Maine lawmakers reject right-to-work bills
By Greg Janetka
AUGUSTA, Maine: Democratic state lawmakers effectively killed two bills yesterday that they characterized as anti-union and anti-worker. The first measure would have made Maine a right-to-work state, making it illegal for an employer to require employees to join a union or pay union dues as a term of employment. The second bill would have repealed the law that allows public employers to deduct union dues from non-members.
The bills, LD 786 and LD 831, were rejected in the House by a margin of 89-56 and 92-53, respectively. The vote was mainly along party lines. The measures then moved to the Senate, where they were both voted down 21-13, again largely along party lines.
Republicans said the result was not a surprise but that they wanted to open up the debate and let the public know there is an alternative to the current system. Sen. John Patrick (D), chair of the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development, stated, "Right to work was a bad idea in 1948 when Maine voters rejected it by a 2 to 1 margin, and it's still a bad idea 60 years later. I want a Maine that's progressive not regressive – a Maine that stands up for its workers."