To The Daily Sun,
The past several elections, no mandate was presented by New Hampshire's voters. New Hampshire is at a crossroads. The state Legislature presently offends New Hampshire citizens, employees (both private and public), their families, as well as the towns that contribute to New Hampshire's well-being, health, and safety. Recent legislative proposals negatively impact on the voting public and employees. This is our state, not yours.
The so-called right-to-work (RTW) bill is dangerous to hard-working employees. This bill alone insults the working force. This bill also violates the constitutional right for employees to collectively bargain for their benefits protected by the First Amendment of our Constitution under the right to speak. Such a law will present New Hampshire as the only state in the entire Northeast and all of New England with this RTW bill. Employees are not forced to join a union. Fair-share costs of negotiations for benefits and salaries, is legal and protects the employees at the same time. The option to join the union is available. Right to work is incorrect. The correct term is the right to freeload. Right to work implies guaranteed employment for anyone. This is union busting.
Unions are good for New Hampshire citizens, workers and the economy. Wages are higher in union states. Higher wages mean better employee retention. Benefits are better. Fact: employment in states that have RTW laws in effect, have much lower wages and higher unemployment rates. For the record, New Hampshire owns the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 2.6 percent without the RTW. Fact: economies do much better in states without RTW. Businesses seek qualified personnel to help them grow, which is not provided in RTW states. Reps who support RTW will find themselves at peril in 2018 elections. RTW will impact on the quality of production. Without RTW, the benefits also ensures happier employees which in turn results in a higher quality product.
Minimum wage. For too long our lowest working poor have not had a raise. New Hampshire has no minimum wage which means it reverts to the federal minimum wage. Yet our governor's raise doubles his salary. Collective bargaining can change this. RTW will make this most difficult to accomplish.
Fact: Since 1968, had the minimum wage kept pace with the cost of living index, the current minimum wage would be $19 and hour. New Hampshire has a labor shortage due to the low unemployment rate. Minimum wage must be $15 and hour, and not a penny less.
Concerning our three neighbors, we need to be more competitive in order to attract high quality workers to either move here or come to work as well as retain the employees here. Already, all New England states have minimum wages exceeding $10 and hour, except for Rhode Island ($9.25 and hour). Better educational opportunities are available outside of New Hampshire resulting in a "brain drain" of New Hampshire's finest younger people. RTW will worsen these opportunities here in New Hampshire.
Unions are under attack with RTW. New Hampshire employees are under attack. Instead of looking for other sources to make state budget more efficient, the legislators go after the workers here in this state. With 2.6 percent unemployment, this means there is a worker shortage. RTW will only worsen this picture. In addition, with declining staff, state services will suffer as well.
If people would so kindly contact their legislators and senators to repeal or dismiss this bill, it will show that together, we can overcome this RTW legislation and conserve our health, safety and welfare.
(I am a member of the SEA/SEIU Political Education Committee.)
Robert Joseph, Jr.
- Category: Letters
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