A Republican Right to Work bill in the state of New Hampshire failed in a 199-175 vote Wednesday afternoon. Every Democrat voted against the bill, and they were joined by 20 Republicans in opposition. 

As NHJournal has reported, establishing a Right to Work law would mean that no person could be compelled to join a union as a condition of employment. If the measure was passed and signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu, New Hampshire would have become the first Right to Work state in the Northeast.

Supporters of the legislation say that it’s a simple First Amendment issue and that no one should be forced to join a union, or any group, if they don’t want to. They also say that Right to Work states have better economies than their non-Right to Work counterparts.

Despite the failure, advocates for the legislation say they will continue the fight.

“Right to Work supporters remain fully committed to ending forced unionism in New Hampshire, and I’m confident they will be back with even more energy next year to put Right to Work over the top,” said National Right to Work President Mark Mix. “It’s been a multi-year battle to pass a state Right to Work law, but one that’s been getting closer and closer over time as it becomes more and more apparent that not only is forced unionism wrong, but Right to Work will benefit the state’s economy.”

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group, agreed.

“We are disappointed that lawmakers voted to continue the status quo that forces workers to decide whether to support their families and keep more of what they earn or risk losing their job,” said AFP New Hampshire State Director Greg Moore. “The House missed a great opportunity to strengthen our New Hampshire Advantage and increase our state’s economic competitiveness. This fight isn’t over, Americans for Prosperity will continue working to ensure that no New Hampshire employee is forced to pay for something they don’t want.” 

Despite their hopes, any Right to Work legislation appears to be dead for at least two years. After the legislation failed, the House voted for indefinite postponement, meaning no similar legislation can be brought up until 2023 unless two-thirds of the lower chamber votes to suspend its rules.

House Democrats praised the killing of the legislation. 

“Today the New Hampshire House of Representatives upheld a long history of beating back dangerous right-to-work legislation,” said Rep. Brian Sullivan (D-Grantham). This result shows that no amount of arm twisting and berating by House Republican Leadership or the Governor’s Office could dissuade Democrats and our Republican allies from standing up for workers across the state.”

Right to Work legislation in New Hampshire is supported by an overwhelming majority of Granite Staters. On Tuesday, a poll from the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy showed that a massive 70 percent of New Hampshire voters are in favor, with only 22 percent in opposition.

On the Federal level, Democrats are trying to kill any Right to Work legislation as well. Both of New Hampshire’s members of Congress, Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster, cosponsored the PRO Act which passed the House in March. And both of the state’s U.S. Senators have said they will support it.

Conservatives say the PRO Act “would upend the labor market in the U.S.”