May 28, 2024

The right to unionize

It’s good that the Bangor Daily News highlights the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“Eleanor’s Declaration,” Dec. 8) and that the BDN states that “few in the West would argue these basic claims that come with being human.” One aspect of the human rights declaration not mentioned is that “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests” (Article 23, Section 4).

In 2000, Human Rights Watch published a report, “Unfair Advantage,” that highlighted the many shortcomings in U.S. labor law and its enforcement that prevent workers from freely exercising this fundamental human right.

In 2005, 23 DHL workers in Brewer were fired for organizing a union. Only through enormous community pressure did the workers ultimately win.

Right now in TV ads, editorials and glossy brochures, employers and their front groups are bombarding Maine, shamelessly claiming that they are standing up for worker rights by attacking the Employee Free Choice Act. What’s troubling is not that they are doing it, but that in some quarters they’re getting away with it.

On Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. Food AND Medicine and the Eastern Maine Labor Council will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Brewer (for more information, At this meeting we will feature four workers who have tried – some successfully, some not – to form a union.

Because that is what EFCA’s all about, workers who don’t have a union and want one.

Jack McKay

Director, Food andMedicine.


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