Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Studio Engineer: Meredith DeFrancesco
Program Topic: Maine House Approves bill removing unionizing rights for egg farm workers
Key Discussion Points:
a) On Tuesday, the Maine House passed LD 1207 “An Act to Amend the Labor Laws Relating to Certain Agricultural Employees”. This bill seeks to overturn legislation passed in 1997 to allow for egg workers in facilities with more than 100 workers and 500,000 laying hens the right to unionize. This, and a bill passed in 1975 to allow the same set of workers the right to a minimum wage standard and overtime, both aimed to temper the egregious working conditions at the Decoster egg farms in Turner.
b) Federally, the National Labor Relations Act excludes agricultural workers from the rights to a minimum wage standard, overtime or the right to collective bargaining . It is up to individual states to grant these rights. At least 9 states now allow some form of collective bargaining for agricultural workers.
c).Decoster is now leasing it’s Maine factories to Moark, LLC, a subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes. The Maine Senate is expected to vote on LD 1207 as soon as next week. There is a lack of support for the bill, however, from both Democrats and Republicans.
A ) Ben Chin, Maine Peoples Alliance, www.mainepeoplesalliance.org
B) Representative Jeffrey Timberlake, Maine State of Representatives, www.maine.gov/ legis
C) Matt Schlobaum, maine AFL-CIO, www.maineaflcio.org
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