This week has been a busy one as our campaign continues to use social distancing in creative ways to get the word out. Dud Hendrick, Meredith Bruskin and Bruce Gagnon are seen here bannering in Belfast yesterday where they were also interviewed by a reporter for the local paper, Village Soup. It was the 3rd day in a row bannering as a group that also included Rob Shetterly, Starr Gilmartin, Connie Jenkins, Frank Donnelly, and Russell Wray at various times in Ellsworth and Bangor. Big thanks to all these dedicated volunteers!
Meanwhile, I went down to Bath Iron Works early on Monday and Tuesday morning to support the strike called by 87% of members in Machinists S6, the biggest union at BIW. Mark and I hung a large banner on the side of our van and did drive by support of picket lines at both the north and south gates. I livestreamed on Facebook as Mark slowly drove and workers responded with enthusiasm to support expressed from all over the country in the comments on the livestream (now saved as recorded videos here and here).
To undermine the union, BIW has been bringing in non-union laborers as contractors to avoid paying its Maine workers fairly. BIW kept $45 million in state taxes deducted from workers' paychecks under a law we lobbied against in the Maine legislature. Owner General Dynamics can well afford to give the skilled and trained workers at BIW fair compensation, and we continue to call for conversion to a demilitarized Green New Deal building things we need far more than war ships and that economists say would create thousands of additional jobs (see my op-ed in the Bangor Daily News about that here).
Our wonderful endorsers are urging support for our campaign within their own networks, including Kathy Kelly at Voices for Creative Nonviolence plus Margaret Flowers, MD who has offered to do a health care educational event with us! I am so grateful for everyone's support. If you haven't signed on as an endorser or asked your networks to consider doing so, you can find the tools to do that here on our website.
Stay tuned for our statement today on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act before the House of Representatives, which is a good start but does not go nearly far enough. Defunding police to allocate resources known to reduce crime in our communities is a must, as is addressing the need for reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans. Supporting the demand of Black Lives Matter to dismantle systems of oppression will be a major focus this summer as young people especially have vowed to not give up until their demands are met!
Big props to LfM Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Merrill, also a photojournalist par excellence, who has been covering BLM actions around the state during June.
Be well out there!