The popular definition of insanity is often quoted as “doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.” While widely attributed to Albert Einstein, recognizing this truth doesn’t necessarily require genius. It appears this legislative session in the concept of Right-To-Work. It deprives workers of their freedom to join together and form unions if they choose. Proponents claim it protects workers from being forced to join a union, but federal law already does that.

It is making its 30th appearance at the State House, and this marks at least my ninth time testifying against it—an exercise that seems to perfectly fit the definition mentioned above.

I can’t help but wonder what continues to drive the reintroduction of this proposal. Over the years, testimony has repeatedly pointed to lobbyists (often not from the Granite State) advocating for it. The argument put forth is that businesses will flock to New Hampshire if this legislation is enacted. But is that really the case?

If I were a business owner considering relocation or establishment in a new location, my priorities would include ensuring the availability of a skilled workforce and confirming that the chosen state has the necessary infrastructure to support business needs, families, and overall prosperity. I would focus on affordable workforce housing, reasonable energy costs, robust apprentice programs, and well-established training schools.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire currently ranks 45th in post-secondary education (according to U.S. News), holds the 4th position in the need for affordable housing (NH Business Review), and claims the 5th spot for the highest energy costs in the nation (according to the New Hampshire Department of Energy).

Would it not be more beneficial for Granite State citizens if our elected officials focused on finding solutions to support the construction of affordable worker housing in our towns and municipalities? Implementing a multi-pronged approach to address our high energy costs would also significantly contribute to attracting businesses and workers alike.

As the president of a small business here in New Hampshire, I can provide firsthand insight into how the high energy costs and the shortage of affordable housing have adversely affected how we conduct our business. I will also tell you that our staff is unionized. While it may pose challenges occasionally, I can attest that it constitutes a dedicated and highly motivated workforce, contributing to the overall improvement of our business.

I can also tell you that small business owners face the same challenges. This sentiment is echoed by both Republicans and Democrats, as I’ve heard firsthand at events like the NHGOP FITN Summit, where even Republican candidates for president fielded questions about the workforce. The bottom line is that we must prioritize our workforce and housing needs with intensity for years to come. While there’s no quick fix, this dedicated effort will create good jobs, expand our economy, and provide steadfast support for our workforce. By doing so, we set an example for the nation and redefine the New Hampshire way for the future, moving beyond the pitfalls of the past.


Rich Gulla is the President of the State Employees’ Association.

He lives in Hillsborough, NH.