The LePage administration’s action to remove the Labor Department mural and replace the names on some doors is anti-labor, plain and simple.

To defend the action by claiming that a “balanced” approach is needed is hogwash. The name of the department is not the “Labor and Business” Department.

From Wikipedia: “The purpose of the Department of Labor (DOL) is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. In carrying out this mission, the Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers.”

I’m assuming that the Maine DOL has a similar purpose.

The U.S. DOL’s headquarters is in the Frances Perkins Building, named in honor of the secretary of labor from 1933-1945 and the first female Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

Frances Perkins’ name on a Maine DOL door is one that the LePage administration is planning to remove. This seems to me, to be a disrespectful and unnecessarily provocative act by the Governor.

Robert Scherer

Cape Neddick

 

What is the value of history? My students often ask that question. History has no real value for them until they are directly impacted possibly experiencing various aspects of our great Constitution or in discovering their roots.

Those who immerse themselves in the great American story will realize there remain sordid chapters about the human condition: slavery, immigration, the lack of rights for women, the lack of educational resources for the poor and the lack of protections for laborers, including women and children.

What role does history play? It is through education that our story and our identity is preserved. For my students, points of interest often center on photographs, paintings and illustrations. Many of our Maine schools currently include murals, which often tell the story of their communities while celebrating their culture.

The Department of Labor building belongs to the Maine people, not to “labor” interests. In judging our legacy, one cannot be selective. Our Maine workers labored long and hard to improve their working conditions, as our Maine museum exhibits attests.

The murals in the labor building were commissioned as a tribute to the sacrifices and travails of our Maine ancestors. It is their story, and their story deserves recognition. It is fitting that this remembrance be based in the labor building. The governor’s removal of them belittles their memory, their diligence, their adversities and their sacrifices.

A rock thrown into a calm pond ripples far and wide. Once it leaves the hand, the course is set, never to return. This travesty has deepened the rifts between the governor and his constituents.

Our beautiful state needs strong leadership, but not at the expense of destroying our historical identity.

Diana Dionne-Morang

2008 Maine History Teacher of the Year

Gardiner

 

When the “labor” mural was put up in Augusta, it was a blatant example of politically biased propaganda. The politicians in power at the time curried great favor from a small group with deep pockets when it was installed.

That small group no longer has the ear of the current crop of politicians. Outside of the current “slash and burn anything LePage” mentality that permeates The Portland Press Herald, one must consider there may be many people who thought the mural not totally appropriate to begin with.

That is reality. The current administration has every right to “refeather its nest” as it sees fit.

Kurt Christiansen

Windham

 

I am shocked yet again. I am referring to Gov. LePage and the removal of the Labor Department mural. I am not only shocked, I am also disappointed and embarrassed by this man whom we now call our governor.

This kind of action reminds me of communist or terrorist actions, destroying any art that doesn’t abide by their thinking. I am still reeling from the criticisms that our Maine poets received, and now this! It is downright frightening.

In my opinion, (I am still allowed to have one, right?) Gov. LePage is a bully. It is my understanding from all that I have read about his terrible childhood that his dad was a bully. I guess some things just don’t change from one generation to the next.

From what I can tell, Gov. LePage will say or do anything for a headline. It’s a darn shame.

Yvonne Graffam

Gorham

 

As a Maine business owner, I have watched Gov. LePage as he treads the contrary minefields of public opinion, tax reform, business climate and environmental safeguards. The governor has many commonsense ideas that get lost due to his clumsy presentation to practically everybody about everything.

From remarks remanding the NAACP’s lips to his nether regions to comments about female whiskers grown by some who drink water from chemically tainted plastic containers, LePage exhibits a stunning muddiness of thought and distinct lack of compassion for the very people of Maine whom he purports to represent.

In LePage’s latest Blaine House laborious misadventure, we have lost the large mural depicting the history of labor in Maine from the state Department of Labor offices in a torturous episode of reverse political correctness.

The mural makes an accurate historical statement that labor means workers and it is workers, even a few French-Canadian ones, whose toil built this country. Every company’s success is due to the labor of those who build the products that people buy.

Many of the silk-tie-wearing types who skim the cream from the corporate bottle, including those at Marden’s Discount Stores, are vultures at the picnic who could take permanent vacations on desert islands and not be missed.

By his own admission, LePage does not read very much, so my comments doubtless will fly right over his head. But this business owner is weary of his style of “leadership” based on harassment and bullying.

Bruce Sanford

Principal, Conestco

Raymond