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November 28. 2011 10:27PM

Right to work veto override vote coming?

CONCORD — Supporters and opponents of right to work legislation plan to be at the State House in force Wednesday for a possible veto override vote.

House Bill 474, which would prohibit unions from collecting dues from non-members, was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch May 11. He said the state should not be interfering with management-employee issues in the state.

However, House Speaker Bill O’Brien R-Mont Vernon, who supports the legislation, said it would attract new businesses to the state. He encouraged New Hampshire legislators to join with 22 other states that have passed similar legislation.

Union groups strongly oppose the measure and have been at the State House during every session since the veto was signed waiting for O’Brien to call for an override vote. But to date, that hasn’t happened. With only Wednesday and Dec. 14 as dates left in the 2011 House session, union members are planning to be in Concord.

Meanwhile the conservative Americans for Prosperity—NH on its website is calling its members to the State House as well.

“We have to meet them with equal measure,” the AFP-NH website reads, urging supporters to come for free coffee and food at 8 a.m. in the cafeteria. The group said union members have been at the State House trying to “intimidate” and “influence” votes.

The House passed the measure 225-140. O’Brien would need to find 14 more votes to override the governor’s veto.

Shannon Shutts, spokesman for the New Hampshire House Speaker’s office, said Monday there are six bills Lynch has vetoed — including Right to Work — that still must be acted upon by the House.

“All veto votes are at the call of the chair,” Shutts said, noting that O’Brien could still hold the vote off until January, just before the new session begins. O’Brien is calling the House in Wednesday to handle the governor’s constitutional amendment on education funding.

Also, Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman are scheduled to address the body at 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. respectively. Huntsman supports right to work legislation and Perry has supported Wisconsin’s legislation limiting collective bargaining rights.

Beth D’Ovidio, communications administrator for the 11,000-member State Employees Association, said members will be there. “It is important to counter the influences from outside of our state” who support right to work, D’Ovidio said.

She said that in states where the measure has passed, workers have on average lower wages and fewer health insurance benefits. In the past, New Hampshire legislators have rejected similar right to work proposals.

“The reality is it is another example of the one percent of wealth in this country holding on to their piece of the pie.”

D’Ovidio said she was unsure how many people will come to the State House but “I think there will be quite a scene on Wednesday.”


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