I have just read Jonathan Reisman’s op-ed in the Nov. 7 Portland Press Herald, and I feel it necessary to respond.

Reisman is complaining about being forced to accept union “misrepresentation.”

It is the responsibility of a “sole bargaining agent” to discern and promote the general welfare of all of the employees whom they represent, in this case, the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine.

I believe Reisman’s decision to withdraw from this organization is ill-advised, but I acknowledge that it is his right. I do not believe it is a benefit to anybody employed in the University of Maine System to become his own bargaining agent.

It would be terribly disruptive if each of them were placed in a position to negotiate his or her own individual contract. Their corporate counterparts across the negotiating table would play each of them against the other. All of them would lose. In fact, there is mutual benefit to employer and employee to use the accepted legal collective bargaining process.

Our ancestors in the workplaces of this country fought, bled and sometimes died so that we would have the right to bargain for fair wages, hours and working conditions. I am sorry to see Reisman throwing that away.

I believe that the American labor force is under as serious a threat as it has faced since the early days of the 20th century, and the headline of his Nov. 7 op-ed (“Maine law forces me to accept union misrepresentation”) doesn’t help any of us. In fact, it only helps a very few.

I suggest he think more of “us,” and less of “me.”

James G. Finn


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