Unions

The New Hampshire chapter of the AFL-CIO is about to get a new president, the first since 1989.

Glenn Brackett, business agent of the IBEW Local 2320, takes over July 1, succeeding Mark MacKenzie after an election challenge was resolved.

In May, MacKenzie was re-elected at a state convention after ballots representing nearly 700 votes were ruled "spoiled;" they were marked with check marks instead of X's, as required by election rules.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Senate’s top budget writer says it’s unclear whether the final version of the state budget will include funding for a new labor agreement with state employees.

    Republican Jeanie Forrester of Meredith says there’s been little discussion in the Senate of the deal, which would give state workers a 2 percent raise in each of the next two years at a cost of about $12 million dollars.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The head of the largest state employees union is urging the New Hampshire Senate to fund a new two-year labor deal with the state.

Neither the House budget nor the one approved by the Senate Finance Committee includes the $12 million dollar cost of the deal, which would give state employees 2 percent raises each of the next two years and better dental and life insurance benefits.

Emily Corwin, NHPR

 A union representing FairPoint Communications workers in New Hampshire says it will meet with the company this week over plans to cut 260 positions.

Produce on a store shelf
Sodanie Chea via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/MLjxV

Update 5/16 11:19 am: In a statement this week, the cooperative society's director of communications, Allan Reetz, told NHPR that the organization has "and will continue to follow the mandates of the National Labor Relations Act.  While we will continue to treat employees of the Co-op with courtesy and respect, we are hopeful that union organizers will, as well." 

The original story follows: 

A national labor union is taking a dispute with a group of New Hampshire food cooperatives to a federal agency.

Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association / Flickr/cc

Right to Work bills, which are about the power of unions to collect dues, have been debated in New Hampshire many times before. Now, as right to work continues to gain ground around the country, we’ll review the history and the arguments around it, and how New Hampshire fits into the national picture.

Guests:

uniinnsbruck / Flickr/CC

As the number of teaching positions filled by non-tenure track, often part-time ‘adjunct professors’ has increased, this group gains attention for what it describes as low pay, few benefits, and lack of job security. But with tough financial times at higher ed institutions across the country, schools say there’s just not enough money.

This show was guest-hosted by Brady Carlson.

GUESTS:

Ibew Fairpoint via Flickr CC

New Hampshire FairPoint workers who have been on strike since October will vote on a new labor agreement Saturday. Ratification meetings will take place in both Manchester and Portsmouth.

Vermont workers cast their on Friday; Maine workers will follow suit on Sunday.

The new agreement comes after more than a month of negotiations led by a federal mediator.

 

Union representatives say ratification of the contract will be announced Sunday night. If successful, more than 1,700 striking workers could be back to work as early as next week.

FairPoint Communication and unions representing more than 1,700 striking workers are headed back to the bargaining table.  

Top leaders from both negotiating teams are to gather in Washington, D.C., at the request of Allison Beck, acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  The unions said the meeting is Sunday.  

The last session convened by a federal mediator in Boston on Nov. 18 ended with no progress.  

Emily Corwin / NHPR

There’s a painted blue line surrounding the entrance to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Over that blue line, political campaigning is not allowed, but just a few inches on this side of it – politics are in motion.

Over the last few months, Shipyard unions have endorsed at least five candidates, most of them Democrats. 

Joe Topichak / Flickr/CC

This supermarket standoff has attracted national attention for its unlikely coalition of customers, workers, managers, and suppliers organizing against top executives, while traditional unions have been on the sidelines. We're looking at how these events fit into the changing landscape of organized labor, and where unions may be headed next.

  GUESTS:

Union workers at FairPoint picketed outside locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont Tuesday morning. This comes as contract negotiations with the company are set to resume Wednesday.

The two sides have been at the bargaining table since April and through the expiration of the workers’ last six-year contract on August second.

New Hampshire union negotiator Glenn Brackett says the company plans to increase health care costs, freeze the pension fund and hire out-of-state contractors without union permission.

Unions representing FairPoint Communications workers in northern New England say preliminary vote counts suggest an overwhelming majority of members support authorizing a strike.  Negotiations began in April on a contract that expires Aug. 2. Workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont recently held meetings to vote on whether to authorize a strike. Voting has finished in Maine and Vermont, but has been extended in New Hampshire due to storm damage.

Ervins Strauhmanis via Flickr Creative Commons

It gets bandied about countless times by economists, politicians, and newscasters, but what exactly is GDP? Today on Word of Mouth, the surprisingly fascinating process of measuring Gross Domestic Product, and what this live or die by economic indicator overlooks. Plus, prehistoric humans are commonly depicted as grunting, club-wielding brutes. Now, evidence that Neanderthal parents didn’t just rear children, but loved and cherished them. All that and more on today's show.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments


Thompson Hall
Jimmy Emerson / Flickr Creative Commons

 An independent arbitrator has overturned the termination of a University of New Hampshire associate professor, saying there was not just cause for UNH's actions.   In May, UNH said Marco Dorfsman, who teaches Spanish, admitted to intentionally lowering the student evaluations of another faculty member.   Dorfsman grieved UNH's decision and the matter went to the arbitrator, Gary Altman, who overturned it but recommended that Dorfsman be disciplined.

State workers have ratified a tentative contract agreement with New Hampshire that requires workers to pay a deductible for the first time, but shares health plan savings with the workers in exchange.

Andrew Tolland

Community college teachers demonstrated in Manchester this morning to highlight ongoing negotiations between school administrators and adjunct faculty. 

Around 15 teachers and supporters picketed in front of Manchester Community College to call attention to what they say is unfair treatment of part-time teachers by the Community College System of New Hampshire.

The adjuncts’ chief concerns are health insurance, job security, and compensation.

Faculty Seek To Unionize At Plymouth State University

Mar 5, 2013

A Plymouth State University faculty group wants its 174 full-time, tenure track professors to be able to form a union.

The State Employee’s Association (SEA) filed on behalf of the faculty Monday to hold an election with the New Hampshire Public Employees Labor Relations Board.

Eligible members would vote to join the SEA later this spring. More than fifty percent approval is needed to pass.

Supporters of the union, like Associate Professor Scott Coykendall, say that it will improve communication with current and future university administrations.

N.H. Electric Co-op Lineworkers Consider Strike

Oct 2, 2012

The union representing New Hampshire Electric Cooperative lineworkers says it is considering a strike.

thefamousgroup via Flickr Creative Commons

Football fans are rejoicing today at news that the National Football League finally reached a deal with referees… their lockout put replacement refs at the center of a pop culture firestorm.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

A group of about twenty five demonstrators, organized by the AFL-CIO, petitioned Congressman Frank Guinta’s office to support the anti-outsourcing legislation known as the Bring Jobs Home Act.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

One of the state’s largest public unions, the State Employees Association, endorsed democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley on Monday.

SEA President Diana Lacey cites Cilley’s refusal to take the state pledge against new broad-based taxes and her commitment to collaborative leadership as the most significant factors in the union’s decision.

“It wasn’t just the pledge. It’s the manner in which we anticipate Jackie will lead.”

This is the one union that will kick you out if you pass a drug test. Jesse McKinley wrote about the evolution and demands of the San Francisco drug users union for The New York Time.

New York Times Article  

When the New York Hotel Trades Council ratified a new contract for hotel workers last month, much of the media coverage focused on "panic buttons." Coming after the sexual assault allegations against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the idea of housekeepers wearing a badge that could call for help was all over the news.

The state legislature is once again looking at whether the Granite State should join twenty-three others in adopting so-called “right to work legislation” which governs unionization.   But this effort narrowly failed last  year, and this year, opposition remains strong.  We’ll talk with two national experts about  the economics and politics of “right to work”.   

Guests

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill giving lawmakers final say on collective bargaining agreements with the State. The legislation is just the latest effort by Republicans in Concord to rein in the costs of public employee contracts.

"This gives the legislature the ability to look at an entire contract and say whether it is fair, and whether we should fund it," says Republican Neil Kurk of Weare.

At a time when young activists from Zucotti Park to Tahrir Square have shown what the Internet and social media can do to help organize people, some American unions have been taking notes.

The AFL-CIO is embarking on a new advertising campaign that combines new and old technologies.