Maine Med Nurses are Voting & More!

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Maine Med Nurses Are Voting!
  • IAM Local S7 Ratifies Contract with Solid Pay Raises & Better Benefits
  • Call Senators King and Collins and Tell Them to Support the PRO Act
  • American Jobs Plan will Strengthen Workers’ Rights & Rebuild Our Infrastructure 
  • Firefighters Win Major Gains in American Rescue Plan
  • Union Members Nominated for Workers’ Comp Board
  • When Bosses Marched Workers to the Ballot Box

Maine Med Nurses Are Voting!

Nancy Begert and Mary Kate O’Sullivan, RNs at Maine Med, proudly cast their ballots for their union.


Last week, the National Labor Relations Board mailed ballots to the nearly 2000 registered nurses at Maine Medical Center who are eligible to vote in the union election. Nurses are voting to form a union and to be represented by the Maine State Nurses Association/ National Nurses United. The ballots went out March 29th and will be counted on April 29th. 

Community support remains strong for the nurses. Lawn and window signs of support can be spotted all over Southern Maine, and patients are wearing stickers of support into the hospital.  Join the Friends of Maine Med Nurses group on Facebook to stay connected, and consider posting a photo with a sign of support to your social media with #MMCUnionYes! 

IAM Local S7 Ratifies Contract with Bath Iron Works Contract Delivering Pay Raises & Better Benefits

IAM Local S7 members standing in solidarity with striking Local S6 members last summer.


International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local S7 voted overwhelmingly this past Sunday to ratify a new three-year contract with Bath Iron Works that includes substantial pay increases and better benefits. 

"The success of these negotiations was due in large part to the hard work and dedication of the Local S7 negotiating committee, the solidarity of the hardworking members of Local S7, and the support and leadership from District 4," said Jessica Chubbuck-Goodwin, President of Local S7

Under the new contract, the 205 clerical and administrative workers in Local S7 will receive:

  • 3 percent pay raises each year for the duration of the contract.
  • An increase in accident and sickness benefits from $250 a week to 50 percent of a member’s gross pay. (For example: workers earning $1,200 a week will now get $600 a week instead of $250 when they are sick or injured outside of work.)
  • An increase to $72,000 a year for members who reach the high end of the pay scale.

The contract also moves several members to one trade, where they will receive an automatic $2 per hour raise in addition to their 3 percent annual wage increase.

Union Members Nominated for Workers’ Comp Board

Workers' Comp Board nominees Ronnie Green (IAFF), Glenn Burroughs (IAM S6) & Serina DeWolfe (AFT)


The Maine Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee voted to recommend nomination of AFT member Serina DeWolfe of Gray and the reappointments of IAFF member Ronnie Green of Plymouth and IAM Local S6 member Glenn Burroughs of Lewiston to serve on the Maine Workers' Compensation Board.

By law, the Maine AFL-CIO submits a list of names of labor members to be considered for nomination to serve on the Labor seats on the Workers' Compensation Board, which is charged with serving employers and employees fairly to ensure prompt delivery of benefits, settling disputes and facilitating smooth labor relations. 

Serina DeWolfe worked as a customer service and sales rep for Fairpoint and later Consolidated Communications where she became Vice President lead negotiator for CWA 1400. She is currently a lead organizer of the Maine chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and serves on the Executive Board of the Maine AFL-CIO. 

Ronnie Green is a retired member of the Bangor Professional Firefighters (IAFF 772) and District Vice President with the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine. Glenn Burroughs is a shipbuilder at Bath Iron Works and Chairman of IAM Local S6’s Union Benefits Committee. Congratulations on your nominations sister and brothers! The Maine AFL-CIO would also like to thank outgoing Board member, Emery Deabay (USW 1188), for his many years of service on  the Board. 

American Jobs Plan will Strengthen Workers’ Rights & Rebuild our Infrastructure for the 21st century

Union laborers working on the Portland International Jetport in 2010.


Last week, President Joe Biden unveiled the “American Jobs Plan” — a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package that will upgrade our decaying transportation infrastructure, invest in high-speed rail and Internet, modernize the electrical grid and move our nation toward a clean energy economy that creates high-road, good paying union jobs. 

The bill includes very strong labor provisions throughout and a commitment to strengthening unions and creating union jobs. It ties federal investments in clean energy and infrastructure to prevailing wage laws and labor protections. The proposal also strengthens collective bargaining rights, raises wages and empowers workers to organize through inclusion of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

“Our nation is facing multiple crises that demand strong leadership and bold solutions,” said Cynthia Phinney, President of the Maine AFL-CIO. “Income inequality is rising, our infrastructure is crumbling and our planet is rapidly warming. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan tackles these threats head on by advancing economic justice for working families, rebuilding our infrastructure and creating a new generation of good-paying union careers."

This robust infrastructure plan would be paid for by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and closing loopholes to prevent corporations from evading taxes by stashing money in offshore bank accounts. By comparison, the effective corporate tax rate (the share of income that’s actually paid in tax, not the rate that’s on the book) was 40 percent in the 1970s and 50 percent in the 1950s, when working people experienced an unprecedented level of prosperity due in large part to strong unions. The President’s proposal would return the corporate tax rate to about what it was in the mid-2010s, before Congress slashed taxes yet again for the super wealthy and corporations.

Laborers 327 Seeking Construction Laborers

Local 327 of the Laborers' International Union of North America is currently seeking Construction Laborers for upcoming work across Maine for jobs such as: concrete, gas work, earth work, road work, flagging and all aspects of building construction. Wages are $19.05/hr with a total package value of $37.57/hr. Benefits include:

  • Full employer-paid health, dental & vision benefits for you and your family
  • Retirement & annuity
  • Legal fund & representation
  • Ongoing training & education
To apply, you must be 18 years of age, possess a valid driver's license, have reliable transportation to/from work and be drug free. OSHA-10 safety training is required upon being dispatched to employment.

From buildings to bridges, paper mills to pipelines, solar work to sidewalks and everything in between Laborers are most often the first to arrive on a worksite and the last to see a job through to its completion. The LIUNA union family rapidly is growing and are looking for new members to join them. To apply, contact Lewis Overlock at [email protected] or 207.458.7700. 

Firefighters Win Major Gains in American Rescue Plan

Bangor Firefighters (IAFF 772) fighting a blaze on Odlin Road in Bangor on Sunday.


The American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed last month, is providing significant funding and benefits for firefighters and other emergency medical personnel. The new law: 

  • Establishes a COVID-19 presumption under federal workers’ compensation to ensure federal fire fighters who become ill from COVID-19 receive necessary benefits.
  • Provides $200 million in additional funding for grants to retain firefighters at risk of layoffs and $100 million to equip and train emergency personnel and improve services.
  • Expands Medicare reimbursements for ambulance providers and suppliers to provide treatment in place for certain patients.
  • Provides $80 million for training to address suicide, burnout, and behavioral health conditions, including substance abuse among public safety officers and healthcare professionals.
  • Provides an additional $50 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to fully reimburse fire departments and other government entities for COVID-related activities and purchases.
  • Guarantees paid emergency leave for civilian federal employees, including federal fire fighters who must quarantine or are ill, or to care for family members, including children who participate in remote learning during COVID.

Call Senators King and Collins and Tell Them to Support the PRO Act

The PRO Act is the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression. And it’s also a civil rights and economic stimulus bill. If we can get this passed, working people will thrive for generations to come. 

It passed the House on March 9 with bipartisan support, and President Biden has urged Congress to send it to his desk. The Senate is the final obstacle.

So let’s flood the Senate phone lines with support for the PRO Act. Call Senators Angus King and Susan Collins and tell them to vote YES on the PRO Act.

When Bosses Marched Maine Workers to the Ballot Box

A granite cutting shed on Hurricane Island circa 19th century.


The late Maine labor historian Charlie Scontras used to say that "the secret ballot didn't come over on the Mayflower" — Maine workers had to organize and fight for the right to vote free from employer intimidation. As my partner Will Chapman and I wrote in our labor history column last month, throughout the 19th century there were reports of Maine employers bullying and coercing workers to vote for the bosses' preferred candidates in elections.

In an 1875 newspaper column, an anonymous stonecutter on Hurricane Island alleged that granite baron Davis Tillson forced workers to attend meetings during which he pressured them to vote the straight Republican ticket. One granite cutter said he voted for Democrats before working for Tillson, but “Democracy has been scared out of me.”

Two years later, in 1877, Maine granite cutters formed the International Granite Cutters Union to fight for fair wages, shorter workdays and safer working conditions, as well as abolition of the company store on Hurricane Island and other demands. Those union members helped strengthen the Maine labor movement, which pushed for several political reforms in the years that followed, including the 1891 law instituting Maine’s secret ballot. Read more here. — Andy O'Brien