Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Maine AFL-CIO: Governor’s Signing of Unemployment Reform Bill Huge Win for Working Mainers

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Maine AFL-CIO applauded Gov. Janet Mills for signing the legislation, LD 1564, An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Unemployment Compensation, into law on Tuesday. The bill will help fix the state unemployment system and strengthen our workforce training programs. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring and summer, thousands of Mainers struggled to receive unemployment benefits due to understaffing, a flood of claims and an urgent need to modernize Maine’s unemployment system. Several of those Mainers testified in support of LD 1564 during the public hearing for the bill.

“This is one of the most significant and meaningful pro-worker reforms to Maine’s unemployment insurance system in decades,” said Cynthia Phinney (IBEW), president of the Maine AFL-CIO.

“LD 1564 was developed with input from hundreds of Mainers we assisted during the pandemic. It will modernize Maine’s unemployment insurance program to ensure that Maine workers will receive timely and adequate unemployment benefits and that our system runs smoothly to help people get back into good-paying jobs and high-quality apprenticeship and training programs. We applaud House Speaker [Ryan] Fecteau, Sen. Eloise Vitelli and Gov. Mills for recognizing the urgent need for reform and passing this important legislation.”