Labor + the Economy

Legislators divided on definition of money in proposed update to commercial transaction law

BY: - December 7, 2023

When someone sells a used car, their financial transactions are protected under something called the Uniform Commercial Code. The same is true when someone buys a television from an electronics store, or engages in any one of the thousands of commercial transactions of goods that occur daily in Maine.  This set of laws provides both […]

Union leaders say strike at Woodland Pulp was key to reaching new contract agreement

BY: - December 1, 2023

Following the end last week of a lengthy strike at Woodland Pulp, Washington County’s largest employer, leaders of the unions involved said the decision by workers to walk off the job was crucial in reaching a new contract agreement with the company.  As Maine Morning Star previously reported, the strike at the mill in Baileyville […]

State officials project budget surplus, union says excess could close pay gap

BY: - November 30, 2023

Unionized state workers argue Maine has the resources to meet their ongoing demands to close the pay gap, citing the projected $265 million budget surplus for the current biennial state budget announced by the Revenue Forecasting Commission on Tuesday.  State executive branch workers in the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees […]

Commission touts legislative package meant to advance racial equity in Maine

BY: - November 30, 2023

Tribal sovereignty, housing and criminal legal system reform are among the top issues that the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Tribal Populations has identified for legislative priorities in 2024. The Permanent Commission released a “Justice For All” policy package on Wednesday, which includes 13 pieces of carried over legislation and new […]

Ahead of climate conference, U.S. House panel tussles over curbs on emissions

BY: - November 29, 2023

Republicans on a U.S. House panel argued Wednesday against aggressive moves to meet carbon reduction goals, saying U.S. fossil fuel companies are working to make their products cleaner. Democrats on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Minerals countered that to achieve further reductions, federal policies should be continued […]

Advocates say projected revenue surplus should be spent on housing, childcare and other social services

BY: - November 29, 2023

Maine’s Revenue Forecasting Committee on Tuesday projected that the state will have a $265 million budget surplus over fiscal years 2024 and 2025 and an additional $257 million over the 2026 and 2027 fiscal years, continuing a trend of revenue growth that dates back to the pandemic.  State officials said Tuesday that the projected revenue […]

Experts say Maine is on the right track in adapting to a green economy

BY: - November 28, 2023

Maine’s recent advancements toward alternative energy sources position it as a leader in the transition to a green economy, according to a presentation by national and local green energy experts. However, some researchers say the state should expand what it considers green jobs in order to shift its economy without leaving legacy industries and workers […]

Scope of proposed farmworker minimum wage law subject of debate in committee meeting

BY: - November 28, 2023

Maine is trying to pass a minimum wage law for farmworkers — again.  Existing laws exclude agriculture workers, a historically intentional choice in federal and state laws to suppress labor groups comprised predominantly of people of color. A years-long effort to expand labor rights to farmworkers in Maine came close during the last legislative session, […]

Retailers pare back their seasonal hiring to prepare for ho-hum holidays

BY: - November 21, 2023

Black Friday shoppers may notice longer lines and fewer retail associates in some of their favorite stores than in past holiday seasons as retailers scale back seasonal hiring over concerns about consumer spending. JCPenney is hiring 12,000 fewer workers than last year. Macy’s 3,000 fewer. Meanwhile a Walmart executive said the retail giant has been […]

Millworkers vote to reject Woodland Pulp offer, continue strike

BY: - November 20, 2023

A strike at Woodland Pulp, Washington County’s largest employer, will continue—for now— after workers decisively voted late last week to reject an offer that they said was in some ways regressive. Union workers at the mill represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 1490, the Service Employees International Union Local […]

State workers deliver over 1000 personal letters urging Gov. Mills to close state employee pay gap

BY: - November 16, 2023

Maine government workers delivered over 1,000 personal letters to Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday urging her to close the state employee pay gap and improve labor conditions — an action that comes as contract negotiations between the administration and the state workers union have dragged on for months without an agreement.  Before delivering the letters, […]

Congress sends stopgap spending bill to Biden’s desk, averting shutdown for now

BY: - November 16, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. senators voted 87-11 to approve legislation Wednesday that would fund the government into next year, clearing the measure for President Joe Biden’s signature. The stopgap spending bill, sometimes called a continuing resolution or CR, would fund part of the government until mid-January and the rest of the programs within the annual appropriations […]