Ruger VP: NH Was Dismissed Due to Right to Work Status

The following is a partial transcript of the testimony of the Thomas P. Sullivan North Sutton, NH VP at Sturm, Ruger & Company. Inc, given during the Labor committee’s public hearing on SB11 in Representatives Hall:

My name is Tom Sullivan. I am a resident of North Sutton, New Hampshire, and I am also the vice president of Newport operations for Sturm Ruger. We’re the world’s leading manufacturer of firearms and we employ 1,200 people at our Newport, NH campus, and we are the largest employer in Sullivan County.

I am here today to voice my support for [SB 11], the Right to Work Act. I believe this is good law and makes good sense for a number of reasons. First of all, if signed into law, this bill would promote and enhance the personal freedoms that are the hallmark of our state. We have a rich heritage here of valuing and promoting personal freedoms. In fact, this is embodied in our state motto, “Live Free or Die.”

The bill itself is designed to maximize individual freedom of choice, and I couldn’t agree with that more. Secondly, and probably more importantly this bill will help NH attract business and workers and promote itself as a good place to do business. No other state in New England has such a law, so this law would really distinguish us from our neighboring states.

As you are undoubtedly aware, New England states are hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs to states that are more friendly to conducting business. There’s a lot of work to do, but this law would provide a solid foundation for New Hampshire to start building that reputation as a state that welcomes companies, along with those jobs, economic stability, and growth that come with them.

Up until 4 years ago, Ruger had 2 primary manufacturing operations, Newport, NH and Prescott, AZ. As we grew, we ran out of space to house our manufacturing operations and started looking for a suitable location. We developed a list of criteria for expansion, a decision matrix if you will, one of which is the new place would have to be in a right to work state. Given that requirement, NH was automatically dismissed out of hand.

We are not unique. Based on some of the things I’ve read, up to 75% of companies looking to expand cite right to work as an important consideration and typically half these companies will not even consider moving to a state that does not have right to work guarantees. So if we want to be a serious contender for new jobs passing this law will move us one step closer to that goal.