UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

Nobody Knows the Troubles I seen

I am getting older and maybe I am feeling mortal.

At nearly sixty years old and after fifteen years as a State Employee I don’t look forward to the loss of income retirement brings. I am going to have to let my butler go back to the old country. My Chef is no longer a perk I can afford.

During every one of my years with the State there was never a month in which I did not have to do some work. The unending demands on my time made planning for my vacations nearly impossible. I nearly claimed disability from the stress induced from trying to choose between a time share in Florida, Nevada or both. I think that I am due more for the many hard weeks of work during my employment than a pension, a home in Florida, Nevada, Maine, and a retirement near my grand kids with only one private doctor on call.

At my age maintaining the Mercedes, the Cadillac, my wife’s cars and the real estate investments is getting to be too much. I will be cast out and forced into my twilight years without domestic staff.

If only they knew how much we will suffer. No Filet Mignon, just sirloin, No double lobster, just soft-shell and fries. The future is bleak.

Some of my friends will be forced into choosing between giving up their private golf club memberships or giving up the new plasma TV. Can be more a frightening future be imagined?

Realistically we must all suffer to weather these tough economic times. We must share the burden of our fellow citizens. From here on in, I am going to be more productive. I will work three days a week. I will give up the catered lunches, and the Swedish massage.

I am willing to share the burden. I will give up a lot, keeping only the consultant fee for rodent control for my cat.

If you are a State Employee, this is how the right wants the public to see you. A parasite. A tick to be burned off with a cleansing match. They don’t want the public to know that we are Mainers, tax payers, real people that do not get cost of living raises.

If you have read the articles or listened to the radio recently the right wing says that promises of healthcare and retirement can be broken. O.K. I promised to work, until I am 62 to get my benefits. So if I don’t get my benefits can I just stop working and still get paid? Can I strike? Can I get back the 60% of my Social Security the Feds will take as punishment for having a pension? Can I get the same respect that I give the public every day?

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

January 22nd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Follow the Money

What is Propaganda?

Propaganda avoids facts, Rush Limbaugh claims moral superiority while forgetting his own drug use, willingness to collect unemployment when he was in need, and I think it is now four failed marriages. Propaganda has at its core the intent to encourage hate and prejudice against a targeted group while providing an excuse and a distraction from rational thought.

The user of propaganda tries to get others to accept claims without thought, or to act without weighing hidden motives. The use of inference and anger as a propaganda tool can be heard on any talk radio show, the yelling and the hate for whatever group the host has picked as a target. Talk show hosts and right wing politicians hope to lead the public to accept claims with no logical grounds and with no balancing points of view. “Fair and balanced”. The “talking heads” avoid logical arguments from the audience, so creating an enemy is the most important tool and is the first step.

How to build the lie? First make broad and positive statements, “Republicans believe in smaller government” regardless of the truth. Statements are presented using tag lines and familiar language. By refusing to admit, or even suggest, that there is another side to the question they create the devil, saying “All Unions protect lazy workers”, “Democrats hate free enterprise”, “Union thugs”. These are examples of propaganda. Another example is the repeated claim that Union members are the cause of government waste while ignoring the fact that the public wants the snow plowed, the potholes fixed, and the ambulance to come when needed.

Slogans are a highly powerful form of attack; “drinking Union Cool Aid” suggests that Union members are killing themselves following insane leadership is a common theme.

First they say what everyone knows, times are tough. Then they show sympathy for the audience claiming that they know how hard it is for the public. Then they talk about cutting State Government and then cutting State Employees and their benefits. They never say put a fire a fire fighter, fire a State police officer or stop maintaining the roads. They always say “State Employees” as if it is a group from another world.

A second method of propaganda is appealing to the desires of the audience. Desire is an important factor in belief. The public is frustrated with how government and corporate interests have worked to destroy the middle class. The right needs to find someone to blame for their failed policies and needs a target.

Like advertisers they study public opinion to find out what things people are “for” or “against” in order to decide on labels to use to bring about desired reactions. Using words such as “justice,” “promoting efficient Government” “lower taxes” and “equal opportunity,” will work as positive hooks, and are used in every message. The use of negative words—for example, “Union Bosses” or “Lazy employees” and “government waste” is used to influence the public to justify hate for the intended target.

The desire for lower taxes, a better job, appeals to the target audience. The desire to be respected, capable of taking care of a family, and to be socially acceptable, sells ideas and at the same time the claim that all the problems can be fixed by fixing those who are stealing from the public, state employees is worked in. Anyone who has listened to the radio, or reads knows of dozens of ads now attacking and blaming state employees.

Tax cuts sound great, follow the money, Bush mainly cut taxes for the rich and put billions of your tax dollars into the vaults of the already rich oil companies. Cutting tax rates for billionaires to less than that paid by a janitor can be ignored if you just keep saying tax cuts are good!

The real trick is to “make the idea stick.” That is why key words and slogans, cartoons, are used. “I could have had a V8!” and a hand slap to the forehead, sticks in your mind.

Slogans pack meaning into short sentences. The purpose is to get them noticed. They will burrow into the minds of people. CEOs and political leaders know that slogans are a great viral marketing tool. Advertisers know that reasoned, logical appeals are not always effective. Political debates, have been shortened and emotionalized, “Read my lips, no new taxes!” because much of the audience will not listen to reasoned, point, counter point arguments. The Union message relying on concern for people and on logic and rationality is out of place in this bloody arena.

Political propaganda is full of examples of the use of striking slogans. For example, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” used by Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s technique painted the U.S. as the lone defender of democracy, while the Soviet Union was ‘the evil empire”.

Slogans have inspired the imaginations of people in the past and continue to the present. We remember “No Taxation without Representation” and it is has become part of American culture and language.

Propaganda uses slogans, and it uses symbols. We have seen the Kool Aid pitcher with “Union Kool Aid” across the front. A symbol avoids logic and discussion and leaves no opportunity for debate. This symbol is used to disguise the true intent, the intent to turn Maine into a “right to work” state.

A symbol is the glue that holds together a group together.

A propagandist knows how to use symbols. Symbols are used to build both positive and negative attitudes.

Cartoons have been used to represent the taxpayer in tattered clothing, the “union boss” and others. The “union boss” is usually pictured as a fat and wearing a diamond pinky ring.

For the big lie to work blame must be placed on individuals or groups that are not responsible, relieving feelings of guilt from responsible parties and distracting attention from the need to fix the problem for which blame is being assigned. By blaming Unions, for failures of industry, the need to worry about products produced by slave or child labor for Wal-Mart can be forgotten.

The history of corporations claiming bankruptcy and canceling benefits for employees and retirees before paying millions in bonuses to the boards can be conveniently ignored.

The fact that many people work for employers that pay little, and respect their employees less can be forgotten by blaming Unions.

The use of “State Employee” as a term of hate is a device to encourage the persecution of scapegoats, while denying the humanity of the group. It is hard to hate when the Union worker taking care of your grandmother is known by her first name, hard to hate when you need the help of a Union police officer or nurse. The creation of a faceless group is done to avoid engaging in reasoned debate and foster hate.

Catchwords and slogans abound in right to work propaganda, contrived for the sake of impressing voters in certain groups. “No Fair Share” uses such important and high-sounding words as “personal merit,” and “right to choose”. “Right to Work,” is a false slogan that does NOT guarantee anyone the “right” to employment and does not protect any worker from being laid off or fired, but it make a great sound bite.

Propaganda can be effective. The support of G.W. Bush and his totally anti-labor appointees by many of our own members is something that I as a Union supporter find impossible to understand. To me it is incredible that a labor hating, former party boy, C student at best, and total failure in all prior business dealings, after having destroyed the Texas budget, should be have ever been turned into an all-powerful and “infallible” leader, “The Decider,” who claims the right to reinterpret our constitution.

How did even some members of labor Unions come to accept this legend surrounding a failed businessman? Perhaps it was because millions of Americans were hoping for “an end of confusion, and no longer felt that their actions in the conduct of their own affairs was effective. The two presidential election won by G. Bush both were under a cloud of suspicion and voters felt they could not make a difference. To many the idea of a leader, a symbol of moral authority, a man to turn things around, allowed the public to forget their role in affairs and to turn the nation over to a ruler who claimed a mandate and all the public had to do was to give him complete trust, blind faith, and the keys to the treasury.

When a group is trying to influence your opinions and actions, ask yourself if their purpose is selfish or unselfish? Will the results of right to work (for less) laws benefit the employees or will it serve to generate political power for the right?

What is likely to be the effect of destroying the current Union? Will the public and the legislature trim government and reward the remaining employees with benefit and wage increases? Is it more likely that projects will be handed out to the private sector to benefit only the owners at the tax payer’s expense?

As an example of facts not revealed, workers in Right to Work states earn on average $6,590 less than workers in free-bargaining states. That’s a 17% pay cut! Women earn 12% less and on average, Right to Work states have a 16% higher poverty rate with job fatality rates 54% higher. The average employee in a free bargaining state is 24.1% more likely to have health insurance.

If personal merit alone guarantees success, why would the best athletes in the world in U.S. baseball, hockey and football join Unions?

It all boils down to some very simple questions: What is the source of the propaganda? Are there any actual facts to support the claims? What really started the movement? Follow the money and ask who will make a buck? Propaganda presents one point of view as if it were the best or only way to look at a situation. Perhaps it is a weakness of Unions that they are willing to listen to many points of view.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

January 6th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Chellie Pingree, Ethan Strimling, FAIR SHARE, FairShare, MSEA, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, Maine Congressional Elections, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, anti union talk show | 2 comments

Safe work and Fixing the CLIFF

Monday is a work day and while the notice is short, the effect could be large. This is a press release from Ethan Strimling’s office. I don’t usually print a straight press release but this one is filled with the information we need. Point one, Ethan Strimling is reaching out to Mainers, State employees, and workers all over the State that would be affected by minimum wage. This is not the type of audience that so many attempt to reach, not the rich and powerful.

This press release is not just so much Blah, Blah, Blah. If you want to know who to blame and who to give credit to, it is all here. Check it out and see if you see your representative and let them know either way exactly what you think. Read past the end to find out what you can do to fix the CLIFF.

Building trade and labor friends,

**Please Spread the Word!**

Hello from Senator Ethan Strimling’s office! I just wanted to give you all a heads up that the OSHA-10 work session is on Monday at 1pm! (November 26)

….in the Labor Committee room 220, Cross State Office Building. Augusta (287-1333)

Here’s what YOU can do to help us make sure we get this through!

  1. Please- Call members of the Labor Committee to make sure that they are supporting this important bill. (Committee list is below with contact info.)
  2. Please- Show up at the 1pm work session to talk to committee members 1 on 1 to ask for their support and tell them why they need to support the bill.


Additionally, the Minimum Wage hearing is also on Monday at 10am before the Labor Committee. If you could come and testify in support of that bill, it would be a huge help as well.

Many thanks for all of the hard work you do. Happy Thanksgiving.

Let’s get this bill through!


Ethan08- Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 7488
Portland, Maine 04112

Ethan08- Campaign Office:
550 Forest Ave- (lower level)
Portland

Fix The Cliff!
To many readers here, the most important issue on Monday is the announcement on the MSEA web site.
FIX THE CLIFF ! I know Halloween is long gone but you should let them know you will be watching.

This is what your Union is trying to do for you!

…….L.D. 1693, “An Act to Restore Equity to the Maine State Retirement System.”

DATE: Monday, November 26, 2007
TIME:3:00 PM
PLACE: Room 220 Cross Office Building

THE PROBLEM
In 1993, the Legislature retroactively changed the retirement rules for all workers hired after July 1, 1983. The Legislature INCREASED their early retirement penalty from 2.25 percent to 6 percent.

THE SOLUTION
At the work session on Nov. 26, the Labor Committee will consider a proposal to REDUCE that early retirement penalty from 6 percent to 3 percent for all workers hired after July 1, 1983.

FUNDING
….we can fund this remedy from our own retirement fund, not from the State budget. The Retirement System. . . advised the Trustees that this solution would be fiscally sound.

……….By providing an early retirement option, savings would result as newer workers replace more experienced workers. Editor’s Translation: The higher paid workers could retire and the spots coul be filled by employees starting on the bottom step.

Members of the Labor Committee

Senator Nancy Sullivan- D
Home Tel: 282-5594
Email: npsullivan@gwi.net

Senator Dana Dow- R
danadow@adelphia.net (home)
Home Tel: 832-4658 Bus: 832-6363

Rep. John Tuttle- D
Home Telephone: (207) 324-5964
Business Telephone: (207) 772-4459
RepJohn.Tuttle@legislature.maine.gov

Rep Troy Jackson- D
Home Telephone: (207) 398-4081
Cell Phone: (207) 436-0763
Home E-Mail: jacksonfor1@hotmail.com

Rep Herb Clark- D
Home Telephone: (207) 723-5746
Home E-Mail: clarkhe@prexar.com

Rep. Tim Driscoll – D
Home Telephone: (207) 856-7014
Business Telephone: (207) 879-3265
Home E-Mail: tdrisco1@maine.rr.com

Rep Anne Haskell – D
Home Telephone: (207) 871-5808
Cell Phone: (207) 712-1244
Home E-Mail: annehask@maine.rr.com

Rep Rick Burns- D
Home Telephone: (207) 698-1526
Home E-Mail: burns_for_145@hotmail.com

Rep Brian Duprey -R
Home Telephone: (207) 862-5785
Home E-Mail: repduprey@hotmail.com

Rep James Hamper -R
Home Telephone: (207) 539-4586
State House E-Mail: RepJames.Hamper@legislature.maine.gov

Rep Richard Sykes – R
Home Telephone: (207) 583-2958
Home E-Mail: rksykes@verizon.net

Rep Doug Thomas -R
Home Telephone: (207) 277-3017
Business Telephone: (207) 277-3017
Home E-Mail: firewood@tds.net

Senator Nancy Sullivan- D
Email: npsullivan@gwi.net

A link to this post was sent to every member of the labor committee asking them for their position. The answers or lack of answers will be posted next week.

Not next week! Representative Burns set a new world record and sent in an answer withing ten minutes or less! Click HERE.to see his answer.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

November 25th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, MSEA-SEIU, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Straight answers from Ethan Strimling

EDITOR: I won’t vote for a candidate based solely on party affiliation. The readers of UnionMaine asked questions and Ethan Strimling has given his answers. Whether you agree or disagree you need to judge one thing first. This is a candidate for office and you can actually understand the answers. He invited questions and by answering clearly and not in platitudes shows that he respects the voters of Maine. Candidates must tell us where they stand, because we should never vote for someone if we have to hope or guess what they will do. Respect for the Voter, it feels good. Thank You, Ethan Strimling. Hello UnionMaine Readers, Thank you for all of the great questions. I’ve done my best to give you straightforward, and succinct answers. You can always find out more about me and my positions at www.Ethan08.com, or you can email me at ethan@ethan08.com. I always welcome your questions and your input, and I would certainly welcome your support in this campaign. Sincerely, Ethan Strimling Answers Below:
1. Social Security Offset State employees that have contributed to the Social Security system are punished by the Social Security offset. As a member of congress, will you work to repeal this unjust law? What will you do? Yes, I will work to repeal the law. The issue is funding and in Congress I will work to re-prioritize our government spending to free up money to end this injustice.

2. Describe what you would do to improve the Department of Labor and how you would make it friendlier to labor. The most important thing we can do to make the Department of Labor friendlier to labor is to elect a Democratic President who will appoint a Commissioner that honors workers and unions! You can bet that I will work hard over the next year to make sure we elect a President that will make labor a priority. Will you support a card check law on the Federal level? Yes. Support and Enforce prevailing wage across the country? Yes.

3. Unions believe in the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively. Will you work with Unions to extend and return collective bargaining rights to Federal workers that have been denied bargaining rights? Yes. In fact I worked tirelessly to give state workers the same right here in Maine. As Chair of the Labor Committee, I got this bill through the Committee before it was eventually defeated in the Senate. I will continue this fight in Congress.

4. What are other major issues upon which your campaign is based? My campaign is and will continue to be based on economic issues and the squeeze middle class families are feeling as the gap between the rich and the poor grows wider and wider. I have worked by entire life on issues around economic justice. To that end, rolling back the Bush tax cuts would be one of my first priorities as your US Representative. Tax relief should go to middle class people who need it the most, not the wealthiest Americans who don’t. I am also focused on ending our dependence on costly foreign oil. Our addiction is hurting our country on many levels; economically as the price of gasoline and heating oil climbs above what middle class families can afford. Environmentally, as our planet succumbs to the effects of global warming; and finally, our foreign policy is suffering as America enters foreign quagmires all in the name of oil. In Congress, I will fight to end our addiction to oil, as I have in Maine’s state senate, working for two years to pass our state’s first tax incentive for the creation of wind power. Finally, is my opposition to the war in Iraq. In my first year in the legislature, I introduced and led passage of a resolution that put Maine’s senate on the map as the first statewide legislative body in our country to come out against the war. But I am even more convinced today that this war is senseless, and it is taking our attention away from what should be happening here at home- like focusing on the economy and our health care crisis. Getting our brave troops out of Iraq safely and quickly, and restoring our reputation around the world, will be at the forefront of my campaign’s message.
5.
What is your position on the war in Iraq and how soon it can be ended? I have been opposed to the war since before it began. I believe we should begin bringing our troops home immediately.

6. On the second amendment, do you believe your views are consistent with the majority of Mainers? Yes. Do you believe the second amendment is an individual right or a collective right? I believe it is both. Do you see the need for more gun laws or do you believe we should enforce the laws we have? I believe we should enforce the laws we have now. We should also re- institute the assault weapons ban and strengthen our laws around background checks.

7. Would you vote to allow undocumented workers to collect Social Security? Those people who pay into the Social Security system should receive its benefits.

8. What is your position on Bush tax cuts? I would repeal the tax cuts that went to wealthiest Americans. Then, I would dedicate that money to middle income tax relief and to meeting some of our vital domestic needs, such as the social security offset.

9. What role does the Federal Government have in helping to alleviate the health care crisis in this country? No question- the federal government should institute a single payer health care system so that all people have quality healthcare. In Congress, I would support any health care initiative that expands coverage to more people. Our country already has a system in place, Medicare, which covers all of our senior citizens We must do the same for all people and I would start by covering every single child. It is wrong that in the wealthiest country in the world, we have people sick and dying because they don’t have access to affordable, quality healthcare. We know what to do- we just need leaders with courage to stand up and fight for it.

10. What do Mainers need to know about you that will help us to decide how to vote? For the past three years, I’ve been the Senate Chair of the Labor Committee. During that time I have led efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand unemployment benefits for laid off Mainers, and provide for workers who are injured on the job. I have fought to provide health care for Fire Fighters, enhance retirement for mental health and correctional workers, and stood up to General Dynamics when they wanted to outsource union jobs. I have always made fighting for the pocket books of Maine families my top priority Both of my parents are members of unions and as Chair of the Labor Committee for the past three years, working Maine families have been my primary concern. In Congress I will emulate Congressman Mike Michaud’s record on labor and will be an invaluable ally to working families across Maine. For more info beyond labor issues, go to www.ethan08.com.

11. What does he think about cutting Medicare benefits that cover the cost of home health care for our elders? This is a program that pays for the health services an elder receives in their home. Like having a nurse go into the home to do a routine check up or having a physical therapist go into the home to do some physical therapy to help keep the person mobile. Is it better to put these people in a nursing home where those costs are high, the care is not that great? Not to mention that the elders would rather stay in their own homes and be comfortable. The work I do is not covered under Medicare. Home Care for Maine does not receive any Medicare money. HCM does not employ nurses that go into the home for these types of services. But a lot of the consumers that Home Care for Maine helps do receive these types of services from other agencies like Health Reach.
Thank you so much for your work. I am with you and I am opposed to cutting home health care benefits for the elderly. Two of my grandparents received home health care in many forms before they passed away. It was vital to their being able to enjoy the final years of their lives and live them with dignity. My family was very thankful for it. Is Mr. Strimling aware of PCAs and PSSs and the type of work we do? I can give him a brief outline. Please let me now if you’d like a brief outline of what a PCA/PSS does and I’ll be glad to send it.
My wife is a Registered Nurse, but I would love to see your outline on PCAs and PSSs. Thanks for offering. You can email it to me directly at ethan@ethan08.com.>

UPDATE: This came in five minutes after I posted.
Ethan asked for a job description and here it is.

A Personal Support Specialist usually works with a consumer, right in the consumer’s home. The work entails personal care like assisting with bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.

It might entail feeding a consumer. It maybe helping them take care of a colostomy or help them take care of a catheter.
It also involves doing things like light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry and taking the consumer to doctors’ appointments, shopping, and on errands.
The best part of it is the interaction with a consumer. For the most part, they enjoy your visits and greatly appreciate the help they are receiving.
This type of work helps consumers remain in their homes, where they are most comfortable.
Most of the consumers at Home Care for Maine are elders, but there are a few who are younger and disabled from disease.
Personally, I enjoy working with elders. They have so much to offer with their life-long experiences. I love hearing their stories of times gone by.

Helen Hanson
President Local 771

Editor: This work is for low pay, no guaranteed hours, and they have not heard about benefits
Local 771 has their own website at 771 news.


Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

November 18th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Home Health Care, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, UNIONMAINE | 4 comments

Election 2009

On this site I try to present any point of view that comes forward. Any point of view will be treated with respect if not applause. I tried to reach a number of Republican office holders to ask questions and to understand their point of view on State and National issues.

I tried to discuss issues with the Republican representatives from to my own State legislature, both Republicans. I tried to reach Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. I will continue to try but I have to ask myself why they refuse to speak to this audience and another candidate will answer questions.

They don’t return emails. Honest, you can talk to a Liberal and it won’t rub off. I know Democrats are not always right and though Republicans are always right they are not always correct.

We need to reach out to the other side. I wonder how long I will wait.

The right fears the positive results for Unionism if the Democratic majority in Congress also increases when the next president, a Democrat is elected.

The Democrats may win enough votes to block future Republican Filibusters or get so close that Republicans will be forced to go along in order to pass any of their own bills.

There is fear and loathing over the possibility that the recently filibustered Employee Free Choice Act (E.F.C.A.) may actually pass strengthening labor.

The E.F.C.A. is being characterized as political payback to organized labor and every Democrat running for office has promised their support.

The right has a list and that list contains anything that might affect the wages of the working public or strengthen labor in any way.

This article, http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/05/21/an_agenda_for_labor.php is the basis for the fears of the CEOs. The (Extremely) condensed version is listed below. Read the article and you will realize that Unionism is not dead. There are still a lot of dedicated intelligent Union supporters working for progress, not just for Union members but for America.

While you are cheering for the ideas here, realize that the same ideas are creating fear, loathing, and disgust in the minority party.

I want to ask them why they are afraid but they won’t answer.

1. Enact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).


2. Enact the (RESPECT) Act and narrow the definition of exempt “supervisors” under the NLRA.

3. Allow union organizers access to employees on private employer property and/or during working hours in order to organize employees.

EDITOR: I support Unions but I can’t see how number three has any legs. A Union can not control the employer’s property.

4. Fix the trade agreements that have sucked the jobs out of this country. Ross Perot was right.

5. As in many State Unions, allow for the unionization of supervisors.

6. Repeal the federal allowance for state “Right-to-Work” laws.

7. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act’s ban on “secondary boycotts.”

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

November 13th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, MSEA, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, Tom Allen, UNION CANDIDATES | no comments

Ethan Strimling Reaching out to Maine


This is my first post on this blog. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you, to share the reasons why I am running in June’s Democratic Primary to represent Maine’s 1st Congressional District, and most importantly, to begin a dialog with you about how we can together change the direction of this country.

I want to do on the internet what I have already been doing in person all around the First District- talking and listening to people. The internet not only affords an opportunity for more two-way communication between politicians and their constituents, but demands it. As a Senator in the Maine legislature, I have always seen myself as the facilitator of a collaborative effort between me and my constituents. On the internet, I can reach out and collaborate with more people than ever before. I hope you’ll join me.

So now let me tell you about why I am running for Congress, and then I hope to hear from you about what you think we need to do, and about how we can do it.

In the months before I announced my candidacy, I traveled to towns all over Maine attending over 70 house parties in 70 different towns, and talked with hundreds of people. I did more than just say “hello” and shake their hands during a photo op. I sat in their living rooms and their kitchens, and one-on-one I heard their stories. The experience changed me.

Before doing that, I already knew what we all know: that most people aren’t being listened to; that the middle class has been neglected and forgotten by Washington; that average wage earners are being hammered while the richest Americans and corporations are given extraordinary tax breaks; that the nation is pouring billions into the Iraq War, raising the income tax burden on the middle class and siphoning precious dollars from better wages, better health care, cheaper alternative energy, and college loan programs.

I knew those things, but talking with hundreds of people, and hearing from people from all walks of life, gave me a deeper understanding. Over and over I heard from Maine people who are struggling just to get by.

In Shapleigh, I talked with a retiree who had to go back to work because everything from taxes to health care are far more expensive than he had carefully planned for. In Saco, I met a man whose kidney cancer is now terminal; it was detected too late because he did not have health insurance in his hourly job and hadn’t been able to afford physicals. I heard from a Portland couple who are struggling to pay a second mortgage on their house because their two boys are both in college.

I am running for Congress because I know it is wrong that the people I met and so many others just like them here in Maine are struggling just to get by. But I also know that it doesn’t have to be this way. These struggles are the direct consequences of bad choices made by the leaders of our elected government who aren’t listening to the same people I’m listening to.

I have always made fighting for the pocket books of Maine families my top priority. For the past three years, I have been the Senate Chair of the Labor Committee. During that time I have led efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand unemployment benefits for laid off Mainers, and provide for workers who are injured on the job. I have fought to provide health care for Fire Fighters, enhance retirement for mental health and correctional workers, and stood up to General Dynamics when they wanted to outsource union jobs.

So with your help, and with you behind me, I will go to Congress and I will fight every day to make taxes fairer, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring our troops home, and increase wages and benefits for working families.

I hope I can earn your support and that you will take some time to ask me questions, to learn more about me, and also to tell me your stories and ideas so that I can learn more about you. If you visit my website, you can learn more about my experience in the Maine Legislature, where I have served since 2002, and about my ten-plus years as executive director at Portland West, a nonprofit that helps at-risk and lower income children and families. You can also learn about my positions on other issues. I look forward to your feedback and comments on those as well.

Finally, I am proud and honored to count among my strongest supporters hundreds of workers and organizers from around Maine, including these Union members:

CJ Betit, Southern Maine Labor Council

John Bogart, American Postal Worker’s Union Doug Born, International Alliance for Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 114 Sal Crisci, Maine State Employees Association – Service Employees International Union George Lawson, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Jim MacAdam, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Thomas MacLean, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 714 Zack Matthews, Business Agent AFSCME Council 93 Winston McGill, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 740 David Paul, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2327 Doris and Wayne Poland, American Postal Workers Union, Local 458 Stephen Quinlan, American Postal Workers Union, Local 458 Leo Todd, Maine Education Association

(Please note: Unions listed for identification purposes only)

Send me your name, occupation, town, and union affiliation, and I will add you to a list of Labor supporters that will be on our web site. Send it to labor@ethan08.com.


Editorial Comment:

The following questions are representative of the questions that have been emailed to this site. Other questions can be found in the comments on the post. Other candidates may choose to post and other candidates have been invited. Mr. Strimling received the first invitation and was ready to take questions and state what he believes in.
No candidate can provide specifics completely until they have gained the office and the information that a member of Congress has access to. But this candidate is willing to tell us what his goals are. What he believes is important to us. How he achieves them will be up to how much of a majority the electorate gives to candidates who support the same ideals.

1. Social Security Offset
State
employees that have contributed to the Social Security system are punished by the Social Security offset. As a member of congress, will you work to repeal this unjust law? What will you do?

2. Describe what you would do to improve the Department of Labor and how you would make it friendlier to labor.

Will you support a card check law on the Federal level?

Support and Enforce prevailing wage across the country?

3. Unions believe in the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively.

Will you work with Unions to extend and return collective bargaining rights to Federal workers that have been denied bargaining rights?

4. What are other major issues upon which your campaign is based?

5. What is your position on the war in Iraq and how soon it can be ended?

6. On the second amendment, do you believe your views are consistent with the majority of Mainers?

Do you believe the second amendment is an individual right or a collective right?

Do you see the need for more gun laws or do you believe we should enforce the laws we have?

7. Would you vote to allow undocumented workers to collect Social Security?

8. What is your position on Bush tax cuts?

9. What role does the Federal Government have in helping to alleviate the health care crisis in this country?

10. What do Mainers need to know about you that will help us to decide how to vote?

Editorial addition: A friend of mine sent the following question but as I have not yet gotten permission to use a name I have removed personally identifying information.

I have some questions for Mr. Strimling.
What does he think about the health care crisis in this country? It is not only the fact that health insurance is very expensive and for many folks unattainable, but it is also the runaway costs of getting sick! Simple tests like mammograms are now almost $200 when not that long ago the cost was about $75.

What does he think about cutting Medicare benefits that cover the cost of home health care for our elders? This is a program that pays for the health services an elder receives in their home. Like having a nurse go into the home to do a rountine check up or having a physical therapist go into the home to do some physical therapy to help keep the person mobile.
Is it better to put these people in a nursing home where those costs are high, the care is not that great? Not to mention that the elders would rather stay in their own homes and be comfortable. The work I do is not covered under Medicare. Home Care for Maine does not receive any Medicare money. HCM does not employ nurses that go into the home for these types of services. But a lot of the consumers that Home Care for Maine helps do receive these types of services from other agencies like Health Reach.

Is Mr. Strimling aware of PCAs and PSSs and the type of work we do?
I can give him a brief outline.

Please let me now if you’d like a brief outline of what a PCA/PSS does and I’ll be glad to send it.


Enter your Email

Preview Powered by FeedBlitz

November 10th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Home Health Care, MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine Congressional Elections, STATE EMPLOYEES, UNIONMAINE, Universal Health Care | 4 comments

Turn Maine Blue

E.T.I. 2009

Susan Collins takes money from ex drug dealer. Read about it at Turn Maine Blue

I want to reach out to all sides, Democrats, Republicans, Independents but until the Republicans can grow some courage and admit that George Bush has nearly destroyed this country I will keep voting blue. Visit Turn Maine Blue and get some great writing and news you won’t find in other places. Turn Maine Blue covers a wider range of topics of interest to Mainers than you will find here (for now) and you owe it to yourself to check it out.

The Republicans jump on any candidate that has ever received any money from any tainted source proclaiming that they would never take dirty money. You don’t even read this in Maine. Is she going to give it back?


E.T.I. 2009


Enter your Email and click Subscribe me! to hear about new posts.

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

November 6th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, Susan Collins, TECHNORATI, Tom Allen | one comment

Dedicated to the SNOWFIGHTERS of the MDOT


On State roads you can feel safe. A State employee has been keeping the road clear while it snows.
I met a man called Greg and I learned why I can feel safe on a snowy State highway. He explained to me that these drivers are on call, all winter, ready to plow all winter season. No extra pay just part of the job. I figured, what the heck, they took a plowing job and they live in Maine. Then I heard about having more and more miles to plow every year, not enough drivers. The State has decided that they will just keep on plowing. These drivers can plow for eight, twelve, even thirty six hours. Once their day “ends” at midnight they are back on straight time until they finish another eight hour shift. If they worked 24 hours on Monday, on Tuesday at midnight they are back on straight time. The State says it is a NEW DAY, I bet it doesn’t feel like a new day to these drivers. They lose their overtime and the State knows that this will force them into staying when they should go home. The drivers can decide to go home after 15 hours and if you have the wrong supervisor they will call you back an hour later.
It is warm now, no snow, but next winter I will remember the drivers that are keeping me safe.
Thank you, and I hope you stay safe.

This cartoon is courtesy of a great Union friendly site, Carol Simpson Designworks. They do artwork, design work, and much more. Please drop in and take a look.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

June 12th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine DOT, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, Tom Allen, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE, snow fighters | one comment