NH Defeats RTW / Guide Dogs / ME labor history music video


  • New Hampshire Labor Movement Defeats Right to Work for Less Bill!
  • Consolidated Communications Workers in Tough Contract Negotiations
  • The Labor Legislative Round-Up
  • Mainers for Tax Fairness Rally - Tuesday, June 8
  • Machinists’ Union Hold Guide Dogs Golf Tournament Benefit
  • A 12-Minute Musical History of Maine Labor Struggles

New Hampshire Labor Movement Defeats Right to Work for Less Bill

New Hampshire union members rally against "right to work" for less bill.

We congratulate the New Hampshire labor movement on their hard fought battle to defeat a union busting "right-to-work" for less bill. On Thursday, the measure, known as SB 61, was defeated in the New Hampshire House on a vote of 199 to 175. 

"We are extraordinarily grateful for our lawmakers who made the decision today to side with workers to defeat this harmful bill," said Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

Right-to-work for less laws are designed to weaken unions, drive down wages and allow workers to get the benefits of unions without paying dues. Corporate-funding anti-labor groups hoped to make the Granite State the 29th right-to-work for less state in the country after Republicans captured both chambers of the General Court of New Hampshire and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won a third term in November. However, workers organized and pressured their legislators to prevent this destructive policy from making inroads into New England. 

Consolidated Communications Workers in Tough Contract Negotiations

Portland Consolidated Communications worker Heidi Howell in 2018.

IBEW 2327 and CWA 1400 members have been in tough negotiations with Consolidated Communications since March over a new contract. Unfortunately, the company is insisting on taking back more of what union workers have worked so hard to preserve. 
"We have all heard the reports that CCI is doing well, and they are extremely optimistic about the future with fiber expansion throughout the footprint, yet they continue to demand concessions on several key issues including contracting out work, movement of work, and medical premiums," the bargaining team wrote in a statement. "Our bargaining team has made several substantive proposals that would preserve good jobs and improve service across our region."

One of the team's primary goals in bargaining is to protect the Bargaining Unit work and make sure the company puts the assurances that were made after the 2018 strike in writing, but they are refusing to do so.

"We deserve to be treated with the RESPECT that we have fought for and not like second class citizens," the workers wrote. "This is the time to send a CLEAR message to management that CWA and IBEW members are UNITED."

Bills to Allow Farmworkers to Organize, Improve Safety Training in Construction & Raise Wages for Apprentices Move Forward

The Maine Legislature is back in session this week and multiple pro-labor bills have begun to move forward in the House and Senate. Two bills that will expand labor protections for farm workers have passed the Labor and Housing Committee and will soon be voted on by the full Legislature. 

LD 1022, which would cover agricultural workers under minimum wage and overtime laws, passed the Labor and Housing Committee on a party-line vote last week. Last month, the committee also advanced LD 151, which would expand collective bargaining rights to farm workers.

As we explained to the committee in a presentation a few weeks ago, racist Southern Democrats insisted on excluding farm workers and domestic workers from the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act because the vast majority of these workers in the South were Black in the 1930s.

The House voted 79-69 and the Senate voted 21-13 to pass LD 469, which would would require contractors on publics works projects to certify that their workers have attended an OSHA 10 training, a 10-hour safety program approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In testimony, Building Trades Union members noted that construction can be very dangerous with 88 fatalities in the industry in Maine from 2015 to 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The measure faces further votes in the House and Senate.

The Senate has voted 22-12 to pass LD 648, which would raise the bar for apprenticeship programs by requiring that 75 percent of public funding for apprenticeships be directed to programs that start with wages that are 1.25 times the Maine minimum wage and culminate in the student earning 1.5 times the Maine minimum wage. 

In recent years, Building Trades unions have seen funding cuts to their apprenticeship programs while other less rigorous training programs for lowing paying jobs continue to receive state funding. LD 648 will help raise the bar for job training programs and ensure that investments are made in quality apprenticeship programs that pay living wages.

Mainers for Tax Fairness Rally - Tuesday, June 8

MSEA-SEIU 1989 members at the State House with Speaker Ryan Fecteau.

Decades of tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations have left critical services in our communities underfunded, and the workers who provide them underpaid. MSEA-SEIU 1989 members will be joining the coalition Mainers for Tax Fairness at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, for a Rally and Lobby Day at the State House. Workers will demand legislators unrig our tax code and invest in our communities and workers before the legislative session concludes. Sign up here for the rally or one of the other pro-worker lobby days happening in the coming weeks.

Together, we’ll demand the Legislature guarantee every Mainer can go to the doctor when they’re sick. We’ll demand fair pay for public workers, family caregivers, direct care workers and childcare workers. And we’ll demand legislators invest in more affordable housing so all Mainers have a safe place to live. Can’t make it? Sign a postcard that MSEA-SEIU 1989 will print out and deliver at the Lobby Day.

Machinists’ Union to Hold 4th Annual Guide Dogs Golf Tournament Benefit Friday, June 4

Maine members of the Machinists Union previously bought 16-year old Madeline, who is visually impaired, this guide dog named Enzo to assist her.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District Lodge 4 will hold its fourth annual charity golf tournament on Friday, June 4, at 8 am at the Spring Meadows Golf Club, 59 Lewiston Rd in Gray. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines, an organization that provides free seeing eye dogs to individuals who are visually impaired, rehabilitation facility dogs and service dogs for veterans and children with autism.

“These dogs are not only trained to be effective guides, but they also provide excellent emotional support for people suffering from conditions like anxiety, stress and depression," said IAMAW District Lodge 4 Assistant Directing Business Representative George Edwards. "That’s why the money raised from this year’s event will go to provide guide dogs for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, so they can live happier and more well-adjusted lives.”

Members of the public can pledge a donation to the event by sending a text to 41444 and typing “DL4” and the dollar amount. Last year, the IAMWAW District Lodge 4 raised $69,000 — including $26,000 from the charity golf tournament and $43,000 from other charity benefits — to support Guide Dogs of America, which recently merged with the group Tender Loving Canines.

A 12-Minute History Music Video of Maine Labor Struggles

The Paving Cutters Union Branch No. 34 on Vinalhaven in 1939.

From the first strike of bonded fishermen on Richmond Island in 1636 to the Local S6 strike of 2020, Maine workers have a long, proud history of taking collective action to fight for dignity, fair wages and a stronger voice in the workplace. 

In order to make this important labor history more widely accessible, we have put togetherthis 12-minute music video featuring fishermen, loggers, textile workers, granite workers, grocery store employees, paper makers, shipbuilders, nurses, fire fighters and other workers standing up for their rights and fighting back. If you have any photos or video footage you would like to contribute to this project, please reply to this email.