On Thursday, Americans For Prosperity (AFP) of New Hampshire presented their first town hall in a series of town halls in across the state informing people about Right to Work (RTW). Right to Work is legislation that aims to finally give workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to pay a union to represent them. There were several New Hampshire Senators at the event as well as New Hampshire Representatives.
State Director Greg Moore talked about the history of Right to Work as well facts about the legislation that aren’t normally discussed. He also talked about RTW from an economic viewpoint and the benefits of the legislation that have been proven to help economies in other states. AFP agrees that it is just one part of the puzzle to making New Hampshire more attractive to new businesses. Thousands of Granite Staters cross the border to Massachusetts every day for jobs. It would be far more beneficial to the state (and the workers) if those workers could find the same type of jobs within their own borders.
“Right to Work is critical to making New Hampshire more competitive to attract more good jobs here, so that the over 100,000 New Hampshire workers who leave the state every day for work can stay here,” said Greg Moore, AFP-NH State Director. “States that have passed Right to Work in the past five years have seen tremendous progress in growing their economy, including job and wage growth. Moreover, as the only state in the Northeast that would be a Right to Work state, we would see the benefit to New Hampshire magnified.”
AFP had published a study about the economic benefits of RTW last summer in which they researched the outcomes of RTW in states that have put the same type of legislation into place. The economic benefits have been proven yet some legislators in New Hampshire continue to fight against this change, including some Republicans, many who have taken campaign contributions from unions.
During the town hall, Senator Gary Daniels talked about “free riders.” This is the complaint that unions make about having to represent workers who want nothing to do with the union. Because New Hampshire is a Forced Union state, these workers can be forced to pay Agency Fees to the union despite not wanting to join. Back in 2011, when Daniels was still in the New Hampshire House and on the Labor Committee, he wrote an amendment in another RTW bill that would make it so unions weren’t forced to represent those who didn’t pay. The unions fought against the amendment.
Former union worker Terry Bowman was also at the town hall. He’s been working in the auto manufacturing industry for over 20 years. He was previously a member of the United Auto Workers Union. Once Michigan finally passed RTW legislation, Bowman was able to end being a member and wasn’t forced to pay an Agency Fee. He told the audience that it caused absolutely no issues between workers. They still work side by side “in harmony,” some who are union and some who are not.
It’s unfortunate that New Hampshire has been lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to RTW legislation. As AFP pointed out during their presentation, New Hampshire would be the first state in New England to become a Right to Work state. Any business thinking about moving to New England, especially manufacturing, looks at several key factors and one of them is often whether or not a state is RTW. AFP will continue its series of town halls across the state to inform Granite Staters about the benefits of RTW. Their next town hall will be held in Amherst on January 24th.