House Blocks Right to Work Legislation; Supporters Remain Undeterred

Another missed opportunity to make Maine more attractive to businesses

Augusta – Friday morning in the House we witnessed yet another missed opportunity to end compulsory unionism and make Maine a “Right to Work” state. Despite the setback of today’s vote, Rep. Larry Lockman (R) Amherst who sponsored the legislation, remains undeterred.

“Every time we have this debate we gain ground,” Lockman said. “I believe we are moving the ball down the field and Maine will soon be the next right to work state. No one should be forced to buy something they don’t want and didn’t ask for. I look forward to the day when we set Maine workers free from the shackles of compulsory unionism, and make our great state the first in New England to become a magnet for liberty-loving entrepreneurs and good-paying jobs,” Lockman said.

Some important things to consider on the issue of right to work:

1. 11 of the top 16 states on Forbes Magazine’s “Best States for Business and Careers” are right to work states.

2. Maine would be the first state in New England to pass right to work legislation giving us a competitive advantage economically over other states.

3. Back in 2012, Indiana became the 23rd right to work state and Governor Mitch Daniels, who signed it into law, said businesses immediately took notice:

“I may have underestimated the immediacy of this law’s impact. We have had a flood of calls and inquiries, starting literally the day I signed the bill. We began hearing from companies we had not heard from. We’re keeping a list, because this may be important information for experts in the site selection business at some point. We’re in active conversations now with more than 10 companies with whom we had no contact just 12 days ago [prior to signing the bill]. They have communicated very overtly that they are in touch with us because of this new law,” Governor Daniels told Site Selection magazine.

The bills rejected in the House Friday:

1. LD 404 – An Act To Prohibit Public Employers from Acting as Collection Agents for Labor Unions
Sponsored by Rep. Larry Lockman:

SUMMARY
Current law allows a public employer to deduct service fees owed by an employee to a collective bargaining agent pursuant to a lawful collective bargaining agreement. This bill prohibits a public employer from collecting those fees or collecting member dues.

2. LD 489 – An Act To Ensure the Right To Work without Payment of Dues or Fees to a Labor Union as a Condition of Employment
Sponsored by Rep. Larry Lockman:

SUMMARY
This bill prohibits a person, including a public employee, an employee of the University of Maine System, the Maine Maritime Academy or the Maine Community College System and an employee of the judicial branch, from being required to join a labor organization or pay any labor organization dues or fees as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, notwithstanding any state law to the contrary. A violation is a Class D crime and is also subject to civil damages and injunctive relief. The Attorney General is responsible for enforcement and is required to prosecute all violations.

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