Governor LePage Pushes Right to Work Legislation

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Governor Paul LePage is aggressively pushing LD 489, An Act to Ensure the Right to Work without Payment of Dues or Fees to a Labor Union as a Condition of Employment.  Current law allows public employees to opt out of joining a union, but still requires the employees to pay the pro-rata share of dues.  The law specifically prohibits a public employee from being required to join or pay dues to a union.  A violation of the law would be a Class D crime and allow injunctive relief and recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs.  The Maine AFL-CIO, in its press conference on March 12, 2015, stated its strong opposition to the bill and stated that “Despite its misleading name, the stated law does not give anyone any rights or any work”.  The express concern is that right to work laws “allow workers to contribute nothing and still get all the benefits of union membership.”

This issue is national in scope and was recently enacted in Wisconsin.  At today's press conference, the AFL-CIO suggested protesting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s upcoming visit to Maine. We will track the progress of this legislation as it proceeds through the Legislature.