Rough going for anti-union drives

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The right-wing anti-labor agenda continues, as bills in state capitols countrywide - designed to attack workers rights - still threaten middle and working class families. But now, GOP state legislatures, fearing the wrath of angry workers, are wondering whether to continue on this path, the AFL-CIO reports.

On Apr. 11, the Republican-dominated New Hampshire Senate put the 'right to work (for less)' bill - HB 1677 - on hold. A bill supported heavily by Speaker Bill O'Brien, it failed both this year (so far) and last to get a majority vote. As it has been called, in an editorial by Concord Monitor, "a self-drawn caricature of vindictiveness and power," it would seem that Senate Republicans are not all supportive of O'Brien's agenda.

Even while the bill is still alive, the AFL-CIO added, this marks a symbolic victory for the working class.

"The Senate took a step in the right direction today in voting to indefinitely table HB 1677," remarked New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. "Their vote confirms what we hear each and every day: People are tired of right to work for less dominating the discussion."

The same day in Maine, the public employee "right to work" bill (LD 309) was also tabled on the floor of the House after working families persuaded a bipartisan coalition of senators to prevent this assault on working conditions.

Mike Williams, a firefighter, commented on the proposed legislation, "LD 309 will make it harder for firefighters like myself, nurses, snowplow drivers, corrections officers, and other hard-working public employees to establish safe working conditions for themselves and safe communities for all of us.

"Putting hard-working public service workers at risk will make it harder to find and keep the best people for these jobs."

In the Midwest, meanwhile, the urge to push anti-worker bills is also waning; Republicans reportedly fear the mobilization of unions that would come in response to such legislation. The 'right to work' bill has stalled in Minnesota, and in Ohio, GOP Gov. John Kasich is reportedly showing little interest in pursuing 'right to work.'

Despite this, the report noted, Republicans have still been pursuing other measures to target working families.

On Apr. 10, Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Michigan, signed a bill nullifying home health care worker unions. This legislation neither helps the economy nor creates jobs, but instead takes away the voice of patient advocates who take care of the ill, elderly, and disabled.

In response to the continuous barrage of anti-worker moves, Michigan workers are mobilizing and launching a petition drive to protect and save jobs in the state, as well as amend the state constitution to make sure that collective bargaining rights are preserved for all workers.

Photo: Indiana union workers protest 'right to work (for less).' Similar bills have lost steam in other states including New Hampshire, Maine, Minnesota, and Ohio.   Daron Cummings/AP

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