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New Hampshire AFL-CIO-Shanna Weston 617MediaGroup

Right to Work Defeated in New Hampshire

20 Republicans and all of the Democrats voted to kill the bill

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jun 04, 2021

Despite a push from the Governor and out-of-state business interests, the New Hampshire House has resoundingly killed the latest attempt to pass Right to Work in the Granite State.

The House voted 199-175 against the bill on Thursday night, with all Democrats voting no and 20 members of the Republican majority joining with them to sink the bill. They then voted 196-178 to indefinitely postpone the bill, meaning that the legislature cannot reconsider the bill until the next legislative session in 2023.

For weeks, people who had been closely involved with the bill on both sides thought that the vote would be close, but that ended up not being the case as Democrats stuck together and were able to bring some of their Republican colleagues on board.

As legislators voted inside the NH Sportsplex in Bedford, dozens of union members from across the state rallied outside letting the legislators know that they opposed the bill and opposed the negative consequences that come from Right to Work. Studies show that workers in Right to Work states make $10,000 fewer thanks to these laws.

"Unions give workers an avenue to raise important issues with their employers and protect their right to negotiate these issues without government interference," said state Rep. Doug Ley, D-Jaffrey, who voted against the measure. "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 defeat of the bill was a huge loss for Republican Governor Chris Sununu who promised that it would be a top priority when he first took office in 2017. However, the bill was rejected in 2017 by the Republican-led House before Democrats regained control of the House in 2018. Right to Work legislation has been routinely introduced in New Hampshire in nearly every session since the 1980s but has consistently failed to become law.

“For nearly 40 years, “right to work” legislation has been pushed by out-of-state corporate interests in New Hampshire,” said Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO in an editorial that was published last week. “And every year it’s been on the table, our lawmakers have shut it down. Why? Because they know what the labor movement has done for the Granite State. Our members go to work each and every day knowing that their union contracts allow them the top wages and benefits, with the knowledge that there are safety and protections on the job. And for them and their loved ones, that’s priceless.”

Even though right to work was defeated once again, the out-of-state business interests, like the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity, who were behind it have vowed to keep pushing the bill in the state.

“Right to Work supporters remain fully committed to ending forced unionism in New Hampshire, and I’m confident they will be back with even more energy next year to put right to work over the top," Mark Mix, the group's president, said in a statement.

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