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New Hampshire Legislature Considers Right to Work Bill

The Governor supports it and Republicans hold the majority in the House and Senate

Brian Young's picture
Jan 25, 2021

With Republicans controlling the New Hampshire legislature and the Governors' office, there is a new push to pass the Northeast’s first right to work law in the Granite State. The effort has been defeated in the past, including in 2017 when Republicans last had complete control of the state government.

On January 6th, the bill SB61 was introduced and assigned to the Commerce committee where a remote Senate hearing will be held on January 26th. According to the bill’s title, SB61 would “prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.” Currently, the bill has 7 sponsors in the Senate and 4 sponsors in the State’s House of Representatives.

To build support for the bill, the New England Citizens for Right to Work, a New Hampshire based group with ties to the National Right to Work Committee, has sent out a mailer with the headline “Right to Work Within Reach.” The ad goes on to say that with GOP majorities, “opponents of forced unionism are looking forward to their best chance ever at passing a New Hampshire Right to Work law in the upcoming 2021 legislative session … In this year’s elections, support for Right to Work soared in the legislature.”

As UCOMM previously reported, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu is a supporter of right to work and worked hard in 2017 to pass it. Thankfully, the bill died in the State House of Representatives. The state has a long history of fighting right to work, with the legislature having voted the bill down consistently since the 1980s, however, the bill did pass both chambers of the legislature in 2011, before being vetoed by Governor John Lynch, and in 2016 Governor Maggie Hassan also vetoed a right to work bill.

There are currently 27 states with right to work laws. According to the US Department of Labor, the average worker in a right to work state makes $8,700 less than someone in a free bargaining state.

“It’s clear that out-of-state money will once again flood the Legislature pushing so-called right to work,” said New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “Granite Staters understand this is bad for working families and will serve to destroy the New Hampshire advantage.”

Republicans currently hold a 213-187 advantage in the House and a 14-10 majority in the Senate.

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