New Hampshire Citizens Alliance

NHCA Testimony in SUPPORT of HB 1346

01.19.2016

NH HOUSE LABOR, INDUSTRIAL and REHABILITATIVE SERVICES

Brief Organization Background:  New Hampshire Citizens Alliance (NHCA) is a 501(c)3 state wide non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to social, economic, racial, and political justice.  Our membership comprises over 20,000 Granite Staters from both sides of the aisle.  After nearly 40 years NH Citizens Alliance continues to lead the movement for social and economic justice in the Granite State.  We focus on creating a more engaged electorate through issue education, leadership development and voter engagement and mobilization.  We work on local, state, and federal issues and have built a strong reputation for advocating for policies that invest in people over profits, including access to quality, affordable health care and smart budget investments.

Central to our work is a women's economic justice framework.  This is because women are central to our families and our economy. We know that more women than ever are working outside the home, heading households and leading in the workplace. Therefore, we must take action now to ensure that women have equal rights and receive fair treatment on the job, in health care and in the new economy.

Instead of limiting reproductive rights, voting rights and protecting outdated workplace policies that discriminate against women, our priority in New Hampshire is to guarantee full and fair opportunities for women in the new economy and take care of their families.

NHCA Testimony in SUPPORT of HB 1346:

 New Hampshire must begin to Stand with the women and families who are working hard every day trying to meet the basic needs of their children.  In the restaurant industry this scenario is especially true for women where nationally 66% of tipped workers are women and 21% of tipped workers in New Hampshire are parents. 
Since the majority of tipped waged workers are women and mothers providing for their families, paying them a sub-minimum wage is supporting legislated pay inequity thus perpetuating the gender equity gap.  New Hampshire can do better for working women and their families.
Furthermore, sub-minimum wage requires tipped workers to garner the bulk of their wages from gratuities.  This system often results in women having to simply “shut up and put up” with harassment on the job to secure their income.  The restaurant industry accounts for 37% of sexual harassment claims.  New Hampshire can do better for working women and stop supporting the view that sexual harassment is a huge Human Resource issue in every other work setting except in the restaurant industry where it is viewed as “part of the job.”
Tipped workers live in poverty at more than twice the rate of the workforce in New Hampshire.  This results in 7% of New Hampshire tipped restaurant workers using food stamps and an $8,731,054 annual cost to New Hampshire tax payers o f tipped restaurant workers in New Hampshire relying on food stamps and Medicaid.  Meanwhile the House will soon debate how to cover much needed reauthorization of Medicaid expansion.  The biggest issue for reauthorization is the 10% of the total cost the state of New Hampshire will be required to cover.  Let’s pay our workers the worth of their jobs and move New Hampshire women and families off of public assistance; saving our tax payer dollars and in turn allowing our state to cover its 10% share to provide critical health coverage to those who need it most.
Please Stand with Women and New Hampshire Families and vote HB 1346 Ought to Pass.

Thank you for your time and dedication to New Hampshire.

Sincerely,     

Kary Jencks, Executive Director - NHCA            kjencks@nhcitizensalliance.org