U.S. Labor Secretary Meets with Rep. Golden, Maine Senate President Jackson, and New England Loggers Cooperative

The IAM recently participated in a meeting at the Maine State House to address the challenges facing loggers and wood-haulers in northern Maine. The discussion with Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02), New England Loggers Cooperative, and U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh centered around the misuse of foreign labor by employers in the northern Maine woods and finding ways to help improve the lives of those who make their living from harvesting the forest products of northern Maine.

“It feels good to get some attention on some of the issues we face in the  Maine logging industry,” said New England Loggers Cooperative member Dana Gardner. “I look forward to hearing solutions for the problems facing loggers and wood-haulers in northern Maine. It will take a lot of work to make the necessary changes to ensure the people doing most of the work get their fair share.”

“I appreciate the Secretary of Labor meeting with me, Senate President Jackson, and Maine loggers and truck drivers today to discuss ways the federal government can address unfair labor and trade practices from Canada,” said Rep. Golden. “We look forward to partnering with Secretary Walsh to address these issues and help protect American logging and trucking jobs.”

President Jackson has introduced several pieces of legislation to protect Maine trucking jobs and penalize offending companies for breaking the law, including a new state law that takes effect October 18. In addition, he has written to the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Department of Labor. Last summer, he filed a complaint against the Department of Labor for failing to enforce federal cabotage laws.

“For years, Maine loggers and wood-haulers have raised the alarm about the misuse of foreign labor by large landowners and trucking companies. It seems clear that this practice violates federal law by adversely affecting the wages, working conditions, and job opportunities for folks trying to make a decent living in the Maine woods,” said President Jackson. “The fact that Labor Secretary Walsh took the time to meet with us today and talk directly with those harmed by this injustice really means a lot. I’m hopeful that it will lead to further action by the federal government.”

“The IAM appreciates the opportunity to discuss the issues in the logging industry with individuals who stand with labor,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant. “Our team in the Eastern Territory is dedicated to working to help achieve justice for the loggers and make real changes to the industry. Our collective efforts will create increased power for the workers in Maine.”

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