Majority of Labor Committee Rejects Right to Work For Less Bills / by Andy O’Brien

Originally published in the Maine AFL-CIO News on May 19, 2023

The Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee voted 8 to 3 to reject two Republican-backed “right to work” bills, LD 1636 and LD 1707, that would prohibit union security agreements with employers that require all workers in a bargaining unit to pay for the cost of union representation. LD 1636, sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey, would go even further to require the state Attorney General to prosecute workers for enforcing these contract clauses, with penalties of up to a year in jail with a maximum $2000 fine, plus “damages.”

Democratic lawmakers voted against the bills, while Republican lawmakers, Rep. Joe Galletta (R-Durham), Rep. Gary Drinkwater (R-Milford) and Rep. Mike Soboleski (R-Phillips) voted to pass the right to work for less bills. Both bills are heading to the full Legislature for a vote.

Andy O’Brien is the communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO, a statewide federation of 160 local unions representing 40,000 workers. However, his opinions are his own and don’t represent the views of his employer. He is also a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445.