IAM’s Maine Lobstering Union Expands, Outlines Key Concerns

Members of the IAM Maine Lobstering Union work on an organizing strategy at the William W. Winpisinger Center as the union hopes to attract more fishermen along Maine’s 3,500-mile coastline.

The IAM Maine Lobstering Union, a union that began with a few members on the island of Vinalhaven, has now grown to include members all along Maine’s nearly 3,500-mile coastline.  

Click here to watch “Maine’s Lobstering Union Expands” on the Machinists News Network.

With two legislative victories under its belt, the union is now headed by President Rocky Alley, who hopes to continue the union’s growth and influence to help save an industry plagued by low lobster prices and rising costs associated with government regulation and boat maintenance.

“We’ve jumped over quite a few barriers in the State House,” said Alley during an organizing class at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Center in southern Maryland.

Some of the newest members of the union are featured in the video as the group worked on their organizing strategy and discussed some of their immediate concerns.

“It used to be no limit on how many traps you fished,” said Alley.  “And then eventually they cut us down to 1,400, then 1,200, then 1,000 and now we’re at 800. Some of these fishermen that are with me today are only allowed to fish 600 in their area.”

Union members are also concerned about the low price of lobster and the mandatory whale rope that often results in the members losing their traps altogether.

For more, watch “Maine’s Lobstering Union Expands” by clicking here.