IBEW 1837 Members Speak Out as Attacks on Unions Continue in the Granite State

January 23, 2012 - It’s a new year, but the same old story when it comes to an endless stream of union-busting legislation in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Lawmakers on the House Labor Committee listened to testimony from union members and their allies in opposition to several bills during public hearings on Wednesday, January 19, 2012. One of the bills would outlaw automatic dues deduction for union members and another would eliminate collective bargaining for all public sector workers – a bill even more extreme than what was rammed through in Wisconsin.

IBEW 1837 member and PSNH employee Bob Bundy gave testimony in opposition to HB 1163, a bill to outlaw union dues deduction. "HB 1163 in an unabashed attempt to undermine the unions that are the standard bearer of the working class," Brother Bundy said. The Merrimack Station control room operator used one of his remaining vacation days to be in Concord for the hearings. He is set to retire from PSNH next month.

In addition to the attacks on collective bargaining rights and the ability of unions to collect dues from members, another bill being considered would amend the state public employee labor relations act to define unfair labor practices so as not to include contracting out of work now done by union members. Meanwhile, no fewer than four union pension bills that could hurt the retirement benefits of state workers are being heard in committee.

An Equipment Operator at Merrimack Station, IBEW 1837 member and PSNH employee Rebecca Johnson came to the State House to help show a united front from Labor. “Not a single one of these bills does anything to help improve the economy in New Hampshire,” Sister Johnson said. “These have one purpose and one purpose only and that is to try to weaken the middle class by taking away the Union voice. Once the public sector is quieted, that trickles down to the private sector.”

New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien has made his battle with unions a hallmark of his leadership style with so-called “right-to-work” legislation among his top priorities. In spite of that fact, House Democrats have been joined by dozens of House Republicans who are willing to stand with working people and their unions in opposing the union-busting bills.