STATEWIDE — Workers in the state are calling on Maine’s Republican senator to support a bill being considered in Washington.
The Maine AFL-CIO held a press conference Thursday with a Maine lawmaker and workers to discuss the importance of passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, also known as the PRO Act.
“The PRO Act would put decisions about whether to join together in a union in the hands of the workers and not their employers by strengthening the NLRA in several key ways,” said Cynthia Phinney, president of the Maine AFL-CIO.
Phinney said this would ban employers from hosting anti-union meetings and allow unions to form without employer intimidation or harassment.
After being laid off, Michaela Flint, a former employee of the Portland Museum of Art, said she was not rehired when she reapplied due to her support of the union.
“Unions benefit and protect workers from losing jobs,” Flint said. “Unions will make jobs sustainable and give voices to employees.”
Kara Calor, a nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center and a member of the Maine State Nurses Association, stressed the importance of being in a union, especially during the pandemic.
“Because of our union, we can speak up for better conditions and have absolute confidence that we will not be disciplined for doing so,” Calor said.
Sen. Craig Hickman, chair of the legislature’s Committee on Labor and Housing, spoke in support of the PRO Act saying that it will address injustice.
“Unions advance racial unity in the workplace and wage parity among workers of all colors, genders and backgrounds,” Hickman said.
According to Phinney, three members of Maine’s delegation have signed on as co-sponsors of the PRO Act.
They are now calling on Sen. Susan Collins to support this as well.
“It shouldn’t be so hard for workers to form unions,” Phinney said. “We need this legislation now.”
We reached out to Collins‘ office, and we’re told she declined to comment.