Election victories, Nurses vote to strike & more

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Reflecting on the Election Results
  • Pro-Worker Legislative Candidates Elected Across Maine
  • Calais Nurses Vote to Authorize Strike to Force Firing of CEO
  • Nurse’s Union Members to Hold Democracy Rallies in Portland & Bangor
  • Green Valley Association Workers Secure Extension of Hazard Pay 
  • Maine Union Members Attend Jane McAlevey's "Strike School"

Reflecting on the Election Results

Union members canvassing union households all over Maine this week.


Over the last several months Maine union workers have organized, put in countless hours phone banking and visited thousands of union households from Madawaska to Kittery to elect pro-labor candidates. While we are dismayed that Speaker Sara Gideon was unable to prevail in the US Senate election, we are inspired by the hard work of so many union members in raising expectation of what we need from a Senator and helping to change minds about Senator Collins anti-labor record. 

“Despite what the polls said, we were always an underdog going up against a 24 year incumbent. Sen. Collins lost nearly 20 points since her last election. Maine voters sent a clear signal that we expect more from Senator Collins – real COVID relief, genuine support for working people and a robust defense of health care,” said Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney.

Mainers also voted to send two labor champions, Rep. Jared Golden and Rep. Chellie Pingree, back to Congress. Whatever the outcome of the Presidential election, we will continue to build broad based movements to fight for economic justice and workers rights in our workplaces, in Washington and Augusta.

Pro-Worker Legislative Candidates Elected Across Maine

Senators-elect Joe Rafferty and Chloe Maxmin


Many of our endorsed pro-labor candidates for the Maine Legislature were recently elected to the Legislature. Perhaps the most exciting victory on Tuesday was Rep. Chloe Maxmin of Nobleboro unseating House Minority Leader Dana Dow in the Lincoln County Senate race. Senator-elect Maxmin has been a true leader on labor issues and worked very closely with the Building Trades on a bill that increases union apprenticeship on clean energy projects. Chloe understands that we need to address both the climate crisis and the income equality crisis, so it’s critical to ensure that climate policies also uphold workers’ rights and create good-paying union jobs. 

We were also extremely pleased at the election of Maine Education Association member Joe Rafferty of Kennebunk to a York County Senate seat and AFT member Amy Roeder to a Bangor House seat. Both Joe and Amy attended our 2020 Worker Candidate Training program.

Other Maine AFL-CIO endorsed union members who won their elections Tuesday included:

Senate

Troy Jackson (Aroostook County - IAM/IUPAT) 

Chip Curry (Waldo County - UMPSA/MEA)

Dave Miramant (Knox County - ALPA)

House

Scott Cuddy (Winterport - IBEW 1253)

Kevin O’Connell (Brewer - IBEW 1837)

Mark Bryant (Windham - USW 1069)

Donna Doore (Augusta - MSEA)

Lydia Crafts (Newcastle - MEA)

Paige Zeigler (Montville - Master, Mates & Pilots)

Jan Dodge (Belfast - MEA)

Michelle Dunphy (Old Town - CWA 1400)

Mike Sylvester (Portland - UAW Writers Guild)

David McCrea (Fort Fairfield - MEA)

We will make sure that all of these lawmakers live up to their promises to fight for fair wages, worker protections and workers’ rights.

Calais Nurses Vote to Authorize Strike to Force Firing of CEO

MSNA members picketing Calais Regional Hospital in June, 2019.


Unionized employees at Calais Regional Hospital have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike in an effort to force the firing of the hospital CEO Rod Boula. The strike authorization vote came on the heels of a decision by 80 percent of the Maine State Nurses Association/NNU members at the facility to sign a “Petition of No Confidence” in Boula last week. 

In the Petition of No Confidence, the employees outlined several of their complaints against the CEO including allowing the hospital to remain in bankruptcy for over one year without a plan to fix the hospital’s financial problems or emerge from its bankruptcy, misspending hospital money on labor-relations attorneys, eliminating services, tripling out-of-pocket employee health insurance expenses and putting patient safety at risk by forcing employees to work back-to-back shifts over multiple days.

Nurses to Hold Democracy Car Rallies in Portland & Bangor

As the election results begin to trickle in from key battleground states, union members across the country are deeply concerned that the President is casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election and calling on election workers to stop counting absentee ballots despite overwhelming evidence that our elections are secure. The Maine Nurses Association/NNU will be holding two “Count Every Vote” car rallies in Portland and Bangorthis Saturday, November 7, at 11am. The rally in Portland will be begin at the Payson Park parking lot by the sliding hill and the Bangor caravan will start at the Waterfront parking lot at Railroad and Front Streets. 

Green Valley Association Workers Secure Extension of Hazard Pay 

Green Valley workers after voting on a contract last year.


MSEA-SEIU 1989 members at Green Valley Association have successfully bargained with management for an extension of hazard pay until November 30th. The Island Falls-based agency provides group home support services to people with developmental disabilities. Green Valley Association President Cindy Webb said it was a “bit of a struggle” to get the additional $2 an hour boost in pay, but it was very much needed, particularly as Maine is gripped by record numbers of COVID-19 cases.

“This is a really important win because there are a lot of risks in this job,” said Webb. “In addition to caring for our clients, we have extra cleaning that needs to be done and we’re the ones who have to go out into the community to do the shopping. Hazard pay recognizes the critical work that Green Valley workers do on the frontlines.”

Maine Union Members Attend Jane McAlevey's Strike School

34,000 LA Teachers on strike in January, 2019


A group of 50-plus Maine union members, leaders and labor activists joined over 2000 organizers from 70 countries in the latest class in organizer Jane McAlevey's "Organizing for Power" series. Over the course of six two-hour online classes in four weeks students learned organizing skills that included messaging that avoids characterizing the union as a third party, the power of the six-step organizing conversation (and how to have one), the difference between organizing and mobilizing, the importance of identifying organic leaders, mapping and charting methods that put organizing in the hands of workers, "Big Bargaining" that involved all members in negotiations, and much more.

The classes included talks from seasoned organizers who have organized and won big strikes or large union drives against strong opposition, as well as breakout groups to practice skills or discuss ideas both with our own local group and with groups including people from around the world.

Participants from Maine Team were enthusiastic about what they learned. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Joe Mailey from Machinists Local S6 - “I can't say enough of how much I enjoyed the course. The exposure to folks around the world facing the same issues as us was rather humbling for me. I would have to say that the concepts of both SOC work along with the whole charting process made the largest impact on me. “

Julie Dawkins from IBEW Local 2327 - “This class taught me that sometimes you have to approach situations with a new mindset. I've already put some of these skills to work with positive results. “

Carol Sanborn from Machinists Local S89 - “I didn’t approach 'Strike School' from a strike perspective, but rather with a view toward organizing. The concepts are applicable whether your goal is a successful strike, or developing an informed community. “

Marc Cryer, from the Bureau of Labor Education - “These tools are presented in enough detail to be of immediate use but flexible enough to fit into existing campaigns or organizing protocols. The Strike School provides a complete and well integrated model for organizing.”

If you would like to be informed when the 2021 class is announced, click here and fill out this form.