AFL-CIO

via Preble Street

Workers at an organization that serves homeless and street-dependent populations in Maine's three largest cities are forming a union.

Nearly 200 Maine workers were at the statehouse Thursday, lobbying in favor of measures that would establish paid sick leave, public employees' right to strike, and a public-owned electric utility.

Maine's largest unions are condemning a U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday that's widely regarded as a blow to collective bargaining and union power.

In Janus v. AFSCME, the court ruled that public employees can't be forced to pay fees to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining.

The Maine AFL-CIO and the Maine State Employees Association both issued statements saying they'll continue fighting for workers, despite the ruling. 

BANGOR, Maine - Maine's largest coalition of labor organizations will gather for a political convention this week. Maine AFL-CIO Executive Director Matt Schlobohm says his group sees the convention as necessary - beyond the standard partisan political conventions - to highlight labor concerns.

Maine labor advocates are applauding the news that Walmart plans to increase wages for some of its lowest-earning employees. Starting in April, the company says it will increase its minimum pay to $9 per hour. In a year, the rate will increase to $10 per hour.

"This is very positive news," says Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the AFL-CIO in Maine. He says the wage hike is a good first step, but more needs to follow.