State of Maine Archives: on Jobs

Paul LePage: Are low-wage call-center jobs the kind we want?

As L.L. Bean announced it will close its Bangor call center and Verizon Wireless said it would add 90 customer service employees, Gov. Paul LePage made a visit to a third call center. The Nexxlinx call center in Orono employs about 350 people. The site director told the governor, who was invited to tour the facility, that the center has 100 job openings and cannot find enough qualified employees to fill them. "Are they the jobs we want? No," LePage told a cluster of reporters after his tour, referring to lower-wage jobs such as those at call centers.

The starting wage at NexxLinx is between $8.50 and $9 per hour, plus incentives. That amounts to about $19,000 per year for employees who work 40 hours per week.

"People can cry and holler all they want, but if we don't reduce energy costs, we're going to have two Maines," LePage said. The other Maine, he said, is in the south, where there are higher-wage jobs. [A Nexxlink spokesman said the issue was finding good workers, not energy costs.]

Source: Bangor Daily News on 2014 Maine Gubernatorial debate Sep 4, 2014

Paul LePage: Vetoed incrementally raising the state's minimum wage

The Democrats' list of most vulnerable incumbent governors includes Maine's Paul LePage, Michigan's Rick Snyder and Wisconsin's Scott Walker, [on the minimum wage issue]. Florida's Rick Scott and Ohio's John Kasich might be insulated because their states' laws boost minimum wage with inflation.

All of those governors won a first term in the national Republican sweep of 2010, and most have had strong Republican representation in their legislatures to support them. But LePage was tasked with facing a Democrat-controlled legislature, and in July he vetoed a bill to incrementally raise the state's minimum wage.

For his likely Democratic challenger, Rep. Mike Michaud, increasing the minimum wage is an issue the onetime paper mill worker from northern Maine discusses often, said a campaign adviser. "He is closely aligned with working- and middle-class families," Farmer said. "He's not a millionaire.

Source: CBS News 99.1 FM on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race Dec 29, 2013

Mike Michaud: AdWatch: Unions endorse Michaud "to represent Maine workers"

The Maine Republican Party says two merging unions wield power and influence that is vastly out of scale with their actual representation among the labor force in Maine. The unions have supported Mike Michaud (D).

"We defend the right of Maine workers to have a voice in their wages, benefits and working conditions," said a union leader. "Together, we will move forward to address common legislative issues such as the urgent need to accept federal funds to expand health-care coverage and to elect a governor who represents Maine workers. We are united in supporting Congressman Mike Michaud as Maine's next governor."

"This really proves that the unions have lost their moorings as to what their purpose is," said a Maine GOP spokesman. "Their first order of business is electing Mike Michaud, who will raise taxes and hurt small businesses. It's pretty clear that this is nothing more than a new political action committee funded by forcing Maine people to pay out of their paychecks."

Source: Maine Sun Journal on 2014 Maine Governor race Dec 20, 2013

Shenna Bellows: Increase minimum wage to make it a living wage

Bellows says that she's passionate about creating more opportunity for people who are struggling. She also believes that the US is spending too much money on the wrong priorities. "We're spending billions to spy on people, meanwhile letting education and foodstamps slip," she said.

When asked about the "safety-net" just being a subsidy for corporations such as Wal-Mart, Bellows replied that in the last 20 years there has been an economic and environmental crisis. One of her goals is to increase minimum wage to make it a "living wage."

Bellows is also for transparency in government and worked extensively on the Right To Know GMO Campaign for the labeling of genetically modified foods.

Source: Machias Valley News Observer on 2014 Maine Senate race Dec 4, 2013

Eliot Cutler: Zealously guard against interference in unionization efforts

Q: Will you support the right of all workers to form a union and collectively bargain over wages, benefits, and workplace conditions and oppose any efforts to repeal collective bargaining rights for Maine workers?

A: I have always supported and will always protect the right of workers to form and to join unions, and I have witnessed the important contributions that unions have made for decades in scores of Maine communities. I will zealously guard against interference in the process through which workers are permitted to decide whether to organize or not.

My goal as Governor will be to create the conditions that will encourage investment and economic activity in our state, so that we can begin creating jobs again for all Maine workers, whether union or non-union. Our problem is not that we don't have clear rules for forming a union; our problem is that Maine's economy has been at a standstill for more than a decade

Source: AFL-CIO Questionnaire on 2014 Maine Gubernatorial race Oct 16, 2013

Paul LePage: Reduce red tape for permitting for principled job creators

With LD 1, we reduced red tape, and improved our permitting process for businesses. Maine hospitals are now paid in real time for the services they provide. Principled job creators know that my administration wants to help, and my door is always open. You want to create a job; I want to be there to help.

However, let me be clear, I am not interested in helping those who increase the cost of living on Maine people for personal financial gain. Unemployment is down in Maine, lower than the national average. We are focusing our efforts on branding the State of Maine, recognizing that Maine made products embody quality and value. Government is becoming more transparent. We exposed the wasteful use of Mainers tax dollars at agencies such as the Maine Turnpike Authority and Maine State Housing Authority. We not only exposed it--we cleaned it up. We have more to do!

Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Maine Legislature Feb 5, 2013

Angus King: Keep 900 shoe factory jobs in Maine

Charlie Summers and Angus King both sought to stake out the high ground as the pro-jobs candidate.

King visited shoe factories in Madison and Skowhegan and called for continued trade protection for New Balance Athletic Shoe. "There are more than 900 jobs at stake in Maine, and it would be a terrible blow to the region and the state if these jobs are lost," said the former governor, who is running as an independent.

Cynthia Dill, the Democratic nominee, joined in afterward by issuing her own statement supporting fair trade protections for Maine workers. "There's no reason at this time to consider dropping tariffs against foreign products that compete unfairly against those produced in Maine," she said.

Summers also said New Balance and its jobs need to be protected, & that trade agreements that affect other industries need to be revisited as well. "I'm very much a supporter of free trade," Summers said. "But with companies like New Balance, you have to make sure they are able to compete."

Source: Portland Press Herald on 2012 Maine Senate debate Aug 15, 2012

Jean Hay Bright: Raise the minimum wage, then adjust it annually

The federal minimum wage is no longer a fair day’s pay for a decent day’s work. That needs to change. The federal minimum wage should be a living wage for a single adult. Since a living wage can vary greatly across the country, we may need to regionalize that minimum. And that minimum should be adjusted annually, just as Social Security is adjusted, to account for cost of living increases.
Source: Speech to Southern Maine Labor Council - Portland, Me. Mar 1, 2006

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2016 Presidential contenders on Jobs:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)