Extend the Lifeline to Maine Workers

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Laid Off Workers Call on Senators to Extend Unemployment Benefits
  • Maine AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidates Win Primary Elections
  • Union Members Show Up to Support Local S6 Brothers & Sisters
  • Machinists Union to Hold Guide Dog Charity Golf Tournament — Aug. 21
  • EMLC Delivers “COVID Solidarity Response” Meals to Frontline Workers

Laid Off Workers Call on Senators to Extend Unemployment

Machinists Local S6 member Jake and Jennifer Frost with their children Kenneth and Reagan.


Last week, unemployed workers and small business owners met with the staff of Senators Angus King and Susan Collins to urge them to extend the extra $600 in weekly supplemental unemployment assistance that is set to expire on July 25th. The group, which was assembled by the Maine AFL-CIO through our Unemployment Assistance Group, gave heartfelt, impassioned testimonies about how cutting this lifeline it will result in many Maine families becoming severely financially strained or even homeless.

Jennifer Frost of Farmingdale is a therapist in private practice who is out of work due to COVID because she typically works in schools, which closed in March and most children have not been able to adapt to online appointments. Speaking to a Collins staffer on Thursday, Jennifer pointed out that she and her family can normally budget for emergencies, but her husband Jake is on strike with Local S6 at Bath Iron Works, so they are temporarily dependent on her income from unemployment.

“This $600 a week is the difference between being able to afford our daily living expenses and staying in our house,” said Jennifer. “Between losing my husband’s income and health insurance due to the strike and my income due to schools closing down, the $600 is holding us together. I consider us middle class, but at this point we’re really struggling.” 

Senator King’s staff said he is supportive of the extension, but Senator Collins says she is concerned that some low wage workers are making a little more than they were in their previous jobs. We urge you to contact Senator Collins and tell her why this extension is important to Maine families.

Maine AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidates Win Primary Elections

It was good day for working people on primary Election Day as nearly all of the candidates the Maine AFL-CIO endorsed won their primary elections. House Speaker Sara Gideon, whom the Maine AFL-CIO endorsed earlier this month, won her race and will now go head to head with Senator Susan Collins. Collins has consistently voted against workers by supporting anti-labor judges and tax cuts for the super wealthy and corporations. Speaker Gideon has pledged to support the PRO Act which would repeal destructive anti-union policies and ban so-called right-to-work laws that have greatly damaged the labor movement over the past 70 years. 

Five out of the six legislative candidates the Maine AFL-CIO endorsed also won their primary elections, including AFT member and State House candidate Amy Roeder (D-Bangor). Other pro-labor primary victors included Senate candidates Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec), Joe Baldacci (D-Bangor) and Anne Carney (D-Cumberland) as well as House candidate Rebecca Millett (D- Cape Elizabeth). We congratulate all these candidates and will make sure they live up to their campaign promises when they get to Augusta!

Union Members Show Up to Support Local S6 Brothers & Sisters

Members of National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 301 with Local S6 President Chris Wiers


As the strike at Bath Iron Works enters its fifth week, the Southern Maine Labor Council’s Labor Caravan rolled into town this past Thursday afternoon to support Local S6 members on the picket lines in Bath. Over the past several weeks, union members from Maine and other states have showed up to show their solidarity, including the Bath Fire fighters, MSEA SEIU 1989, APWU 458, NPMHU 301, IBEW 2327, IBEW 1837, IBEW 567, USW 449, USW 9, IATSE 114, IAM 2740, IAM S89 and Machinists Union members from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Please consider coming out to support our brothers and sisters at BIW and don't forget to wear masks and practice social distancing! If your union would like to adopt a day on the picket line email Sarah Bigney, [email protected].

Machinists Union to Host Charity Golf Tournament — Aug. 21

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 4 will be holding its 3rdAnnual Charity Golf Tournament to benefit Guide Dogs of America at 1pm on August 21 at the Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray. Since its founding through donations by the IAMAW in 1948, Guide Dogs of America in has helped blind men and women recover their ability to move freely and regain independence by providing them with free seeing eye dogs. Members of the public can pledge a donation to the event by sending a text to 41444 and typing “DL4” and the dollar amount. For more information call IAMAW Lodge 4 at 207-407-1222 or visit Guide Dogs for America's website.

Eastern Maine Labor Council & Food and Medicine Deliver Meals to Frontline Workers

Volunteers and Food & Medicine staff discussing meal deliveries last week.


Recently, the Eastern Maine Labor Council, AFL-CIO and Food and Medicine rolled out the second phase of their "Covid Solidarity Response" by raising over $10,000 to purchase meals from local restaurants and delivering them to front-line workers and Mainers in need. The groups sent 25 meals from Humble Comfort Food and Spirits to the health care workers at Bangor Nursing and Rehab and brought 40 meals provided by Tiller & Rye and Biggi's Bread, to the drivers (ATU 714) and staff of the Community Connector, the regional public bus system.

Volunteers said they wanted to support these frontline workers because of the risks they take every day to support our most vulnerable neighbors. Since the onset of the pandemic, 71 ATU union members, and well over 100 transit workers nationwide, union or otherwise, have died due to the Coronavirus. Over half of Maine’s Coronavirus deaths have been at nursing homes. If you would like to donate specifically to to the Covid Solidarity Response Fund, click here.