Maine AFL-CIO announced the formation of two new unions last week:
- 57 workers at the Red Cross in Portland voted to organize a union with Teamsters Local 340. They work to set up and administer blood drives.
- 39 workers at the Central Maine and Quebec Railway voted to organize a union with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, or SMART. These new members include carmen, maintenance of way, conductors and engineers who work on the railway.
Also organizing are the employees at McTeague-Higbee in Topsham. Their press release is below.
- “JUSTICE FOR ALL”
Local Law Firm Employees Ratify Labor Agreement
TOPSHAM, MAINE. Legal professionals at McTeague-Higbee, a highly-regarded law firm that has represented organized labor in Maine for decades, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) have completed negotiation of their second 3-year collective bargaining agreement. The Topsham law firm specializes in employee/plaintiff-oriented labor law, workers’ compensation, discrimination, and personal injury cases. The IAMAW has a reputation for being one of the most diversified labor unions in North America.
Although negotiation of its first contract was challenging, the negotiation of the second contract took less than 8 hours of negotiation before agreement was reached. The contract was ratified unanimously by the members.
Law firm managing partner Kevin Noonan, stated, “McTeague Higbee has a long history of fighting for workers’ rights, and we are pleased to take this to a new level. We are very proud to be the only unionized law firm in the entire State of Maine. By fully embracing unionization of our staff, we are doing our best to live up to our own motto: Justice for All.”
The new 3-year accord features wage increases of 3.25% the first year and 3% in each of the next two years, as well as increased contributions to the IAM pension plan, and continuation of the IAM Benefits Trust Healthcare Plan, grievance and arbitration procedures, seniority provisions, and paid time off.
“We attribute this excellent result to both the effective negotiation skills of George Edwards, Assistant Directing Business Representative of IAMAW District Lodge 4 and the law firm’s good-faith approach to negotiating this contract. The firm has demonstrated an awareness that collective bargaining is good for both sides of the table and we are hopeful McTeague Higbee will serve as a role model for other employers,” said paralegal and bargaining committee member Carol Sanborn.