Posts tagged Maine

    Maine’s labor movement sees big shift from small unions

    December 7, 2023 // While overall union membership rates have fallen with closures of big unionized companies, the heart of Maine’s union movement is still beating, in part thanks to employees at small workplaces organizing at higher rates. These new unionized workers still face risks without the support of large collective action, but there are some advantages, too. And workers like Blackstock are coming to believe that the pros offset any cons. Unions formed at textile factories, paper mills, aircraft manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, Bath Iron Works and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – “the biggest blue-collar sectors” at the time, Hillard said. Many still exist today. That trend lasted through the 1950s, when union membership rates peaked nationwide at 35%.

    Unions accept contract offer, ending strike at Northern Maine pulp manufacturer

    November 27, 2023 // Other terms of the contract, according to the unions, are general wage increases of 4% in the first year and 3% in each of the second and third years; an end to a tiered vacation system, allowing all employees to cap out with a fifth week of vacation; an immediate "equity adjustment" of 30 cents to $1 an hour for employees in the bottom five water and steam plant classifications; and a contract ratification bonus of $750. The mill, which employs approximately 300 workers in total, is owned by St. Croix Tissue Co., based in Canada, whose parent company, The International Grand Investment Corp., is a U.S.-based company held by a Chinese investment firm.

    Max Finkelstein Workers Across East Coast Force RWDSU Union to Abandon 500+ Employee Unit

    October 31, 2023 // “We warehouse workers and drivers at Max Finkelstein may be from many different facilities in many different states, but we are in agreement about one thing: RWDSU union officials don’t represent our interests,” commented Dorney. “It’s our right under federal law to challenge RWDSU’s forced representation power.” The RWDSU union has recently tried several high-profile unionization campaigns at Amazon warehouses across the country, most notably at the large Bessemer, AL, facility, where employees voted against the union by substantial margins in both 2021 and 2022. Gallup polling shows that 58 percent of nonunion workers are “not interested at all” in joining a union.

    Staples accused of firing Brunswick worker for backing union drive

    September 11, 2023 // The Staples union drive is the latest in a string of organization efforts springing up across Maine. Since 2021, there have been successful union drives among workers at the Orono Town Office, Biddeford Starbucks, the Portland Museum of Art, Maine Medical Center in Portland and the Bangor Daily News. Despite those wins, efforts have petered out or failed at the Chipotle in Augusta, Little Dog Coffee Shop in Brunswick, Shalom House in Portland, the Starbucks on Middle Street in Portland and Bates College in Lewiston.

    Popular Union-Busting Tactic Banned in New York in ‘Major Victory’

    September 7, 2023 // New York has banned captive audience meetings, a popular union-busting tactic used by companies during organizing periods to disseminate anti-union information. Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill on Wednesday morning, making the state the fifth in the U.S. to make such meetings illegal. “This legislation will help to ensure that all New Yorkers receive the benefits and protections that allow them to work with dignity,” Hochul said in a statement on Wednesday. “My administration is committed to making our state the most worker-friendly state in the nation, and I thank the bill sponsors for their partnership in our mission to establish the strongest and most robust protections right here in New York.”

    This Labor Day, ask yourself: Are unions living up to their promises?

    September 4, 2023 // Good people across the country may believe that handing more power to public sector union executives will fix teacher shortages or improve ineffective government programs. Instead, these good people should reflect this Labor Day and ask themselves whether public sector unions have lived up to these promises over the past 50 years. They should also ask how we can hold union executives accountable and improve how public sector unions work. Unfortunately, anyone trying to advance ideas to improve public sector unions soon discovers union executives aren’t interested. Public sector union executives will go to war to ensure they keep their power — even at the expense of the employees they purportedly represent.

    Navy Shipbuilders’ Union Approves 3-Year Labor Pact at Bath Iron Works

    August 21, 2023 // The contract, which takes effect Monday, raises pay a range of 2.6% to 9.6% in the first year with differences due to a mid-contract wage adjustment that already took effect for some workers, and will be followed by a 5% increase in the second year and 4% increase in the third. Workers are receiving an increase in contributions to their national pension plan while health insurance costs will grow. Machinists’ Union Local S6, which represents about 4,200 production workers, touted the biggest pay raises by percentage since the union's founding in the 1950s.

    ‘Employees come second’: Why California’s legislative staffers hope to unionize

    July 21, 2023 // Unlike other state workers, legislative staff are banned from unionizing to advocate for better working conditions. That could soon change under a bill making its way through the State Capitol. Assembly Bill 1, authored by Assembly member Tina McKinnor (D—Inglewood), would provide a framework for legislative staff to form a union. California’s over 200,000 other public employees are able to unionize. But legislative staff are notably excluded from the law, the Dills Act, that established those rights in the 1970s. AB 1 is the fifth attempt in recent years to change that.

    Biden’s ‘nightmare’ Labor nominee under fire from small businesses, contract workers

    April 5, 2023 // "As the chief enforcer of AB 5, Julie Su was a nightmare for freelancers and small businesses in California. She has no business being Labor Secretary after her track of failure," said Freelancers Against AB 5 founder Karen Anderson. Wes Snyder, the owner of a FASTSIGNS franchise in Arizona, criticized Su’s stance on franchise liability. "This business model gives anyone the opportunity to experience the transformative power of entrepreneurship while strengthening their local communities," he said. "Julie Su wants to rob us of this opportunity – she will turn the American dream into the American nightmare."