We’re wrapping up Dairy Month in Maine, and our Democratic governor, despite declaring the month, has proven herself no friend to dairy farm labor – and labor in general. Gov. Mills recently vetoed a bill that includes labor in the development of offshore wind. Mills’ veto of the farmworkers bill last year was another chance she missed to change workers’ lives in Maine.

An earlier Milk With Dignity protest. Migrant Justice

This past weekend, there was a march for dairy farmworkers’ rights in Portland, led by the organization Migrant Justice. The governor was not there. The march addressed Hannaford specifically, because of claims of labor abuses of workers at dairies that produce Hannaford-brand milk.

As part of Maine Dairy Month, Gov. Mills invited farmers, dairy organizations and lobbying groups to the Blaine House. She proclaimed: “Dairy farms are a cornerstone of Maine’s agricultural industry.” She left out that the dairy workers are the cornerstone of the dairy farms.

From the news release announcing Dairy Month, the office of the governor referred to 4,733 direct workers and 10,301 indirect dairy jobs in Maine. Was even one of the 4,733 dairy workers invited to the Blaine House? Was the governor celebrating them as well?

The governor has proven, by omission, that she has taken the side of big business over workers. What better justifies workers in Maine to unify and march in protest and in defense of their rights to fair labor conditions, treatment, pay and benefits?

Jeff Dubin

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