April 2011

Maine Workers Tell Gov.:
'We Need Good Jobs, Not Partisan Attacks'
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Activists in Maine are gearing up to take on their own wave of anti-worker legislation as Gov. Paul LePage announces plans to go ahead with introducing a right-to-work bill.

The Republican governor—elected last November—told Politico in February that he would "push forcefully ahead with right-to-work legislation" in his state, even if it means a Wisconsin-style fight with unions.

LePage told the newspaper that Mainers want jobs and they "don't care if they're union jobs or nonunion jobs. They just want a paycheck."

"What he is saying is that we don't care about good jobs," says Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry, who is also serves as Portland Local 567's training director.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, wages of workers in right-to-work states are more than 3 percent lower than those that allow for fair share dues check off.

"The Maine economy has been plagued by too many jobs that offer minimum wage and nonexistent benefits and LePage is adding to the problem," Berry says. "We need good middle-class jobs, not ones that keep our workers stuck in poverty."

A right-to-work law would also add to the red tape many businesses face by imposing a whole new string of regulations that get between employers and their employees. "[The governor] wants the state to go in and tell employees how they can bargain with their workers and whether or not they can choose to recognize a union," Berry says.

LePage is also targeting public workers, slashing retirement and health care benefits for teachers and other public employees, while giving out tax breaks to the wealthy.


Read more: THE WAR ON WORKERS: Favorites Draw Record Votes

Read more: Wisconsin Ground Zero for Attacks on Workers

Read more: Ohio Workers Stand Up to Anti-Worker Legislation

Read more: New Hampshire: 'The Toughest Fight Yet'

Read more: Florida Workers: Standing Together

Read more: Indiana Right-to-Work Effort Derailed by Labor Pushback

Read more: Meanwhile, Back in Washington, D.C.:
GOP Plan Calls for Gutting Rights, Slashing Jobs

Read more: Activists Keep up the Pressure on Michigan Lawmakers

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