Nearly a thousand AFT New Hampshire members participated in a telephone town hall meeting on May 5 to discuss strategy to defeat legislative attacks on their collective bargaining rights and to hear from AFT president Randi Weingarten.
With 60 days left in the current session of the New Hampshire Legislature, teachers, paraprofessionals and school support staff "are still in danger," AFT New Hampshire president Laura Hainey told town-hall callers, "but we still have the ability to make a difference in the legislative battles."
She and Weingarten both said the most immediate challenge is to make sure the state House of Representatives sustains the anticipated veto by Gov. John Lynch of right-to-work legislation passed earlier in the session. "Do not let these legislators off the hook. Let them know you are watching and will hold them accountable," Hainey told members.
During the town hall meeting, Weingarten asked every member to contact their state representatives and urge them to sustain a veto of the legislation, which opponents have dubbed the "right-to-work-for-less" bill.
Hainey also highlighted several bills still pending before the Legislature that would curtail the collective bargaining and contract rights of teachers and other public school employees. Various proposals include one that would end collective bargaining on health, dental and retirement benefits, and another that targets teachers by undermining their job security and extending probationary periods from the current three years to five years.
"Just this week," Hainey said, "a new poll showed that a substantial majority of New Hampshire residents support the organizing and bargaining rights of teachers and all public employees. Our state legislators should pay attention to the views of their constituents who reject the attacks on our state's middle-class working families."
More information about what's happening in New Hampshire is available on the AFT website. [AFT New Hampshire press release]
May 9, 2011