Grassroots Voices for
Economic Justice

a project of the Center for Community Change Action

Granite State Organizing Project (NH)

Op-ed on New Hampshire minimum wage fight

Op-ed on New Hampshire minimum wage fight

Sarah Jane Knoy, the Executive Director of the Granite State Organizing Project, had  an op-ed published on April 28th in the Nashua Telegraph about the fight for a higher minimum wage in New Hampshire, which GSOP is helping to lead.

She writes “With 42 percent of Americans today earning less than $15 per hour and New Hampshire’s minimum wage frozen since 2009, low-wage workers are long over­due for a raise. In 2014, 117,350 New Hampshire workers, or 19 percent of our state’s labor force, earned less than $15 per hour. Included in that number were 2,720 substitute teachers, 2,710 child care workers, 5,340 per­sonal care aides, and 1,650 home health aides. Both the best research and on-the-ground experience show that boosting the minimum wage would begin to reverse widening inequality in the state and help, not hurt, New Hampshire’s economy.”

NH Ambassador Fred Robinson LTE in Concord Monitor

NH Ambassador Fred Robinson LTE in Concord Monitor

Letter: Support seniors and veterans

For the Concord Monitor

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

In Sen. Ayotte’s March 11 newsletter to constituents, she expressed her excitement that the Senate had passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. She stated that the bipartisan effort passed on a 91-1 vote and that she had asked Speaker Paul Ryan to swiftly pass the CARA Act in the House so it would be quickly sent to the president for his signature. All of that is indeed good news. If only Sen. Ayotte would put a similar effort into Senate passage of the Seniors and Veterans Benefits Act (S. 2251), which is floundering in the Senate Finance Committee.

The act would provide a one-time $580 payment to New Hampshire seniors and veterans who will not be receiving a COLA increase this year. The temporary increase would be paid for by closing a loophole that allows corporations to write off executive bonuses as an expense for “performance pay.”

In a separate communication dated Feb. 26, Sen. Ayotte stated that she would “keep your thought in mind should S.2251 or relevant legislation be considered by the full Senate.”

Although Ayotte is not a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I am sure she could encourage committee members to bring the Save the Benefits Act to the floor for a vote. She could also ask Speaker Ryan to bring House Bill H.R. 4144 to the House floor for a vote. H.R. 4144 is a companion bill to S.2251.

Surely Sen. Ayotte can support New Hampshire’s seniors and veterans who see their medical and other cost-of-living expenses rising but not their earned benefits.

FRED ROBINSON

Goffstown

Building a Caring Economy event in New Hampshire

Building a Caring Economy event in New Hampshire

On January 23, the Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP), CCC and other partners including Rights and Democracy, the Maine People’s Alliance, the Vermont Workers’ Center, and the New Jersey Organizing Project held an important day-long event in Concord called “Building a Caring Economy that Works for New Hampshire Families.” Roughly 150 people came together in workshops throughout the morning and in a series of panels and salon style conversations between grassroots leaders, academics, and elected officials.

The assembled community members dug deep into what it would really take to build a caring economy. GSOP youth leader Adol Mashut spoke to the struggles of low wage workers, sharing her powerful story of working in terrible conditions at a factory under a temp agency as a teen, to help her family make ends meet. Other leaders dug into the complex realities of rural poverty, the devastating impacts of climate change on frontline communities, energy-driven “economic development,” environmentalist concerns, and the struggles of organized labor to move toward a clean energy economy while defending the survival of their members.

LTE from Grassroots Ambassador Fred Robinson

LTE from Grassroots Ambassador Fred Robinson

Grassroots Ambassador Fred Robinson calls for support of the SAVE Benefits Act sponsored by Elizabeth Warren in the Senate and Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the House, a bill that would extend a one-time cost of living increase to all Social Security beneficiaries in 2016 and pay for it by closing a tax loophole which allows corporate CEOs to write off their bonuses. 

From the Concord Monitor

Letter: Support the SAVE Act

For the Monitor

Two-thirds of American seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income. It’s the only thing keeping about 15 million of them out of poverty. Ninety-three thousand New Hampshire citizens were lifted out of poverty by Social Security in 2012. They depend on their modest monthly payments, but this year they will not receive a cost-of-living increase unless Congress takes action.

There is now a bill before the Senate that would provide a 3.9 percent ($580) emergency one-time payment to seniors, veterans and others who would otherwise see no COLA increase. The Seniors And Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act makes sure seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and other Americans are able to make ends meet. It provides 70 million Americans with an emergency payment in 2016.

Costs of the payments will be covered by closing corporate compensation loopholes. The act closes the “performance pay” loophole that costs us billions annually in tax subsidies for runaway corporate executive compensation packages. This idea has bipartisan support.

Seniors, veterans and other voters should not be asked to select from a list of “party and large donor approved” choices. It is time to stop asking candidates and elected representatives what they will do about Social Security, or any other issue, and instead tell them what we want them to do.

Senate Bill 2251, the Seniors And Veterans Emergency Benefits Act, should be supported by Sens. Ayotte and Shaheen if they are working to strengthen Social Security as they purport to be doing.

FRED ROBINSON

Goffstown

New Hampshire Ambassadors meet with Rep. Guinta

New Hampshire Ambassadors meet with Rep. Guinta

On October 26, a group of Grassroots Ambassadors met with Congressman Frank Guinta to talk about Social Security and Medicare. Rep.Guinta said that he’s in favor of protecting Social Security and making it solvent for the next 100 years, but didn’t commit to raising the cap. We discussed the importance of the caregiver credit, and the Congressman said he would look into the Caregiver Credit Act bill introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey.

Letter from GSOP Ambassador on Social Security anniversary

Letter from GSOP Ambassador on Social Security anniversary

From the Concord Monitor

Letter: Remembering Winant

LTE for Social Security birthday by GSOP ambassador

LTE for Social Security birthday by GSOP ambassador

From the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Happy 80th anniversary to Social Security

At the 4th of July Parade in New Hampshire

At the 4th of July Parade in New Hampshire

Leaders from the Granite State Organizing Project joined other partner groups in marching for the 4th of July parade with banners and signs calling for the protection and expansion of Social Security.

Letter from NH Ambassador Fred Robinson: “Creating crisis”

Letter from NH Ambassador Fred Robinson: “Creating crisis”

From the Concord Monitor


Another manufactured crisis seems to be under construction in Congress. This time its aim is to drive wedges between those receiving their earned Social Security benefits, those receiving Social Security disability and those who will receive those benefits in the future.

On the first day of the new session, the House of Representatives approved a new rule that could cut disability benefits by nearly 20 percent. Until about two weeks ago our Congress has been able to reallocate funds between the larger Social Security fund and the Social Security Disability Fund. There is no reason it cannot reallocate funds again as it has in the past. Creating a false crisis for ideological reasons will create a real crisis for citizens with disabilities who have paid into the disability fund and need the benefits they have earned.

To say that persons receiving their disability benefits only have a “mood disorder” and morning “back aches” is simply inferring that they are gaming the system. An inference meant to drive another wedge into the electorate in hopes they will not see what is really going on. Elected representatives should be strengthening Social Security programs, not trying to dismantle them.

FRED ROBINSON

Goffstown

Amherst, NH July 4 parade

Amherst, NH July 4 parade

New Hampshire Grassroots Ambassadors turned out strong for the Amherst 4th of July parade!

The Granite State Organizing Project was joined by the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.  Lots of waves and thumbs up for our senior safety net programs!

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