“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 

 

 

 

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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

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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

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

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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
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Air Traffic Control Privatization Creates Massive Risks

A Revenue-driven Model Would Endanger Safety and Eliminate Taxpayer Oversight

The United States has one of the most complex aviation systems in the world. The
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safely and efficiently manages over two million passengers and tons of cargo in the air every day.
New Hampshire’s 25 public use airports serve over 3,000 pilots and the air transportation needs of over 1.3 million New Hampshire residents, travelers, students and medical and military personnel.

A proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to privatize the FAA’s air traffic control (ATC) system and turn it into a not-for-profit corporation outside of the federal government. ATC privatization would eliminate congressional oversight and break up the FAA, putting our nation’s air traffic control system in the hands of private interests. This is especially worrisome, as the proposed ATC provider would not be accountable to Congress or taxpayers.

Privatizing a government function as critical as the management of our air traffic control system sets a dangerous precedent. The responsibility of managing the nation’s air traffic and the safety of its passengers should be guided by sound public policy, not the revenue-driven motives of a standalone corporation.

The proposed legislation carries worrisome risks for the people of New Hampshire and the backbone of the nation’s air traffic control system—the more than 15,000 air traffic controllers, engineers, safety inspectors and other employees that power it each day. In New England, the FAA maintains a large, diverse workforce of over 1,700 employees.[1] All of these workers power a system that safely and efficiently
moves more aircraft than any other country.

Of course the air traffic control system isn’t perfect and can be improved. But privatization will slow down technological progress and planned FAA upgrades, and may increase consumer costs. The measure will complicate the FAA’s focus on safety because goals of increasing revenue and reducing costs could be at odds with the FAA’s stringent safety mandate. 

General aviation supports nearly 800 jobs and contributes over $1 billion in annual economic impact to the State, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.[2] Changing air traffic control to a private, revenue-driven model will hurt general aviation and threaten good paying jobs and the working families who depend on them.

As a union representing thousands of FAA workers nationally, we know with certainty that privatization will eliminate essential workplace benefits and rights that we work hard to protect. Language included in the proposed legislation weakens labor laws and whistleblower protections for these employees and fails to guarantee that every collective bargaining agreement will have a grievance process, basically eliminating the means for employees to resolve workplace issues and protect their rights.

If privatization goes forward, employees performing the same job will have different pay and different benefits. This will decrease morale and make it difficult for the organization to attract and retain skilled and dedicated employees. This is especially serious considering that one-third of air traffic controllers are eligible to retire in the next few years. Over 1,000 have left the agency in the last year alone.

New Englanders fly 80 percent more frequently than the national average.[3] For people in New Hampshire, our air transportation system is essential to a strong economy that helps working families. Air travel powers commerce, fuels tourism and brings us closer to our families and friends.

Threats to workers’ rights, our safety and our economy demonstrate that there is too much at stake to justify the privatization of our air traffic control system. The FAA must remain a cohesive unit of federal employees, not a private business focused on revenue and costs.

Frank Moroney

Executive Director,
AFSCME Council 93

AFSCME International
Vice President

Frank Moroney is an AFSCME International Vice President and the Executive Director of AFSCME Council 93, which represents more than 45,000 state, county and municipal employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

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Op-Ed: Air Traffic Control Privatization Would Hurt New Hampshire’s Working Families

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Air Traffic Control Privatization Would Hurt New Hampshire’s Working Families

Recently, there has been a push by some members of Congress to turn much of the air traffic control system (ATC) over to an independently owned corporation funded by user fees. This type of large scale privatization of the public airspace would eliminate responsible oversight, put good paying jobs in jeopardy and break up the ATC system as we know it.

Privatization of our air traffic control system is bad for workers in our state and will hurt New Hampshire’s economy. Control of the skies, which has traditionally been governed by public policy, will be placed in the hands of people more care more about revenue than safety and access.

Time and again we have seen that privatizing entire sectors of our economy leads to increased costs and lost jobs. Now more than ever, we should be protecting jobs and vital systems like the ATC from privatization.

New Hampshire’s airport system helps working families by creating jobs that fuel our state and local economies, while generating millions of dollars in state tax revenue. In addition to economic impact, aviation services such as medical evacuation, search and rescue operations, law enforcement flights, military exercises, and flight training all contribute directly to the quality of life of those who live and work in the state.

In a state like New Hampshire, where 40% of residents live in rural areas, and 66 percent live in places with population of less than 10,000 people, any threat to the viability of general aviation services that businesses or municipalities rely on is serious and will have a ripple effect on throughout the state.

Indirectly, these airports are also crucial to the continued vitality of aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, educational institutions and aviation organizations in the state. It is estimated that 8.8 out of every 1,000 workers in New Hampshire are employed in the aerospace and aviation industry. Privatizing air traffic control will increase user fees, decrease access and put a rural state like New Hampshire at the bottom of the list of priorities.

In addition, the FAA maintains a large, diverse workforce of over 1,700 employees throughout New England that includes air traffic control specialists, engineers, safety inspectors and administrative support staff among others. Privatization plans will jeopardize their benefits and significantly weaken their labor rights such as collective bargaining and whistle blower protections. Future pay, healthcare and retirement benefits will no longer have the underpinnings of federal law, which applies to FAA employees today.

New Hampshire’s air transportation system drives the flow of commerce, tourists, and visitors to and from our state, and it is working families that reap the benefit in the form of basic services, better wages and a stronger economy.

As the debate of privatization continues, and its impact on general aviation, airports and airlines is evaluated, it is important to keep in mind that the hardworking families of New Hampshire will be the ones who are most negatively impacted, should privatization be enacted. That alone should be reason enough to oppose any privatization proposals.

Dave Laughton

Secretary-Treasurer, Granite State Teamsters Local 633 53

Goffstown Rd

Manchester, NH 03102 603-625-9731

laughton@teamsters633.com 

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is the only union that represents every craft of workers in the airline industry. IBT contracts now cover 80,000 airline industry workers, including mechanics, customer service and ramp agents, stock clerks, dispatch personnel, flight attendants, and pilots nationwide.

Teamsters Local 633 was chartered in 1934. Since that time they have grown to over 4,700 members working in New Hampshire for several different employers. 

Sources:

  1. http://www.nh.gov/dot/org/aerorailtransit/aeronautics/documents/Chapter9-EconomicContribution.pdf
  2. http://nata.aero/data/files/gia/stateadvocacy/governorsproclamationofgaappreciationmonth2014.pdf
  3. https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/arc/ro_center/media/ane_brochure.pdf 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above piece are those solely of the author, and not the opinion of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

 

 

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Nashua Custodians Still Fighting for Contract Fairness

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.’”

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