Join Our Labor Reading Group!

Members of the Maine AFL-CIO have started a new reading group to discuss labor related books and articles! Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney is hosting the reading group meetings in person at the Maine AFL-CIO office in Augusta and by Zoom video conference, so if you're interested please contact Cynthia — cynthia at maineaflcio dot org — and put "Reading Group" in the subject line. And visit our events page to find out when the next meeting is.

This month, the club is discussing veteran labor organizer Jane McAlevey's book "No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age," where she presents a dozen case studies of unions and social movements effecting change in the 21st century – what’s working and why. 

We encourage you to either purchase the book at a local bookstore, or if you want to purchase online, to purchase from Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. Powell’s workers have a union (ILWU Local 5) and if you got to the website from the link at, the union gets a commission on the sale, which they use for their strike fund.

Questions From a Worker Who Reads

By Bertolt Brecht 

Who built Thebes of the 7 gates ? 
In the books you will read the names of kings. 
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock ? 

And Babylon, many times demolished, 
Who raised it up so many times ? 

In what houses of gold glittering Lima did its builders live ? 
Where, the evening that the Great Wall of China was finished, did the masons go?

Great Rome is full of triumphal arches. 
Who erected them ? 

Over whom did the Caesars triumph ?  
Had Byzantium, much praised in song, only palaces for its inhabitants ? 

Even in fabled Atlantis, the night that the ocean engulfed it, 
The drowning still cried out for their slaves. 

The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone ? 

Caesar defeated the Gauls. 
Did he not even have a cook with him ? 

Philip of Spain wept when his armada went down. 
Was he the only one to weep ?  

Frederick the 2nd won the 7 Years War. 
Who else won it ? 

Every page a victory. 
Who cooked the feast for the victors ?  

Every 10 years a great man. 
Who paid the bill ? 

So many reports.  

So many questions.