The primary bill being considered, LD 1353, Right to Refrain from Joining a Union, is a straightforward right-to-work bill presented by Senator Andre Cushing. This bill applies broadly to not only the public sector but to the private sector. It defines as employers all persons, firms, associations, corporations, public employers, public school employers, public colleges, public universities, public institutions or public education agencies. The bill would specifically prohibit a person from being required as a condition of employment to be a member of a labor organization or to pay any dues to a labor organization or a third party in lieu of payment.
Other bills being heard are LD 404, An Act to Prohibit Public Employers from Acting as Collecting Agents for Labor Unions, 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, LD 1010, An Act to Afford Public Employers Flexibility to Achieve Efficiency and Quality in Management, LD 1351, An Act to Ensure that Membership of Public Employees in Union is Voluntary, and LD 1319, An Act to Ensure that Wages and Benefits of Maine State Employees Serve a Public Purpose.
Because these pieces of legislation have expanded into the private sector, there should be considerable support and opposition for them from the usual suspects. My next chapter will report what happened at the public hearings and when these bills are scheduled for work session.