Spiteful, Reactionary Maine Governor Plans to Remove Pro-Labor Mural… from Dep’t of Labor
Paul LePage, Maine’s Republican governor, plans to remove a 36-foot mural depicting the history of the state’s labor movements from the wall of the Department of Labor building in the capital city of Augusta, the Portland Press-Herald and Raw Story report. LePage also plans on changing the names of conference rooms in the building named after such labor icons as Cesar Chavez and Frances Perkins, America’s first female labor secretary, simply because the current names are too labor-friendly. Imagine that, a mural and conference rooms in the Department of Labor that pay homage to leading luminaries of the labor movement. In LePage’s reactionary head, the Department of Sanitation would be a more appropriate venue for such a mural, with garbage trucks or landfills named after American heroes like Chavez.
“It’s unfortunate that Governor LePage continues to pick fights with the working class in Maine,” Don Berry, president of the state AFL-CIO union told the Press-Herald. “This is political payback, the opposite of putting people first. It’s a spiteful, mean-spirited move by the governor that does nothing to create jobs of improve the Maine economy.”
LePage says he’s “trying to send a message to everyone in the state that the state of Maine looks at employees and employers equally.” “It is inappropriate for a taxpayer funded agency to appear to be one-sided or the other,” explained LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett. Bennett says the Governor’s office has received complaints from the public about the beautiful mural. “In studying the mural I… observed that this mural is nothing but propaganda to further the agenda of the Union movement. I felt for a moment that I was in communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses,” said one conveniently anonymous fax.
The mural, which depicts important moments in Maine labor history, including a shoe mill strike in 1937 and Rosie the Riveter, was created over the course of one whole year by artist Judy Tailor, who said she was “disappointed” by LePage’s decision. “A year’s work, research, careful planning and execution,” she told Raw Story. “A lot of feeling in that mural.” She called the creation process “fascinating, heartbreaking and moving.”
But the governor, unlike the mural, remains unmoved.
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