Public Hearing on Right-To-Work Legislation Draws Large Crowd

Jan 10, 2017

Opponents of Right To Work legislation filled the Statehouse hallways during a public hearing on Tuesday.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

A public hearing on Right-to-Work legislation drew hundreds of people to the statehouse, with public comments lasting more than four hours.

Organized labor, many in matching red t-shirts, filled Representatives Hall in opposition to the bill, which would prohibit unions from collecting negotiating fees from non-union members.

“While this bill sounds like a good idea in theory, there is no evidence that this legislation would improve work opportunities, job security, or employment for hard working Granite State-ers,” said Bobby Jones, with Local 3657.

Opponents also questioned whether Right to Work would lower wages and make job sites more dangerous.

Supporters of the bill say it sends a pro-business message to out-of-state companies, and can help attract new jobs to New Hampshire.

“Passing this bill is the single best economic development incentive that the state can provide without spending a dime of taxpayer’s money,” said Jim Roche with the Business and Industry Association.

After hearing from dozens of speakers, the Senate Commerce Committee recommended passage of the bill on a 3-2 vote, with all three Republicans supporting the measure.

If passed, New Hampshire would be the first state in the Northeast with a Right to Work law on its books, which has become a perennial topic in Concord. After November’s elections, Republicans--which control the House, Senate and Governor’s office--have their best chance of passing the bill in a decade.

Twenty-seven states already have some form of Right to Work law, including Kentucky, which passed legislation last week after the GOP gained control of that state’s governor’s office in the November elections. Missouri is also poised to pass Right to Work during this legislative session.