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New Hampshire Makes Steps to Pass Right to Work Legislation

By Kelsey Davis; News Editor
On February 9, 2017

New Hampshire Makes Steps to Pass Right to Work Legislation 

Kelsey Davis

News Editor

kldavis3@plymouth.edu 

On January 19, 2017, the New Hampshire State Senate passed a bill that would implement the “Right to Work” in the state. The bill passed narrowly in the senate with a vote 12-11 in favor. The Bill is now in the House of Representatives, and is currently in committee. Republican Governor Chris Sununu is a supporter of the bill, and is expected to sign the bill into law should it pass through the House.

After the bill was passed by the Senate, Sununu gave this press release. “In our shared efforts to grow New Hampshire’s economy and again become the region’s economic driver, it is critical that we provide for ourselves every available tool to both strengthen our workforce and attract new, thriving business opportunities. Right to Work legislation helps to realize those goals as it ensures fairness and choice for workers and signals to the business community our commitment to fostering a pro-growth environment."

The bill would make it illegal to force a potential employee to be part of a union as a condition for employment. The bill is not meant to make it illegal to be a part of a union, simply that an employer does not have to be a part of any union to be hired.

The Republican led initiative is meant to entice employers to come to New Hampshire. “Just to make sure we are protecting an employee's rights to make choice,” Dick Hinch, Republican House Majority Leader and the bill’s lead sponsor says, “And that’s the essence of what right-to- work is all about.”

The bill is sparking controversy and the Democratic led resistance to the bill says that the bill will cut wages and lower per capita income.

27 states in the United States have enacted similar laws. In 2007, an independent study was launched analyzing the economies of the states that had Right to Work laws, or an equivalent, in place. The study found that the unemployment rate went down in the states with the law in place, but at the same time saw a cut in average wages earned and the per capita income lowered.

New Hampshire has tried to pass a Right to Work bill in the past. In 2011, the bill passed overwhelming in the Senate and the House, but was vetoed by Governor John Lynch.

There is no word on when the House will vote on the proposed Right to Work bill, but the law is to be implemented immediately after it is passed. 

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