Right to Work - Chapter 4

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Yesterday, May 6, 2015, the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, & Economic Development held work sessions on a number of bills pertaining to “Right to Work” policy. The Maine AFL-CIO held a morning rally in the cafeteria of the Burton M. Cross Building to coincide with  the work sessions. Roughly 100 members, activists, and officers gathered to hear speeches from trade union leaders and pro-union legislative leaders, namely Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford). Before the 10:00 am legislative session began, AFL-CIO organizers coached attendees on how to speak with their representatives and senators about the union position on the proposed legislation. This did not only include members of the LCRED committee, but also the overall membership of both legislative bodies in anticipation of divided committee reports that would send the bills to the House and Senate.

The committee sent out three divided reports. Party line votes were taken on LDs 404, 489, and 1010 with un-enrolled committee member Rep. James Campbell (U-Newfield) siding with Democrats in opposition. Democrats have a majority on the committee, but divided reports mean the Republican controlled Senate will be able to move the Ought to Pass Minority Report of each bill in that chamber. However, House Democrats will likely kill the bills in the legislature’s lower body where no one in their caucus is expected to break ranks.

If supporters were able to get the minority reports through the legislature, however unlikely, Governor Paul LePage has made clear his desire to sign such policy into law.

The committee did vote outright to kill one of the major bills in question: LD 1353, sponsored by Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Hampden). The bill received a unanimous “Ought Not to Pass” report.

Additionally, Rep. Karleton Ward’s (R-Dedham) bill, LD 1319, which deals with employees receiving compensation on days they’re involved in union activity, was postponed and will be worked today, May 7, 2015, at a 2:00 pm session of the committee.