Higher Pay & MLK

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Join ATU 714 in Supporting Bangor Bus Hub
  • In Memory of Union Sister Louise Parker
  • 170,000 Mainers Receive Wage Increases
  • Martin Luther King Jr Day Events Across the State
  • Arbitration Victory for Unjustly Terminated Lineworker

Join ATU 714 in Supporting Bangor Bus Hub


The Eastern Maine Labor Council, AFL-CIO is urging members to turn out to support the Pickering Square bus hub at a Bangor City Council workshop at City Hall on Monday, January 13 at 5:15pm. The city’s bus system has recently received a $1.29 million federal grant to construct a new transit center in downtown Bangor, which is fueling a debate about whether to move the downtown bus hub from Pickering Square. However, two expensive studies commissioned by the city have already concluded that the hub should stay where it is.

Bus driver Dave Lister, a leader in the Bangor branch of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 714, says his members support keeping the bus hub at Pickering Square because it’s the most accessible spot from all of the bus routes that go to a central location for exchanges.

“There’s not another spot downtown that could handle that traffic and still be convenient for the people who walk to local businesses on Main Street,” said Lister. “We also have a lot of elderly people on our buses who use wheelchairs and if we were to move it away from there those people would have tremendous difficulty getting to a new hub.”

In Memory of Union Sister Louise Parker

Louise with her brother Richard, singing for solidarity. (June 1988 Maine Labor News).


Our hearts go out to the family of our union sister Louise Parker of Livermore Falls, who passed away on New Year’s Day. Louise was a very active participant in the Jay paper strike of 1987-88 and would sing at every mass meeting with her band the Union Picketers. She also headed the UPIU Local 14 food bank during the strike. Louise was a dedicated, hardworking and passionate member of the Maine labor movement. We will greatly miss her. Here is her obituary.

Mainers Receive Higher Pay, Overtime Boosts with Minimum Wage Increase

On New Years Day, roughly 170,000 Maine workers received pay raises due to an automatic increase in the minimum wage, which is now at $12 per hour. At the same time, the Maine Beacon reports that 1,600 Mainers will be eligible for overtime as the overtime salary eligibility threshold, which is set at 3,000 times the minimum wage, will increase from $33,000 to $36,000. This means that certain salaried workers who make less than $36,000 will be eligible for time-and-a-half pay if they work over 40 hour a week.

The Maine AFL-CIO organized and campaigned hard to bargain a raise for one in three Maine workers at the ballot box via referendum in 2016. The minimum wage referendum law is putting more money in the pockets of so many Mainers. However, $12 an hour is still not enough for people to survive and we to continue to support the right of workers to organize and demand a fair share of the wealth they create.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events Across the State


Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for the cause of racial justice and workers’ rights and on Monday, January, 20, Mainers across the state will be celebrating his life and work and recommitting to the struggle for justice. Below is a partial list of MLK events in Maine. Registering in advance is highly recommended as tickets are limited.

Arbitration Victory for Unjustly Terminated Lineworker


Tom Hardison, a First Class Lineworker and member of IBEW 1837 for more than 25 years, has been reinstated after being unjustly fired, according to the union. When he was fired in 2018, the union conducted an investigation and determined that EmeraMaine did not have just cause to terminate Tom’s employment. 

When the company was unwilling to modify his discipline, IBEW 1837 brought the case to a neutral third party arbitrator, which agreed that the firing was unjust and ordered the company to reinstate Tom. It also awarded him all but 60 days of his lost pay and benefits for the time he was gone. This victory is yet another example of how when workers band together and support one another, justice prevails!