“Right to Work” Wrong for New Hampshire Working Families

What New Hampshire Working Families Should Know

About So-Called “Right to Work”

  • So-called “Right to Work” isn’t what it seems. It is a confusing, complicated and controversial proposal that is wrong for workers and their families.
  • Proponents of  “Right to Work”say that it will expand workplace freedom. “Right to Work” is political overreach at its worst. Politicians shouldn’t get between or interfere with agreements made between employers and their employees. Instead, politicians should respect those agreements and focus on real priorities like creating good jobs, investing in education, and lowering energy rates.
  • Under current state and federal law, no worker can be forced to join a union or to pay union dues. Moreover, it is illegal for union members to pressure non-union members to join.
  • So-called “Right to Work” legislation is not a job creation or economic development effort – it is specifically designed to weaken collective bargaining rights for working families. Over 60% of New Hampshire residents support workers’ rights to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and better working conditions.
  • The effort to make New Hampshire the next “Right to Work” state is politically motivated and largely driven by out-of-state corporate special interest groups like Americans for Prosperity and the National Right to Work Committee, and is not a result of problems facing Granite State businesses or workers.
  • There is a long history of bi-partisan opposition to passing “Right to Work” in New Hampshire. In 2012, over 40 Republican State Representatives joined Democrats in voting to uphold the Governor’s veto of “Right to Work.” In March 2015, bi-partisan opposition in the State Senate killed a so-called “Right to Work” bill in a floor vote.
  • Granite State business experts agree that so-called “Right to Work” legislation does not address the factors that are most important in business location descisions, and that it will not create quality jobs in New Hampshire (Sig Sauer is sending new jobs to Arkansas instead of New Hampshire because of the high cost of energy in our state, not a lack of “Right to Work” legislation).

The Facts

Lower Wages

  • On average workers in states with “Right to Work” laws earn $6,109 (12.1%) a year less than workers in other states ($44,401 comparted with $50,511).
  • Twelve of the fourteen states with the worst pay gap between men and women are “Right to Work” states.
  • Of the ten states with the lowest minimum wages, eight are “Right to Work” states.

Less Investment in Education

  • States with “Right to Work” laws spend 32.5% less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than other states.

Unions Improve Living Standards. “Right to Work” Laws Don’t

  • Overall, union members earn 26.3% ($204) more per week than non-union workers. Hispanic union members earn 47.1% ($276) more each week than non-union Hispanic workers and African Americans workers earn 29.7% more each week if they are union members.
  • Some 79% of union workers participate in job-provided health insurance, compared with 49% of non-union workers.
  • 75% of union workers participate in guarenteed (defined-benefit) retirement plans, compared to just 15% of non-union workers.

Higher Workplace Fatality Rates

  • The rate of workplace deaths is 49% higher in states with “Right to Work” laws, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

WANT TO FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR TO CONTACT THEM AND LET THEM KNOW THAT “RIGHT TO WORK” IS WRONG FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE WORKING FAMILIES? CLICK HERE!

For more information on “Right to Work” Click here 

 

 

 

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

For NH Workers Facing Impending “Right to Work” Fight, Solidarity Has Never Been More Important

 

 

Brothers & Sisters,

 

As we begin the process of swearing in the winners of November’s election, I know that many of us feel discouraged and tired. Members across New England dedicated thousands of hours of their time to advocate for the election of leaders that would stand up for New Hampshire working families. In an election year where the entire country experienced a wave of GOP wins on the state and federal level, New Hampshire once again defied the norm and will be sending an all female Democratic delegation to Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, despite your tireless effort put into our Labor 2016 election campaign, we are faced with a New Hampshire Republican Party control of our legislature and the Governor’s Office. Although many of us are tired from a hard fought and seemingly endless campaign, we must stay active. We must stay engaged. And most of all, we must stay united. 

Governor-elect Sununu has already publicly stated (more than once) that Right to Work legislation is at the top of his agenda. Make no mistake, unless we come together and fight, New Hampshire will be a Right to Work state. Despite the misleading name, so-called “Right to Work” laws do not guarantee anyone a job and do not protect workers’ rights. Right to Work laws prohibit trade unions from collecting fees to cover the cost of contract administration from employees who benefit from the protections of a collective bargaining agreement, but do not join the union. There are different versions of Right to Work legislation, but all Right to Work laws are designed to limit the power of labor unions, and the workers they represent, to negotiate for better pay and working conditions. While supporters typically claim that Right to Work laws are necessary to attract new businesses and increase employment opportunities, rigorous economic studies have failed to validate such claims.

The labor community in the Granite State has an obligation to the rest of New Hampshire working families to fight Right to Work legislation using all of the resources and allies we can organize. And we cannot afford to wait until the new legislative session starts and the Governor-elect becomes Governor. We must start to lay the plans for our opposition today!

As Governor, Chris Sununu will not only have the help of a Republican controlled legislature, but also the help of dark money Super PACs such as those funded by the Koch Brothers and other conservative millionaires. Well-funded Right to Work proponents like the National Right to Work Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity will be spending millions of dollars to push an anti-labor agenda.

We all have connections to different allies and a wide variety of resources. The only way that New Hampshire will not become a Right to Work state is if we use our numbers and our voices to stand together, and stand up for New Hampshire working families.

Start talking to your colleagues, fellow members, family members, and friends about what we can do to protect New Hampshire workers and their families from the attacks that are sure to come this legislative session.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO will stand with its fellow brothers and sisters in the rain, sleet, and snow to protect New Hampshire workers and their future. Let’s get to work!

 

For more information on Right to Work click here.

 

For more information on upcoming events regarding organizing our opposition to anti-union attacks, please continue to check our website or email araff@nhaflcio.org

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

BIG Win for Nashua Custodians!

BIG Win for Nashua Custodians!

Nashua – Almost one year ago the Nashua Board of Education voted to explore the option of privatization of 101 union custodian positions in the district. The Board of Education cited the need to save funds in the district’s operating budget. But to many in the community, this move was simply another attack on New Hampshire workers and organized labor. 

In December of 2015, AFSCME Council 93, the union representing Nashua’s custodians, filed an unfair labor complaint with the Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB), asserting that the school district was only bargaining with a portion of the union.

Although the school district continually defended its actions and denied any violation of its bargaining obligations, the PELRB disagreed. Yesterday’s decision by the PELRB stated that the school district had, in fact, committed an unfair labor practice. The Public Employee Labor Relations Board also found that the school district had deprived employees of their right to participate in the collective bargaining process through the duly certified bargaining unit.

As a result, the PELRB ordered the school district to “immediately commence bargaining with the union as to all bargaining unit positions.” This result can be attributed to the persistent and unwavering efforts of the Nashua custodians, AFSCME Council 93, and numerous labor allies in the surrounding community that stood in Solidarity with the 101 Nashua custodians. Many members of the labor community protested at Nashua School Board meetings in the rain, sleet, snow, and sun to show that the Nashua community was behind the custodial staff and that New Hampshire workers deserve to be treated fairly.

On behalf of the labor community, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO would like to thank all of those individuals and their families for standing strong throughout this battle. The Nashua custodians are an integral part of the Nashua school district. They have ties to students, their families, and the teachers throughout Nashua that could not be replicated by a private company shipping in workers from outside of the Nashua community. We are proud of the efforts of all that were involved in achieving this outcome, and look forward to the fair treatment of the Nashua custodians in the coming bargaining process.

This success shows what is possible when the New Hampshire labor community stands together. There will be more fights like this one, and it is important to remember what we can achieve with Solidarity. Congatulations!

The full PELRB decision can be found online by clicking here

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

BIG GAINS FOR STRIKING VERIZON WORKERS IN NEW AGREEMENT

After a little over 11-months of bargaining, including 45-days on strike, CWA, IBEW and Verizon have finally reached a tentative agreement on the terms and conditions of employment for 39,000 bargaining unit members at Verizon. This agreement provides for the creation of additional jobs, keeps job security intact, addresses workplace overtime issues, increases in healthcare and provides for increases in wages and pensions.

This is a victory for working families across America. CWA and IBEW members stood in solidarity with union allies at picket lines in the rain, sun and snow. The mantra “One day longer, one day stronger,” was in the forefront of the minds of all of those that helped Verizon workers stand strong for 45 days. We showed what labor can accomplish when we stand together. The strength we exhibited resulted in Verizon’s promise to add 1,300 new east caost call center jobs, a $1250.00 signing bonus in the Mid Atlantic and a $1000.00 signing bonus plus a $250.00 healthcare reimbursement account in the Northeast, $2800.00 minimum in profit sharing, and a first contract for Verizon Wirelress retail store employees in Brooklyn, New York and Everett, Massachusetts.

In addition to these contract victories, Verizon withdrew some of its proposed cuts to employee benefits. All proposed reductions of pensions by Verizon were withdrawn, there will be three 1% increases in the defined benefit pensions over the life of the agreement. Verizon also withdrew proposed cuts in accident and disability benefits. 

The success of this strike can be attributed to the unwavering strength we all exhibited over the past several months. The hard work of members, their families and union allies are the reason that IBEW and CWA members return to work today with a more secure future. As we move forward, we must remember what we can accomplish when we stand together. This won’t be the last time that wealthy corporate interests try to undermine the future and success of working families, and we will be ready to stand together again, united. 

For more information on the tentative agreement click here

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

CALL TO ACTION THURSDAY 5/5: Stand in Solidarity with Verizon Workers in Manchester

Brothers and Sisters, we ask you to join us this THURSDAY, MAY 5 AT 9:30 AM AT Verizon Wireless, 1111 South Willow Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, as we stand in solidarity with members of the CWA and IBEW to fight for good jobs and protect the rights of working Americans. This demonstration is part of a National Day of Action, where thousands of members and allies of labor organizations will stand up for Verizon workers across the United States.

40,000 men and women are still on strike at Verizon and Verizon Wireless determined to fight for as long as it takes to protect good, respectable jobs. This strike is bigger than Verizon. It’s about protecting good, hometown jobs in this country. It’s about securing a brighter future for our families and our communities. It’s about standing up to a handful of rich and powerful interests to make sure the needs of working families are met.

That's why it's so important for all of us to stand with the working people at Verizon and Verizon Wireless, and that's why we need you to stand with us this THURSDAY, MAY 5 AT 9:30 AM AT Verizon Wireless, 1111 South Willow Street, Manchester New Hampshire. Please spread the word and help us protect American working families. 

For more information on other demonstrations taking place on this National Day of Action, please click here

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

Join Fellow Labor Allies for the 2016 NH COSH Workers Memorial Day

Quote

Please Join Our Fellow Labor Allies for the 2016 NH COSH  Workers Memorial Day Remembrance

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Annual Dinner and Memorial Presentation

This annual event honors New Hampshire workers who were killed on the job in 2015.

Buffet Dinner and Guest Speakers 

Location: Plumbers and Steamfitters Hall
161 Londonderry Turnpike
Hooksett, NH 03106
Time: 05:30 PM – 08:30 PM 
 
More information about this event, and NH COSH can be found by clicking here
Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

Nashua Custodians Still Fighting for Contract Fairness

Quote

 

 

Yesterday members of the Nashua School Custodian Union stood outside, in the rain to advocate for fair contract practices. Late in 2015, the Nashua Board of Education voted to terminate the contract with the custodial union, Local 365/Council 93 AFSCME, and to issue a request for proposals for a private cleaning service to replace the custodians in the district as of July 1, 2016.

The members of the Nashua School Custodian Union are more than just custodians, they are friends to the students and the staff throughout the school district. They take pride in their work, and the role they have taken in the development of our children’s education. 

By voting to replace the members of the Nashua School Custodians union with a private cleaning service, the Board of Education has done a disservice to the children and the teachers of Nashua. The Board of Education seeks to bring in strangers who have no connection with Nashua, or loyalty to its residents. When profit is the main driver for performance, there is less incentive to do a good job, and more incentive to simply do the job.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO praises the members of Local 365/Council 93 AFSCME who stood in the rain yesterday to have their voices heard and strongly believes that Nashua schools deserve the kind of dedication that these members have to their community.  

This struggle is not over yet. Remember, you support your community by supporting your Nashua School Custodians. 

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

Nashua Custodians File Suit Against City For Unfair Labor Practices

Source: Nashua Telegraph: Click Here for Link to Nashua Telegraph Article 

By KATHRYN MARCHOCKI
Staff Writer

NASHUA – The union representing 101 school custodians whose jobs are on the line once their contract expires June 30 have filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state labor board, charging the Nashua School District with violating their collective bargaining agreement and state labor laws.

The complaint came in response to the Board of Education’s vote last fall to not renew the custodians’ contract and instead hire a private cleaning company as a possible cost-saving measure during tight budgetary times.

The school board is nearing the end of the lengthy process as members plan to review a cost analysis of the bids received from four private cleaning companies at the board’s Feb. 29 meeting.

But even if one of the bids came in favorably, the board likely would not move forward with hiring an outside company until the state labor board issues its ruling. That’s because a finding against the school district could result in the district employing two labor forces to clean city schools – the existing custodial union and the private company.

AFSCME Council 93, Local 365 filed its unfair labor practice complaint with the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board on Dec. 30. The union represents the 101 school custodians, as well as school maintenance employees.

The union accuses the school district of “restraining, coercing or otherwise interfering” with its employees’ collective bargaining rights, in part by refusing to bargain in good faith with all members of the union.

The union asked the labor board to find the school district guilty of improper labor practices and to “cease and desist dominating and interfering with the employee organization.”

Asked whether school board members are concerned about hiring a private cleaning company, given that the labor board could require the district to resume contract negotiations with the custodians, board member George Farrington said, “This is something we have to consider.

“We have to get some legal advice. We want to do this right. We don’t want to make any mistakes in any number of the areas that we are dealing with,” Farrington said. He would not elaborate.

The school district denied that it “violated its bargaining obligations or any contractual provisions,” according to a labor board memorandum.

“We think that we both legally and contractually are entitled to proceed in the way we have proceeded,” attorney Thomas Closson said Thursday. Closson represents the school district.

The school board voted last Sept. 16 to not renew its collective bargaining agreement with the 101 custodians in an effort to achieve “substantial savings to the district’s operating budget.”

The district agreed to negotiate a renewed contract with those members of Local 365 who are not custodians.

AFSCME Council 93 coordinator Steve Lyons said the school district is trying to bargain with only a portion of the labor unit, in violation of the state’s public employee labor law.

“In addition, there is an evergreen clause that requires them (the school district) to maintain the terms and agreements for our unit,” Lyons said.

An evergreen clause means the terms and conditions of a collective bargaining agreement remain in effect – even if the contract has expired – until a new agreement is reached.

Closson, in his response to the complaint with the state labor board, said the school district could not in good faith negotiate with the custodians after telling them that it intended to privatize their work.

“Given its decision to pursue the privatization of custodial services at the expiration of the current (collective bargaining agreement), it would be an unfair labor practice for the school district to commence and to engage in negotiations with the union as it relates to those same custodial services,” Closson wrote.

The union and school district agreed to present their arguments to the Public Employee Labor Relations Board through pleadings and exhibits next month.

Four private companies responded to the school district’s request for bids. Bids came in as follows for one year of cleaning service: ABM Janitorial Services, $5.6 million; Temco Facility Services, $3.4 million; GCA Education Services, $2.9 million; and S.J. Services Inc., $2.7 million.

A cost analysis is expected to be presented to the school board at its Feb. 29 meeting.

“It’s about comparing how much it would cost under one of these contracts against what it costs us now – if there is a savings to be realized and how much,” Farrington said.

He noted that the school board from the beginning “reserved the right not to enter into an agreement” with any private vendor. Board members may feel that going that route would not be worthwhile if the savings are not substantial, he said.

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

West Virginia’s GOP Controlled Legislature Passes “Right To Work” Legislation

This week, West Virginia’s Republican controlled legislature passed “right to work” legislation and repealed the state’s prevailing wage regulations for government projects in West Virginia. Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, immediately vetoed both legislative actions, only to be rebuked, and have his veto overturned with a simple majority, voting 18-16 in the Senate and 55-43 in
the House along party lines.

West Virginia now joins the other 25 states that have chosen to favor big business and special interest over the needs of American working families. The passage of the “Establishing West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act” is a direct result of the Republicans taking back the West Virginia House of Representatives for the first time in almost a century. This is a terrible set back for workers across the country, but especially troublesome because of West Virginia’s remarkable labor legacy. 

The message is clear. There are those in state legislatures
across our country that are on a mission to chip away at the rights that
organized labor and workers everywhere have fought arduously to establish and
protect.

It should be no surprise that the Koch Brothers backed group, Americans for Prosperity heavily promoted the West Virginia “right to work” bill. They continue to fund anti-labor actions in New Hampshire, but to this point have been unsuccessful. 

If it can happen in a state like West Virginia, a state that was built on the back of labor; it can happen anywhere. New Hampshire families are working everyday to support their loved ones and make ends meet. “Right to work” bills like the New Hampshire legislatures, HB 1341, seek to make those things more difficult to achieve.

This battle in West Virginia highlights how important it is to exercise your right to vote and be involved in our democratic process. Electing representatives that will stand up for working families and workers’ rights ensures that your interests are always represented in Concord. 

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post

NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett Testifies In Opposition To HB 1341, Another Version of “Right To Work” Legislation

 

Yesterday New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett stood with numerous members of the New Hampshire labor community in opposition to HB 1341, a bill relative to employee payments to unions. HB 1341 is another attempt by the anti-union wing of the New Hampshire legislature to undermine the existence of organized labor in the Granite State. Below is an excerpt from President Brackett’s testimony:

“House Bill 1341 would establish a statutory right for all public and private sector workers, who are not union members but are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, to divert payment for the total amount of their union agency fees to a charity, for any personal reason, regardless of the negotiated terms of the agreement.

All New Hampshire employees covered under a collective bargaining contract already have a full legal right to redirect their union fees to charity based on legitimate religious objections. We are forced to conclude, therefore, that the true intent of House Bill 1341 is to weaken the collective voice of New Hampshire workers who benefit from representation by a labor union.”

House Bill 1341 is not a legitimate mechanism for increasing aid to charitable causes. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, so-called “right-to work” legislation called by any other name still smells like “right-to-work.” This bill, if passed, would allow those individuals that choose to have their union fees diverted to charity, to still take full advantage of the protections given by the union and collective bargaining agreement. The members that pay into their labor organization so that they can both protect and be protected in the workplace would be forced to shoulder the cost of those who opt out of the payments. This is not a fair burden to place on working families that already struggle to make ends meet and provide for their loved ones. 

 As New Hampshire
AFL-CIO President Brackett put it:

“House Bill 1341 offers no meaningful benefits to New Hampshire’s economy, workers or businesses. I urge members of the committee to vote this legislation ‘Inexpedient to Legislate.’”

Share this New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor News Post