The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the union is gratified that House members in New Hampshire soundly defeated so-called “right-to-work” legislation in a 200-177 vote yesterday afternoon and further, decided to ban discussion of similar anti-union measures for the duration of its current, two-year session.
USW District 4 Director John Shinn praised the bipartisan effort to stop the bill, as a group of 32 Republican legislators resisted pressure from Gov. Chris Sununu and other top party officials in the GOP-controlled House to persuade them to vote in favor of the law, aimed at eroding workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively.
“We have argued for many years that the right for workers to organize and bargain collectively is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” Shinn said. “It is a right protected by federal law for individuals who seek fair wages, safer working conditions and benefits like quality, affordable, health care to stand together and negotiate for them with their employers.”
“Further, states which have enacted right-to-work laws have lower wages, higher workplace fatality rates and lag behind in other areas,” Shinn said. “We are proud of the New Hampshire House for standing with workers to defeat this bill, especially the representatives from both parties who played critical roles in preventing New Hampshire from joining that list.”
Union members packed hearings on the proposed legislation in recent weeks leading up to today’s vote.
“The labor movement proved that we are highly energized, well-educated and absolutely dedicated to fighting on behalf of all workers when it comes to defending the rights we have from lawmakers and public servants who seek to destroy them,” Shinn said. “Our government cannot and should not be controlled by corporations at the expense of working people, and we proved that today in New Hampshire.”
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in manufacturing, metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.