New Hampshire House kills ‘right to work’ (for less)
The New Hampshire House meets to kill, 199-175, the Right to Work bill being pushed by the right-wing GOP Gov. John Sununu. | AP

CONCORD, N.H.—Another month and another GOP-run legislature—this time, New Hampshire—kills one of corporate chieftains’ favorite long-running anti-union schemes, right to work.

And just to make sure, on June 3, the last day of the session, lawmakers killed it three times. Those were the latest defeats for RTW in a 40-year losing streak in the Granite State.

The New Hampshire results follow those of the Montana House, which is two-thirds Republican. It clobbered RTW last month. Workers and allies call RTW “right to work for less,” which data confirms.

“The state House stood on the side of working families today by defeating the so-called right-to-work bill,” said State Rep. Doug Ley, D-Cheshire, president of the New Hampshire Federation of Teachers. “Workers deserve a seat at the table and should be able to speak up for decent wages and benefits, a retirement with dignity, and safe workplace conditions.”

“Unions give workers an avenue to raise important issues with their employers and protect their right to negotiate these issues without government interference. They provide a path to a better life, and it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure unions are available to those who want to join.”

The radical right joined big business to campaign for RTW. A spokesman for the so-called Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing lobby funded by the infamous Koch brothers, was featured on Manchester television, spouting the lie it would bring more jobs to New Hampshire.

And even though Republicans hold a 212-186 edge in the House—officially called the Great and General Court—GOP leaders waited until the session’s end to bring RTW up, as they scrambled to find enough votes to approve it. They failed. It lost 175-199.

And then, just to make sure, the state reps voted 196-178 to “indefinitely postpone” the RTW bill, SB61, which had barely (13-11) passed the GOP-run state Senate earlier this year. When another House Republican moved to reconsider that postponement, he lost, 163-201.

“Big corporations are pushing ‘Right to Work’ legislation in New Hampshire, arguing the legislation will boost job growth statewide,” Chrissy Callahan wrote on the legislature’s website for public comments on measures. “No solid evidence has been presented to support such claims. In fact, studies show in ‘Right to Work’ states average hourly wages are 16% lower.”

“Right to work is nothing more than a racist Jim Crow relic designed to divide workers and make us poorer,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “We should not have to fear that big corporations and anti-worker politicians are going to pass this legislation in New Hampshire, or anywhere else. That’s why we need the PRO (Protect the Right to Organize) Act. It would eliminate right to work, putting it in the ash heap of history where it belongs.”



Press Associates Union News Service provides national coverage of news affecting workers, including activism, politics, economics, legislation in Congress and actions by the White House, federal agencies and the courts that affect working people. Mark Gruenberg is Editor in chief and owner of Press Associates Union News Service, Washington, D.C.