AUGUSTA — On Monday, all three Democratic leaders in the Maine House of Representatives shared supportive statements at the news of Bates College staff and adjunct faculty organizing in Lewiston. The two top Democrats are union members themselves. Maine unions saw their ranks swell to 82,000 members in 2020 from 69,000 in 2019.
Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford:
“Lewiston has a long history of labor organizing going back to Maine workers fighting for better conditions in the textile mills. Today, Bates College employees are making the choice to form a collective voice to advocate for themselves and students. All workers should have the right to make their choice free from intimidation. Earlier this year, I joined my colleagues in an unionizing effort at my non-legislative workplace. Our staff union, affiliated with CWA Local 2336, was voluntarily recognized by company leadership. I wish the staff and adjunct faculty at Bates similar success in their efforts. It is inspiring to see labor organizing taking place in Maine.“
House Majority Leader Michelle Dunphy of Old Town:
“As a union member myself, I know how important it is for workers to be able to organize and collectively bargain. Congratulations to the staff and faculty at Bates College for taking this historic step. As workers at Bates are making their decisions about whether to join the push to unionize, it is critical that they are able to do so free from intimidation. The right to organize is fundamental to improving labor conditions, and it is a right that must be respected.”
Assistant Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland:
“The effort to unionize at Bates College is what true solidarity looks like. Food service workers and adjunct professors are standing together, united in a cause to improve each other’s working conditions, benefits and salaries. I fully support the faculty and staff’s efforts to unionize and will be rooting for their success. After all, being part of a union is not only about salaries and benefits— it is also about having dignity in the workplace.”