Maine Workers Once Again Get Results!

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Rep. Cuddy: We Need More Union Members in the Legislature
  • Sign Up for Our Worker Candidate Training!
  • AFSCME Locals 2968 & 1814 Secure Pay Raises in New Contract
  • Reminder: Machias Nurses & Technicians to Hold Rally Thursday July 18
  • Join Loggers & International Workers at Summer Institute!

Rep. Scott Cuddy: We Need More Union Members in the Legislature!

Rep. Scott Cuddy speaking at the 2019 Labor Lobby Day.


When Rep. Scott Cuddy (D-Winterport), an IBEW 1253 member, talks about the need for more labor voices in the Maine Legislature, he gets pretty passionate.

You can serve in the legislature,” he advises union members. “Every union member that I’ve met who has shown any interest in politics could absolutely do a great job in the Legislature. And I really hope they do because there needs to be more of us.” 

Cuddy knew he that wouldn’t have an easy path to the State House when he made the decision to run in 2016. Not only was he facing a popular three-term incumbent, but the conservative Waldo County region had not been represented by a Democrat in several years. However, after discussing it with his wife and attending the Maine AFL-CIO’s candidate training, he decided to take the plunge even though he didn’t have much time for campaigning.

Although he didn’t win that year, by 2018 his previous opponent was term limited and Cuddy had a work schedule that allowed him to put in the time campaigning. With his new night job installing lighting on the runway at Bar Harbor Airport, Cuddy was able to get off work in time to put his kids on the bus at 7:15 am, sleep until late afternoon and then go meet voters before going to work.  

“It was actually the best job I could have had in terms of getting the time to knock on doors,” he said, “so by the time I was done with that I was so happy when the election rolled along.”

And this time he won with nearly 55 percent of the vote. Cuddy says union members bring a unique perspective to government in that they have a sense of class consciousness and understanding of the employer-employee relationship. He says that many union members are also uniquely suited to legislating because they understand how to negotiate, so they can prevent bills from getting too watered down in the political process.

“One of the things I found really frustrating In the Legislature is that a lot of legislators start where they want to end up,” he says. “When you’re buying a car if they price it at $11,000 in the paper, you don’t go in and say ‘I really think $10,500 is fair.’ You go in at $10,000 and try to work to $10,500. If you haven’t negotiated on a routine basis, you don’t think of things that way.”

Cuddy said union members can also have a positive influence on their colleagues. He noted that while some legislators don’t want to listen to a union staffer, they are more willing to hear from other legislators on important labor bills.

“A lot of decisions get made in the caucus room,” said Cuddy. “People stand up, they make their pitch and when you have union members in the room who can talk about the importance of collective bargaining rights, it carries a lot of weight.”

Cuddy tells union members considering a run for office that they should shadow their representatives for a day at the State House and take the Maine AFL-CIO’s candidate training, which provides a solid grounding in how to run a campaign and what it’s like to serve in public office.

“I serve with people from every background and they all bring their own perspective and they all bring something valuable,” he said. “But every single person who is even considering running for the legislature, particularly from a union background, should absolutely give it a try.”

Interested in Running for Office? We Can help!

Maine AFL-CIO's 2018 Worker Candidate Training


Ever consider running for office yourself? Think you can make a difference on your town council or in the state legislature? We need more union members and working class folks at all levels of government.  It’s never too early to learn the skills to run or to think about planning your campaign! The Maine AFL-CIO will be holding our popular Worker Candidate Training January 25 and 26, 2020 in Augusta. Our trainers will give you all the tools you need to run a successful campaign. If interested or just want to learn more, please email Adam at [email protected] or give us a call at 622-9675!

AFSCME Locals 2968 & 1814 Secure Pay Raises in New Contract

State corrections and mental health employees voted to ratify a new contract this week that includes a substantial pay increase. The contract will raise wages by 7 percent over two years and increase the amount of vacation time for new hires. The members of AFSCME Locals 2968 and 1814 accomplished these improvements without other concessions. 

“I’ve worked for the state for over 30 years and this is one of the better contracts we’ve seen,” said Will Towers, President of AFSCME Local 2968 and an employee at Maine Correctional Center. “Everyone benefits from this particular contract and it also helps new hires as far as recruitment because they get an extra quarter of a day every month.”

AFSCME 2968 represents employees at the state's correctional facilities and AFSCME 1814 represents workers at Riverview Psychiatric Center and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center.

Reminder: Machias Nurses & Techs to Hold Rally Thursday July 18

Machias nurses and technicians at Down East Community Hospital will be holding a rally for a fair contract next Thursday, July 18 at 5 pm at the dike in Machias. For the past several years nurses and techs, who are members of the Maine State Nurses Association/NNU, have accepted contracts with little to no wage increases to help the hospital become financially sustainable. DECH acknowledges it is now doing very well, but the organization refuses to negotiate a contract that will improve recruitment and retention of quality health care workers. It would be great to have a strong showing of other union members and community allies. Join us if you can and let us know if you can make it.

Join Loggers & International Workers at Summer Institute!

It’s not too late to sign up for our Labor Summer Institute at the University of Maine in Orono on Aug. 7-8! This year we will include workshops on the struggles of loggers who have been fighting to end worker exploitation in the North Woods for decades. Veterans of the Maine Woodmen’s Association Strike of 1975 will discuss the lessons they learned and woods workers in the recently formed New England Loggers Cooperative will talk about their current organizing efforts. In addition, union members from Germany (IG Metal), UK (UNITE) and Canada (USW) will talk about the situation for workers in their countries. We hope every union in the state will send members.  Please sign up by filling out the form here!