Nurses Victory, PMA Workers to Vote & More

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Calais Nurses & Lab Scientists Claim Victory; Strike Averted
  • 40+ Legislators Call on Portland Museum to Respect Freedom to Organize
  • BIW Firefighters Join IAFF
  • Want to form a union in your workplace? We can help!
  • Support Food AND Medicine’s 18th Annual Solidarity Harvest!
  • The First Time the AFL Became Involved in Elections Was in Maine

Calais Nurses & MeDical Lab Scientists Claim Victory, Cancel Planned Strike

Maine State Nurses Association members at Calais Regional Hospital.

On Tuesday, the registered nurses and medical laboratory scientists, who are members of the Maine State Nurses Association/NNU, reached a tentative agreement with Calais Regional Hospital's administration on a new labor contract, effectively averting a planned strike. The proposed labor contract includes pay increases and continued protections for core benefits.

On Tuesday, the registered nurses and medical laboratory scientists, who are members of the Maine State Nurses Association/NNU, reached a tentative agreement with Calais Regional Hospital's administration on a new labor contract, effectively averting a planned strike. The proposed labor contract includes pay increases and continued protections for core benefits.

The tentative contract follows a strike authorization vote by the employees and an announcement that they would hold a two-day strike next week. The planned strike stemmed from poor leadership of hospital CEO Rod Boula, employees’ belief that he should be replaced and the undermining of patient care. The ratification vote on this tentative agreement is set for Monday, Nov. 16. 

“This was a hard fight over more than two years. We know our hospital is struggling, but we had to make sure that we protected conditions for the people who keep it running every day.” said Anne Sluzenski, RN and member of the union’s bargaining team. “We’re glad that management finally worked with us to reach an agreement that protected our benefits, and helped the hospital retain and recruit employees.”

Over 40 Legislators Urge Museum to Stay Neutral in Union Election

Portland Museum of Art


Over 40 state legislators from Cumberland and York County have signed a letter calling on the Portland of Museum of Art (PMA) to recognize that its employees have the legal right to organize without employer retaliation, intervention or intimidation. In September, PMA workers filed a petition to form a union with the United Auto Workers Local 2110, but management has tried to prevent the workers from exercising this right using tactics pulled straight from the corporate union busting playbook.

“The decision to organize is a fundamental right and should be up to the workers to make that decision free from interference,” the letter from the legislators states. “We, as elected leaders and members of the community, are requesting that PMA not engage in any anti-union tactics. This is the worker's decision to make.”

The Labor Board recently determined that workers can vote for their union via a mail ballot election. Ballots will be mailed out to PMA workers on November 30th and must be returned to the NLRB by Dec. 21st. The Labor Board will count the ballots on December 22nd. The NLRB also ruled that Gallery Ambassadors, whom the museum sought to exclude, will be included and eligible to vote in the election. The NLRB found that the seven security associates are guards, and cannot therefore be included in the same union as other employees. Security associates do have the right to organize their own separate union. 

Museum management continues to aggressively oppose the union. In a shameful union busting play, management is appealing the NLRB ruling up to the Trump dominated NLRB in an effort to contest the composition of the bargaining unit and drag out the process.  

If you want to show your support for these workers organizing their union you can send a note to Museum management by clicking here.

BIW Firefighters Join IAFF

Bath Iron Works fire fighters are now affiliated with International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). For decades the Independent Guards Association (IGA) has represented BIW’s security guards and fire fighters, but on October 29 BIW and IGA reached an agreement to allow the fire fighters to join IAFF in order “to align representation of each group with organizations that cater to their unique needs and skillsets.”

The new stand-alone IAFF unit will be meeting in mid-December to negotiate the ground rules for their upcoming negotiations and exchange proposals for their new collective bargaining agreement. Congratulations and welcome IAFF Local 5257!

Want to Form a Union in Your Workplace? We Can Help!

Over the past few months, we have a received a number of inquiries from workers wanting to form unions in their workplaces. Clearly, more and more working Mainers understand that the best way to secure better pay and benefits, workplace safety and a voice on the job is to band together and unionize. If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about the benefits of forming a union in your workplace, please fill out this form and we’ll try to connect you to a union organizer. Will you have a conversation with a neighbor, friend or family member about organizing a union in their workplace?  If they interested share this form and send them our way!

Support Food AND Medicine’s 18th Annual Solidarity Harvest!

Food AND Medicine and the Eastern Maine Labor Council will soon begin “sort week” for the 18th annual Solidarity Harvest! Each year Food AND Medicine (FAM) organizes the harvest, which is co-sponsored by the Eastern, Southern and Western Maine Labor Councils. Throughout the state over 50 unions, faith groups and other organizations come together to purchase food from local farms and put together Thanksgiving baskets for union and community members who are experiencing hard times. Each basket contains enough food for roughly 8-10 people to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

This year the group hopes to do 1,400 baskets (the most they will have ever done) - if they can get the final costs covered. Each meal basket costs $40. With 1,163 already purchased, they have 237 more meal baskets to cover to reach their goal.

To sponsor a Solidarity Harvest basket, click here. To sign up to volunteer during sort week, click here. They are also in need of a few specifics, such as tarps, rope, and people with trucks to help deliver meal boxes. If you’re able to help out with any of these things, please email Sumner Bright at [email protected]

The First Time the AFL Became Involved in Elections Was in Maine

With another election behind us, we recall the election of 1906 when American Federation of Labor leader Samuel Gompers came to Maine to try to unseat Congressman Charles Littlefield of Rockland, who was known as the most anti-union member of Congress. Prior to that, the AFL never got involved in elections, but Gompers said the federation couldn’t stay on the sidelines anymore as Littlefield “conspicuously, unceasingly and arrogantly” opposed all labor legislation and “played the role of a subservient tool of corporate wealth.”

In 1905, when Gompers arrived in the midcoast on vacation, he was greeted by a "continuous ovation" of lobstermen and quarrymen. Members of the new lobster fishermen's union "cheered, waved flags, and blew horns" from their sloops, while on Hurricane Island "loud cheers" echoed from the island as crowds of workers gathered to catch a glimpse of the labor leader. Throngs of union members followed Gompers' carriage through downtown Vinalhaven, and the band played rousing labor songs.

However, local Socialists blasted Gompers for supporting Democrat Daniel J. McGillicuddy of Lewiston, whom they said was not a genuine labor candidate. The National Association of Manufacturers took advantage of this division and formed the Knox County Independent Labor League to siphon votes from the Democratic candidate. In the end, Littlefield won by 1,362 votes out of 36,000 cast and he decided not to run for re-election after that.

Photo: A 1906 broadside of the Knox County Independent Labor League, a labor party led by Limeworkers Union leader and bitter AFL foe Charles Harriman