Maine Workers Fighting for Democracy

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Maine Med Patients to Maine Med Nurses: Please vote YES for us!
  • How Maine Workers Fought for Democracy Presentation — Thurs. 3/25
  • New Union Member Orientation Train the Trainers — April 9th & 10th
  • VIDEO: The Most Important Pro-Worker Bill In Decades
  • American Rescue Plan Delivers for Union Members
  • Tell Sen. Collins to Vote for Julie Su for Deputy Labor Secretary
  • IAM Local S7 Entering Contract Negotiations

Maine Med Patients to Maine Med Nurses: Vote YES to Form a Union

The community group "Friends of Maine Med Nurses" held a press conference Wednesday to unveil a list of 1,500 former patients and their family members who have signed a letter in support of the nurses' union organizing effort at Maine Medical Center.

Todd Chretien of Portland, a high school teacher who has had decades of experience at Maine Medical Center with numerous family members as patients, wrote the letter.  

“I heard about the nurses unionizing, and I said, hey, there’s a bunch of us patients and families here, maybe we should get together and write a little letter expressing not only our support for the nurses right to unionize, but really what it’s been like to be patients and family members of patients at Maine Med and our experience with the nurses," Chrestien explained.  "So we got together and drafted a short statement, and I was hoping we would get 250 or 300 signatures. As of today we’ve got well over 1500 signatures on the letter."

Last week, Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson, House Speaker Ryan Fecteau and more than 60 lawmakers sent a letter to Maine Med executives expressing concerns about reports that nurses were dragged into one-on-one meetings with anti-union consultants and had supervisors threaten them. The legislators urged MaineHealth to fire its anti-union consultants and allow nurses to vote on a union without interference.

Volunteers deliver "Support Maine Med Nurses" signs last weekend.


The greater Portland community has also shown tremendous support for the organizing effort and there was a great turn out of volunteers for a community canvass to deliver window placards to local residents last weekend.

Maine Medical Center patients and their families also appeared in this beautiful video this week telling their personal stories about what Maine Med nurses have meant to them and urging them to vote YES to form a union for patient safety. Can you share it with your friends and family? 

How Maine Workers Fought for Democracy — Thurs. 3/25

The Labor Women's Trade Union League, a union that campaigned for women's suffrage.

Join us for a discussion about how Maine workers not only fought for more democracy in the workplace, but also for the secret ballot, the citizen referendum, women's suffrage and Civil Rights on Thursday, March 25, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on Zoom.

Maine AFL-CIO Communications Director Andy O’Brien will set the stage for our discussion, based largely on the work of the late, great Maine Labor Historian Charlie Scontras. We’ll see where the discussion goes from there! Click here to register!

New Union Member Orientation Train the Trainers — April 9th & 10th

IAM Local S6 members on strike last summer.

The Maine AFL-CIO is holding one-day trainings for union members involved in your union’s new member orientations or who engage with new members on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10. We have heard from many unions that strengthening their orientation of new members is a top priority. Too often we don’t do enough to educate and welcome new members in a way that gets them engaged with the union and helps them understand what a union is. We are partnering with the Worker Institute at Cornell University to offer this training for Maine unions. 

We ask for a $25 registration fee per participant to help off-set the cost of the training. However, do not let cost be a barrier as we want as many people to participate as possible. If your union is able to cover this cost, we can send you an invoice. If not, please still join us!

Register here for the Friday, April 9th training OR register here for the Saturday, April 10th training. The training is the same each day. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

VIDEO: The Most Important Pro-Worker Bill In Decades

This is an outstanding video highlighting the Alabama Amazon union drive featuring Congressman Andy Levin explaining what the PRO Act would mean for workers who want to organize unions. This is probably the most clear and concise explanation for the bill and highlights why it is so critical that we build a mass movement to win the strongest piece of pro-labor legislation since the New Deal.  Congressman Levin worked with Maine's Congressman Jared Golden to successfully get the PRO Act passed in the House. We encourage you to show this video at your Local’s union meetings and share it on social media.

Want a short PRO Act presentation at your union meeting? Let Sarah - [email protected] - know. We are starting to do presentations at union meetings across the state and we'd love to join yours. 

If you haven’t already, please fill out this form to send Senators King and Collins a message asking them to support the PRO Act!

Tell Sen. Collins to Vote for Marty Walsh & Julie Su 

Senator Susan Collins is one of a handful of members on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee who will be voting on whether to recommend confirmation of union stalwart Marty  Walsh as Secretary of Labor and labor champion and California Labor Secretary Julie Su to be the nation’s next Deputy Secretary of Labor. For nearly three decades, Secretary Su has fought for dignity and fair wages for some of the lowest paid and marginalized workers in the country. 

Most recently she has helped develop a series of exciting proposals to build worker power and create a much fairer economy by setting a a goal to achieve full employment in California and advocating for a federal jobs guarantee; create a million good-paying, high road jobs to to meet state climate change goals; set a target of eliminating working poverty by 2030 through policies aimed at increasing wages in the hospitality, retail, and care sectors and more. Please contact Senator Susan Collins and tell her you support Marty Walsh for Secretary of Labor and  Julie Su for Deputy Secretary of Labor.

American Rescue Plan Delivers for Union Members

Last Thursday, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which will inject nearly $2 trillion into the economy and into the pockets of all Americans to help lift us out of this recession and put people back to work. But what hasn’t received as much attention is the phenomenal support the stimulus package will provide specifically to union households. 

Prior the passage of this bill, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) multiemployer program was facing insolvency by 2026. This would have put over a million workers and retirees — including Maine union papermakers, truck drivers, retail workers and building trades members — in danger of losing their hard earned pensions. The American Rescue Plan secures the retirement benefits of those workers for 30 years with no cuts to the earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries. This is a huge relief to these hard working union members who now can rest at ease knowing their retirement is protected.

Under the American Rescue Plan, Maine will also receive up to $6 billion, including $1,400 stimulus checks to 90 percent of households and $1.2 billion for state and local governments. This is particularly good news for municipal union members — such as firefighters, police, public works employees and other municipal workers — because negotiators can point out how much federal aid their town or city is receiving during negotiations. 

According to estimates, Maine cities will receive $118 million, including $14.2 million for Auburn, $21 million for Bangor, $11.7 million for Biddeford, $22.8 million for Lewiston and $48.2 million for Portland. Other cities and towns will also be receiving a substantial amount as well. If you would like to know how much your town will likely receive from the American Recovery Act let us know!

IAM Local S7 Entering Contract Negotiations

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Machinists Local S7, who just started negotiations for a new contract with Bath Iron Works this week. We'll keep you posted when we have some updates about how it's going, but we have a feeling after last summer's Local S6 strike that the company won't be messing with the Fighting' Machinists anytime soon!