In Maine: IBEW Local 1837
16 Old Winthrop Road
Manchester, ME 04351
Phone: (207) 623-1030, Fax: (207) 621-8384
In New Hampshire:
680 Central Avenue, Suite 201
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

IBEW 1837 Members Join Labor's Day Festivities in New Hampshire and Maine

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took a moment to pose with IBEW 1837 members at NH Labor's Day 2007 Breakfast.

 

 

 

 

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama

took a moment to pose with IBEW 1837 members

at NH Labor's Day 2007 Breakfast.

 

Labor's Day 2007 events featured shows of solidarity, lessons in labor history, great music, and politics! And members of IBEW Local 1837 were there to take it all in. A variety of gatherings in New Hampshire and Maine drew hundreds of enthusiastic union members, their families, and their friends.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO Breakfast in Manchester drew close to 500 people to the St. George Greek Orthodox Church, including the state’s congressional delegation, Governor John Lynch, and Democratic presidential hopefuls Christopher Dodd and Barack Obama. Representing IBEW 1837 at the exciting event were Kerry Guptill, Thomas Clements, Bill Tarallo, Steve and Jeanne Eldredge, Tony and Shirley Sapienza, Rick Simons, Dave Ouellette and Sue Ekola.

There were rousing speeches from the presidential candidates, and many of those in attendance took advantage of the rare chance to speak with them one-on-one about the issues of importance to working people in this country today. NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie took the opportunity to reveal a new campaign declaring that “in America no one should go without health care.”

In Maine, The Portland Labor’s Day Breakfast hosted nearly 300 union members, community activists and their friends at Verrillo’s Banquet Center. This year’s event was sponsored by the Southern Maine Labor Council, The Western Maine Labor Council, and the Metal Trades Council. Proud to represent IBEW 1837 for the morning’s festivities were Carlos Morales, Ray and Deb Colello, Matt Beck, Peter Compagna, and Cynthia Phinney.

 

Rep. Tom Allen delivered the Labor Day Address and touched briefly upon his upcoming campaign for the United States Senate. Congressional hopefuls Mark Lawrence, Michael Brennan, Ethan Strimling, Jill Duson and Chellie Pingree all moved throughout the banquet hall, stopping by tables and shaking hands.

But the real focus of the event was a celebration of unions and labor, and Southern Maine Labor Council President Peter Kellman was quick to remind the crowd that this holiday was “Labor’s Day.” Everyone seemed to enjoy singing along with Nine to Nine, a folk music group featuring Maine Senate President Beth Edmonds and many other talented musicians. Documentary photographer Guy Saldanha exhibited some of his extraordinary work, and the painting Red Sky by Ralph Fasanella was on display.

Speakers urged union members to support the workers at Verizon in their ongoing battle to "Stop The Sale" of their landlines in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to the tiny FairPoint Communications. There was also a salute to Arthur Gordon and other pioneers of the Workplace Right to Know Law that helped people to identify chemical hazards in their workplace.

About 32 miles up the Maine Turnpike in Lewiston, the IBEW 567 Union Hall was the site of the Annual Labor Day Barbecue sponsored by the newly formed Western Maine Labor Council. The combination of great weather and solid preparation led to an incredible turnout for the first-time event.

 

“We’re sorry if you had to wait for your hamburger,” said Western Maine Labor Council President Don Berry, “but we weren’t expecting about half of you.” Approximately 125 people spilled out of the union hall and into the parking lot while other folks sought refuge from the sun under a nearby tree. Joe Mailey spoke about the history of Labor Day, and Ethan Miller was joined by Cynthia Phinney on harmony vocals for “Don’t Cross That Picket Line.”

Things really got rocking later in the evening in Bangor when James McMurtry and the Heartless Bastards took the stage in a benefit concert for the Worker Center of Eastern Maine. Thousands of music fans filled the green on the Bangor Waterfront to see McMurtry and his band, along with Shawn Mercer and the Gilpin Railroad Incident.

“It was a wonderful evening,” said IBEW 1837’s Bob Toole, who staffed a volunteer table at the show. “Those who I’ve spoken with have been enthusiastic in their praise.” Brother Toole was joined by his daughter Katie, Dirk Mansell, Deb Vose and her daughter Hannah, Tammy Trask, Barbara Lewis, Matt Beck and Cynthia Phinney. (Sorry if we missed anybody, but with all those people in one place, who can blame us?)

 

James McMurtry’s songs deal with many of the challenges and tribulations facing working people in this country. His music has earned him a devoted following of fans, none more devoted than his fan base right in the Greater Bangor area, where his concerts frequently sell out. This benefit concert was McMurtry’s way of showing support for working families and giving thanks to a community that has been so good to him.

The concert was sponsored by Food AND Medicine and theEastern Maine Labor Council. The Worker Center of Eastern Maine seeks to empower all workers to change their working conditions through collective action. You can learn more about the Worker Center by clicking here.

More photographs from Labor's Day 2007 can be seen below. Please consider joining us next year for these great events!

 

IBEW 1837 members celebrating Labor's Day 2007 at the AFL-CIO Breakfast in New Hampshire.
IBEW 1837 members celebrating Labor's Day 2007 at the AFL-CIO Breakfast in New Hampshire.

 

 

The Solidarity Quilt on display at the benefit concert  in Bangor for the Worker Center of Eastern Maine on Labor's Day 2007.
The Solidarity Quilt on display at the benefit concert in Bangor for the Worker Center of Eastern Maine on Labor's Day 2007.
Rep. Tom Allen joins the group "Nine to Nine" for a Labor Day 2007 sing-along in Portland.
Rep. Tom Allen joins the group "Nine to Nine" for a Labor Day 2007 sing-along in Portland.
Maine Fair Trade Campaign's Daphne Loring greets a guest at the Western Maine Labor Council BBQ in Lewiston on Labor's Day 2007.
Maine Fair Trade Campaign's Daphne Loring greets a guest at the Western Maine Labor Council BBQ in Lewiston on Labor's Day 2007.
Shawn Mercer and the Boondock Blues Band at the Labor's Day 2007 concert in Bangor.
Shawn Mercer and the Boondock Blues Band at the Labor's Day 2007 concert in Bangor.

 

 

 

A wall of union banners at the benefit concert for the Eastern Maine Workers Center on Labor's Day 2007.
A wall of union banners at the benefit concert for the Eastern Maine Workers Center on Labor's Day 2007.
Early arrivals settle in at the benefit concert for the Worker Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor on Labor's Day 2007.
Early arrivals settle in at the benefit concert for the Worker Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor on Labor's Day 2007.
The Gilpin Railroad Incident performs in Bangor at benefit concert for Worker Center of Eastern Maine on Labor's Day 2007.
The Gilpin Railroad Incident performs in Bangor at benefit concert for Worker Center of Eastern Maine on Labor's Day 2007.