By Felix Perez/map courtesy of google maps
New Hampshire and Indiana may be separated by nearly 900 miles, but they share a win-at-all-costs brand of anti-worker politicians whose ultimate goal is political power. Their vehicle of choice at the moment is so-called right to work legislation, which research shows creates few jobs and drives down wages and benefits.
In Indiana, thousands of workers have protested daily at the statehouse since last week and stalled the start of the legislature to show their displeasure with how Governor Mitch Daniels and his radical Republican allies in the state legislature are fast-tracking the legislation with minimal hearings and no public input.
In New Hampshire, scheduled to hold the first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary January 10, state legislators resurrected right to work legislation in their first week back in session this year after failing late last year to get the votes to override Governor John Lynch’s veto of a right to work bill.
Republican presidential candidates, seeking to curry favor with New Hampshire state Republican lawmakers for tomorrow’s all-important primary, were more than happy to lend their name to the cause.
“Right-to-work legislation makes a lot of sense for New Hampshire,” said former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at a January 8 debate.
Romney has come under withering criticism for his role as CEO of a venture capital firm that made tens of millions in profits by buying companies and selling them off piece by piece, often leaving them saddled with debt and forcing them to shutter factories and lay off workers. Last October Romney’s anti-worker views made national news for his on-again, off-again, on-again support of the voter referendum in Ohio that would have eliminated the right of educators, police officers, firefighters and other public service workers to collectively bargain.
Romney did not help dispel his image as a “corporate raider” when he told a New Hampshire group of business executives on January 9, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is of two minds on right to work laws. In November, he issued a statement supporting the effort by the New Hampshire Speaker of the House to overturn the governor’s veto. “As President, I will put the American worker and American economic growth first and stand by fighters like Speaker O’Brien. If elected, I will proudly sign a National Right-to-Work law.” Yet, while a member of the U.S. Senate, he voted against bringing a national right to work law up for a vote.
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