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New Hampshire

May 5, 2011

NH House approves right-to-work bill

The House passed legislation yesterday that unions say would take away workers' rights, but Gov. John Lynch said he intends to veto the bill.

The controversial right-to-work bill was approved, 225-140. The Senate approved the measure last month.

But Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said the governor will veto House Bill 474 once it hits his desk.

"The governor does not believe the state should dictate the terms of a contract negotiated between private employers and their employees, which is what this bill would do," Manning said. "That is why the governor will veto the bill."

The House's vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a gubernatorial veto. An additional 14 votes were needed yesterday to ensure an override is possible, according to Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, one of the bill's sponsors.

Thirty-one House members were absent or didn't vote yesterday. That means an override is still possible if Lynch does veto the bill, according to Baldasaro.

"We'll make sure we override the governor's veto," he said. "Why would he want to veto it and not bring jobs to New Hampshire?"

The bill would prohibit unions and employers from negotiating clauses in contracts to require non-union members to pay a portion of collective bargaining costs.

Federal law requires unions to negotiate on behalf of both union and non-union members. Under state law, employees do not have to join unions.

Baldasaro said it's a victory for New Hampshire.

"I think it is a good vote for freedom because it prevents people from having to join a union and pay dues," he said. "I think it's a win-win."

He accused Lynch of siding with labor unions in exchange for financial support.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, praised the bill's passage, as did House Speaker William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon.

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