PHOTO: Chris Hodgkin (IBEW 2327) testifies in support of a labor harmony bill.
On Tuesday, the Labor & Housing Committee held a public hearing for LD 373, which would ensure when the State of Maine leases state land for clean energy development, uses public money to install or upgrade broadband internet access or contracts for public transit and that workers have strong organizing rights on these projects through labor peace agreements. Union members from Ironworkers 7, ATU, IBEW 2327 & 1837 and the Maine Building & Construction Trades Council testified in support of the measure.
A labor harmony agreement is a contract between a contractor and a union in which the employer agrees to be neutral during a union organizing campaign and not interfere with workers efforts to organize a union.
As Maine AFL-CIO Legislative & Political Director Adam Goode told the committee, the bill is necessary because Maine is receiving a once-in-a-generation injection of federal money from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to transform our climate, energy and broadband infrastructure to ensure every Mainer has access to high-speed internet and achieving 80 percent renewable power by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
The proposal would only apply to a limited set of areas and builds on information from the other states and jurisdictions that have similar laws and practices in place in order to make certain that work happens as expected. The committee will hold a work session on the bill in the coming weeks.