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Latest on Employee Free Choice

What the Eastern Maine Labor Council, affiliated Unions, and our allies are doing

Eastern Maine Religious Leaders and Farmers Support Employee Free Choice

Thanks to the work of numerous Eastern Maine Labor Council and Food AND Medicine members, ten religious leaders and twenty-four farmers have signed letters to Sen. Olympia Snowe asking her to support the Employee Free Choice Act, showing it is not just a "union issue" but a fundamental human rights issue.

Religious Leaders in support of Employee Free Choice

Fr. Tom Farley, Parochial Vicar, Parish of the Ressurection, Old Town

Fr. Frank J. Murray, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Auburn

Rev. Gerald Oleson, Sunny Corner Fellowship, Bangor

Rev. Elaine Hewes, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Bangor

Rev. Dr. Mark Allen Doty, Hammond St. Congregational Church, UCC

Rev. Rob McCall, First Congregational Church of Blue Hill, UCC

Rev. Dr. David L. Grainger, United Methodist Church, Orono

Rev. Dr. Susan Elizabeth Davies, United Church of Christ, Bangor

Rev. Mike Tapper, Pathway Wesleyan Church, Bangor

Rev. Grace Bartlett, First Congregational Church UCC, Brewer

Rabbi Darah Lerner, Congregation Beth El, Bangor

Read the Letter from Religious Leaders

 

Maine Farms in support of Employee Free Choice

Checkerberry Farm
Village Farm
Wingbrook Farm
Rogers Farm
Olsen Farm
The Shire Farm
Wickett Farm
Clovercrest Farm
Cluain Lara Farm
Goose Hill Farm
Long Meadow Farm
Mysty Mountain Farm
Co-Efficient Farm
Way Back Farm
Rainfly Farm
Happytown Farm
Orizaba Farm
Snakeroot Farm
Brightberry Farm
Darthia Farm
Dig Deep Farm
Double Bit Farm
Fail Better Farm
Phoenix Farm

Read the Letter from Maine Farmers

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Employee Free Choice Act Symposium with Barbara Ehrenreich Draws Crowd

Watch a video excerpt of the event!

In what one attendee described as "the most well-attended event on a labor issue at the University in 30 years," hundreds packed an auditorium in the University of Maine's D.P. Corbett Business Center to learn about the state of worker rights and union organizing in our country, and the urgent need for change.

This "Symposium on the Employee Free Choice Act," organized jointly by the Eastern Maine Labor Council, Food AND Medicine, UMaine's Student Labor Action Project, the Bureau of Labor Education, and the Maine Christian Association and co-sponsored by 18 other student & community organizations and small businesses, brought Barbara Ehrenreich, noted author of Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America, to speak alongside Maine workers about the lack of democracy and basic rights in non-union workplaces. EMLC members Linda Morris and Steve Husson shared stories of organizing campaigns they helped lead with MSEA-SEIU and Teamsters 340, respectively. Both encountered draconian and often illegal opposition from their employers in these efforts to make the workplace better. Barbara Eherenreich, who took low-wage, non-union jobs all across the US in her hands-on research for Nickel & Dimed, then urged the audience to get involved in the fight for worker rights.

One major note that emerged from the program is that it is time to clearly and in large numbers let Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins know that the workers of Maine want the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) to pass in order to level the playing field for workers.

Read Bangor Daily News coverage of event

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Opposition to Employee Free Choice Gets Hysterical

One of our members came upon this article about a private conference of CEOs and Corporate Lobbyists, trying to stir up opposition to EFCA. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, perhaps the most power-mad of the bunch, called Employee Free Chice "the demise of a civilization," and said of his colleagues "If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he (sic) has not spent money on this election, they should be shot." These statements are shocking and revealing. They wouldn't be going to such great lengths if they didn't think workers have a real chance of winning this.

Here in Eastern Maine, several area business leaders met at the White House Inn for a Feb. 18 press conference slamming the Employee Free Choice Act. Our allies at Food AND Medicine were able to get a word in, however. Read the Bangor Daily News coverage here.

Learn More About the Employee Free Choice Act

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Taking Action for Employee Free Choice on Human Rights Day

On December 10, 1948, world leaders signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, pledging to guarantee to the people of their countries the freedom to form trade unions.

On December 10th, 2008, over 40 Eastern Maine Labor Council and Food AND Medicine members gathered in the Solidarity Center to plan our fight to restore this basic right through passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Over a potluck supper complete with a roast turkey and fixings, workers and supporters recognized the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration. Speeches by workers involved in union organizing campaigns, however, made it clear that we cannot rest easy with the promises of 60 years ago. Subira Gordon of MSEA-SEIU 1989 spoke of intimidation and harrassment of home health care workers who formed a union at Medical Care Development in central Maine, and Steve Husson, a current Food AND Medicine organizer, spoke of the dirty tricks played on him and his co-workers when they formed a union at DHL's Bangor branch. On a positive note, Ted Rippy of SEIU Local 771 described the improved conditions for home health care workers employed by Alpha One when they formed a union through majority sign-up, the process that will prevail at all workplaces if the Employee Free Choice act is passed.

Before the night was over, the entire room wrote letters to Senator Olympia Snowe asking her to support the Employee Free Choice Act, and 15 people pledged to write letters to the editor in their local papers.

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EMLC confronts deceitful, sleazy union-busting front group "Union Facts" for running ads in local media

"Union Facts" is run by corporate propagandist Richard Berman--besides misrepresenting and attacking unions, this is a guy who advises pregnant women to eat above FDA approved amounts of fish with mercury (see article)! Incredibly, this group still claimed to support worker rights during last night's news. No shame whatsoever.

It's clear that their angle is to attack our leadership and cause divisions within our labor movement. You can see from Channel 2s coverage below that Sen. Susan Collins apes their language. Collins, without ever talking to any worker involved in an organizing campaign, opposes the Employee Free Choice Act, because she wants to protect workers.

Our response got great press coverage. You can watch the local news and read the article below. I want to thank Brent Hall who did a great job putting visuals behind Dan Lawson, Calvin Murphy and myself that spoke to worker rights, jobs with justice and the like. Calvin got great coverage on channel 7, but I can't find that on the web. Channel 2 had a nice shot of our mural which has writtten large and in red "Work place Democracy, through Solidarity". Another way to beat back Berman's lies.


-Jack McKay

The news:

http://www.wabi.tv/content/4091/Watch_TV5_News/ (For the morning news version it's about 8 minutes into the show.)

http://www.wlbz2.com/news/local/default.aspx