March 12, 2011- Reporting for the progressive Maine blog Dirigo Blue, Gerald Weinand has discovered that a proposed “right to work” law in Maine mirrors similar proposals in several other states, like New Hampshire and Missouri. The legislation in Maine, LD788, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Winsor (R), would make Maine like other low-wage anti-labor states by weakening unions. Right to work laws typically allow workers to opt-out of union dues while benefiting from union contracts, a cycle that usually kills a labor union over time. But the assault on worker rights in Maine appears to be part of a larger attack coordinated by conservative front groups. Winsor’s bill contains phrases and language strikingly similar to other right to work proposals from Republicans across the country:
Maine’s anti-union bill LD788:
§ 653. Right to refrain
A person may not be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to:
1. Become a member. Become or remain a member of a labor organization;
2. Pay dues. Pay any dues, fees, assessments or other similar charges, however denominated, of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or
3. Pro rata portions. Pay to any charity or other 3rd party, in lieu of payments under subsection 2, any amount equivalent to or a pro rata portion of dues, fees, assessments or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
New Hampshire anti-union bill HB 474:
273-D:4 Freedom of Choice Guaranteed, Discrimination Prohibited. No person shall be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment:
I. To resign or refrain from voluntary membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization;
II. To become or remain a member of a labor organization;
III. To pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization;
IV. To pay any charity or other third party, in lieu of such payments, any amount equivalent to or a pro-rata portion of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of a labor organization.