Labor policy position: Labor and the American Dream

Bill Slavick, flatly does NOT want existing labor laws to be enforced on American employers. He does NOT believe that American workers will take such "stoop labor" jobs even if they are paid a living wage. (As an organic farmer, I've done lots of what Slavick calls "stoop labor" work, and find it very rewarding and productive.)

September 4, 2006 - Labor Day Statement

Southern Maine Labor Council, Portland - Eastern Maine Labor Council, Brewer
On this Labor Day, I want to thank all workers, in Maine and across the nation, for doing the jobs you do every day. Labor Day is the day when we recognize that, collectively, the workers of America are the driving force in this country.

July 20, 2006 - Pro-Union and Pro-Labor

In remarks to the Franklin County Democratic Committee meeting last Sunday, I pointed out to the crowd in the North Dining Hall on the UMF campus in Farmington that not only am I a pro-union candidate, I am a pro-labor candidate.

By that I mean that I fully support, and will fight to protect, the rights of workers to form unions and to have meaningful and productive negotiations leading to good union contracts.

May 18, 2006 - Jean Hay Bright will fight to fix the unfair "Social Security Offsets"

At the Kennebec County Democrats Meet the Candidates Night in Augusta, Jean Hay Bright, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, reaffirmed her commitment to fight to fix the unjust "Social Security Offsets" law which now prevents Maine state employees who have earned credits under both Social Security and the Maine State Retirement Program from drawing from both programs.

Under the current arrangement, people who get Maine State Retirement and also qualify for Social Security based on jobs outside state government, have their monthly Social Security checks adjusted downward, supposedly to allow for the fact that they paid no FICA taxes as a state employee. But in many cases, Hay Bright noted, the convoluted and unfair adjustment results in a monthly allotment that is lower than the employee would have gotten if he or she had only been covered by one of the plans.

"It makes no sense to penalize someone for participating on both systems," Hay Bright said. "If you've earned your Social Security separately from your Maine State Retirement, you should receive compensation under both plans."

Hay Bright vowed to push to add Maine to the list of exempted states that are impacted by the offset rule, or to do away with the law altogether.

At the fourth public hearing of Maine's Citizen Trade Commission last week in Lewiston, speaker after speaker was eloquent in detailing how the current trade agreements, such as NAFTA, CAFTA, GATS, have devastated their businesses and farms, or damaged other segments of the economy. Most foresaw the same results with trade policies now in the pipeline for Congressional approval, such as agreements with Oman or Peru.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright of Dixmont, Maine, said Monday night she was disappointed President George Bush said little about actually enforcing the laws pertaining to the hiring of undocumented workers.

"...That being said, the real criminals in this situation are the employers who willingly violate U.S. labor and tax laws by hiring undocumented workers. These American employers are preying on the immigrants' desperation, greedily gaming our legal, labor, and tax systems which are designed to keep our nation's economy running smoothly and fairly."

Presented to Southern Maine Labor Council - Portland
"The concept of labor in America is nothing short of a national recognition that, collectively, the workers of America are the driving force in this country. Individually, what we do for work often defines who we are. At its best, that work involves using our talents and skills to do productive work that is respected and appropriately compensated."

Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Jean Hay Bright joined about two dozen people a press conference Wednesday outside Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor in support of union organizing activities by health care workers in that medical facility.

March 13, 2006 - IBEW Local 1837 picket line in Portland, near Channel 13 TV studios

Jean joined the picket line with about 20 others protesting the lack of a union contract for the IBEW technicians, photographers, directors, producers, editors and engineers at Channel 13 (Sinclair Broadcasting). The contract expired more than a year ago, and the last wage increase was more than two years ago.

Feb. 11, 2006 - IBEW Local 1837 picket line in front of Channel 13 TV - Lewiston

Jean joined the picket line with about 30 others protesting the lack of a union contract for the IBEW technicians, photographers, directors, producers, editors and engineers at Channel 13 (Sinclair Broadcasting).

Jan. 30, 2006 - IBEW Local 1253 - Augusta

Jean was speaker.

Talk at meeting of Jay Democrats
Labor issues define who we are as Americans. There are many issues involved, and they are all connected. It is not just union versus non-union. It is the minimum wage and illegal immigration on one end of the spectrum, and corporate outsourcing of high-paying jobs on the other. It is pensions and Social Security. It is education and national health care, NAFTA and CAFTA. It is also a national recognition that the workers of America are the driving force in this country.

Jean Hay Bright, candidate for U. S. Senate in 2006, joined labor activists and Democratic Party officials at the DHL picket lines in Brewer Monday morning (March 21, 2005) in support of 23 new Teamsters Local 340 members who were fired last week by a DHL "independent contractor" after a successful organizing drive.

Other labor-related columns and positions

Why, in God's name, are restaurant workers allowed to be paid HALF the already pitifully low minimum wage?

Remarks to Maine Chamber and Business Alliance - Portland.

Used to be, it wasn't a swear word to be a Republican. And as a Democrat, it pains me to see the transformation.


I was opposed to NAFTA before it was enacted in 1993 (see link below). And history has shown my concerns to be valid. We are functioning under international laws that supercede our own carefully-crafted legislation. These so-called Free trade treaties have literally destroyed manufacturing in this country, to the point that, oftentimes, the flags we wave in our Memorial Day parades were made in China. It is not a good situation.

We should get out of this treaty as soon as possible. Under provisions in the treaty, all we have to do is announce our intentions to pull out, and then we can do so six months later. Of course, this will not happen under the Bush administration.

As you might expect, I am also opposed to the CAFTA treaty passed last fall in Congress.