Maine Bands to Host Concert for FairPoint Strikers
December 18, 2014
For generations, legendary folk singers and everyday musicians have hit both the stage and the picket line to sing Florence Reece’s immortal classic, “Which Side Are You On?”
And as FairPoint workers in New England hold the line during a two-month-long strike, it’s looking increasingly like the public, working families and even local musicians know exactly which side they’re on.
To lend their support, popular area bands in Portland, Maine, are hosting a holiday “FunkFest for FairPoint Strikers” on Dec. 22. The concert serves as a fundraiser for the nearly 2,000 IBEW and CWA members who have been on strike since Oct. 17.
“The community support we’ve received has been amazing,” said Augusta, Maine, Local 2327 Business Manager Peter McLaughlin, who chairs the unions’ bargaining committee. “People aren’t just writing us checks, they’re walking our picket lines, they’re coming to our rallies and now they’re literally singing our song. We can’t thank these musicians enough – and the people all across Maine – who are standing with us to win a fair deal for New England.”
So far, fundraising has yielded about $150,000 in donations for the workers. Other support has included hundreds of Thanksgiving turkeys and food baskets from the Maine nonprofit Food AND Medicine. Strikers have also received tens of thousands of dollars in grocery store gift cards, and Local 2327 has launched an online toy drive for members’ children.
IBEW International Representative Bob Erickson said that the outpouring of community generosity has boosted striker morale. “It signifies once again that we have support from the general public, and that more and more workers are concerned about the direction corporate America is taking with its employees.”
About 1,700 striking FairPoint workers comprise IBEW System Council T-9, which includes Manchester, N.H., Local 2320; Montpelier, Vt., 2326; and Augusta Local 2327.
“FunkFest for FairPoint Strikers” concert information:
For more information on Local 2327’s holiday toy drive, click here.