Thursday, March 24, 2011

NH GOP pulls a Walker

Protest at NH House committee voting on anti-worker budget.
We've been keeping an uneasy eye on New Hampshire, where last month the House passed an anti-worker bill (in this case, a right-to-work (for LESS) bill). The Senate hasn't taken it up yet. Even though Gov. John Lynch said he'd veto the bill, we're not sure our side has the votes to override the veto.

Now New Hampshire Republicans are doing something breathtaking. The House Finance Committee added an amendment to the budget that would basically destroy government unions. The IAFF Frontline blog has the story:
The protests in Wisconsin may have stolen news headlines this winter, but a quiet political persecution of public employees has also been playing out in New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire Finance Committee in the House of Representatives this week approved a change to the state collective bargaining laws that would turn all public sector employees “at will” when their contracts expire.
Ouside NH's Legislative Office Building.
The amendment states that after contracts expire, “salaries, benefits and terms and conditions of employment will be at the discretion of the employer.”
The photo above shows the pushback by unions and their allies in the committee room. The photo to the right show hundreds picketing the Legislative Office Building outside. 

Elizabeth Dinan, Portsmouth Herald reporter, interviewed Steve Arnold of the N.H. Police Benevolent Association:
The area was filled with hundreds of police, fire and other public workers, some with children, others with signs, said Arnold.
“To pass a bill of this magnitude that will affect so many people, without a public hearing, is a travesty of the democratic process,” he said. “This isn't a change of traffic law, this is major. They've stripped us of our democratic rights.”

Arnold said he hoped the sight of picketing workers impacted by the proposed legislation “will send a strong message that we have fundamental rights.”

“We're the people who police your streets, teach your children and fight your fires.” he said.

On Wednesday Arnold called the amendment “disgraceful, dirty politics.”
Amen brother.