HB 474, the right to work bill is a union busting/employee negotiating busting bill that originated out of one of the right wing groups from VA. Basically, what it does is makes it illegal to be forced to join a union or pay to offset the costs of contract negotiations (fair share). Currently state employees pay 59% of what dues is, if they don’t want to join a collective bargaining group. Some complain it isn’t fair to be forced to pay anything; they want the benefits at no cost to them and free load on the dues paying members. Others argue that if you don’t want to help pay for pay raises, insurance and other benefits, then you shouldn’t get them; interesting arguments.
I have been told, and as a former state union member, that the state employees, in a 20 year period gave up pay raises for 8 of those years to keep our medical (which is a very good program). As a state probation/parole officer I was willing to work for less money than the private sector to insure Dorrie and the kids had good insurance.
That is all well and good when the economy is doing good and NH has traditionally done better than the majority; but, when the economy goes bad, like this recession, then the private sector jobs and benefits are reduced and the right wing groups start complaining about the pay and benefits of the public sector; this us only one part of the complex arguments that are being thrown around.
They like to throw around the words private sector, private sector this and that. I’m trying to find private sector jobs that require them to put their life on the line fighting fires, arresting murderers, etc, etc. The public sector employees, police, fire, teachers and state employees in NH are not our enemies; they are our friends, allies and neighbors.
Why are we attacking them? The speaker of the house was on Fox News telling how he was going to make NH a right to work state. I hate to tell him this; but, NH is not a union state. Sure we have unions and bargaining units; but, not a union state; no one can be forced to join a union.
The RTW out of state advocates claim that if this legislation gets passed then it will increase jobs and we will all be on easy street; just like Alabama, SC, GA and the southern states. Lets pass RTW and lower our standard of living, our health insurance, health care and those benefits that make NH one of the most vibrant and desirable states to live and work in, mostly because of our public services.
If you ask 10 people what the NH advantage is, you’ll get 10 different answers; some will say our tax structure (wrong because NH is not a cheap state to live), we can’t say it is cheap electricity because we are amongst the highest in the country. We can’t say it is our low business taxes, because they are high. The reason is our educated and dedicated work force that is what is bringing business into NH. The largest business group in NH (NHBIA) did a multi faceted survey about NH business and RTW came in #14 (I was told) as an issue, so it was a non issue with businesses.
I think what bothers me the most is the misinformation that is knowingly and willfully being put out by our legislative leadership about how RTW is going to increase jobs, benefits and make NH a better place to live. They know better so why are they pushing a deceptive agenda of misleading information? It is obvious that the speaker is looking for higher office and wants to say how he broke the backs of the public sector workers and their families, how he balanced the state budget by denying services to the most needy, handicapped, homeless, and people in need of services. We all knew when we were running for office the state budget had to be cut; but, to try and build a political platform on the backs of those in need is not the NH Republican way and not what the voters expected. Maybe the people running the political show in NH are not republicans and brought the RIHNO virus into NH when they moved in a few years ago, they are wiping out the republican party with this crazy agenda.
Now the RTW legislation has passed the house and senate and the governor has vowed to veto it. That means we have to get enough votes to sustain his veto and send some of the right wing loonies back to VA. No matter what happens, sustain or over ride the veto (I’ll be working to sustain) this is not the last vote that will be taken on this, the last vote will be in November, 2012, when the pendulum swings back and cleans out the house one more time.
As a side note RTW has never passed the legislature and it has come forward each session for the past 10 years, the only difference is the people we elected in the last election.