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Republican to appeal verdict on state worker fair share bill

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Rep. Lawrence E. Lockman testifies in favor of his bill to give state workers the freedom to choose union membership.

Rep. Lawrence E. Lockman, April 1, 2013, testifies in favor of his bill to give state workers the freedom to choose whether to financially support the MSEA.

AUGUSTA – An Amherst Republican says he will make an appeal to the Legislative Council on Thursday regarding his bill to give state employees the freedom to choose whether to financially support the Maine State Employees Association.

It’s a Sisyphean task given that the six-person Democratic majority has firm control of the Legislative Council. But Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) says his bill, “An Act to Protect Fair Share Workers from Unauthorized Withholding of Agency Fees,” reflects the wishes of his constituents and many state employees.

Lockman, who sits on the Labor Committee (LCRED), spearheaded the bipartisan push to repeal a 2007 law that turned the state into a collections agent for the government workers union. His reform would repeal part of that law that requires the state to deduct union fees from paychecks.

“I have been contacted by many state workers who say the public union and its political activities don’t represent them, and they resent the fact that the union is allowed to raid their paychecks,” said Lockman in a press release.

“It’s a shame that Democrats took the side of union bosses over fairness for Maine state workers,” he said.

Former Democratic leader Terry Hayes of Buckfield co-sponsored Lockman’s bill this summer. Despite bipartisan support, the measure was rejected after Democrats on the Labor Committee used “a stunning display of procedural censorship” to kill a compromise bill.

“We scaled back the bill a bit in an attempt to compromise with Democrats, hoping that we could reach some agreement to give state workers the fairness that they’re seeking,” he said.

“But Democrats and their state employee labor union allies seem intent on stifling any discussion on the subject,” he said. “They don’t even want to have the debate.”

Steve Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter
serobinson@themainewire.com

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently the executive producer of the Kirk Minihane Show. Follow him on Twitter @BigSteve207.

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