News

IN THIS EDITION:

  • MSNA Members Honor Fallen Nurses & Call on Senator Collins to Save Lives
  • Maine Planned Parenthood Workers Vote to Form a Union
  • IBEW 567 & 490 Keeping Busy Installing Clean Energy Projects
  • Local S6 Stands Strong in Talks with BIW
  • Maine APRI Leader Speaks About Workers' Rights & Racial Justice at Teletown Hall

IN THIS EDITION:

  • US Senate Must Pass Stimulus to Support Frontline Workers 
  • Workers Struggle as Unemployment Benefits Expire This Week
  • Hundreds of Local S6 Members Rally for a Fair Contract
  • Portland Letter Carriers Blow Whistle on USPS for Delaying Mail to Benefit Amazon

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Rally with IAM President Bob Martinez, Jr. to Support IAM S6 Workers this Saturday
  • Join the Call-In Day of Action to Save the Postal Service
  • Tell Senator King & Collins to Extend the Lifeline to Unemployed Workers 
  • Preble Street Workers Ratify First Contract Agreement with Pay Increases
  • Nurses Calls on Calais Hospital to Protect Patients, Staff and Visitors

IN THIS EDITION:

  • Laid Off Workers Call on Senators to Extend Unemployment Benefits
  • Maine AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidates Win Primary Elections
  • Union Members Show Up to Support Local S6 Brothers & Sisters
  • Machinists Union to Hold Guide Dog Charity Golf Tournament — Aug. 21
  • EMLC Delivers “COVID Solidarity Response” Meals to Frontline Workers

Laid Off Workers Call on Senators to Extend Unemployment

Machinists Local S6 member Jake and Jennifer Frost with their children Kenneth and Reagan.


Last week, unemployed workers and small business owners met with the staff of Senators Angus King and Susan Collins to urge them to extend the extra $600 in weekly supplemental unemployment assistance that is set to expire on July 25th. The group, which was assembled by the Maine AFL-CIO through our Unemployment Assistance Group, gave heartfelt, impassioned testimonies about how cutting this lifeline it will result in many Maine families becoming severely financially strained or even homeless.

Jennifer Frost of Farmingdale is a therapist in private practice who is out of work due to COVID because she typically works in schools, which closed in March and most children have not been able to adapt to online appointments. Speaking to a Collins staffer on Thursday, Jennifer pointed out that she and her family can normally budget for emergencies, but her husband Jake is on strike with Local S6 at Bath Iron Works, so they are temporarily dependent on her income from unemployment.

“This $600 a week is the difference between being able to afford our daily living expenses and staying in our house,” said Jennifer. “Between losing my husband’s income and health insurance due to the strike and my income due to schools closing down, the $600 is holding us together. I consider us middle class, but at this point we’re really struggling.” 

Senator King’s staff said he is supportive of the extension, but Senator Collins says she is concerned that some low wage workers are making a little more than they were in their previous jobs. We urge you to contact Senator Collins and tell her why this extension is important to Maine families.

More than three years after taking office, the administration has never filled the job running the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is charged with enforcing workplace safety laws. The $560 million-a-year agency, whose estimated 2,000 inspectors performed 32,020 on-site inspections in 2018, spent months not doing any in-person inspections related to coronavirus, other than in hospitals, said Rebecca Reindel, director of occupational safety and health for the AFL-CIO.

Working people are bearing the brunt of this global pandemic and economic crisis. The physical toll, death, pain, and suffering that Oregon’s frontline and essential workers have experienced is unprecedented.

Coupled with the economic collapse that has exacerbated long-term inequities for low wage workers and BIPOC communities, workers are hurting and they need protections.

Daniel DiSalvo asks: “Will Unions Let Schools Reopen?” (op-ed, June 30). Of course! The AFT published our school reopening plan in April. We said it isn’t a question of whether to reopen, but how to do it safely. We need the infrastructure and investment to physically distance, stagger classes, provide personal protective equipment and test, trace and isolate new cases.

Racial disparities in who contracts the virus have played out in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller metropolitan areas like Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Bradleys live. Those inequities became painfully apparent when Ms. Bradley, who is Black, was wheeled through the emergency room. Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates.

This month’s historic Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ employees are protected in the workplace by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was another step forward in the march for equality. While there is much to celebrate, this ruling comes as our nation is suffering from centuries-old systemic racism and grieving its latest victims. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers. Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a run by two white men. We need to say their names, know their stories, and recognize why they were deprived of a full life.