In Maine, as in many places in the nation, it is becoming increasingly difficult for workers to find jobs that pay enough to make ends meet. Nearly one in five jobs in Maine don’t pay enough to lift a family of four above the poverty line, much less meet their basic needs.


On the heels of new census data released this week, the Maine People's Alliance and the Coalition on Human Needs have released a report that shows that Maine’s working class is continuing to struggle in a sluggish economy burdened by federal budget cuts and congressional inaction.

Nearly 50 MPA members traveled over twelve hours on a bus to attend the National People’s Action (NPA) conference in Washington, D.C. this April. The conference included a packed schedule of trainings, direct actions, and Capitol Hill visits with Congressional staff and members of Congress.



Today, the House and Senate co-chairs of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee joined members of the Maine People’s Alliance to release “Broken Bootstraps: Falling Behind on Full-Time Work”, a report by the Alliance for a Just Society which examines the growing gap between the number of jobseekers in Maine and jobs available that pay a living wage.

This legislative session saw a number of bills seeking to undermine economic security and weaken worker and consumer protections for Mainers. Six bills in particular attempted to undermine the power of collective bargaining for workers in Maine.

Assaults on Worker Rights

LD 1746: Supplemental budget to fix shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, again reminded the nation why we need bold investments in the economy to lift millions of Americans out of poverty, out of unemployment and toward a future where all have enough to thrive.

This legislative session MPA has been fighting a bill, LD 1725, presented to the Legislature by Governor LePage's Department of Labor, that would increase potential criminal penalties for unemployment fraud from a maximum of one year to 10 years in prison. This is an extreme proposal, especially for a state that has one of the nation's lowest unemployment fraud rates. In addition, the bill's increased work-search mandates will force unemployed workers to take a job well beneath their skill and wage level.

On June 2nd, hundreds of union workers from the public and private sectors protested at the State House in Augusta to oppose LD 309, a bill that supporters called “Right to Work” but that MPA and our allies recognized as an assault on Maine workers and their right to collective bargaining. Workers, side by side with MPA volunteers and community members from all over the state gathered in the Hall of Flags and chanted, “Kill the Bill!”