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Archive for April, 2012

This year’s drama over proposed Right-to-Work legislation hit a climax today5-12-11 006 when the Senate voted to table HB 1677, the latest version of this anti-labor proposal that has been kicking around the State House for decades.

This was not the defeat we would have preferred, but as NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie said at an impromptu rally on the State House steps, it’s a “step in the right direction.”

HB 1677 was the third bill on the Senate agenda this morning.  As soon as it NH House 5-25-11 024 came up, Senator Jim Forsythe moved to table it.  The non-debatable motion was quickly approved on a voice vote, with no apparent dissent.  Dozens of labor activists in the Senate Gallery seemed a little stunned by how quickly it had happened.  

HB 1677 can be removed from “the table” and put back on the Senate agenda any time by a majority vote, but this bad idea seems to be dead for the year.  Unlike their House colleagues, Senate Republicans apparently decided there was not point in waging a losing battle since their prospects for over-riding a promised veto were slim.

“Hopefully, we won’t see 1677 again,” MacKenzie said .

The message of today’s vote is that the attack on the rights of workers “will not stand in the state of New Hampshire,” said the Rev. Gail Kinney.

Still alive in the Senate is HB 383, a version of “right to work” that applies only to state employees.  This one should meet a similar fate.

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Two months ago I posted NH Slim’s new version of “Which Side Are You On?,” adapted for the struggles at the New Hampshire State House.   Slim penned another version a few years ago for a Passover Seder.  It goes like this:

Come all of you good people,

And listen up to me

Of how the ancient Hebrews

Won their liberty.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

It was down on old Mitzraim

When Moses gave a cry:

“It’s time for an uprising.

We will live free or die.”

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

My mother was a baker,

And I’m a baker’s son,

And I’ll be with the Hebrews

“Til liberation’s won.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

My father was a brick-maker,

I’m a brick-maker’s daughter,

And I will march for freedom

Right through the Red Sea water.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

They say in old Mitzraim,

There are no neutrals there-o,

You either work for freedom

Or else you slave for Pharaoh.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

We all live in Mitzraim

‘Til everyone is free,

We’ll fight against the Pharaohs

And win our liberty.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

If you don’t know the tune, you can listen to Pete Seeger sing it or find an album of labor songs.  

And by the way, borrowing and adapting are part of the folk tradition, the Passover tradition, and the IWW tradition.  So write your own.  And let me know if you sing this at your Passover Seder.

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