Perhaps nowhere are the absurdities of the war on workers as prevalent as New Hampshire. Despite losing a “Right-to-Work” fight less than 10 months ago, New Hampshire Republicans are giving it another go, this time with expanded anti-union provisions:
Now, public workers don’t have to be in a union and pay union dues. But when a union negotiates worker contracts, both union members and non-union members must pay agency fees, and both are covered by the contract.
Under right-to-work legislation, non-members wouldn’t be required to pay the fees or associate with the union. The new collective bargaining restrictions in Smith’s bill would allow non-union employees to negotiate on their own behalf and repeal the unions’ exclusive bargaining powers.
Right-to-work advocates say this allows more employee freedom, but unions say it results in lower pay and worse working conditions.
Many leaders in the state see this bill and others dealing with abortion and Voter ID as unlikely to gain enough support to become law, nothing more than distractions from the real, economic problems facing citizens of this state and the nation. David Lang, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, spoke to Boston.com about the effort:
“I find it very disconcerting that the New Hampshire Legislature would focus its time and energy on a repeat piece of legislation that was killed last session — a piece of legislation that will not do anything for jobs and the economy; two, will do nothing to strengthen the middle class; and three, by any poll you look at, the public doesn’t care anything about,’’
Many of the proposed changes, such as allowing for easier union decertification votes, are seen as non-issues, solutions in search of problems. Disguising anti-worker policies as returning rights to workers, the GOP, specifically members aligned with the Tea Party, continue to make unions out as the boogeymen. But a significant portion of New Hampshire is able to detect the the true motives behind the war on unions: big business interests.
The Nashua Telegraph has also reported on the rehashing of stricter voter ID regulations:
The state chapters of the League of Women Voters, Civil Liberties Union and Public Interest Research Group oppose the change as unnecessary, given that past audits haven’t found much incidence of voter fraud in the state.
“New Hampshire PIRG has long supported and engaged in efforts that make it easier for eligible voters to register and cast their ballots, including extending voting hours and voting on weekends,” said Addie Shankle, the state advocate for the Public Interest Research Group.
“We’re seeing legislation develop in both the House and Senate that moves in the opposite direction from that, and it is deeply concerning.”
This kind of ‘hey, look over here!’ politics inhibits the legislature’s ability to address New Hampshire’s number one threat: the lack of a jobs plan. The state most impacted by the 2010 Tea Party sweep now stands as a shining example of the hypocrisy in their new found anti-freedom, pro-corporate message. For the extreme Right there is no time for smart, innovative solutions. There is only divisiveness intended to shake up elections and shake down workers.