Thousands rally in NH against budget proposal

AP News
Posted: Mar 31, 2011 2:14 PM
Thousands rally in NH against budget proposal

Several thousand demonstrators have rallied in front of New Hampshire's Statehouse in Concord to protest proposed spending cuts and a provision that would strip public employees of their union protection when their contracts expire.

The rally on the plaza and lawn Thursday coincided with the state House debate on its $10.2 billion proposed budget.

Inside, Republican House Speaker William O'Brien temporarily closed the House gallery after an outburst during the debate on the House budget. Democrats challenged his ruling, but lost in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Labor unions are galvanized against the proposed policy change that attempts to force public employees to make major concessions at the bargaining table before their contracts expire or become at-will employees whose wages and benefits can be changed by employers.

Organizers said 139 organizations were participating in the rally to protest spending cuts affecting services for everything from the mentally ill to child care for low income mothers.