N.H. Workers Prepare for Attack of Zombie Bills
AFL-CIO communications staffer Nora Frederickson sends us this report.
You’d think that New Hampshire’s Republican leadership would have gotten the picture already.
When Gov. John Lynch vetoed their pet right to work bill, H.B. 474, after it passed the House and the Senate last year over the protests of thousands of Granite Staters, legislators in the House failed to get enough votes to override his veto.
But now, the Republican leadership in New Hampshire is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at working families in their newest attempt to dismantle unions in the Granite State.
It started with H.B. 383, a “right to work” for less bill that applies to state employees such as toll collectors, snowplow drivers and social workers. The bill is not a carbon copy of H.B. 474 but could easily be amended to apply to all workers. The House passed H.B. 383 on Jan. 5 by 212-128, falling short of the two-thirds threshold needed to override a veto from Gov. Lynch.
Protesters at the statehouse were undeterred to hear that H.B. 383 had passed.
Says Kelly Torosian, a Fairpoint technician and member of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2320:
We’ll continue the fight until Speaker O’Brien stops playing games with our Legislature and starts making decisions that help New Hampshire workers and grow our economy.
And this definitely isn’t the end. A host of bills restricting collective bargaining for public employees—including the repeal of collective bargaining—are due to be heard in the Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Service Committee on Jan. 19, and teachers, firefighters, state employees and community members are already gearing up to turn out and tell their lawmakers why these bills aren’t good for New Hampshire.
New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie explained that these bills are just the latest wave in a continuous assault on workers’ rights in New Hampshire.
As New Hampshire struggles out of this recession, Speaker [William] O’Brien has shown no wavering from the extreme Tea Party agenda that has cost us thousands of jobs in the Granite State. These laws are just another sign that the Speaker cannot admit defeat. He will push his agenda at any cost—regardless of how it impacts the people of New Hampshire.
For up-to-the-minute updates on the action during the hearings on Jan. 19, follow the New Hampshire AFL-CIO on Twitter at @NHAFLCIO.