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N.H. House Committee Recommends Against Passing 'Right-To-Work' Bill

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Todd Bookman/NHPR
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A New Hampshire House Committee is recommending against passage of Right-to- Work legislation, which would prohibit unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

Members of the House Labor Committee voted 14-7, with many Republicans joining Democrats in opposition to the often partisan issue.

The bill next heads to the full House, which will take up the measure next week.

Hundreds of opponents filled Representatives Hall in Concord Wednesday, many wearing red t-shirts, to voice their concerns to lawmakers.

“Right-to-Work has nothing to do with rights, or nothing to do with work,” says Denis Caza with Teamsters 633. “It’s government interference between employers and its employees.”

During more than 7 hours of testimony, opponents also disputed claims that Right-to-Work spurs a state’s economy, and increases union member participation rates.

Backers of the bill argue having Right-to-Work will attract companies to the state, and increases the personal liberties of employees.

“Individuals should be allowed to apply for and retain a job without being required to pay unions dues, if they choose not to join the union,” says Rep. Dick Hinch. “This is about choice.”

If passed, New Hampshire would become the 29th state--and first in the northeast--with a Right-to-Work law. Missouri and Kentucky lawmakers passed measures earlier this year after Republican gains in the November 2016 elections.

The New Hampshire bill, SB 11, cleared the Republican-controlled Senate last month by a single vote, with only Sharon Carson of Londonderry breaking ranks with her GOP colleagues.

Governor Chris Sununu supports Right-To-Work, saying during his inaugural address that it sends a message that “New Hampshire is open for business.”

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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