Though Chris Sununu, the newly elected Republican governor of New Hampshire, made Right to Work a top priority, he was delivered a stinging blow when the Republican-controlled State House of Representatives voted to kill a bill that would have enacted Right to Work in the Granite State.
At 200-177, the vote was not as close as Republicans had predicted. According to several media reports, party leaders tried some political arm-twisting prior to the vote, vowing to cut off funding to GOP lawmakers running for reelection if they failed to support the measure.
Still, six Republican members not only voted against the measure, but spoke out against it.
“This bill is a direct attack on our livelihood,” said Republican Rep. Sean Morrison, a firefighter from Epping.
The Right to Work bill would have outlawed public and private sector unions from charging a fee to non-union members working union jobs to cover costs of collective bargaining.
Right to Work opponents say such steps reduce the effectiveness of unions and make it more difficult to protect workers.
“This is not union busting,” said House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, a Merrimack Republican. “This gives individuals the choice to participate and contribute, or not, based on their own best judgment.”
Labor leaders believe that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“It’s an attempt to chisel away at unions and remove protections of workers as a group,” says Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “In each state where Right to Work has become law, protections for workers dropped and pay has decreased. This is nothing more than an attempt to weaken unions under the guise that it is good for individual workers and businesses.”
New Hampshire union members showed up in force to legislative hearings to make sure lawmakers heard from them and what Right to Work would mean for their future.
“Workers everywhere should take note. This was a Republican governor with both a Republican House and Senate. It could have ended very differently,” says Dalton. “But when hard-working members of unions make their voices heard, anything is possible.”
In addition to killing the measure, the House also voted that Right to Work measures cannot be considered again during this legislative session.
Right to Work opponents assert that the laws drive wages down and force hard working families into poverty while business aligned proponents of such laws claim that they decrease unemployment.
Opponents of Right to Work measures further claim that the laws result in decreased worker rights and ultimately damage the middle class.
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org.
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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