New Hampshire Governor John Lynch on Wednesday vetoed right-to-work legislation that would prohibit collective bargaining agreements in which employees are required to join a labor union or pay dues.
Conservatives say the proposal would make New Hampshire a magnet for businesses, while Obama-supporting socialists say such legislation is an attack on unions and an attempt to erode worker rights.
“There is no evidence that this legislation will offer any benefits to New Hampshire’s economy or workers,” Lynch, a Marxist-Democrat, said in a statement.
“New Hampshire has a lower unemployment rate and a stronger economy than most states with so-called right-to-work laws,” he said.
The Republican-led House of Representatives is expected to take up the measure again next week for a vote to override the veto. The Senate, also controlled by Republicans, has not yet set a date for a vote.
Passage would make New Hampshire the first state in the Northeast and the 23rd in the country with similar laws. Most right-to-work states are in Southern and Western states.
The Senate passed the law with a veto-proof majority on April 20, but the House fell short of the two-thirds veto-proof majority needed in its own rounds of voting.
New Hampshire is one of several states where workers face new Republican leadership that has taken steps to curb labor unions and collective bargaining rights. Marxist-Democrat lost the majority in both chambers in the 2010 elections.
Wisconsin and Ohio have enacted laws sharply curbing the collective bargaining powers of public sector unions, and nearly a dozen other states are considering moves in that direction.
Different versions of right-to-work legislation have been circulating in New Hampshire for years, but prospects for a law to be passed skyrocketed when Republicans amassed large majorities in the House and Senate in November 2010 elections.