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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Right-to-Work law dies, as veto override falls 12 votes short

CONCORD – The House of Representatives fell 12 votes short of overturning a veto by Gov. John Lynch today, ending a long and bitter campaign to make New Hampshire only state north of Virginia to have an anti-union, Right to Work law.

The 240-139 vote came after months of private meetings House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, had with wavering Republican members and very public displays of opposition from union members from across the state.

The outcome was 12 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a governor’s veto.

The hordes of supporters and opponents who turned out for the vote were so numerous that O’Brien had to set up a closed circuit set-up room to handle the overflow.

Union members wore red t-shirts urging lawmakers to oppose Right to Work; supporters were green shirts with “Yes” stitched across the front.

The bill (HB 474) would have outlawed the collective bargaining practice of requiring non-union members to pay a fee to cover labor costs.

Milford Republican State Rep. Gary Daniels said Right to Work is a matter of personal freedom.

“Let those who wish to associate with unions freely associate to do so and let the unions be responsive to the needs of them,” Daniels said. “Let us also show compassion for the worker who, for whatever reason, chooses not to associate. Let them to be free of choosing an alternative course of action.”

Manchester Democratic Rep. Jeff Goley said the override would make New Hampshire a magnet for lower wage and benefit jobs and there’s no compelling need for a state with the nation’s fourth lowest unemployment rate.

And Goley attacked media advertising efforts of conservative interest groups in support of the law.

“Don’t let a special interest group from outside the state come here and tell New Hampshire what is right for our state,” Goley said.

– KEVIN LANDRIGAN