The angry rhetoric and smug backslapping have ceased but fester still, like a bit of porcupine quill left down deep. It has been a spell since the murals honoring Maine’s labor history disappeared into darkness. It is fitting to reconsider them now. They tell the story of workers’ struggles for justice, but our governor decided they were “one sided”. Things are certainly one sided now and anti-labor laws await their hour to slouch toward Augusta to be born.
If you work for a living, you are labor. It doesn’t matter whether you are running a brazing torch or a keyboard or whether you are union or not. We must thank unions for not having children crawling around inside hollow steel masts with rivet bucking bars going stone deaf, but union or not, anytime we stand together things get better.
Inflammatory “divide and conquer” rhetoric has eroded that unified front, but we all want the same things: living wages, good benefits, safe working conditions and dignity.
Here is a suggestion for those who use keyboards: It is simple to surf and get digital images of Judy Taylor’s murals for use as a screensaver. When I am away from my desk they stalk my monitor like vengeful ghosts. The originals were about 288 square feet and typical downloads run maybe one square foot. It would not take many of us to become equal in area, but one might hope for acres of them beyond the small lobby of the Department of Labor.
Harold “Dusty” Dowse
The right to choose
I work at Parkview Hospital in Brunswick. I support Parkview’s bid to join Central Maine Medical Center.
CMMC will allow us to continue to provide excellent health services in this area. Mid Coast Hospital is attempting to disrupt this and I fear that it is, as always, their attempt to absorb us and monopolize health care in this community.
People are telling us they want to continue to receive their care at Parkview. Our view is to treat the whole person. Our doctors and the services we provide are particularly oriented toward that.
We are also a vital part of the Brunswick economy. Parkview provides a number of jobs in this community.
Parkview wants to join CMMC, not MidCoast. We deserve the right to choose and so does the community.
I am writing to thank U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe for signing on as a co-sponsor to The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, or POWADA.
Age discrimination in the workplace is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 made things worse by imposing a much higher burden of proof on those workers who allege age discrimination than on workers who allege discrimination based on race, sex, religion or national origin. The result is that a growing number of unemployed individual workers who have been discriminated against because of their age are unable to seek justice. Older workers who lose their jobs have a much harder time finding new employment. The average period of unemployment for an older worker lasts 56 weeks.
POWADA is bipartisan legislation introduced to restore the vital civil rights protections for older workers that were severely narrowed by the 2009 Supreme Court decision. POWADA will ensure equal opportunity for older workers and Senator Snowe should be commended for signing on to this important and timely legislation.
Richard A. Eustis
AARP Maine advocacy volunteer
A BDN contributor, Stacey Fitts, suggested in his OpEd ( “LePage should make unbiased analysis of energy standards before changing policy,” Oct. 10 BDN) that Gov. Paul LePage was “biased” in his analysis of Maine’s renewable energy producers.
Renewable portfolio standards have driven up the cost of energy for Mainers and will continue to do so at even steeper rates for years to come if allowed to continue. New transmission lines that are being built to accommodate the rapidly advancing wind industry have driven up ratepayers’ transmission costs by nearly 20 percent this past year alone. Thousands of new 400- to 500-foot wind towers are in the planning stages for Maine’s mountains, and these all have to be connected to the grid.
Mr. Fitts states that “Maine’s hydro energy assets have essentially been tapped.” There are many miles of rivers and large streams in Maine, and current technology for producing hydro energy doesn’t necessarily require building a dam. There is much opportunity for new hydro development in our state that will safely allow the passage of migrating fish both offshore and in our rivers and stream systems.
I hope Mr. Fitts can someday explain to his grandchildren why Maine’s once pristine waters never recovered from bulldozing the tops of its majestic mountains down onto the sides of its ecologically sensitive valley walls.
If Mr. Fitts wishes to find “bias,” let him look back at his own record as co-chair of the Energy, Utility and Technology Committee where he used his leadership position to zealously promote industrial wind.
Money ball and Health Care
The Oakland Athletics reached the Major League Baseball playoffs this year on a payroll one quarter the size of the New York Yankees’. This 75 percent savings cost the organization only one game in the win column.
In 2008 the United States spent nearly $7,500 per person on health care while Australia spent half as much (WHO report). Wonder who lives longer? Australians, by an average of two years. Mexico spends less than $1,000 per person, but they only give up an average of two years in life expectancy compared with the United States. Where is our return on investment?
Americans like to think that we have the best health care in the world. When responding to a medical crisis we do, but it does not keep us healthier or allow us to live longer. Perhaps dental insurers are on the right track, paying for biannual visits for dental health maintenance. We need a health care system that is proactive and focuses on preventative care, thereby keeping us from needing to use expensive, reactive treatments.
Bring back Dyer
I was disappointed to see that you have discontinued the weekly column by Gwynne Dyer. I thought his comments on world events were by far the best informed and balanced in your paper. He is not afraid to burst bubbles on both the left and the right. His column provided a refreshing counterpoint to the partisan diatribes of George Will and Charles Krauthammer.
I hope you will bring him back.