Jackson introduces legislation to prevent mill closures

LD 596 puts power back into the hands of workers and communities to save their towns and mitigate the damage caused by mill closures


AUGUSTA—Legislation from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, that would give communities a chance to prevent mill closures, received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee on Monday.


The bill – LD 596, “An Act To Prevent the Closure of Maine Businesses” – would give both workers and communities the opportunity to purchase the closing facility and its equipment within a year of the closure.


“When a major plant, business or employer suddenly closes in rural parts of the state, it has a devastating impact on the entire community,” said President Jackson. “The end result is a ripple effect. Local businesses close down, poverty rises, families move elsewhere, and once lively towns transform into ghost towns overnight. LD 596 puts power back into the hands of workers and communities to save their towns.”


Since 2013, more than 3,530 Maine workers have lost their jobs due to major plant closures, such as mill closures in Madison, Lincoln, Bucksport and Brewer. This bill gives an employee organization, a private or government-owned business, or a jointly owned business the time to secure funds, to examine the equipment, to explore further backing and possibly make an officer on the facility. It gives groups a chance to reinvigorate the community.


Similar efforts have seen success across the country and in this state. For example, the IAM Lobstering Union was able to purchase a lobster pound and transform it into cooperative just last year.


LD 596 faces additional work sessions in committee.



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