Yesterday, the Raisin reported on Governor Paul LePage of Maine ordering the Department of Labor to remove a mural that celebrates the history of labor in the state. There’s going to be an awful lot of blank wall space, so I thought we’d try to help and suggest a replacement. I did a little digging, and i found out about something called the Maine Heritage Policy Center. From WLBZ (Bangor):
Tarren Bragdon has risen to a position of influence as CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, and was the leader of Gov. Paul LePage’s transition team. He goes In the Arena with Pat Callaghan to talk about the efforts to shrink the state budget and reform government.
The Maine Heritage Policy Center says Gov. LePage’s proposed budget doesn’t make enough cuts. The center believes Maine should cut 4,000 state jobs. Bragdon talks about that, as well as collective bargaining rights for state employees, and Gov. LePage’s decision to create private advisory groups to counsel him on business matters– which will not be subject to Maine’s open meeting laws.
Why is that important? Well, this is from Dirigo Blue:
Trevor Bragdon has stepped down as the State Director of AFP Maine, and will be replaced by long-time Republican legislator Carol Weston.
AFP Maine is a chapter of Americans for Prosperity, an AstroTurf front group founded by David Koch, a major funder of libertarian groups across the country. Trevor Bragdon is the brother of Tarren Bragdon, the Executive Director of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC), and one of the co-chairs of Gov. Paul LePage’s transition team. MHPC has ties to the Heritage Foundation in D.C., which also receives money from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
Anyone else think it’s quite a coincidence that the Koch brothers’ names keep popping up when anyone is discussing the new Republican governors who are trying to pull the rug out from anything that’s good for the middle class and the poor? With that in mind, I’ve come up with a picture that I think will look just great on the walls of the Maine Department of
Fellating Corporate Bigwigs Labor.
From THINK PROGRESS:
Reporting for the progressive Maine blog Dirigo Blue, Gerald Weinand has discovered that a proposed “right to work” law in Maine mirrors similar proposals in several other states, like New Hampshire and Missouri. The legislation in Maine, LD788, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Winsor (R), would make Maine like other low-wage anti-labor states by weakening unions. Right to work laws typically allow workers to opt-out of union dues while benefiting from union contracts, a cycle that usually kills a labor union over time. But the assault on worker rights in Maine appears to be part of a larger attack coordinated by conservative front groups. Winsor’s bill contains phrases and language strikingly similar to other right to work proposals from Republicans across the country:
Maine’s anti-union bill LD788:
§ 653. Right to refrain
A person may not be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to:
1. Become a member […] of a labor organization;
2. Pay dues […] to a labor organization; or
3. Pro rata portions. Pay to any charity or other 3rd party, in lieu of payments under subsection 2, any amount equivalent to or a pro rata portion of dues, fees, assessments or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
New Hampshire anti-union bill HB 474:
273-D:4 Freedom of Choice Guaranteed, Discrimination Prohibited. No person shall be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment:
I. To resign or refrain from voluntary membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization;
II. To become or remain a member of a labor organization;
III. To pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization;
IV. To pay any charity or other third party, in lieu of such payments, any amount equivalent to or a pro-rata portion of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of a labor organization.
Missouri’s anti-union bill SB109:
Section A.290.590.2. No person shall be required as a condition or continuation of employment to:
(1) Become or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization;
(2) Pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges however denominated of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or
(3) In lieu of the payments listed under subdivision (2) of this subsection, pay to any charity or other third party any amount equivalent to, or on a pro rata basis, any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group has beefed up its presence in Maine since the election of Gov. Paul LePage (R), a far-right tea party favorite. […] Both Americans for Prosperity and the Maine Heritage Policy Center appear to be laying the groundwork for the same type of anti-labor effort as Wisconsin’s led by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).
The conservative strategy for decimating the labor movement is being replicated with great speed — and little creativity. Each state, from Wisconsin, to Ohio, to Maine, and others across the country face a similar threat of phony Tea Party groups, business front organizations, and even nearly identical legislative proposals.
Maybe they should just put this over the doors of government offices: