Governor Rejects Legislation to Dismantle Middle Class

Governor John Lynch Vetoes Anti-Worker Legislation HB 474

Yesterday in Concord, Governor Lynch vetoed the HB 474 legislation that interferes in private work place matters and seeks to bar employers and workers from arranging a fair share clause in contracts to help cover the collective bargaining costs of negotiating good jobs with good wages and benefits.

HB 474, the so-called “Right to Work” bill, jeopardizes job-based health insurance, pensions and worker safety programs – important foundations for a healthy and productive work place that have largely been secured by organized work forces.

“The Governor made the right call today, as did the many Republican and Democratic legislators who stood strong in the face of intense pressure from outside special interests,” said Ken Roos, an Administrator in the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services in Concord. “New Hampshire has consistently rejected this legislation over the years. It’s an attack on workers and would be a detriment to the entire middle class in our state. We need to keep moving New Hampshire forward and not succumb to outside pressures to play follow the leader to other states that aren’t doing as well as us to begin with. The real New Hampshire advantage is our people and it ought to stay that way.”

“The action today by the Governor’s office is an important part of the checks and balances of state government,” Roos said. “We anticipate the numerous Republicans and Democrats in the New Hampshire House who have vocally supported our local business community and the middle class in opposition to this legislation before to step up once again and put a final stop to it.”

HB 474 tells employers how to run their business and impedes on the ability of employers and employees to bargain contracts. The legislation eliminates “fair share” or “agency fees” in which workers who are covered by collective bargaining agreements but choose not to join the union contribute a portion toward the cost of negotiating and enforcing these agreements through basic fees. Employers will be barred from this business model should HB 474 pass.

The legislation now returns to the House of Representatives for a vote on whether or not to move forward with the legislation; that vote could happen as early as Wednesday, May 18. Speaker Bill O’Brien has publicly stated the vote will happen on Wednesday, May 25th.

from SEA NH SEIU 1984 Action Alert

Governor Lynch's Veto Message Regarding HB 474

By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on May 11, 2011, I vetoed HB 474.

States should not interfere with the rights of businesses and their employees to freely negotiate contracts. That is unless there is a compelling public interest, and there is no compelling public interest in passing this legislation.

There is no evidence that this legislation will offer any benefits to New Hampshire's economy or workers.

As I have said repeatedly, New Hampshire has an economic strategy that is working. New Hampshire has one of the strongest and fastest-growing economies in the nation. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates and one of the highest median incomes in the nation. We are considered one of the safest states and one of the healthiest states, and a high percentage of our citizens have private health insurance.

New Hampshire has a lower unemployment rate and a stronger economy than most states with so-called right-to-work laws. In states with a right-to-work law, workers on average have a lower standard of living, bringing home less in their paychecks and going without health insurance more frequently.

In my time as a CEO, in my years spent in the private sector turning around companies, and in my seven years as Governor, I have never seen the so-called right-to-work law serve as a valuable economic development tool.

In the last seven years of recruiting businesses to move to New Hampshire, not one business leader has ever even asked me if New Hampshire had a right-to-work law, let alone suggested it was a factor in the company's location decision. No New Hampshire business leaders have ever told me that the lack of a so-called right-to-work law prevented them from expanding or hiring new workers here in New Hampshire. And no New Hampshire workers have ever told me they couldn't get a job because New Hampshire doesn't have a so-called right-to-work law.

The debate over the so-called right-to-work bill in New Hampshire appears to be largely driven by national outside interest groups, and is not a result of problems facing New Hampshire businesses or workers.

There is no justification in this case for state government to interfere with the right of private businesses to freely negotiate and enter into contracts with their employees. Therefore, I am vetoing HB 474.

the Governor's Press Release

A recent poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, in cooperation with WMUR, found that over 60% of respondents support the right of public and private employees to organize unions and collectively bargain for wages and benefits.
For full results of the poll, read The WMUR Granite State Poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center

Take ACTION Now!

Call, write, or email your NH legislators today and tell them to vote NO on overriding the Governor's veto.

You may also want to read In Latest Setback For Right-Wing War On Labor, NH. Gov. Lynch Vetoes ‘Right-To-Work’ Legislation posted on Think Progress.

from NHPR Photos posted on Flickr