Updated: Jul 17, 2021
In a Letter to the Editor published in Seacoastonline Dover Democrat Phil Hatcher expresses his opposition to a bill that passed the NH Senate on 2/11/2021 that makes union membership dues optional for private sector employees.
SB 61, the so-called Right To Work bill, is bad for New Hampshire and bad for America.
My grandfather led Lodge 461 of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen in Mart, Texas, from its creation in 1907 until its demise after the National Railroad Strike of 1922. He fought hard for an 8-hour work day, compensation for injuries on the job, and for worker pensions.
Many people have forgotten the history of the early 20th Century, when the United States went through an earlier period of economic disruption, which was also a time of great concentration of wealth.
My grandfather believed that labor unions could help build a strong middle class, which made for a strong society, where opportunity would abound.
In a democracy, we all agree to respect the vote of the majority. And on April 15 many people grumble about paying taxes. But we all have a responsibility to pay our fair share.
Unions are the same. When your colleagues organize into a union, you may not like it and you may vote against it, but if you lose, you should respect their decision, and then you have a responsibility to support the union by paying your dues, while working within the union to change its course, or even to decertify it. This is democracy in action.
So SB 61 is not just anti-union. It is also anti-democracy and anti-responsibility.
Please contact your NH representatives and senators to tell them to oppose SB 61.
Here is a link to a personal blog post that Phil wrote a few years ago that gives the back story to his grandfather's participation in the 1922 strike
Phil Hatcher retired from the University of New Hampshire in 2019 after 33 years teaching computer science. He was born in Ohio and raised in Indiana, but he and his wife, Peggy Kieschnick, have lived in Dover since 1986. They have two children and one grandchild, all living in Brooklyn, New York. This makes them wonder: why can’t we keep our young people in New Hampshire?