Friday, 10 February 2012

Race to the bottom: New Hampshire edition

Just when you thought New Hampshire couldn't get any weirder...
In recent months, the state's Republican (i.e. nutjob teabagger) dominated legislature has proposed laws that are all sorts of crazy: one would make public school curriculum optional, another would thwart the efforts by police to protect the victims of domestic abuse, and another would require that every new law is based on the Magna Carta
After its attacks on education, women and sanity, the legislature is now setting its sights on the rights of workers:
A Republican State Representative in New Hampshire has found a way to create a new front in the war on workers, proposing a bill that would repeal the state’s law requiring that workers get a 30-minute lunch break after five hours of labor.
State Rep. J.R. Hoell (R), a supporter of libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president [figures], told a New Hampshire General Court committee this week that he believes the law is unnecessary because it is in employers’ interest to treat workers well, according to The Concord Monitor. 
His argument was seconded by state Rep. Kyle Jones (R), a 20-year-old Ron Paul backer who earned a seat in the New Hampshire General Court during the last election as part of a mother-son candidate slate. Jones said that his days working as a shift supervisor at Burger King taught him that employers will always treat employees well because human resources departments require it.
Hoell argues that Facebook can take the place of oppressive and fascistic state regulations such as mandatory breaks 
The bill’s sponsor, state representative J.R. Hoell, argued that companies failing to provide lunch breaks would be shamed over social media, thus rendering the law unnecessary. “If they are not letting people have lunch, they could put it out though the news media, though social media. I don’t think that abusive behavior would continue, the way communications are today,” he said.

It's so great that abusive employers are a thing of the past!! Oh, wait:
Of course, not every employer can be counted to to follow even the easiest of requirements to look after workers’ health and rights. Back in 2005, Walmart was forced to pay $172 million for denying workers their lunch breaks. Pyramid Breweries Inc. settled a case in 2008 for $1.5 million. Just a few months ago, California ordered Embassy Suites to pay workers tens of thousands of dollars for forcing them to skip breaks.
“The fact that in 2012, I would be even sitting in front of the Labor Committee talking about eliminating the lunch hour is outrageous,” said Mark MacKenzie, New Hampshire’s state AFL-CIO representative. “People should at least be able to be given the opportunity to eat.” Fortunately, the bill does not seem too appealing to most of the New Hampshire legislature, and the state House’s labor committee adjourned yesterday without voting on it.
 And this, my friends, is why elections matter. 

Oh, and can we all now agree that Ron Paul supporters are completely insane?

No comments: