AUGUSTA — An estimated 300 union members came to the State House today to oppose bills that address union dues and to speak out against the governor’s budget.

A Bangor firefighter, a nurse, a paper mill worker, a shipbuilder and a corrections officer all spoke at a packed press conference in the State House Welcome Center.

At issue are two bills sponsored by Rep. Tom Winsor, R-Norway, that seek to prohibit employers from deducting fees from nonunion workers represented by collective bargaining agreements. Current state law does not require workers to join a union, but the unions do have a right to collect a portion of their pay to cover the expense of collective bargaining.

The bills are L.D. 309 and L.D. 788.

“Where did this legislation come from?” said Bangor Firefighter Ron Green. “It is plain and simply a way to bust unions and take our rights away.”

Winsor has said he believes workers should not have to pay union dues if they choose not to, even if their workplace is unionized. Gov. Paul LePage, also a Republican, agrees.

Public hearings on the bills have yet to be scheduled.