Min. wage increase / Stagehands hiring / vaccines & more

IN THIS EDITION:

  • State Minimum Wage to Increase in 2022
  • Looking for a good part-time union job? Stagehands are hiring!
  • Unions Urge MDOL to Develop Strong Rules for “Maine Green New Deal” Law
  • The Maine AFL-CIO Maine Working Families Legislative Scorecard is Now Online!
  • Labor Notes’ Online “Secrets of a Successful Organizer” Trainings in October
  • Workers Should Have a Voice in How Vaccine Mandates are Implemented
  • Take the Maine Workforce System Branding Survey

State Minimum Wage to Increase in 2022

Maine’s minimum wage will increase from $12.15 to $12.75 per hour, based on data recently made available by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, effective January 1, 2022 due to a law passed by Maine voters at the ballot box in 2016. The Maine law requires annual adjustments to the minimum wage based on the cost of living index (CPI-W) for the Northeast Region.

“No one who works full time should live in poverty. For too long the cost of groceries, rent, heating oil and other basic necessities have gone up while wages have remained stagnant. This cost of living increase means that workers will have a little more dignity and a little more money in their pockets to support their families and spend in the local economy,” said Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO.  “The law is working to set a floor for wages and to drive wages up across our economy.”

The Maine AFL-CIO, a coalition of 160 Maine unions, co-chaired the 2016 Mainers for Fair Wages ballot campaign that passed this law by citizen initiative.

“All workers deserve fair wages for a fair day’s work,” Schlobohm added. “We are in a moment when workers are taking action to raise wages and improve their jobs through unionization, minimum wage increases and collective action. It is long past time that we build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. We have a long way to go, but raising Maine’s minimum wage – and having it keep up with the cost of living – is an important step.”

Looking for a Good Part-Time Union Gig? Stagehands are Hiring!

Have you ever wanted to work as a stage hand for some of the biggest touring bands in the US? Consider applying to IATSE Local 114 to become a union stage hand! When the pandemic hit Maine in March, 2020, large stage events were postponed and it wasn’t until this past July before shows started up again at venues like the Merrill Auditorium, Cross Insurance Arena and the State Theater in Portland.

Unfortunately, because the shows have been postponed for so long, several stagehands had to take other work and are unavailable. With previously postponed shows filling up the fall schedule, venues are in desperate need of more stagehands. Doug Born, business agent for IATSE 114, said the work is intermittent, but it’s perfect for anyone looking to make some extra money on the side and the local has often employed workers from other unions including  IBEW, BTGM 334 and the Longshoremen’s Association Local 861.

“For over 25 years I worked at LL Bean for my day job and I had a good union part-time gig making a good living as a member of IATSE 114,” said Born. “I was able to really improve my standard of living thanks to my union. It was a great second gig for me.”

Born says no experience is necessary and the union will accept anyone who is willing to learn on the job. For more information and to apply email Doug Born at ia114ba at gmail dot com or call 207-370-4211.

The Maine AFL-CIO Maine Working Families Legislative Scorecard is Now Online! 

Is your local legislator a champion for working people or did they vote against workers and unions?

Most union members should have received the new Working Families Legislative Scorecard in the mail, but if you missed it or want to send it along to your friends and family, this site allows you to easily look up your local representative or senator to find out how they voted on key labor issues such as strengthening collective bargaining rights, fixing our unemployment system and creating union jobs in renewable energy and on affordable housing projects. 

You can also click here to read the full scorecard, which includes the faces of the bills, noteworthy actions by legislators, evaluating Governor Janet Mills’ record and more. Don’t forget to thank your legislators if they’ve stood up for workers or express your disappointment if they haven't!

Unions Urge MDOL to Develop Strong Rules for Implementation of “Maine Green New Deal” Law

The Maine AFL-CIO and the Maine Building Trades unions have been working to ensure the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards implements strong labor standards for large renewable energy projects in the state. The Bureau is hearing public comments on its proposed rules to implement the “Maine Green New Deal,” state legislation the Maine AFL-CIO and Building Trades unions helped write and pass to address climate change and create good-paying, union jobs with benefits. The measure, which was signed by the Governor in 2019, requires contractors to hire a certain percentage of registered apprentices when constructing grid scale generation facilities, such as solar and wind projects, over 2 megawatts.

“The goal of this legislation is to build a highly trained workforce and raise job quality standards for the renewable energy economy. We are pleased that the Bureau has proposed clear guidelines to ensure construction employers follow this important new law,” said Jason J. Shedlock, regional organizer for Laborers’ International Union, New England Region. “We have offered additional suggestions on how to improve these rules to ensure contractors meet these rigorous labor standards and are held accountable when they don’t. We will continue working with the Bureau to make sure the law is enforced and that it creates good union jobs for Maine workers in the building and construction trades.”

Labor Notes’ Online “Secrets of a Successful Organizer” Trainings in October

Would you like to learn more about how to turn an issue into a organizing campaign, identify member leaders, form organizing committees, beat apathy and get more workers involved? In October, Labor Notes is offering a “Secrets of a Successful Organizer training series based on its acclaimed bookSecrets of a Successful Organizer.

The trainings will be held via Zoom Tuesdays from 8pm-10pm on October 5, 12, and 19. The cost is $15 for the whole series and includes access to all workshops until space is filled. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Click here to register!

Workers Should Get Vaccinated & Have a Voice in How Mandates are Implemented

As thousands of unvaccinated people with COVID-19 arrive in hospital emergency rooms daily, it is critical that union members get vaccinated to protect our coworkers and our communities from this deadly virus. 

We know the vaccine is safe and effective. Over 390 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the US and have been evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. We all must listen to pleas from medical experts and health care workers on the frontlines who are dealing with the emotional toll of watching families needlessly lose loved ones.

When it comes to vaccine mandates, we believe workers should get vaccinated, but they also should have a voice in how these rules are implemented. Workers may have legitimate health conditions that prevent them from receiving the vaccine or they may need time to recover from possible side effects. That’s why workers need unions to ensure their interests are protected, that proper accommodations are made for them and that they have a voice on policy changes like vaccine mandates.

Take the Maine Workforce System Branding Survey

The Maine Workforce Board is conducting a survey to gather input to help inform the development of a comprehensive workforce system brand. The intent of this new brand is to help workers and employers better understand, and how to utilize, the services and programs  that Maine’s workforce system offers for job seekers and employers.

If you have a moment, please take the  Maine Workforce System Branding – Stakeholder Input Survey by Friday, October 1, at 5pm.

The Workforce Board contains committees to handle apprenticeships as well as employment services for immigrants, older workers, younger workers veterans, women and people with disabilities.