News

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Organizing Wave Continues — Biddeford Saco O.O.B. Transit Workers Form Union
  • Machinist Member Doug Hall Kicks Off PRO Act Tour Across Maine
  • Maine Med Nurses Have Formed a Union - Now the Hard Work Begins
  • The PRO-Labor Legislative Round-up
  • Maine Service Employees Association Hiring for Field Rep
  • When Maine Workers Launched the First Independent Labor Media Outlets

Thirty two transit drivers, mechanics and other staff at Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit (BSOOB Transit) have formed a union with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 714 and will soon be negotiating their first contract.

“Drivers here are woefully underpaid and that was one of the main reasons for workers wanting to organize a union,” said ATU member Joe Gaudette, who is a part-time BSOOB Transit driver. “Now that we’re officially a union we urge BSOOB Transit to work with us to reach a fair contract that appropriately compensates employees for the valuable service we provide to the community.”

BSOOB Transit is the primary provider of public transportation in the Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach region with express commuter bus service that connects the Tri-Town area to downtown Portland and seasonal trolleys that serve tourist destinations in the area. ATU 714 also represents transit workers at the Community Connector in Bangor, the Greater Portland Metro bus line and the Regional Transportation Program in Portland. The successful union election comes on the heals of two major union election victories at Portland Museum of Art and Maine Medical Center.

IN THIS EDITION:

  • 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

IN THIS EDITION:

  • From Iraq to Maine: An Interview with USW 366 Unit President, Anaam Jabbir
  • Union Business Spotlight: Xtreme Screen Printing
  • Governor Mills’ Change Package Fully Funds Education and Revenue Sharing
  • Bill to Improve Unemployment System Clears Committee
  • Committee Passes Bill to Protect Whistleblowers
  • Maine AFL-CIO Gives Race & Labor Presentation to Legislative Committee

California School Employees Association (CSEA) member Jacob Rodriguez leapt at the chance to join his school district’s information technology department when a position opened up. The only catch was that he was a substitute custodian and didn’t have a college degree yet. “I promised them I’d go back to school to get more qualified,” Rodriguez said. Thanks to the Union Plus Free College Program, Rodriguez was able to complete his associate degree free of charge, graduating in December 2020.

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Democrats Reintroduce Bill to Strengthen Collective Bargaining Rights
  • Republican Legislators Sponsor Union Busting “Right to Work” Bill
  • Union Members Join Info session on Paid Time Off Law with Commissioner Fortman
  • Nurses Are Organizing & Here Are 3 Ways to Help!
  • Solidarity Meals for Unemployed People in Bangor Area
  • New Report: Strategies To Build Worker Power in Maine
  • Upcoming Events: Pro-Labor Bill Gets a Hearing & Winter Institute

"We are going to insert ourselves at every table,” Shuler said. “If we don’t get workers to the table, there’s going to be more of what Trump tapped into,” she said, in reference to angry voters who feel left behind by globalization. “Training works better when you talk to workers. They can tell you what will and won’t work when automating. We’re not always hostile — we can be collaborators and make it go well,” she said.

Amazon is the great white whale, a target that labor groups have longed for years to organize, said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, which is providing personnel and strategic guidance to aid the RWDSU. “We’ll give them whatever they need to help them win,” Trumka said. “It’s an important, important drive.”

Read the full article in the Washington Post.

John Sweeney, who led an era of transformative change in America’s labor movement, passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 86. Sweeney was one of four children born to Irish immigrants in a working-class Bronx neighborhood shortly after the Great Depression. His parents, James and Agnes Sweeney, worked as a bus driver and a domestic worker, respectively. Sweeney always understood the struggles and the pride of working people.

“This pandemic has amplified [public support] even more. It showed how helpless workers are without a union. They couldn’t even get PPE and unions were able to get it for them,” says Trumka. “For years and years and years, people that we call ‘essential workers’ were invisible. It was as if no one knew they existed. They did their jobs every day to keep the country and the economy going.

Major labor leaders like Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, are more optimistic about the prospects for organized labor than they’ve been in many years. “I know what he is. Joe Biden’s a blue-collar guy,” said Trumka, who like Biden is from a working-class area in Pennsylvania and has known the president for 40 years. “He understands working people, the importance of a paycheck, importance of health and safety on the job, importance of having a union .… He understands all of that. It’s not something he picked up in the polls. It’s what he believes.”

The 2021 Union Plus Scholarship application deadline is this Sunday, Jan. 31. The Union Plus Scholarship Program awards scholarships based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need and commitment to the values of organized labor. Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school, or recognized technical or trade school.