While anti-worker bills in state capitols across the country still threaten middle-class families, Republican state legislatures are beginning to second guess whether to continue pursuing their extreme agenda attacking working families.
Yesterday morning, the Republican-controlled New Hampshire Senate tabled HB 1677, the so-called “right to work” bill. This bill is the pet of Speaker Bill O’Brien, dubbed by a recent Concord Monitor editorial as a “self-drawn caricature of vindictiveness and power run [amok].” “Right to work” failed last year, and so far this year it has failed to muster a veto-proof majority.
Although the bill is still alive, this is a symbolic victory that makes it clear that Senate Republicans are tired of Speaker O’Brien’s antics and his extreme agenda. New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie said of the vote:
The Senate took a step in the right direction today in voting to indefinitely table HB 1677….Their vote confirms what we hear each and every day: People are tired of right to work for less dominating the discussion in Concord.
And last night in Maine, the public employee “right to work” bill, LD 309, was tabled on the floor of the House, after working families–from both the public and private sectors–urged a bipartisan coalition of senators to preserve safe communities and working conditions.
‘LD 309 will make it harder for firefighters like myself, nurses, snowplow drivers, corrections officers and other hardworking public employees to establish safe working conditions for themselves and safe communities for all of us,’ firefighter Mike Williams said. ‘Putting hard-working public service workers at risk will make it harder to find and keep the best people for these jobs. The fact is this governor was elected to work on creating jobs but instead he’s attacking working people.’
While the Maine “right to work” bill is still alive, legislators have indicated in multiple ways that they are sick and tired of it. The bill was also tabled “indefinitely” last week in the Joint Labor Committee.
Similarly in the Midwest, momentum to push anti-worker bills has slowed as Republicans fear mobilizing even more support for unions. The “right to work” bill in Minnesota has stalled, and Midwest governors like Ohio Gov. John Kasich have little interest in pursuing “right to work.”
But while Republican legislatures may be fearful that their efforts on these bills may backfire, it hasn’t stopped them from pushing through other anti-working family measures.
On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation nullifying home health care worker unions–a bill that doesn’t stimulate the economy or create jobs, but rather takes away the voice of patient advocates who care for sick, elderly and disabled residents.
The Republican continuous assault on the rights of working families by the governor and legislature has mobilized Michiganders to launch a petition drive to protect Michigan jobs and amend the state constitution to ensure that collective bargaining rights for all workers are preserved.
This has been reposted from AFL-CIO.