Both the Maine House and Senate have recently passed LD 1816, An Act To Promote Labor Education through the University of Maine System. This bill would direct the University of Maine System to establish a labor and community education center at the University of Southern Maine focused on providing lifelong community-based labor education, research and outreach. The bill provides ongoing funds to establish the center. The bill also provides additional ongoing funds to the Bureau of Labor Education at the University of Maine.

In the spirit of great Maine labor historian Charles Scontras, LD 1816 would be a wonderful boon to Maine’s labor education efforts, reflecting the undeniably important role labor has in Maine’s history, present, and future. After a generation of labor decline and losses, we are beginning see labor start to get its legs back under itself these last few years. From teacher strikes in West Virginia, Chicago, and LA, to an assertive flight attendant union flexing its muscle to pressure Congress, to right here in Maine with the unionizing of Maine Medical nurses and Portland Museum of Art workers, labor is back on the march and this bill will only help its continued growth and development regionally.

Please check out this short video by Maine AFL-CIO to learn more about LD 1816, how it honors the spirit of a great Maine historian, and how it can help reconnect Mainers to our labor roots.