything short of that is unacceptable to the AFL-CIO and will doom the bill to failure.

The Senate needs to shift discussions away from schemes to appease those who really have no desire to pass immigration and back to responding to the urgent deportation crisis and fixing this broken system.

Do Not Let The Senate Steal Your Voice In The Workplace


NLRB 1With all the trumped up scandals in Washington right now it is hard to keep track of what is going on.  The GOP are furious about Benghazi, even after Hillary Clinton stated she requested additional security funding.  Now there is an issue with the IRS.  Yes it is wrong to target political groups for extra scrutiny but none of the groups were actually hard either.  As the politicos in Washington battle over these issues some of the other important issues are going unnoticed.

Did you know that in less than two months the entire National Labor Relation Board could be effectively closed. The NLRB is where workers go to make their case when their rights have been violated by their employer. Without a functioning NLRB, workers would have no place to go to have their grievances heard and employers will continue to trample the rights of their employees.

Currently the NLRB has only three of its five members. Two seats are vacant. When Board Chairman Mark Pearce’s term expires in August, the Board will be down to two members, which is not enough to form the quorum the Board needs to make decisions.  The US Senate is set to take up the five new appointments by President Obama sometime this summer.  The Senate Republicans are well-known for being obstructionists who oppose anything that is being proposed by President Obama.  First we must overcome this obstruction before we can even begin to discuss filling the board with new members.

As previously stated the NLRB key in protecting the rights of working people. They ensure that workers have the right to free speech without fear of termination.  Time and time again the NLRB has ruled in favor of workers who are exercising their freedom of speech online.

Aside from all the advocacy groups pushing their agendas, social media is based on people talking about what is going on in their lives.  For some this is pictures of the fancy dinner they are eating or their daughters dance recital.  For others it is a chance for people to vent to the world about something that happened to them at work.  These rants about their employers have led to the termination of some employees.  This is why we need the NLRB.  The NLRB has ruled that employees were unjustly fired for speaking out against their employer, if they were speaking out in order to improve their situation at work.

The Communication Workers of America highlight three excellent examples of how the NLRB is protecting your voice in the workplace.

  • Social Media Policies: When T-Mobile USA revamped its social networking policy, it made anonymous comments on social media websites an offense that could result in termination. It was the company’s latest attempt to silence workers who had been articulating workplace issues and discussing joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on worker forums, Facebook and Twitter. CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge, asserting that this was a violation of employees’ “protected concerted activity” under the NLRA. But before the case went to trial, T-Mobile USA agreed to a settlement. The company was required to inform all of its employees that they may discuss work-related issues on Facebook and similar websites without fear of reprisal.More recently, because of another CWA charge, a NLRB judge ordered DISH Network to change its social media policy that prevented workers from making “disparaging or defamatory” comments about the company. The policy infringed on employees’ rights, as workers could “reasonably construe” this rule to mean they can’t criticize their employer’s labor practices.
  • Talking about your boss: At Bettie Page, a woman’s clothing store in San Francisco, a group of employees had lodged a number of complaints with the store owners about their manager’s unprofessional behavior. Frustrated with being ignored, employees finally took to Facebook. Holli Thomas posted, “needs a new job. I’m physically and mentally sickened.” Vanessa Morris responded that the manager is “as immature a person can be” and Brittany Johnson agreed that “bettie page would roll over in her grave.” Thomas, Morris and Johnson were fired on trumped up charges. But they filed a complaint, and a NLRB judge found that they lost their jobs as a direct result of their Facebook activity. Bettie Page had clearly violated the worker’s “protected concerted activity” rights under the NLRA, and the judge ordered that it reinstate the three clerks with compensation for any loss of earnings and benefits.
  • Discussing Work Conditions: At Hispanics United of Buffalo, a nonprofit social services provider in New York, Mariana Cole-Rivera started a Facebook thread, asking, “Lydia Cruz, a coworker feels that we don’t help our clients enough at HUB. I about had it! My fellow coworkers how do you feel?” Her colleagues immediately voiced their support, writing, “Try doing my job. I have five programs” and “What the hell, we don’t have a life as is.” Cole-Rivera and four caseworkers who responded to her lost their jobs. But the NLRB found that their posts were the type of “concerted activity” for “mutual aid” that is expressly protected by the NLRA, since it involved a conversation among coworkers about their terms and conditions of employment, including their job performance and staffing levels. The judge ordered that the fired workers be fully reinstated to their jobs with back pay.

These examples highlight the need for workers to have a place to go where their issues can be heard.  The NLRB is already overloaded due to the two vacant seats and this means that workers who are awaiting a hearing are waiting months to have their termination potentially overturned.  This puts an enormous financial strain on those people forced to wait for a hearing.  If the Senate does not take action before August the entire NLRB would effectively closed down, essentially silencing workers voices.

We need to protect our freedoms and our rights at work. To do this we need and NLRB that works.  We need the Senate to take quick action to approve the Presidential appointees.
In a related note, CWA President Larry Cohen went on the Ed Show explaining the importance of the National Labor Relations Board and what must be done to ensure that all 5 members are confirmed by the Senate.

GOP Block Sequester Reform Bill; How Much Are We Regretting Not Changing The Rule Now?

MR Smith goes to Washington

In the beginning of the year there was a lot, I mean a lot of discussion about changing the filibuster rule in the US Senate.  Throughout the country Americans were calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use his power in the Senate to change the current filibuster rule.

Fo those who do not know or understand what a filibuster is, let me give you a little background.   The filibuster is a way for the majority to hold up legislation from passing the Senate by a a simple majority vote.  Originally a Senator would have to stand in the Senate chamber and talk, and talk, and talk, until he would win over enough votes to vote the bill down, or the Senator is overruled by a 2/3rd vote.  The best example of this comes from the American movie classic ‘Mr Smith goes to Washington’.

This ‘talking’ filibuster was the standing rule in the Senate until the 1970s.  Prior to that a Senator could do anything, including reading his favorite recipes to keep talking.  In fact in the 1930′s that is exactly what Senator Wayne Morse did for 15 hours.  The only way to stop a filibuster was to evoke a term called ‘cloture’. Cloture requires 60 of the 100 Senators to agree to stop the debate, therefore ending the filibuster.

Sadly in the 1970s  this rule was changed to the the current version of the filibuster.  Now there is no longer a ‘talking’ requirement to filibuster a bill.  Now a minority can just say they are going to filibuster a bill, forcing a cloture (60 of 100) vote before the Senate can move forward on a bill.

Of course I am going to talk about how the current GOP Leadership in the Senate is using this to literally block everything that is going through the Senate right now.  And yes I know that Democrats in the past have used the same rule to stop legislation when the Senate was under a GOP rule.

The current GOP leadership in the Senate is using this rule to stop things they have never done before.  Recently they held up the confirmation of Secretary Hagel.  For the first time ever, a filibuster was used to hold up a cabinet appointment.

Now the GOP leaders in the Senate are once again using the filibuster to stop the sequestration reform bill from passing.  They are refusing to raise revenues or close loopholes in the current tax code to balance the spending cuts they are screaming for.   When Senator Reid called for a vote on the Democratic option, it passed with a 51-49 majority, but failed to meet the 60 vote cloture requirement.  So once again the GOP is the Senate have effectively stopped this legislation from moving to the House.

I wonder how Senator Reid is feeling about his gentlemans agreement with Senator McConnell to ‘reduce the number of filibusters’, instead of changing the rules?  I wonder if he is regretting that decision now? Bring back the days of a talking filibuster. If you have a problem with the proposed legislation, let everyone know that you are opposed to it by standing in front of the entire Senate (and the country).  Say what you have to say. If you are persuasive enough your filibuster will prevail, if not then the majority rules.  Only when we can change this rule will we get to a point where legislation will once again move through the Senate.

Are You Kidding Me? Sen Ayotte Wants Federal Workers To Pay For Budget Cuts

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

GovExc release this article, “GOP Sequester Alternative Targets Federal Pay, Benefits.”

I will give you some of the highlights of Senator Ayottes grand plan, stop me if you have heard any of this before.

“Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., drafted the bill — the 2013 Sequester Replacement and Spending Reduction Act — which includes provisions to extend the federal pay freeze through 2014 and increase current employees’ pension contributions by 2.3 percent over three years.”

“The bill ends the government’s Federal Employees Retirement System annuity supplement for anyone hired after Dec. 31, 2013″

“…it seeks to reduce funding for the 2010 Affordable Care Act”

There is absolutely nothing new here.  Another part of this plan is to reduce the federal workforce by 10%. “Under the plan, for every three federal employees who left their job, the federal government would be allowed to hire one.”  This is the GOP trying to shrink government.  Less people working mean less government, right?

There are huge problems with this because as the sequester is about to hit all of the government agencies have released reports on what will have to happen when these automatic cuts take place.  Most of the government will be faced with mandatory furloughs or forced time off.  Most of the furloughs range from 11-22 days, essentially one month off in the next six.  The FAA reports drastic delays and airport closures. FBI Director Robert Mueller has said $550 million in cuts to the bureau “would have the net effect of cutting 2,285 employees”.  National Parks will be closed due to lack of staffing.  Less agents to patrol our borders. Less agents to check our food. The list goes on and on and on.

While workers are being forced into unpaid time off, Senator Ayotte is suggesting we continue the downward spiral by freezing pay for another two years and reducing the staff.  As you can see by the effects of the furloughs reducing the staff is going to work out great for everyone.

At the Portsmouth naval shipyard that would mean reducing (or cutting) 470 jobs, while they are already overloaded with work.

We need congress to reject this proposal and come up with something new.  This continual attack on the hard working middle class employees in the federal sector have already given up so much.

“National Federation of Federal Employees National President William R. Dougan said in a statement. “Rather than proposing a serious solution to sequestration, Senator Ayotte and her GOP colleagues have chosen to dust off well-worn attacks on federal employees that do nothing to fix the problem. Federal employees have already endured over two years of frozen pay and an increase in retirement contributions that will save the government $103 billion over the next decade.”

75,000 Member Mass Building Trades Council Endorses Stephen Lynch for US Senate

Rep Steven Lynch 

Francis X. Callahan, Jr., President

Jeff Sullivan, Vice President

Louis A. Mandarini, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer
Rep Steven Lynch  Francis X. Callahan, Jr., President Jeff Sullivan, Vice President Louis A. Mandarini, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer

Rep Steven Lynch
Francis X. Callahan, Jr., President
Jeff Sullivan, Vice President
Louis A. Mandarini, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer

Today, the 75,000 member Massachusetts Building Trades Council is proud to announce its endorsement of Stephen F. Lynch for the office of United States Senator. Stephen Lynch’s hard work and thoughtful approach on legislative issues impacting working families stretches over 11 years in the United States Congress and 6 years in the Massachusetts Legislature as a State Representative and State Senator.

That record comes as no surprise to those who know him best because we knew him long before he entered public office. We know Stephen Lynch as a second generation Ironworker, who worked 18 years in the trade just like every one of our 75,000 members. We know Stephen Lynch as the youngest president of Ironworkers Union Local #7 who stood up for his members and represented them on the job, securing better wages, hours, working conditions and a secure retirement. We know Stephen Lynch as the guy who put himself through college and law school at night while working construction during the day. We know him as the guy who never forgot where he came from and continues to fight on behalf of working families in the US House of Representatives.

The United States Senate is full of professional politicians and millionaires. It’s about time we sent someone to Washington who doesn’t just talk about representing the interests of working people. We need to send someone to Washington who understands the challenges facing working families. Steve Lynch understands that because he’s lived it. He knows the value of hard work and he knows what it’s like to collect unemployment when the work dries up.

Mass. Building Trades Council President Frank Callahan said, “Hard work, skill and commitment are values that count for a lot in the Building Trades. Steve Lynch exemplifies those values. He has worked hard, with great skill and maintained his commitment to the working families of Massachusetts that he learned as an Ironworker. He has earned the support of our 75,000 members.”

We hope the voters of Massachusetts will send a true representative of working families to represent us in the United States Senate by electing Stephen Lynch.

“I am proud to accept this endorsement from my brothers and sisters in the Building Trades,” Rep. Lynch said.  “I worked alongside them for 18 years as an ironworker, and have stood with them throughout my career in the state legislature and in Congress.  I am honored that they stand with me now in support of my Senate run.  As a card-carrying union member for more than 30 years, I understand the challenges faced by working families.  I have stood on an unemployment line, and shared their worries.  As a member of the Senate, I will stand with working families and make sure their voices are heard.”


The Massachusetts Building Trades Council is a 93-year-old organization dedicated to helping working people improve their quality of life. The Council is comprised of 74 member locals representing over 75,000 working men and women across the state.

MA Senate Race: Iron Workers Endorse Stephen Lynch for U.S. Senate

IronWorkers International Logo

NHLN Editors Note: In what will be a highly contested race from the MA Senate seat vacated by Sen Kerry, the Iron Workers have already come out in support of Stephen Lynch.   Lynch, being a union man himself knows and understand the issues that union workers and middle class families are dealing with right now.  

***Iron Workers Endorse Stephen Lynch for U.S. Senate***

The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers announced today that it supports Congressman Stephen Lynch in his campaign to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.  The Union is committed to helping Lynch win the special election that follows John Kerry’s departure from the U.S. Senate to serve as Secretary of State.

Lynch, a South Boston native, graduated from his three-year Ironworker apprenticeship in 1976 and was elected President of Iron Workers Local 7, Boston, in 1985.  He earned his legal degree while serving as the Local’s President and joined the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1994.  Lynch was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001, and he is prepared to serve the people of Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.

“Steve Lynch has walked the proverbial mile and then some in the boots of the middle class,” said Iron Workers General President Walter Wise.  “He has lived the issues that are important to working families, fought on behalf of working families during his legal career and will be a much-needed addition to the United States Senate.  He will use that knowledge to help working people across America.”

About the Iron Workers Union: The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (IABSO&RIW) was founded in 1896 in Pittsburgh, Pa. They now represent more than 125,000 Ironworkers throughout the United States and Canada. The IABSO&RIW’s mission is to improve the working conditions of its members while promoting constructive relationships with their employers to increase work opportunities.