AUGUSTA—All Democratic members of the Maine Senate voted against legislation from Rep. Larry Lockman, R-Bradley, that would undercut the ability of unions and professional organization to organize, collectively bargain and advocate for better working conditions. The vote was 22-13.
Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, Chair of the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee, released the following statements:
Senate President Troy Jackson
“Maine is a working-class state, plain and simple. As lawmakers, we must reject measures that undermine the ability of unions or organizations to advocate for fair wages, safe work environments and better working conditions.
“Throughout my entire life, I’ve seen what happens when workers cannot form a collective and demand changes in their workplace. Wages remain stagnant. Unsafe work environments lead to poor health, injury and, in some case, long-term disability. And employers are able to use and abuse their employees. By undermining unions and collectives, employers have significant power over the livelihoods of their employees, and there is little room or willingness to make any changes.”
Sen. Shenna Bellows
“Maine workers are a vital part of our community and economy. Unions and employee advocacy have played an essential role in improving working conditions and building a strong middle class. Any effort to weaken their ability to speak up and advocate for their members is a direct threat to Maine workers and their families. With this vote, I hope Maine workers and families know that we have their back.”
Last year, the State of Missouri rejected a similar measure at the ballot box. Having failed to earn the necessary support in both the House and the Senate, the measure will not move forward.