Election 2014: Gubernatorial Contests are Top Labor Concern

October 22, 2014 - Re-election campaigns for the Governors of New Hampshire and Maine have been getting plenty of attention from members of IBEW Local #1837 and other pro-worker groups. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has been a consistent union ally while Maine Governor Paul LePage has supported union-busting “Right to Work” legislation. Both are seeking their second terms on Tuesday, November 4.

In recent letters to our represented members, IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers and President Ray Colello continued to stress that their top priority remains giving members the best representation possible by negotiating and protecting our contracts.

“Since many of our members belong to different political parties or hold contrasting views on the various issues of the day, we are reluctant to get involved in politics,” Rogers and Colello said. “However, we feel we do have a responsibility to let you know how the decisions we all make on Election Day can affect the ability of IBEW Local #1837 to secure good wages, good benefits and a safe workplace for you. In recent years, basic worker protections – from the freedom to form a union to the right to a safe workplace – have been under attack.”

After a thorough process that includes issue questionnaires and an analysis of voting records of each of the candidates, the New Hampshire and Maine AFL-CIO’s issue endorsements of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who demonstrate an understanding of the importance of labor unions and a commitment to working people. This includes not only the gubernatorial candidates but also candidates for important state legislative races and federal contests such as the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

In Maine, Michael Michaud, a card-carrying union member of the United Steel Workers and longtime advocate for working people and our veterans, easily won the labor endorsement for Governor. Paul LePage has consistently worked to undermine collective bargaining rights and even took away the right to join a union from many Maine workers.

In New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan has earned the endorsement by showing in her first term that she can be counted on to do the right thing. Hassan has worked closely with labor on a variety of issues. Her opponent, Walt Haverstein, has promised to sign union-busting legislation if he is elected.

Since this is an “off-year” election, voter turnout may be significantly lower than it was in 2012. In the election of 2010, low voter turnout led to the losses of many pro-worker candidates in our state legislatures. Regardless of how you may choose to vote, all members are strongly encouraged to go to the polls.

As always, consistent with federal law, no money from union dues is ever donated to any political campaign.

AFL-CIO endorsements for the top races are listed below. A complete list of AFL-CIO political endorsements for legislative races in both states can be found by clicking here.

Maine AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidates

Governor: Michael Michaud

U.S. Senate: Shenna Bellows

Congress, ME CD1: Chellie Pingree

Congress, ME CD2: Emily Cain

New Hampshire AFL-CIO Endorsed Candidates

Governor: Maggie Hassan

U.S. Senate: Jeanne Shaheen

Congress, NH CD1: Carol Shea-Porter

Congress, NH CD2: Ann Kuster