Maine State Workers’ Rally in Augusta- Speeches and Videos

Posted on June 27, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

(Originally posted 6/27/11 on SoapBlox CMS version of MPW)

From the MSEA-SEIU press release:

Maine Workers Rally At State HouseCall on Governor to Stop Attacks on Workers and Send Home New York City Lawyer

Firefighters, teachers, millworkers, child care providers, snow plow drivers and other workers from across Maine converged on the State House on Suaturday to show their support for state workers currently in contract negotiations with the LePage administration. Despite predictions of bad weather, hundreds turned out for a rally at the capitol.

Jonathan French of MDOT started off the rally:

“What I see when I look out at all of you is the very fabric of our communities. Because of you, Maine is a place where our kids can learn and grow, where our roads are safe, where our communities and naturaql resources are protected, and where we are working together to build our economy. You make Maine a better place for all of us.Once again, workers have stepped up and offered to do our share. But instead of sitting down with us directly and talking about how we can work together, Governor LePage has chosen to create more conflict and pick yet another fight with Maine workers by bringing in a hatchet man from New York City.

So while Maine workers have proposed no cost increases, the Governor is paying a New York City lawyer at least $295 an hour to dismantle workers’ rights and core protections. This is not only irresponsible; it’s not how we treat each other in Maine.”

Emery Deabay, Vice President of Eastern Maine Labor Council, member of United Steelworkers Local #1188 and employed at the Versco paper Mill in Bucksport, spoke next, but his address to those assembled will be posted separately as his remarks expanded onto LD 309 (which is being held over until next year) and a general overview of what we have witnessed from the LePage administration thus far.

“Whether you’re from Caribour or Kittery, or somewhere in between, no matter where you live, Maine DOT workers work for everyone. We keep Maine moving. If a tree goes down, or if there’s a washout, 2 feet of snow, freezing rain, anything that gets in the way of safe passage of a Maine highway or bridge, Maine DOP workers are there in a moment’s notice to fix things and make them right.When a DOT plow truck goes by during a nor’easter, everyone knows they’ll be back to their normal routine in no time at all. Everyone knows that the hardworking men and women at the Maine DOT amd out brothers and sisters at the Maine Turnpike Authority are the best at what they do. And it’s a good thing we are the best- living in a state like Maine, right?

With the Maine DOT. every inch of Maine highway is maintained to the same specifications. In my DOT region, which covers a quarter of the state, over the years we’ve gone from 400 people taking care of the roads to 168 workers. That’s a pretty tight crew to cover such a huge part of our state. We’re efficient. We’re accountable..

And we’re working at hourly wages much lower than what the private sector pays for the same work. That’s just a plain fact. It was documented in a labor market survey that the State of Maine recently paid over $50,000 to conduct. You know, they could have saved that money just by talking to a DOT worker.”
MDOT Milo Crew Leader Tony Gonzales

“My coworkers at Maine DHHS and I work hand in hand with Maine families, community leaders, and community organizations to help keep all Maine families safe, all Maine families together, and all of our communties strong. This is critically important work, because with a strong family foundation and community support, all Maine children will have the opportunity to make the most of their abilities as they pursue their dreams and help make this world a better place for all of us.Our ability to have a voice in determining issues like our working conditions is central to our ability to work as public servants with the highest levels of accountability. So I am here today to thank you for the support for the work that we do. I am also here to show my support for the work that all of you do. I’m showing my support because all Maine workers make our communities strong. All Maine workers make our economy strong. And all Maine workers deserve to be treated with respect for the work that they do.

Maine DHHS case worker, MSEA-SEIU Local #1989 member Dean Staffieri

“I understand the very tough financial challenges so many Maine people are facing. We are all making sacrifices and I know our local leaders sre struggling to maintain staffing levels that will keep our schools and public safety systems strong. And I think I can speak for every parent here when I say how important it is to be part of a community where we work together and suppoer each other- where our kids can get a good education and where our families are supported and safe. That is what this country, and especially Maine, are all about.So what I don’t understand is why the Governor has made it his personal mission to undercut hard-working Maine families like mine. This isn’t the Maine I grew up in. This isn’t the Maine where we use common sense and fairness to solve problems. This isn’t the Maine where everyone gets a shot at living the American dream.

The Governor’s attacks on working people are taking this state in the wrong direction. It’s time to re-knit the tears in our community fabric and start working together again.”

Maine Department of Corrections’ Kelly Carr

Conclusion by Jonathan French:

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