Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Program Topic: The Penobscot Nation’s Proposed Water Quality Standards: Fairpoint Workers Speak Out on Contract Problems and Preparation for Strike
Key Discussion Points:
a) We speak with the Penobscot Nation’s director of natural resources, John Banks, prior to the tribe’s public hearing on it’s newly proposed Surface Water Quality Standards.The tribe wishes to strengthen current standards for the waters within Penobscot tribal territories, most specifically to address the health of fish consumed by tribal members. Following public input, the Penobscot Nation will present their standards to the US Environmental Protection Agency for approval, as allowed under the federal Clean Water Act for federally recognized tribes.
b) Earlier this month, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Maine Dept of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Patrica Aho, filed suit against the US EPA in attempts to establish jurisdiction. The Penobsacot Nation also currently has a case against the Maine Attorney General’s Office to likewise establish he definition of tribal waters and the tribe’s sovereign right to control water quality.
c) We also hear from two unionized Fairpoint workers who are poised to strike against the company when their contract expires this Sunday. At issue are healthcare benefits, pensions, retiree healthcare and Fairpoint’s desire to increase the subcontracting out work currently done by unionized workers.
A) John Banks, Penobscot Nation Director of Natural Resources, member of Penobscot Nation
B) John Curtis, Community Union of Ellsworth
C) Lyn Grandmont, Fairpoint customer service technician, member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 2327
D) Todd Foster, Fairpoint splice service technician, member IBEW local 2327