Speaker O’Brien sent the following email to Republican members of the House this evening:
Dear Republican colleagues,
Obviously, the vote to override the Democratic Governor’s veto of Right to Work has been a significant issue facing this legislature and our caucus. Proponents of Right to Work view this as an opportunity to live up to our campaign promise of growing our economy and creating jobs, while opponents view this as anti-union, limiting unions’ ability to aggregate funds for their political and other activities.
Every issue we discuss has an impact on us as representatives. Some of our constituents support and some oppose various positions we take, and we have elections that are often shaped by these results. However, we should all agree that votes we cast here should be done in a manner that does not jeopardize the health, career and safety of our lives outside of this citizen legislature.
That’s why I have become seriously concerned about the coercion, threats and outright intimidation specific to the Right to Work issue that we have learned some of our colleagues have suffered. Here are several examples, some of which have just come to me today:
• One older representative was told that public emergency personnel might not respond in a timely fashion if they learned of a problem at this representative’s home after a vote to support Right to Work.
• Another representative’s daughter attending a public school was told that she would not be an appropriate candidate for a captain of her basketball team should her parent vote in support of Right to Work.
• Yet another representative who has been supporting the veto override was first told by his public employer he had to work tomorrow. Then he was unexpectedly called in by the head of the employing agency and told that he would be allowed to go to Concord to vote, but that, given the presence of the two unions that had members at the agency, he really needs to vote against Right to Work.
• A representative’s spouse was threatened on the job based upon a vote for Right to Work, leaving that spouse with the impression that he might lose his job or suffer worse consequences if that vote was not for the union bosses.
• A representative’s spouse was told in a telephone call from a senior union official that their pension could be in jeopardy if this representative voted in favor of Right to Work.
These are examples that go beyond the pale, yet do not include the numerous other instances in which union bosses have subtly implied veiled threats against representatives on this issue.
None of us should face this when all we might do is vote what is best for New Hampshire, not special interests. These examples alone should be reason enough to override the Governor’s veto.
The power of the union bosses is demonstrated by the fact that the representatives who received these threats felt that they should reconsider their votes, but surely don’t want their identities revealed. When the vote for overturning the Right to Work veto comes up, each of those Republican representatives voting red in a sea of green may have, without knowing, one or more of these representatives sitting next to or behind him and wondering why that red-voting representative doesn’t see what has been so poignantly demonstrated to those who have been the subject of this bullying.
Union leaders should be focused on making their case for value of union membership, not intimidating the people’s representatives. That’s one more reason, beyond growing jobs and our economy, why it is important to override the Democratic Governor’s veto and give our citizens their Right to Work.
Speaker of the House
Please see the list of Representatives who did NOT vote to override RTW. The RLCNH, one of our supporting groups, will work to defeat these Representatives.