Appalled by

Mainers March to Support Right to Work Legislation

Lewiston, Maine:

Thousands of Maine people took to the streets to protest the fact that their Constitutional Rights have been violated. Or so one would think after listening to Paul LePage repeat that he is out to make Maine a "Right to Work" state in order to protect the rights of workers.

To our knowledge, there was no march, nor will there will be any such march. Maybe there was a single unsigned fax sent to the governor's office. But no march. Nonetheless, LePage repeated his rationale for changing laws relating to unions at the town meeting in Topsham on 4-22-11: "I do not believe that a person should be refused a job because he won't join a union, " he stated. A link to his earlier statement about this topic is here. The fact that LePage is promoting "Right to Work" legislation at this time and stating that he is doing so for the benefit of workers is entirely disingenuous. Here's why:

(1) As Dirigo Blue states, Maine law currently protects workers from experiencing the violations of Constitutional rights that LePage is referring to. 26 MRSA §963: Right of public employees to join or refrain from joining labor organizations reads: "A person may not directly or indirectly interfere with, intimidate, restrain, coerce or discriminate against a public employee or a group of public employees in the free exercise of their rights, given by this section, to voluntarily . . ." [click to read more].

(2) It's noble of Paul Lepage to be thinking of a topic as esoteric as the "rights" of workers during these difficult economic times, but are we really expected to believe he is doing it for the benefit of workers? Isn't it kind like his claim that he wants to create a training wage for young workers -- for the benefit of students and their families? We would much prefer if LePage would just come out and say that he wants to make these changes for the benefit of business -- and at the expense of workers -- plain and simple.

(3) LePage's desire to make Maine a "Right to Work" state is part of a national conservative and corporate agenda to weaken unions. Why would Republicans want to weaken unions? It's pretty obvious once you think about it:

1.  Weakening unions involving state workers paves the way toward privatization of public services and and a steady stream of public monies transferred to corporations. Weakening teachers unions makes it easier to advance charter schools, school voucher programs, and to wrest control of public education away from teachers and communities.

2. Weakening unions assures a low-wage and compliant work force, which again benefits corporations.

3.  Weakening unions weakens the Democratic party, since unions have tended to support Democratic candidates more heavily than Republican ones.

Thousands Rally!