The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, May 06, 2011


By The Building Tradesman

New Hampshire to get RTW law

New Hampshire will soon be the newest member of the right-to-work club.

The New Hampshire State Senate on April 20 voted 16-8 to approve a right-to-work law for the Granite State. The state House had already adopted the bill.

The state’s governor, a Democrat, has vowed to veto the bill, but Republicans in both the House and Senate enjoy veto-proof super-majorities.

Passage of the bill will make New Hampshire the nation’s 23rd right-to-work state, and the first in the Northeast. Oklahoma was the last state to adopt such a law, in 2001. Most states that have the law became RTW states in the 1940s and 1950s.

Right-to-work laws allow “free riders” in the workplace to enjoy the benefits of union membership and contracts, without having to pay dues. According to the New Hampshire Business Insider, their bill takes the law a step further, by barring employers and unions from agreeing to a “fair share” clause, which would require nonunion members to make payments in lieu of union dues to cover the cost of contract negotiations.

In “Right-to-Work: Wrong for New Hampshire,” economist Gordon Lafer wrote: “Contrary to what RTW backers have claimed, the scientific analysis of right-to-work laws shows that they lower wages and benefits for both union and nonunion workers alike without exhibiting any positive impact on job growth. Simply put, at a time of economic need, right-to-work laws are a prescription for further decline.”EFM law already taking effect

DETROIT (PAI) – The Radical Right’s war on workers took a new, ominous turn in Michigan in late April, with outright state takeover of the Detroit schools, layoff of all 5,466 teachers and state takeover of the entire government of Benton Harbor.

The takeovers were both done under a law pushed through by the GOP majority in the Michigan legislature and approved by GOP Gov. Rick Snyder.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said he needed to fire all Detroit teachers, close 25 schools and take over the district because it’s budget was $327 million in the red. That statement echoed other state and local officials nationwide who use deficits to justify crackdowns on workers and unions.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers replied high special education spending and $100 million in debt service costs caused the deficit, which was around $200 million per year just two years before.

In Benton Harbor, emergency manager Joseph Harris, who took over all of the city’s finances in 2010, took over everything else on April 21. Among other things, Harris cut fire services, trashed union contracts and said he would turn over a lakefront public park – open to all – to a private consortium which would build a golf course there.