The starting wage at NexxLinx is between $8.50 and $9 per hour, plus incentives. That amounts to about $19,000 per year for employees who work 40 hours per week.
"People can cry and holler all they want, but if we don't reduce energy costs, we're going to have two Maines," LePage said. The other Maine, he said, is in the south, where there are higher-wage jobs. [A Nexxlink spokesman said the issue was finding good workers, not energy costs.]
All of those governors won a first term in the national Republican sweep of 2010, and most have had strong Republican representation in their legislatures to support them. But LePage was tasked with facing a Democrat-controlled legislature, and in July he vetoed a bill to incrementally raise the state's minimum wage.
For his likely Democratic challenger, Rep. Mike Michaud, increasing the minimum wage is an issue the onetime paper mill worker from northern Maine discusses often, said a campaign adviser. "He is closely aligned with working- and middle-class families," Farmer said. "He's not a millionaire.
"We defend the right of Maine workers to have a voice in their wages, benefits and working conditions," said a union leader. "Together, we will move forward to address common legislative issues such as the urgent need to accept federal funds to expand health-care coverage and to elect a governor who represents Maine workers. We are united in supporting Congressman Mike Michaud as Maine's next governor."
"This really proves that the unions have lost their moorings as to what their purpose is," said a Maine GOP spokesman. "Their first order of business is electing Mike Michaud, who will raise taxes and hurt small businesses. It's pretty clear that this is nothing more than a new political action committee funded by forcing Maine people to pay out of their paychecks."
When asked about the "safety-net" just being a subsidy for corporations such as Wal-Mart, Bellows replied that in the last 20 years there has been an economic and environmental crisis. One of her goals is to increase minimum wage to make it a "living wage."
Bellows is also for transparency in government and worked extensively on the Right To Know GMO Campaign for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
A: I have always supported and will always protect the right of workers to form and to join unions, and I have witnessed the important contributions that unions have made for decades in scores of Maine communities. I will zealously guard against interference in the process through which workers are permitted to decide whether to organize or not.
My goal as Governor will be to create the conditions that will encourage investment and economic activity in our state, so that we can begin creating jobs again for all Maine workers, whether union or non-union. Our problem is not that we don't have clear rules for forming a union; our problem is that Maine's economy has been at a standstill for more than a decade
However, let me be clear, I am not interested in helping those who increase the cost of living on Maine people for personal financial gain. Unemployment is down in Maine, lower than the national average. We are focusing our efforts on branding the State of Maine, recognizing that Maine made products embody quality and value. Government is becoming more transparent. We exposed the wasteful use of Mainers tax dollars at agencies such as the Maine Turnpike Authority and Maine State Housing Authority. We not only exposed it--we cleaned it up. We have more to do!
King visited shoe factories in Madison and Skowhegan and called for continued trade protection for New Balance Athletic Shoe. "There are more than 900 jobs at stake in Maine, and it would be a terrible blow to the region and the state if these jobs are lost," said the former governor, who is running as an independent.
Cynthia Dill, the Democratic nominee, joined in afterward by issuing her own statement supporting fair trade protections for Maine workers. "There's no reason at this time to consider dropping tariffs against foreign products that compete unfairly against those produced in Maine," she said.
Summers also said New Balance and its jobs need to be protected, & that trade agreements that affect other industries need to be revisited as well. "I'm very much a supporter of free trade," Summers said. "But with companies like New Balance, you have to make sure they are able to compete."
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