Yesterday, Maine State Council of Machinists President Mark Vigliotta wrote a guest column in the Portland Press Herald sharing his support for Sara Gideon for U.S. Senate, citing her strong support for Local S6 during contract negotiations earlier this year. Sara joined workers on the picket line during the strike and celebrated their work to reach a fair contract over the summer.
In August, Senator Collins lost the endorsement of the Maine State Council of Machinists as they flipped their support to Sara Gideon, praising Sara for supporting Local S6 and saying her actions “speak volumes about her dedication to working men and women.” Local S6’s Legislative Committee also voted to endorse Sara over Senator Collins earlier this year.
In the State House, Sara has fought to protect workers’ rights and made sure they receive the credit they’re due by strengthening collective bargaining rights and helping to block former Governor LePage’s efforts to make Maine a “right-to-work” state. Sara also led the effort to pass a first-in-the-nation paid time off bill that covered more than just getting sick for Maine workers, ensuring they have the flexibility to address illnesses or family emergencies without fear of losing their jobs.
In case you missed it, read the column below:
Portland Press Herald (Opinion): BIW workers need a senator who will stand up for us
Mark Vigilotta, 10/26/20
Mark Vigliotta is the President of the Maine State Council of Machinists and a 19-year production machinery mechanic at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
- As members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, we know first hand the value of unions, not only in improving wages, benefits and protections, but also in giving people more power in their workplaces.
- Back in 2014, the Maine State Council of Machinists — which represents 5,000 people working in paper mills, public works departments, the lobstering industry, a law office, and shipyards — endorsed Senator Susan Collins because we believed that she would defend jobs and support issues that affect our members.
- Unfortunately, Washing-ton seems to have changed Susan Collins and we now believe that Speaker Sara Gideon is the best choice.
- Over the last six years, Senator Collins has repeatedly voted against the interests of working Mainers.
- Further, during the nine-week strike at BIW this year, Senator Collins was asked personally by our International President, Robert Martinez, to use her in-fluence to assist in resolving the impasse. Senator Collins refused, and declined to get involved. However, while Local S6 was at the bargaining table, her campaign accepted $21,000 from BIW and General Dynamics executives.
- Collins works for management, not the people who build the ships.
- Sara Gideon, on the other hand, as early as last fall got involved to help us with the issues that ultimately led to the strike.
- As Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, she did not hesitate to call out BIW’s hypocrisy as she questioned their use of out-of-state subcontractors while receiving a $45 million tax break from Mainers.
- Sara spoke at Local S6 rallies, walked the picket line with us, met with our negotiators, and kept an open line of communi-cation with our leadership.
- Speaker Gideon has earned a 95 percent lifetime score on the Maine AFL-CIO Working Families Legislative Scorecard by, among other things, defeating the “right-to-work” legislation aimed at breaking unions, and passing leg-islation that expanded collective bargaining rights for woods workers.
- With Sara Gideon in Washington we know we will have an ally who will not only ensure the future of shipbuilding in Maine, but will also stand up for us when we need her. It’s time for change.