Augusta KVCAP Drivers Vote to Unionize!

Drivers Join Machinists Union to Improve their Jobs and Services they Provide to the Community

Seventeen drivers with Kennebec Valley Community Action Partners (KVCAP) in Augusta voted overwhelmingly on Monday, March 18, to form a union and affiliate with the International Association of Machinist (IAM) District Lodge 4. Driver Peter Nielsen of Winthrop, said he voted to form the union so that drivers would have more influence in agency decisions and to improve working conditions and services for their clients.

“Our experience as drivers can now be a part of the formal decision-making process and that will strengthen the organization and help better serve our passengers,” said Nielsen. “When our working conditions and when our job descriptions are up for discussion, we want a seat at the table.”

CAP agencies were established as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in the 1960s as a way to fight poverty and empower low-income individuals. KVCAP drivers provide rides to low-income Mainers to medical appointments, drug treatment and work.

“By banding together, KVCAP drivers will be able to use their collective voice to improve their wages and working conditions and they will have more influence in ensuring safer, more reliable services for the vulnerable populations they serve,” said Jay Wadleigh of Machinists District Lodge 4.“When working people get organized, everyone benefits.”

Nielsen says he truly enjoys his job serving fellow Mainers and as a union member it will be even better.

“I love it. I absolutely love it,” said Nielsen. “I’m 66 years old, I retired from a job that was pretty stressful and I look forward to coming to work now. This is the perfect job for me at this point in my life.”

The drivers at KVCAP will be forming a bargaining committee to negotiate a first contract with KVCAP.   The Machinists represents workers in the public and private sector throughout Maine.