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Maine Gov. Attacks Workers, Erases History

March 24, 2011

part of the mural LePage wants removed
Part of the mural Gov. LePage wants removed.

Maine Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage (R) has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting Maine’s labor history from the lobby of the state’s Department of Labor offices, claiming they received “some complaints” from business owners. LePage has also directed that eight conference rooms named after labor leaders — including Cesar Chavez — be renamed “after mountains, counties or something.”

The directive comes amidst rising tensions between the LePage Administration and organized labor over the governor’s support for a right-to-work bill and efforts to roll back the state’s child labor laws.

The mural was funded by a $60,000 grant from the federal government and includes depictions of Rosie the Riveter at Bath Iron Works, a 1937 shoe worker’s strike, and a 1986 paper mill strike. “There was never any intention to be pro-labor or anti-labor,” the mural’s artist, Judy Taylor, told the Sun-Journal. “It was a pure depiction of the facts.”

Chavez, FDR Labor Secretary Frances Perkins — the nation’s first female cabinet secretary — and William Looney, a 19th-century lawmaker who sponsored a 10-hour workday law, would all have their names removed under the order.

“People elected Governor LePage hoping he would create jobs and not get involved in the interior decoration of state offices,” said Mike Tipping of the Maine People’s Alliance.

You can help the Maine People’s Alliance choose a new mural for LePage to replace the one he’s getting rid of. Choose from one of these options:

  1. “Raising Rates and Denying Care”
    Depicting how the LePage administration is helping Anthem insurance, a major campaign supporter, make big profits by denying affordable care to Maine people and how the LePage administration is working to cut off care for even more Maine families and small businesses.
  2. “Handouts to Corporate Polluters”
    Showing the LePage administration’s plans to roll back decades of environmental regulations. Also, the contributions they’ve received from corporations like Mallinckrodt, the St. Louis-based company responsible for mercury contamination in the Penobscot river
  3. “Working for Less”
    Depicting the attempt by the LePage administration to eliminate worker protections and collective bargaining and harm Maine’s economy. In states that passed the kind of anti-union legislation that LePage has proposed, workers make an average of $5,333 less per year.

Click here to vote or suggest your own. MPA will present a version of the winning artwork to the governor, along with your comments.

If you’re on Twitter, you can co-sign the petition to Gov. LePage from Working America — currently the top petition on act.ly.

Read more at Think Progress, DailyKos and the New York Times.

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