Protecting your rights at work!

IN THIS EDITION:

  • “They’re Just Drivers” — KVCAP Drivers Fight for Fair Contract
  • Coalition Supports Bill to Protect Rights at Work
  • Golden Hosts IAM Local S6 President at State of the Union
  • Critical Pro-Union Bill Passes the US House
  • Bowdoin Housekeepers Call for More Staff & Safer Working Conditions

KVCAP's Anti-Union Lawyer: “They’re Just Drivers”

KVCAP drivers (IAM S-89) deliver a petition to their employer demading a fair contract.

Drivers at Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP) help people get to critical  medical appointments. These drivers are a lifeline for many people in our community. 

KVCAP's lawyer didn't get that memo. "They're just drivers." That's what the lawyer told KVCAP drivers in contract negotiations when asked why they didn't deserve fair pay. The drivers organized together as a union with IAM Local Lodge S-89 nearly a year ago.

On Monday, the drivers delivered a petition demanding that the company negotiate in good faith and settle a fair contract, after months of negotiating. Central Maine Labor Council President Nick Paquet and staff from the Maine AFL-CIO joined KVCAP members at their contract negotiations Monday night in a show of support from the broader labor movement. When you take on some of us, you take on all of us! 

Coalition Supports Bill to Protect Rights at Work

Roxy Petrovich recounts the sexual harassment she experienced at work. 

The Maine AFL-CIO, women’s rights advocates and impacted workers held a press conference on Tuesday  calling for passage of a bill that will protect the rights of employees to have their day in court over sexual harassment, wage theft, discrimination, worker misclassification and other workplace violations. 

250 companies that do business in Maine compel their employees to sign forced arbitration contracts, which prohibit workers from suing or joining class action lawsuits against their employers for violating labor and employment laws. Businesses using forced-arbitration in Maine include large retail chains like Home Depot and Rite Aid as well as restaurant chains like Pizza Hut and the Olive Garden and large employers like Maine General Hospital.

LD 1693, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, empowers Mainers to combat violations of workplace rights by allowing workers to file claims on behalf of the state against an employer for violations of state labor and anti-discrimination laws. The Labor and Housing Committee has scheduled a work session on the bill for next week.

Golden Hosts IAM Local S6 President at State of the Union

Chris Wiers, the president of IAM Local S6 & Congressman Jared Golden Tuesday night.

Congressman Jared Golden hosted Chris Wiers, the president of IAM Local S6, at Tuesday’s State of the Union address in Washington DC. Wiers, a resident of Lewiston, was elected president of the Bath Ironworks local in 2019. 

“It’s an honor to represent the members of Local S6 with Congressman Golden at the State of the Union,” Wiers said. “Congressman Golden represents the voice that labor has been lacking in the great state of Maine and we will continue to work together to continue the proud legacy of Bath Iron Works, that ‘Bath built is best built.’”

Last year, Congressman Golden invited Cynthia Phinney, president of the Maine AFL-CIO, to the State of the Union address.

Critical Pro-Union Bill Passes the US House

On Wednesday, the US House finally passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), an important pro-worker bill that would make it easier to form a union. The PRO Act will strengthen the right to organize by imposing penalties for employers that illegally fire or retaliate against workers trying to form a union, require employers to bargain in good faith during union negotiations, crack down on worker misclassification, repeal the prohibition on secondary boycotts and prohibit employers from permanently replacing workers during strikes. 

Special thanks to Congressman Jared Golden who last month successfully led a group of 76 members of Congress, including Rep. Chellie Pingree, in urging House Democratic leadership to finally bring  PRO Act, to the House floor last month. The bill now goes to the US Senate.

Bowdoin Housekeepers Call for More Staff & Safer Working Conditions

Bowdoin housekeepers & supporters.

A delegation of Bowdoin College housekeepers, students, faculty, and union and community members on Wednesday called on the administration to address understaffing, low staff retention, and increased injury rates among workers at the college. The housekeepers have been organizing a union affiliated with MSEA-SEIU 1989.

“We keep losing people left and right. People keep quitting. Last week we lost two new housekeepers,” housekeeper Tracey Taylor told the Maine Beacon, adding that she hasn’t seen hourly workers on campus make many gains during her time with the college. “Changes are coming very slowly. We wish that the administration would listen to us.”

Please sign this petition to support the Bowdoin housekeepers!