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Monday, May 14, 2012: Tony Blair, nurses and Paul Bunyan

They represent who?

It’s no surprise that workers’ compensation insurance companies such as MEMIC and others are lobbying the Legislature to raise their profit levels while the benefit cost of workers’ comp has dropped by more than 60 percent over the last several years. Republicans love this and hate the idea of Maine workers having collective bargaining rights, so they worked against the DeCoster egg farm workers and day care workers.

The workers’ comp bill, LD 1913, was written by the insurance companies to provide a financial windfall for themselves by denying injured workers the benefits they deserve. Picking the pockets of injured workers by these insurance companies will hurt Maine’s economy and hurt Maine families who are already struggling.

Two other bills designed to attack Maine workers have also survived. LD 309, the wrongly named “right to work” bill, was written to attack the collective bargaining rights of Maine public employees. All Maine workers enjoy benefits such as workers’ comp, unemployment, overtime pay, family medical leave, workplace safety (OSHA), a 40-hour workweek and many more that were achieved through the collective bargaining process.

The Republicans also attacked workers’ abilities to get unemployment benefits when Maine’s companies leave or downsize because of Maine’s high tax rates. Workers didn’t crush the economy. Big corporations and politicians did. I hope all Maine workers remember in November at the ballot box, that the Republicans and LePage chose to attack all Maine workers while refusing to address the real problems.

LePage’s “Open for Business Only” sign should be on his office door.

Bruce Hixon


Graduation vision

What a sad and cynical day graduation will be at Colby this year. Colleges are supposed to be in the business of exposing historical lies so that their students are not so easily manipulated by those forces that want the truth hidden. Unfortunately, Colby College has chosen to invite as graduation speaker one of the major prevaricators and promoters of the Iraq War, a man who is, by our own laws and treaties, a war criminal.

The prospect of a host of celebratory students and parents applauding Tony Blair is sickening. The audience the becomes complicit in historical whitewash, complicit in pretending that no crime was committed, complicit in the charade promoted by President Obama that we can only look forward by refusing to look back.

A society based on the rule of law that refuses to acknowledge and enforce its own most important laws bears an uncomfortable resemblance to … well, to what? Anything but a constitutional republic. What good can come for Colby by choosing to honor Tony Blair? Our times cry out for the voices of visionaries, not for the voices of those who would keep us blind.

Robert Shetterly


Allow Father Nadeau to return

I find it unconscionable that the attorney general’s office has been investigating Father James Nadeau, pastor of the St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Fort Kent, for weeks now yet no charges have been brought against him. Meanwhile, he hasn’t been allowed to continue to minister to his parishioners.

I’m sure they miss him and believe, like I do, that he did nothing wrong. He is their shepherd and should be allowed to return to his flock.

Paul C. Kelly


Safe and effective care

The Eastern Maine Medical Center nurses contract fight is about more than just winning a good contract for our members. When a nurse has 16 hours of work to complete in a 12 hour period of time, her work can’t be left for tomorrow. This is the struggle our nurses face on a day-to-day basis. As patients come to us sicker, with more needs, and as responsibilities increase, staffing levels remain inadequate and uncertain.

Management does not want to address these issues with even the discussion of resource nurses to alleviate some of the added burdens to staff, ensure safety of and augment the experience and outcomes of our patients. It’s our mandate to advocate for our patients.

Management refuses language addressing our acute concerns regarding safety in the emergency department; safety for our patients, community and staff. Management expressed their opinion that our most experienced nurses don’t warrant additional compensation for their advanced skills. We disagree. Many have worked years without any additional raise. Management has yet to respond to key language protecting nurses when deciding whether they are safe to work the shift after working long call hours.

This is language that management previously applied to one unit with burdensome call hours, and we believe that it should be universal as a measure of safety for all patients and staff. With the changes occurring in health care, it’s imperative that nurses retain the ability to advocate for the communities we serve and ensure safe and effective care.

Jessie Mellott

EMMC nurse


Dunlap endorsement

It seems to me that all our senators over the years from both parties were able to work across the aisle with members of the other party. I don’t think belonging to a party is the problem. A lot of people thought Olympia Snowe was doing fine until a couple of years ago.

What we need in the U.S. Senate is someone who will act as independently as Margaret Chase Smith did, and who understood the needs of Maine’s working people like Ed Muskie and George Mitchell.

That’s why I am supporting Matt Dunlap for Senate. Matt was born and raised in Maine, schooled in Maine and has worked all his life in Maine. He knows the struggles of Maine people because he has lived them. He has served the Old Town-Orono area well, did a great job as secretary of state and knows the state better than any of the other candidates.

He’s a hunter and sportsman and knows how to balance the needs of different groups within the state. He’d be the unique voice in the Senate because he’s a working person, not a millionaire.

We don’t need another millionaire in the Senate. We need Matt Dunlap.

Colleen Bridges


Paul’s place

There have been letters to the editor expressing concern over the Paul Bunyan statue being overshadowed by the new Bangor Auditorium. And I admit to sharing some of that concern. But after looking at the progress on the Cianbro website in the rain recently, I think Paul is going to give the site just the right amount of panache. You look great, Paul.

Bob Woodbury


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