New Hampshire Teamsters are celebrating a state House vote last night that rejected so-called right-to-work (RTW) legislation that would have weakened workers and their unions in the Granite State, a long-time goal of corporations and their elected cronies.
In a 199-175 bipartisan vote, lawmakers turned back an effort backed by big business that would have drained union coffers by forcing them to represent bargaining unit members not paying fair-share fees. That, in turn, would leave less funds for other essential union duties like organizing and negotiating good contracts. As part of the vote, the Legislature cannot consider RTW again for another two years unless it gets two-thirds of lawmakers to agree to alter the rules.
Teamsters Local 633 Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Padellaro stated, “This was a total team effort. All hands on deck. In the mid-term elections there was a major shift in power that allowed the anti-worker governor to advance his agenda which included right to work (for less) among his top priorities. I am proud to say that our Teamsters Local 633 Political Action Committee headed up by President Kevin Foley was up to task. We brought the fight to those anti-union, anti-working family legislators who were funded by out of state corporate interests, and in the end good solid boots on the ground organizing and the unity and solidarity of the New Hampshire Labor movement will win every time.”
Local 633 played a key role in building opposition to the legislation, reaching out to lawmakers and activating its membership to do the same. That included participating in labor round table discussions, that included other New Hampshire unions. There was also key support from Teamsters Joint Council 10 and an aggressive outreach program that literally began the day after the ballots were counted last November. As soon as the count was finished, it was clear that the current governor would once again attempt to flex his muscle to hurt working families and the labor movement.
Local 633 President and political coordinator Kevin Foley said, “It was really no surprise to Teamsters Local 633. These anti-working family and anti-union legislators did exactly what we expected by trying to continue their attack on working families. If there is one thing we have become accustomed to, unfortunately, it is this administration won’t ever do the right thing for New Hampshire’s working families. I am proud that for over 40 years and counting, Teamsters Local 633 has sent the out-of-state forces pushing their right to work (for less) agenda packing, and this cannot be brought up for two years. They should know that the Teamsters will be ready in two years to send them packing again!”
The successful defeat of RTW in New Hampshire is the second major win on the issue for the Teamsters and workers this year. Back in March, a similar effort to push through the anti-union, anti-worker bill was rejected in Montana despite a Republican majority in Legislature there.
Why does this legislation keep failing, even states that are completely controlled by the GOP? Because it’s becoming more and more clear that RTW is a ruse the corporate class keeps trying to force down the throats of workers. Every time a state has adopted such a law, it has been followed by lower wages, reduced benefits, unsafe working conditions and severe harm to local economies. In fact, West Virginia’s GOP governor admitted as much earlier this year. Meanwhile, nationally the median unionized worker makes almost $10,000 a year more than the median non-union worker.
It’s time that anti-union lawmakers realize that workers deserve the same dignity and respect they are granting to big business. Instead of believing the false claims of companies, they should be standing up for the working people of America.