January 14, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Concord, NH – A state Senate committee voted 3-2 Jan. 10 along party lines to approve a bill to outlaw the union shop, after a four-hour hearing jammed with hundreds of angry union members.
The measure would make it illegal for unions to charge nonmembers fees for representing them, and would also prohibit deducting union dues from paychecks unless the employee authorizes it in writing. “This is not right-to-work; this is right-to-freeload,” retired state worker Bob Joseph testified. “Employees can have the benefits and wages discussed and arranged and negotiated for nothing. That’s not right.” If passed, it would make the Granite State the only one in the Northeast to ban the union shop, which several business executives said would attract new companies. The Republican senators also argued that forced fees violate workers’ freedom. Similar measures have been introduced in the state since the 1980s, but the GOP now controls both houses of the state legislature and the governorship, and Gov. Chris Sununu has vowed to sign the bill. Former state senator Mark Hounsell, who sponsored the first such measure, testified against this one, saying he has “spent 32 years trying to fix” that mistake. Read more