April 20, 2014

Say it ain’t so, governor

Say it ain’t so, governor.

But it is.

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage has ordered removal from the Maine Department of Labor of a 36-foot, 11-panel mural depicting the state’s and nation’s proud labor history.

Gone will be World War II icon Rosie the Riveter and other artwork depicting the role of the American worker in Maine and in U.S. history.

If that’s not sufficiently shameful, Gov. LePage ordered also that a Maine Department of Labor conference room, named for the nation’s first female secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, be changed.

Perkins, who helped guide New Deal policies, which included passage of the National Labor Relations Act, had, earlier in her career, encouraged workplace safety reforms following the deaths of 146 garment workers in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York in 1911.

Gov. LePage says he wants the state’s Department of Labor to be more “business friendly.”

The Maine Sun Journal newspaper reported that the governor acted after “some business owners” complained the mural and conference room name were hostile to business.

It is not known what the Perkins conference room will be renamed. But given the hostility of Maine’s governor toward working families and organized labor, it could well become the Ebenezer Scrooge Conference Room.

Good grief.