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Maine AFL-CIO Moves Legislation to Strengthen Labor Education in Maine

Andy O’Brien
03 Jan, 2022
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A public hearing for our bill (LD 1816) to strengthen labor education in Maine and create the “Dr. Charles A. Scontras Labor Center” at the University of Southern Maine will be on Wednesday, January 12 at 9:30 on Zoom in the Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. Supporters will have the opportuntity to testify on Zoom. Email for more information!

Charlie Scontras was Maine's great labor historian. He wrote dozens of books on Maine labor history and inspired many of us to learn from the collective struggles of workers and unions who have come before us.  More than any other human being, he kept alive thousands of stories of Maine workers, our unions and the long fight for rights, dignity and organization in the workplace. 

Charlie passed away earlier this year at the age of 91. We wanted to figure out a way to honor Charlie and to continue his life's work around labor education. That's why the Maine AFL-CIO, the Southern Maine Labor Council and Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau have developed legislation to strengthen labor education in Maine and create the “Dr. Charles A. Scontras Labor Center” at the University of Southern Maine.   

The bill, “An Act to Honor Dr. Charles A. Scontras and Promote Labor Education through the University of Maine system,” sponsored by Speaker Ryan Fecteau, will increase funding for the University of Maine's Bureau of Labor Education to expand its important work.

It will also will provide funding to establish a new labor and community education center at USM - named in honor of Charlie - focused on providing lifelong community-based labor education, research and outreach. 

If passed, the center will offer labor education for students, unions and especially the community at large as well as host regular trainings and workshops, policy seminars, working class oral history projects, conferences, symposia, speakers and films that address issues of concern to Maine's working people such as labor law and workers’ rights, discrimination, labor history, quality of work life and lots more. 

This legislation will strengthen labor education throughout our great state. We're going to need your help to pass this bill into law, whether it’s spreading the word to fellow union members and our allies, contacting your legislators or testifying in Augusta. Please email if you would like to be involved in this campaign!