In the coming vote on Right to Work legislation Senate Bill 61 (SB61 text below) before the New Hampshire House, representatives have a clear choice.
We’d like to thank Greg Moore for this Op-Ed. If you have an Op-Ed or LTE you would
like us to consider please submit it to Skip@GraniteGrok or Steve@GraniteGrok.com.
Chart a path to expanded protections of worker freedom and a major competitive advantage over our regional neighbors or continue penalizing workers for not joining a labor union to keep their job.
The most important aspect of the bill is protecting the rights of workers who choose not to join a labor union. Under current law, workers can be forced to hand over a portion of their paycheck to a union that they chose not to join, even if they strongly disagree with how that union bargains and what that union might stand for.
In many ways, this is similar to another policy debate that got a great deal of attention – the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
Under the individual mandate, those individuals without employer health insurance had two choices: They could either buy insurance through the government or they could pay a penalty for the privilege of forgoing health insurance. Similarly, without Right to Work, employees in many union workplaces are left with two choices: join the union or pay a penalty, called an agency fee, for the privilege of not joining the union and keeping your job.
Thankfully, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the penalty for people not to buy health insurance to $0, thereby eliminating the individual mandate. Along the same lines, Right to Work would reduce the penalty for workers in New Hampshire for not joining a union down to $0. Getting rid of this penalty would lift a burden off many workers across the Granite State.
No one should be penalized for choosing not to spend their money in a certain way. That’s the Live Free or Die spirit that symbolizes our New Hampshire tradition.
Moreover, this would offer private-sector workers the same protections that government workers won in 2018 in the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, which ruled that forcing those individuals who work in the public sector to pay a union violated their constitutional rights. Truly, every American deserves to have his or her right to free association respected.
While the benefits to worker freedom would be critical, the overall gains to our economy would be just as important. Numerous studies of the five state that now offer Right to Work protections in the past decade (Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Kentucky) show that jobs and wages go up, not down and that those states with the most Right to Work history have wage and job growth that exceeds the national average. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation found manufacturing employment has more than doubled in Right to Work states than non-Right to Work states since 2010.
In particular, New Hampshire is positioned to substantially benefit from Right to Work. In addition to being the 28th state nationally to offer these protections, it would be the only state in the northeast to do so. According to the Business and Industry Association, as well as siting consultants, employers prefer Right to Work states to start and expand businesses and this would offer New Hampshire an enormous competitive advantage in attracting good, high-paying jobs to grow our economy.
Protecting worker freedom and expanding the New Hampshire Advantage are two great reasons to make the Granite State a Right to Work state. We encourage every New Hampshire resident to contact their House members and to encourage them to support Senate Bill 61 and give our workers Right to Work protections.
Greg Moore is the State Director for American for Prosperity in New Hampshire
SB 61 – AS INTRODUCED
SENATE BILL 61
AN ACT prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.
SPONSORS: Sen. Reagan, Dist 17; Sen. Gannon, Dist 23; Sen. French, Dist 7; Sen. Gray, Dist 6; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Morse, Dist 22; Sen. Daniels, Dist 11; Rep. Marston, Hills. 19; Rep. McGuire, Merr. 29; Rep. Spillane, Rock. 2; Rep. A. Lekas, Hills. 37
This bill prohibits collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One
AN ACT prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Name of Act. It is the intent of the general court that this act be known as “The New Hampshire Right to Work Act.”
2 New Chapter; Right to Work. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 273-C the following new chapter:
RIGHT TO WORK
273-D:1 Short Title. This chapter may be cited as “right to work.”
273-D:2 Declaration of Public Policy. It is hereby declared to be the public policy of this state in order to maximize individual freedom of choice in the pursuit of employment and to encourage an employment climate conducive to economic growth, that all persons shall have, and shall be protected in the exercise of, the right freely, and without fear of penalty or reprise, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from any such activity.
273-D:3 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Employer” means any individual, corporation, association, organization, or entity that employs one or more persons. The term includes, but is not limited to, the state of New Hampshire and its agencies, every district, board, commission, instrumentality, or other unit whose governing body exercises similar governmental powers. The term “employer” includes, but is not limited to, employers of agricultural labor.
II. “Labor organization” means any organization of any kind, or agency or employee representation committee or plan, which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of work, or other conditions of employment.
273-D:4 Freedom of Choice Guaranteed; Discrimination Prohibited. No person shall be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment:
I. To resign or refrain from voluntary membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization;
II. To become or remain a member of a labor organization;
III. To pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization;
IV. To pay any charity or other third party, in lieu of such payments, any amount equivalent to or a pro-rata portion of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of a labor organization; or
V. To be recommended, approved, referred, or cleared by or through a labor organization.
273-D:5 Voluntary Deductions Protected. It shall be unlawful for any employer to deduct from the wages, earnings, or compensation of any employee any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges, to be held for, transferred to, or paid over to a labor organization, unless the employee has first presented, and the employer has received, a signed written authorization of such deductions, which authorization may be revoked by the employee at any time by giving written notice of such revocation 30 days in advance of its effective date. Every employer who receives such an authorization from an employee shall have a duty to promptly notify that employee in writing that the employee may revoke an authorization at any time by giving the employer 30 days written notice.
273-D:6 Agreements in Violation, and Actions to Induce Such Agreements, Declared Illegal. Any agreement, understanding, or practice, written or oral, implied or expressed, between any labor organization and employer which violates the rights of employees as guaranteed by the provisions of this chapter is hereby declared to be unlawful, null and void, and of no legal effect. Any strike, picketing, boycott, or other action, by a labor organization for the sole purpose of inducing or attempting to induce an employer to enter into any agreement prohibited under this chapter is hereby declared to be for an illegal purpose and is a violation of the provisions of this chapter.
273-D:7 Notice to be Posted. It shall be the duty of every employer to post and keep continuously displayed the following notice at such a place or places in the business, establishment, or premises where it may be readily seen by all employees, and it shall be the further duty of every employer to furnish a copy of such notice to each employee at the time the employee is hired:
EMPLOYEES FREEDOM OF CHOICE
Under the law of the state of New Hampshire, employees are protected in the exercise of their free choice to join or refrain from joining labor unions, and it is unlawful for an employer and a labor union to enter into a contract or agreement requiring them to pay dues, fees, or charges of any kind to a labor union as a condition of obtaining or keeping a job. Under this law, an employer may not discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because of joining or refusing to join a labor union, or to pay dues, or other charges to a labor union.
273-D:8 Coercion and Intimidation Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person, labor organization, or officer, agent, or member thereof, or employer, or officer thereof, by any threatened or actual intimidation of an employee or prospective employee, or the employee’s parents, spouse, children, grandchildren, or any other persons residing in the employee’s or prospective employee’s home, or by any damage or threatened damage to property, to compel or attempt to compel such employee to join, affiliate with, or financially support a labor organization or to refrain from doing so, or otherwise forfeit any rights as guaranteed by provisions of this chapter. It shall also be unlawful to cause or attempt to cause an employee to be denied employment or discharged from employment because of support or nonsupport of a labor organization by inducing or attempting to induce any other person to refuse to work with such employees.
273-D:9 Penalties. Any person, employer, labor organization, agent, or representative of an employer or labor organization, who directly or indirectly imposes upon any person any requirement prohibited by this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, notwithstanding RSA 651:2, shall be subject for each offense to a fine not exceeding $1,000, or to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days, or both.
273-D:10 Civil Remedies. Any person harmed as a result of any violation or threatened violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be entitled to injunctive relief against any and all violators or persons threatening violation, and may also recover any or all damages of any character, including costs and reasonable attorney fees, resulting from such violation or threatened violation, cognizable at common law. Such remedies shall be independent of, and in addition to, the penalties and remedies prescribed in other provisions of this chapter.
273-D:11 Duty to Investigate. The attorney general and each county attorney shall investigate any complaints of violation of this chapter, and shall prosecute all persons violating any of its provisions, and use all means at their command to insure effective enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
273-D:12 Existing Contracts. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all contracts entered into on or after the effective date of this chapter. This chapter shall not apply to contracts which expire after the effective date of this chapter, but shall apply to any renewal or extensions of such existing contracts.
273-D:13 Exceptions. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply:
I. To employers and employees covered by the federal Railway Labor Act.
II. To federal employers and employees.
III. To employers and employees on exclusive federal enclaves.
IV. Where they would otherwise conflict with or be preempted by federal law.
273-D:14 Severability. If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.