New Hampshire Right to Work Bill Passes Committee
The bill could be voted on by the full House of Representatives next week
After defeating right to work in Colorado and Montana, New Hampshire’s right to work bill took another step forward last week. The bill SB-61, which has already passed the State Senate, made it through the House Labor Committee by an 11-9 vote.
SB-61 now heads to a vote by the full House of Representatives. The vote in the Labor Committee was along partisan lines with all Republicans voting for the bill and all Democrats voting against it. Republicans currently hold control of the House and New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu is likely to sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.
Currently, 27 states are right to work, but if New Hampshire passed the bill they would become the first right-to-work state in the Northeast. The House could vote on the bill as early as next week when they meet for a session from April 7-9th.
At hearings earlier in the month, union leaders and Democratic representatives accused out of state interests of pushing the bill. Rep. Ben Baroody, D-Manchester, a lifelong union member and activist, said the purpose of the bill is to raise money from Granite Staters for the Virginia-based National Right-to-Work Committee.
“They have never done anything to help people in New Hampshire,” Baroody said. “They have never stopped a family from losing their home in foreclosure. They’ve never stopped a family from having their motor vehicle repossessed. They have never contributed morally, physically or financially to someone who lost a loved one. In New Hampshire, our working people and our union members are our community.”
New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett also spoke saying "We have said it before, and we will say it again: ‘Right to work’ is wrong for New Hampshire, plain and simple. It deprives workers of their freedom to join together and form strong unions if they choose to. Today, the New Hampshire House Labor Committee not only chose to favor corporate interests over New Hampshire’s workers but also to allow further government intrusion into private business."
Faith leaders also spoke out against the bill calling it immoral. “Rarely have I seen a bill that is so avowedly immoral,” the Rev. John Gregory-Davis of the Meriden Congregational Church. “What are we afraid of? Are we afraid that if people have the right to organize for better working conditions, they’ll achieve them? I hope so.”
Republicans currently hold a 212-187 advantage over Democrats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. A similar bill was defeated in 2017 when 32 Republicans decided to vote against the bill. Since 2017, many of those Republicans have left office or lost their seats making it unclear how many Republicans could vote against the bill.