by Pablo Ros | February 14, 2013
Working families in New Hampshire scored a major victory this week when legislators voted down a right-to-work-for-less bill that was a recipe for lowering wages and workplace standards.
The Democratic-controlled House killed it with a 212 to 141 vote, preventing New Hampshire from becoming the 25th right-to-work-for-less state in the nation and the first in the Northeast.
So-called “right-to-work” laws weaken labor unions and their ability to bargain collectively on behalf of workers by interfering with a union’s ability to charge membership dues. They have been promoted across the country by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), part of an extreme corporate agenda that seeks to thwart workers’ rights for the benefit of corporate interests.
Such laws have been proven to drive down wages for all workers, union or non-union, by an average of $1,500 a year.
Will Price, a corrections officer with the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections and a member of AFSCME Local 3657 in New Hampshire, said he followed this latest effort to undermine the rights of workers from the moment it was introduced as a draft bill and was “truly disgusted by the whole thing.”
He said the bill, had it become law, could have greatly harmed his local’s ability to collect dues from its members, especially since it’s made up of 21 chapters – two corrections facilities and 19 police departments – that are “scattered throughout the state.”
Price said he’s confident that any future efforts to bring back a similar measure will be defeated.
“I have no doubt that it’s going to come back someday,” he said. “But I have a positive attitude that we’ll be able to do the right thing for ourselves.”
This was the second time in two years that New Hampshire workers faced a similar attack from right-wing, corporate-backed politicians. In 2011, then-Gov. John Lynch vetoed a right-to-work-for-less bill that had been passed by the Republican-led Legislature.
AFSCME will continue to oppose any efforts anywhere to undermine the rights of workers.