Victory in New Hampshire

We're pleased to report a bright spot in the current wave of state legislative attacks on faculty and other working people. AAUP chapters in New Hampshire worked with other unions and community members to defeat a “right-to-work” bill that the governor had promised to sign. Together, they protected the right of faculty and other working people across the state to negotiate collectively.

So-called right-to-work legislation is designed to weaken unions, undercutting our ability to bargain together for better wages, benefits, and working conditions--which, in the case of faculty, include issues such as academic freedom protections and shared governance rights. A study from the Economic Policy Institute found that working people in “right-to-work” states earn 3.1 percent less than those in states where full collective bargaining rights exist. That translates to $1,500 less per year.

Facing the prospect of right-to-work legislation in our state, the University of New Hampshire chapters of the AAUP formed a "One Faculty" committee to fight the legislation. They reached out to faculty across the state, conducted teach-ins, and sent members to open committee hearings and full votes by the legislature. They worked with other unions and community members to ensure that all legislators heard our message loud and clear: working people must be protected and this legislation must be defeated.

They created an “Honor Roll” of Republican legislators who resisted the strong-arm efforts of our new governor and stood up against the legislation. Then they asked members and supporters to call or write to thank both them and the determined Democrats who defied a snowstorm to be in their seats the date of the vote.  And it paid off--the bill was defeated in the New Hampshire State House by a bipartisan coalition of legislators, 200 to 177.

New Hampshire is not alone in this fight against attacks on workers--twenty-eight states have right-to-work legislation, and national legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives. We must continue to work together united to protect the rights and freedoms of faculty across the country.

 

Publication Date: 
Friday, March 24, 2017