September 11, 2023
For immediate release
Contact: Willy Ritch 207-841-8400|[email protected]
Last night the Portland Democratic City Committee voted against a proposal to support the Pine Tree Power referendum—Question 3 on the ballot in November. After a well-attended, ninety-minute meeting, the Committee voted against endorsing the proposal to seize Maine’s utilities and create a state-run power company.
“The proposal to seize the utilities isn’t a partisan issue,” said Willy Ritch, executive director of the Maine Affordable Energy Coalition. “Running up a debt of $13.5 billion, introducing politics into our electric utilities, delaying the investments we need to make in the grid—it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent, it’s just a bad idea.”
Jason J. Shedlock, President of the Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 327 of the Laborers’ International Union attended the meeting and voted against endorsing Pine Tree Power. “As a union member…and as a representative of 20 labor unions representing 6,000 workers across the state…I can tell you that the workers are not in support of this question,” Shedlock said.
“As a union member who is privileged to represent tens of thousands more, I can tell you that there is no scenario where I will support a plan that may well take away a worker’s ability to withhold their labor in the face of unacceptable working conditions,” Shedlock said after the meeting. “While well-meaning by its authors, the fact is that this plan opens the door for current union members to be considered public employees and therefore lose their right to strike. This isn’t about a power company, it’s about the power of working families. That’s why labor unions have lined up in support of our sisters and brothers who have asked us to oppose this measure. Solidarity matters. That’s why I’m voting no.”
Groups and organizations from across the political spectrum—from the Maine AFL-CIO to the Maine Chamber of Commerce—have come out in opposition to Question 3. Over 11,000 individual Mainers have also signed up to join the Maine Affordable Energy Coalition in opposition to the referendum this fall.