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March 15, 2019

Maine union workers unveil 2019 legislative agenda

Courtesy / ALF-CIO
Courtesy / ALF-CIO
Dana Gardner, a log hauler from St. Francis, was among 200 workers representing 50 unions who traveled to Augusta, March 14, to talk with legislators about key working class issues, as part of the Maine AFL-CIO's Annual Labor Lobby Day.

The state's labor unions unveiled their 2019 Working Class Legislative Agenda at a press conference Thursday at the State House, outlining a range of priority bills that they said would ensure safe and healthy workplaces, protection for injured workers, corporate accountability and collective bargaining rights.

The news conference was part of the Maine AFL-CIO's annual Labor Lobby Day, and 200 people representing 50 unions attended, talking with legislators about working class issues and bills affecting Maine workers, according to a news release from the AFL-CIO.

"With me today are the working men and women who keep our great state running," Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney, said. "They build our roads, our hospitals and our Navy ships. They fight fires, care for the sick and respond to traffic accidents. They deliver and sort mail, answer 911 calls, catch lobsters, drive buses, fix elevators and keep the lights on and the trains running. They are nurses, firefighters, truck drivers, electricians, lineworkers, papermakers, iron workers, teachers, child protective case workers, stage hands, welders and pipefitters. And they are union brothers and sisters who have come here today to urge our elected leaders to stand up for the working class."

Bills spoken about by members of a variety of unions at the news conference were:

  • LD 369, which would create the right to earned paid sick leave for the 200,000 Mainers who don't have the benefit.
  • LD 600, which would treat mental health injuries similarly to physical injuries when considering workers' compensation claims.
  • LD 601, which would restore cost of living adjustments to workers' compensation benefits for injured workers.
  • LR 225, which would create an exemption to antitrust laws to allow forest products workers to bargain collectively over rates, benefits and working conditions.
  • LD 201, which would protect Maine jobs by making companies that outsource call centers ineligible for state grants, loans or tax breaks. It would also prohibit state agencies from outsourcing call center work.
  • LD 900, which would give public sector workers the right to strike.
  • LD 1177, which would make arbitration binding on economic issues in the public sector.
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