Postal Workers Fight Back & more

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Union Members Elected to Serve in Legislative Leadership
  • Postal Workers Call for Funding Stimulus and End to Mail Delays
  • Local S6 member & APRI leader Featured in Portraits of Black Mainers
  • IBEW 104 is hiring!
  • Solar Work Booming for IBEW 1253

Senate President & Incoming House Majority Leader Discuss Why Union Members Make Good Leaders

Senate President Troy Jackson & Incoming House Majority Leader Michelle Dunphy.


Recently, two union members were elected to serve in leadership positions in the Maine Legislature. Senator Troy Jackson (IUPAT 1887 & IAM) was elected to serve another term as Senate President and Rep. Michelle Dunphy (CWA 1400) will soon be the new House Majority Leader. Both Jackson and Dunphy have been champions on labor issues and have sponsored legislation to improve the lives of working people. 

Rep. Dunphy, who works in telecommunications and is a steward with CWA 1400, comes from a long line of working class union people and says she always sees things through the lens of labor when considering bills.  “I think union members can bring a lot to the table,” she said. “More union members serving in government equates to an overall better labor environment and more opportunity to improve workplaces. Union members not only have better wages, benefits and working conditions but they also take more pride in their work, help lower employee turnover and create a better trained workforce.”

Senator Troy Jackson first began to understand the power imbalance between workers and owners when he took part in a logging strike in 1981 when he was 12 years old. Since then, he has spent his life fighting to improve conditions for workers. 

“I think union members have a better understanding of fighting for what’s theirs,” said Jackson. “There’s always this mindset that you shouldn’t get out of line or ask for too much. Union members understand that working class people have value and it’s okay to fight for fair wages and working conditions. It’s so important to ask for what you’re worth without fear of retaliation. That’s the kind of protection that a union provides.”

Postal Workers Call for An End to Mail Delays & An Immediate Funding Stimulus for USPS

A protester holds a sign outside a post office in Bar Harbor in August (Photo: Indivisible MDI)


Maine members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) held a virtual press conference on Tuesday to call on the federal government to prevent mail delaying policies and provide $25 billion in immediate COVID-related financial relief to the US Postal Service. This past election, postal employees dutifully ensured that a record 65 million Americans were able to vote safely and securely in the middle of a pandemic. But while the incoming Presidential administration promises to respect and support the hard work of postal workers, the Postal Service remains under threat. 

“Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of postal employees, the democratic rights of Americans were safeguarded at a critical time. Postal workers defended democracy. Now we must defend the Postal Service,” said Scott Adams, President of APWU 458.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has promised to renew his mail-delaying policies after the election and the Postal Service’s finances remain in a critical state as a result of the pandemic and an absurd Congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years out.  While the incoming Biden administration promises to support the USPS, that doesn’t mean there will be a new Postmaster General. That’s because DeJoy serves at the pleasure of the USPS Board of Governors, not the President.

Local S6 Member Featured in Portraits of Black Mainers

Shipfitter Garrett Stewart of Machinists Local S6 is featured in a series of portraitsof Black Mainers by artist Mabel Ney. Ney told the Portland Press Herald she created the portraits to remind people of Black Mainers’ contributions to the state. Garrett is a 3rd generation Mainer, whose grandparents came to work at the South Portland Shipyard during World War II. 

Carrying on this shipbuilding tradition, Garrett works at Bath Iron Works and is currently spearheading the creation of a state chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, which is a constituency group of the AFL-CIO focusing on racial and economic justice issues. Garrett also currently serves on the Permanent Commission for the status on Racial, Indigenous and Tribal Populations.

On Ney’s website, Garrett explained that he was spurred to take a stand on racial justice after former Governor Paul LePage made racist comments about African-Americans and said people of color are “the enemy.” He later confronted LePage at a town hall meeting and said, “It’s very hurtful to my children because my kids hear this stuff on television.” 

IBEW 104 is Hiring!

IBEW 104 is hiring new members to work on the Maine Corridor project, a large transmission project. The project is seeking:

  • Lineworkers
  • Apprentices Seeking On-The-Job Training
  • Equipment Operators
  • Groundworkers
  • Driver Groundworkers
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Ground Cutters

To learn more and apply for a job click here!

 Solar Work Booming for IBEW 1253

Solar arrays at the Eastern Piscataquis Industrial Park in Milo.


IBEW 1253 members have had their hands full lately working on seven solar energy projects across the state. IBEW 1253 members have been working on a massive 40 megawatt solar array in Milo as well as projects in Belfast, South China, Augusta, Waldoboro, Gardiner and Fairfield. IBEW workers are projected to have about 1,000 more megawatts of solar arrays to install in the coming four and a half years due to state law that encourages these projects.

“We’ve been really busy and we’re heavily recruiting right now,” said Nick Paquet, labor rep for IBEW 1253. “We’re at a pressing situation due to the shortage of electricians, but the rates are going up all the way around, which is great for all electricians in Maine.”

Paquet said one of his major concerns is that the state’s chief electrical inspector and the solar industry are working to undo a policy that requires the racking of the panels to be done by skilled electricians. The current rule is not being enforced, which is allowing unskilled laborers to perform shoddy work on the solar installations. 

“Our regular general contractors are watching. If the solar industry is allowed to used unskilled labor on their projects, these other contractors can use the labor shortage as a justification to do this in mills or any place else,” said Paquet. “That’s why we’re trying really hard to keep this work intact because it could have profound effects down the road.”