Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL, DAY 148... Good Morning...

WE'RE STILL HERE --- THE MURAL IS STILL IN CLOSET, SOMEWHERE IN AUGUSTA...AS FAR AS WE KNOW... WE AWAIT JUDGE WOODCOCK'S RULING...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NY Times interview with Judy Taylor about ongoing legal battle over fate of mural

News notes about the ongoing legal battle now in federal court about the fate of the History of Maine Labor mural seized by Paul LePage.

The New York Times article also includes an interesting interview with mural artist Judy Taylor.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/07/us/07questions.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Friday, May 20, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL, DAY 54.... GOOD MORNING! --- FREE OUR MURAL!!!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=120589621357443
LINCOLN COUNTY TOWN HALL MEETING - TONIGHT IN NEWCASTLE!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Maine Sunday Telegram: Kany review visits Judy Taylor's show at Thomas Moser

Daniel Kany's review of Judy Taylor's show at Thomas Moser in Freeport that includes the studies for the History of Maine Labor mural and the group show at Frost Gully Gallery down the street which is owned by Tom Crotty - Taylor's most outspoken critic as well as the Chair of the Freeport Republican Town Council.

MURAL activist Robert Shetterly awarded honorary Doctorate

'A Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree was also awarded to Robert Shetterly, who was recognized by Provost Allen Berger for his “remarkable accomplishments as a painter, as an educator, and as an unfailing and articulate voice for social justice in America.”'

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL, DAY 45: FREE OUR MURAL!

Check out 'Hard Work to Make Ends Meet, Sunday, May 15, 7 - 8 p.m. in Augusta!



Notice of event: “Hard Work to Make Ends Meet,” Sunday, May 15, 2011, 7 – 8 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, 69 Winthrop St., Augusta. This readers theater performance of the words of late nineteenth century Maine working women is drawn from an 1888 report of the Maine Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics and based on a survey done by the bureau. Poetry and songs are incorporated. Open to all. Donations graciously accepted.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Madness of Art - Director's Cut (Maine Version) Make sure to watch it all the way to the end...

LePage links in the news

The headlines of this collection of articles are a reminder of the troubles LePage has and is inflicting on the people of Maine. Of course, the mural is a big part of that since Americans don't like having their First Amendment rights ground into the dirt.

Robert Shetterly's op-ed published in this week's Ellsworth American

The Court, the Mural, the Governor, the Law

In court today, April 22, 2011, Judge John Woodcock defended the right of an ideologically mean spirited man, Maine’s governor, to suppress the truth of Maine’s labor history depicted in Judy Taylor’s mural, ruling against the plaintiffs who sought a Temporary Restraining Order to have the mural re-hung in the Department of Labor. Often a strange relationship exists between rights and justice. They can be terribly out of sync. Frequently, in the courts, rights trump justice. The governor can now exult in his right to replace truth with propaganda. What good can come of this? How is democracy served by this outcome? What does it say of a nation of laws? And how can it be remedied?

The kind of right that protected the governor’s action is not included in any idea of unalienable rights. Unalienable rights flow from a philosophical notion about the dignity of all human beings and their equal claim for decent lives. That’s what the labor movement was all about. The governor’s right flows from a political system making laws to protect the right of people in power to insist on formulations of history and policy that are convenient to them regardless of the truth. This right has the same relationship to justice as a law that allows a multi-billion dollar US corporation to register in the Cayman Islands and pay no US taxes. Or, a law that allows a coal company to blow up the Appalachian Mountains. How do laws like these serve the people and serve justice.

They don’t.

I think any fair minded person would view Judge Woodcock’s decision as a triumph of rights and a travesty of justice. Are we a better, a more honest, a more free society now? Hardly. It’s a curious thing to be in a courtroom and listen to a smart judge sift through precedents that bear on his case. One would hope that the previous cases accumulate over time in a process of adding wisdom and justice to complicated situations. Instead, we often find layers of loopholes, exceptions and Orwellian logic meant to obfuscate justice and bewilder wisdom. Such is the law that protects “government speech.” Just to say those words makes one cringe with cynicism.

When a simple, accurate portrayal of history is determined to be partisan speech and is removed, we are in dangerous territory. When a court bolsters this prejudice with its legal prestige, we are in worse trouble. The remedy for us as citizens of Maine is not in the courts. Rarely, in situations like this, has the law been helpful. The people must insist on what is right because of its relation to justice, not its convenience for power. Sadly, the court has spoken. It’s time for the people to speak --- powerfully. That’s the only speech that would serve democracy. I urge you all to not let this issue disappear. It’s not just another embarrassing insult from our loose cannon of a governor. His action was another crucial step in the ideological process of making democracy into plutocracy.

Robert Shetterly
Brooksville

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PRESS RELEASE FROM M.U.R.A.L. Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Press Release from M.U.R.A.L. Wednesday, May 4, 2011
For Immediate Press Release--

Contact: M.U.R.A.L. (Mainers United for the Rights of Arts & Labor)
Julieanne Reed, bubbeh7@gmail.com (207)239-7292
www.mainelabormural.blogspot.com
HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/mainelabormural" www.facebook.com/mainelabormural

Judge Woodcock schedules the next step in the ongoing legal battle over the Maine Labor
History mural

(May 4, 2011, Bangor, Maine) Federal Judge Woodcock convened a conference call with both
parties in the continuing legal case regarding the disposition of History of Maine Labor mural
case yesterday.

Judge Woodcock allowed the plaintiffs until May 24 to submit a proposed stipulation (a list of
facts and statements for the record). The State will have until June 2 to respond and then the
plaintiff’s lawyers will have another week to reply. The State must then file an answer by mid-
June.

Plaintiff attorney Jeff Young noted, "The case is ongoing - not lost. To date, all Judge Woodcock
did was deny our injunction seeking a Temporary Restraining Order. The TRO could have put a
quick end to this case but it requires a very high level of certainty that Plaintiffs will prevail. We
remain confident that we ultimately will prevail. Of course, the matter could be resolved quickly
if the Governor simply restored the mural to the Department of Labor."

Julieanne Reed of Mainers United for the Rights of Arts and Labor (MURAL) questioned the
governor’s priorities: “Governor LePage has chosen to put Attorney General Schneider and
Assistant Attorney General Stern on this case. Obviously, we don’t agree defending censorship
should be the State’s priority, but apparently this is a very important goal for Governor LePage
at this point in his term.”

MURAL’s Robert Shetterly summed up the situation: “We’re in court to defend democratic public
process and free speech from censorship. We’ll defend the First Amendment for as long as it
takes even if our Governor has forsaken it. Justice doesn’t take early vacations in Jamaica.”

Also currently at issue is the disposition of the mural (the distinction between where it is and
where it should be). According to the Administrator of the federal Office of Unemployment
Insurance Gay Gilbert in an April 4 letter to Laura Boyett, then the acting Commissioner of the
Maine Department of Labor, because 63.39% of the mural’s funding came from Reed Act
funds: “Federal UC laws govern the disposition of this property.” The letter states that Maine
must either return the mural to the Depart of Labor or repay to the Unemployment Trust Fund
63.39% of the current fair market value of the mural “as a condition of continued participation in
the Federal-State UC program.” According to documents acquired under the Freedom of
Access Act by MURAL from the Maine Department of Labor, as of April 25th the LePage
administration had not responded and so is potentially putting Maine’s federal unemployment
compensation funding in jeopardy.

MURAL’s Lee Sharkey comments that “It’s particularly disturbing to me in light of our FOAA
correspondence with the Maine Department of Labor that Governor LePage is misrepresenting
the funding of the mural. Various federal government agencies were the source of 81.5% of the
total, and none of the remaining 18.5% appears to have come from state Unemployment Compensation funds. The Governor is currying political favor with untruths when he says the
money came from employers’ contributions to Unemployment Compensation funds that would
otherwise go to Mainers. In fact, the Governor’s actions are putting our federal Unemployment
Compensation funds at risk.”

Press Release from Lawyers Jeff Young and Jonathan Beal regarding next steps in Mural Lawsuit...

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Attorney Jeff Young, McTeague Higbee
207-725-5581 office
207-841-1881 cell

Attorney Jonathan Beal 207-879-1556

Gillian Britt, gBritt PR
207-450-9060 cell

Next Steps in Mural Lawsuit Determined

BANGOR, Maine (May 4, 2011) –Attorneys for the plaintiffs and the State held a status
conference yesterday with U.S. District Judge Woodcock to determine the next steps in the
lawsuit filed on April 1 to compel Governor LePage to return the labor history mural to the
walls of the Maine Department of Labor. Contrary to remarks by the Governor, the State has
not “won” the dispute and the case is far from over.

At the conference, the plaintiffs agreed that they will provide a proposed stipulation of facts
by May 24. The stipulation of facts will be a statement of undisputed facts in the case, such as
that Governor LePage had the mural removed from the Department of Labor walls on March
26. Once the plaintiffs provide these facts, the State must respond by June 2 and propose any
additional facts. Plaintiffs will then have until June 9 to respond to the proposed additional facts.
The State will then file an answer to the Complaint on June 13 and file a motion for summary
judgment seeking to dismiss the case by June 17.

“If the governor continues to refuse to listen to the will of the people and does not put the mural
back in its place, this case will most likely continue until at least August,” notes the plaintiff’s
counsel, Jeffrey Neil Young of the law firm McTeague Higbee. “The fact is, this fight over the
mural is over more than a work of art - it’s a fight to retain the history of Maine workers and it’s
a fight to demand respect for our workers from our government.” Young further stated that if the
summary judgment motion is denied, a trial in the case could take place later this year.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit against the state on April 1 and filed a temporary restraining order
(TRO) on April 8 to compel Governor LePage to return the mural, to order Governor LePage to
reveal the location of the mural, and ensure it is in good condition and protected.

The U.S. District Court denied the TRO on April 22 reasoning that the removal of the mural
constituted “government speech” and thus did not violate the Free Speech Clause of the First
Amendment.

The Plaintiffs are Don Berry of Sumner; John Newton, an industrial hygienist of Portland; and
three Maine artists: Robert Shetterly of Brooksville, Natasha Mayers of Whitefield, and Joan
Braun of Weld. The sixth original plaintiff , Jonathan Beal of Portland, who requested a public
hearing prior to removal of the mural, has withdrawn as a plaintiff so that he can continue to

serve as co-counsel in the case.

About McTeague Higbee:|
McTeague Higbee, founded in 1976, is a plaintiffs-only firm dedicated to giving voice to
people who often don’t have one. With experience in both state and federal courts including
national litigation, McTeague Higbee has particular prominence in asbestos litigation, workplace
discrimination, workers’ compensation, construction accidents, and personal injury. McTeague
Higbee and Jeffrey Neil Young, the lead counsel in this case, have brought a number of
successful class, collective, and mass actions on behalf of workers for violation of the ADEA,
the WARN Act, ERISA, and wage and hour laws, as well as individual civil rights actions. For
more information about McTeague Higbee, visit mcteaguehigbee.com.

About Jonathan Beal:
Jon Beal is an attorney practicing in Portland, Maine and focusing on representing Maine
workers and their unions, as well as disabled workers. Jon is licensed to practice in both Maine
and New Hampshire, and has extensive experience in litigating before the National Labor
Relations Board and other state and federal agencies, as well as in arbitrating on behalf of
Unions in both states.

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL: DAY 38...

The whereabouts and condition of the mural remain a secret - undaunted, We're still here! - - - - FREE OUR MURAL!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letter in Kennebec Journal: LePage hasn't won battle over mural yet

From the May 3rd edition of the Kennebec Journal:


Judge John Woodcock's decision to deny a temporary restraining order in the mural case came as no surprise, noting during oral arguments that federal courts are reluctant to interfere in state affairs and inclined "to allow the status quo to exist while a more ordered and thorough process is completed."

Though Gov. Paul LePage said, "We won," his claim of victory is as premature as President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech in 2003.

Mural supporter Edgar Beem said, "We won the moment the U.S. Department of Labor wrote that LePage was out of order with the terms of the federal funding when he seized the mural. We won when (artist Judy) Taylor said LePage had not consulted her -- as required by her business contract -- when he seized the mural. The injunctions are simply about the disposition of the mural and what happens next."

Woodcock did not dismiss the case. He predictably denied a temporary restraining order seeking to restore the mural. The legal and moral fight for justice in the mural case will continue.

Still to be answered are the Labor Department's demand for the mural to be re-hung (or funds returned), the issue of LePage's breaching the artist contract and whether the administration violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

There will be serious consequences if Woodcock orders LePage to allow members of the public to check on the mural and either LePage refuses or the mural is damaged.

As Woodcock noted, "Maine's political leaders are ultimately responsible to the electorate."

Who ultimately wins the mural battle may not be decided until the next gubernatorial election. Mural supporter Joan Braun said, "We have already been proven right in the court of public opinion, but we do not intend to wait four years for justice."

MURAL (Mainers United for the Rights of Art & Labor):

Natasha Mayers, Lee Sharkey

Joan Braun, Julieanne Reed,

Edgar Beem, Dan Kany

Robert Shetterly

Friday, April 29, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL: DAY 33


' "Commissioned for the Department of Labor and
administered by the Maine Arts Commission" and under that it says
"Building Maine Communities through the arts." photo by [Kelly DeFreitas Staples]

This photo was taken yesterday (4/28) at the DOL in Augusta...

It hangs at the DOL-as a placeholder for the mural(at least in the eyes of those who know it should be returned there)... it makes a statement similar to the empty frames that hang in the Gardner Museum in Boston-in place of the stolen paintings.

Maine's child-labor mess

Maine's child-labor mess
' ..the teenage employment bills might have passed through the legislature quietly by now had LePage not made a controversial decision to remove a labor history mural.'

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Daily Sun Op-ed: Governor premature in celebrating mural victory

In today's Portland Daily Sun:

"Editor,

Judge John Woodcock’s decision to deny a temporary restraining order in the Maine Labor History Mural case came as no surprise. Judge Woodcock noted during oral arguments that federal courts are reluctant to interfere in state affairs and that he was inclined “to allow the status quo to exist while a more ordered and thorough process is completed.”

Though Gov. LePage declared to a handful of his supporters that “We won,” his claim of victory is as premature as Pres. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003, during which he declared victory in a war that rages on eight years later.

According to arts professional and activist Edgar Beem, “We won the moment the US DoL put in writing that LePage was out of order with the terms of the federal funding when he seized the mural. We won the moment Taylor stated publicly that LePage had not consulted her – as required by her business contract – when he seized the mural. The injunctions before Judge Woodcock are simply about the disposition of the mural and what happens next.”"

For the rest of the letter, see:

http://portlanddailysun.me/letters/story/governor-premature-celebrating-mural-victory

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL: DAY 32

Just found this: "The mural, putting up the mural, or taking down the mural, never created a job and that’s my position"[LePage] "Hmm, the artist who was hired to paint the mural might disagree." (quoted from a comment to a blog post)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL - DAY 31

Please leave comments below posts here- or go to our facebook page and join in the conversation there- or both!

An Aunt’s Legacy Is Erased in Maine – Forward.com

An Aunt’s Legacy Is Erased in Maine – Forward.com

The bully-in-chief's required reading

Pat Le Marche speaks about our Bully-in-chief in Bangor Daily News

Maine guv hires outside lawyer to negotiate labor contracts

Maine guv hires outside lawyer to negotiate labor contracts

9 to 9 singing 'NO! You Can't Do That!' (They sang this live for us at the April 19 Rally in Bangor)

Edgar Allen Beem's Speech from April 19, 2011 Rally in Bangor

Lee Sharkey's Speech from April 19, 2011 Rally in Bangor

Kathy Day's Speech from April 19, 2011 Rally in Bangor

Lisa Savage Speech from April 19, 2011 Rally in Bangor

Natasha Mayer's Speech from April 19, 2011 Rally in Bangor

Sunday, April 24, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL - DAY 28

Judge John Woodcock’s decision to deny a temporary restraining order in the Maine Labor History Mural case came as no surprise. Judge Woodcock noted during oral arguments that federal courts are reluctant to interfere in state affairs and that he was inclined “to allow the status quo to exist while a more ordered and thorough process is completed.”

Though Gov. LePage declared to a handful of his supporters that “We won,” his claim of victory is as premature as Pres. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003, during which he declared victory in a war that rages on eight years later.

According to arts professional and activist Edgar Beem, “We won the moment the US DoL put in writing that LePage was out of order with the terms of the federal funding when he seized the mural. We won the moment Taylor stated publicly that LePage had not consulted her – as required by her business contract – when he seized the mural. The injunctions before Judge Woodcock are simply about the disposition of the mural and what happens next.”

Contrary to what the governor seems to believe, Judge Woodcock did not “throw the case out.” He simply and predictably denied a temporary restraining order seeking to restore the mural. The legal and moral fight for justice in the mural censorship case will continue.

Still to be answered are the U.S. Department of Labor’s demand for the mural to be re-hung (or the Reed Act funds that paid for the mural returned), the issue of LePage’s breaching the artist contract and whether the LePage administration violated the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

As well, if Woodcock orders the LePage administration to allow members of the public to check on the disposition of the mural and either LePage refuses or the mural is damaged, there will be serious legal consequences.

As Judge Woodcock himself points out in his decision, “Maine’s political leaders are ultimately responsible to the electorate.” Who ultimately wins the battle over the Maine Labor History Mural may not be decided until the next gubernatorial election. According to activist Joan Braun, “We have already been proven right in the court of public opinion, but we do not intend to wait four years for justice.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

MURAL HOSTAGE VIGIL - Day 27

Come join the conversation on our facebook page...

http://www.facebook.com/mainelabormural

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Universal Notebook: Reign of error in LePage's state of me | The Forecaster

The Universal Notebook: Reign of error in LePage's state of me | The Forecaster

"Now, you may not think this is a big deal, but, ladies and gentlemen, if the governor can remove any work of art he doesn’t like from public view, does he also have the power to remove any book he doesn’t like from the state library? Based on the state’s argument, we have to presume he does:

“The present administration has now decided to remove that artwork because it was not satisfied that the message conveyed by the work at that location was appropriate.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Judge taking time to decide case

http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/19/politics/hearing-set-tuesday-on-plea-to-return-maine-labor-mural/

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Official information for the Tuesday rally & press conference in Bangor

PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY TO RETURN THE HISTORY OF MAINE LABOR MURAL
OUR RIGHTS, OUR FUTURE, OUR MAINE!

CONTACTS:
Rob Shetterly (207)326-8459, robert.shetterly@gmail.com
Natasha Mayers (207)549-7516, mayersnatasha@gmail.com
Joan Braun (207)585-2218, joanhenrybraun@yahoo.com
Check our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mainelabormural) and blog (http://mainelabormural.blogspot.com) for updates.

WHAT: Press conference and Rally
WHERE: Pierce Park, next to Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow Street, Bangor
WHEN: Tuesday, April 19, starting at 11:30, depending on when the court hearing ends, until 1 p.m.

In case of rain, the rally will move to the Lecture Hall of the library.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Attorney Jeff Young or Jonathan Beal, Rob Shetterly and Natasha Mayers from the Union of Maine Visual Artists, author Edgar Beem, art historian Daniel Kany, and representatives from the Maine State Nurses Association and from Food and Medicine.

MUSICIANS INCLUDE: David Dodson, Strong Like Bull, Nine to Nine.


PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY TO RETURN THE HISTORY OF MAINE LABOR MURAL
OUR RIGHTS, OUR FUTURE, OUR MAINE!

(Bangor, Maine) Supporters of the effort to return Judy Taylor’s History of Maine Labor mural to its rightful place in the Department of Labor in Augusta will rally on Tuesday, April 19th at about 11:30 at Pierce Park, next to the Bangor Public Library.

The rally will follow a 10:00 a.m. hearing in the Federal Courthouse on a suit charging that Governor LePage violated citizens' First Amendment right of access to the mural by removing it. The court proceedings are open to the public. Those who attend the hearing will march at its conclusion in a parade from the courthouse to the rally in Pierce Park. Everyone who supports the First Amendment, labor rights, and ethical governance is invited to join in.

“Whatever happens at the hearing,” notes artist Joan Braun, one of the plaintiffs in the suit against the governor, “we know that we will ultimately prevail. The will of the people of Maine cannot be disregarded without serious consequences. I think we all want the Governor to do the right thing and return the mural to the DoL immediately.”

In case of rain, the rally will take place in the Lecture Hall of the Bangor Public Library. For updates and additional information, please check the Maine Labor Mural Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mainelabormural) or blog (http://mainelabormural.blogspot.com).

Those who plan to attend the hearing should enter the courthouse on the left side of the building through the security checkpoint. Cell phones should be left in cars, as they are not allowed on the floor where the hearing rooms are located. It is best to park in the Abbott Square parking lot across from the library because parking at the Federal Buildling is limited to one hour.

Recent, related articles

http://www.kjonline.com/opinion/removal-of-murals-drove-wedge-between-lepage-many-mainers_2011-04-15.html

http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2011/04/15/opinion/commentaries/doc4da86ecbee6e9958727949.txt

http://thedailynewsonline.com/entertainment/article_b59debd4-64aa-11e0-bc3c-001cc4c002e0.html


http://www.wabi.tv/news/19316/judge-is-asked-to-intervene-on-labor-mural-issue


http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/11/2161973/maine-ag-says-mural-removal-is.html


http://www.onlinesentinel.com/opinion/letters/workers-struggles-are-part-of-u_s_-maine-history_2011-04-10.html


http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineHeadlineNews/tabid/968/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3479/ItemId/15960/Default.aspx

http://www.newmainetimes.org/articles/2011/04/11/editorial-maine-crossroads-when-art-becomes-threat-establishment/

Maine Times: When art becomes a threat

http://www.newmainetimes.org/articles/2011/04/11/editorial-maine-crossroads-when-art-becomes-threat-establishment/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

STOP the roll-back of Child Labor Laws! A note from Charlotte Warren, Associate Director of Maine Women's Lobby

STOP the roll-back of Child Labor Laws!

Join us this Friday for the public hearing of L.D. 1346



First, Governor LePage went after the mural portraying Maine's child laborers. Now, he's going after Maine's child labor laws.



Maine’s child labor laws were first enacted in 1847.



Room 208, Cross State Office Building, Augusta, Maine. Please join us at the public hearing this *PLEASE* share this event! Let's STOP the roll-back of child labor protections. At a time when business leaders recognize that student achievement is critical to Maine's economic growth, these bills would shortchange students and impair Maine's economic success. A sub-minimum wage of $5.25 an hour. Now, there is L.D. 1346, which eliminates all those protections and does much more. Most startling is the sub-minimum wage the bill would create for any secondary student under the age of 20 or trainee for the first 6 months of employment. and keep them working until 11 o’clock on a school night. First, there was L.D. 516 which would permit employers to schedule teens to work up to 24 hours during the school week, up to six hours on a school day And, now, there is an attempt in Augusta to roll-back those protections. These child labor laws have been strengthened repeatedly over the years because educators complained that students forced to work long hours outside of school were falling asleep in class.

Questions? email me at cwarren@mainewomen.org.



Charlotte Thank you! http://bit.ly/fbnZoU http://bit.ly/h0eg5z http://bit.ly/g9ujFC Want more info about these bills? Check out some of our recent action alerts here:





Charlotte M. Warren

Associate Director

Maine

Women's Lobby

Phone: (207) 622-0851, ext. 24



Cell: (207) 441-9116

E-mail: cwarren@mainewomen.org

Web site: www.mainewomen.org



The Voice of Maine Women

OUR RIGHTS, OUR FUTURE, OUR MAINE!

OUR Mural,OUR History.....

There will be a court hearing in Bangor on Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. to hear and address the lawsuit against LePage and others and the removal of our mural from the Maine Department of Labor.

There will be a Press Conference and Rally at NOON also in Bangor! Please Stay tuned here and on our our FACEBOOK PAGE for updated info!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Restraining Order Request Filed Against Governor LePage in US District Court

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2011

Contact:
Attorney Jeff Young 207-725-5581
207-841-1881
McTeague Higbee

Attorney Jonathan Beal 207-879-1556

Debra Tenenbaum 207-286-4271
gBritt PR

Request for Temporary Restraining Order Filed Against Governor LePage to Return Labor Mural to Department of Labor Lobby

PORTLAND, Maine – In a new development in the lawsuit filed in United States District Court against Governor LePage last week, attorneys Jeffrey Neil Young and Carol Garvan of McTeague Higbee, and attorney Jonathan Beal of Portland, filed a request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in Federal Court today. The request for TRO seeks to compel Governor LePage to return the mural to its proper place for public exhibit, at the Maine Department of Labor office in Augusta.

In the request for TRO, Plaintiffs also ask the Court to order Governor LePage and the other defendants to reveal the location of the mural that was removed from the Maine Department of Labor’s (MDOL’s) lobby on March 26, and to ensure the mural is in good condition and is protected. Attorney Jeff Young stated, “We are filing a TRO today in order to resolve this issue as quickly as possible, and hopefully return the mural to its rightful place. It is important to remember that by removing the mural, Governor LePage is infringing on the people of Maine’s First Amendment rights and denying everyone the opportunity to learn about, and be inspired by, the history of Maine’s workers. Our Constitution prohibits our government from taking down artwork simply because it disagrees with a viewpoint.”

The Complaint alleges that Governor LePage’s removal of the mural denied plaintiffs their First Amendment right to view the mural. Attorney Jonathan Beal commented, “this kind of censorship, based on the artist’s portrayal of episodes in the history of struggle and achievements of Maine workers, is contrary to every principle of this democracy, and the principles of the people of this State.”

The Plaintiffs are Don Berry, training director of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 567, of Sumner; John Newton, an industrial hygienist, of Portland; and three Maine artists: Robert Shetterly of Brooksville, Natasha Mayers of Whitefield, and Joan Braun of Weld. The sixth plaintiff is attorney Jonathan Beal of Portland, who requested a public hearing prior to the removal of the mural.


About McTeague Higbee:
McTeague Higbee, founded in 1976, is a plaintiffs-only firm dedicated to giving voice to people who often don’t have one. With experience in both state and federal courts including national litigation, McTeague Higbee has particular prominence in asbestos litigation, workplace discrimination, workers’ compensation, construction accidents, and personal injury. McTeague Higbee and Jeffrey Neil Young, the lead counsel in this case, have brought a number of successful class, collective, and mass actions on behalf of workers for violation of the ADEA (partnering with Goldstein Demchak in a suit against IBM), the WARN Act, ERISA, and wage and hour laws, as well as individual civil rights actions. For more information about McTeague Higbee, visit www.mcteaguehigbee.com.

About Jonathan Beal:
Jon Beal is an attorney practicing in Portland, Maine and focusing on representing Maine workers and their unions, as well as disabled workers. Jon is licensed to practice in both Maine and New Hampshire, and has extensive experience in litigating before the National Labor Relations Board and other state and federal agencies, as well as in arbitrating on behalf of Unions in both states.

# # #

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

STATEMENT FROM DONALD L. TUSKI,Ph.D. President Maine College of Art

CHARLIE SCONTRAS' STATEMENT FOR APRIL 4,2011 RALLY- RETURN THE MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES - READ BY ROB SHETTERLY

DAVID A. MARSHALL'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011 RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

BRUCE GAGNON'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011 RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

LINDA CAMPBELL-MARSHALL'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011 RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

EDGAR ALLEN BEEM'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011 RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

ROB SHETTERLY'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011 RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

NATASHA MAYER'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011 RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

LEE SHARKEY'S SPEECH FROM APRIL 4,2011, RALLY - RETURN OUR MURAL,RESTORE THE NAMES

EMAIL RESPONSE FROM REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LES FOSSEL TO A CONSTITUENT-Mark Melnicove

Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 5:40 PM
subject RE: E-Newsletter courtesy of Rep. Les Fossel
mailed-by legislature.maine.gov


5:40 PM (3 hours ago)

Mark:
Thank you for your e-mail.
It looks like the Federal Government is going to do our work for us. This is a relief to me since I just don't have the time to take this on as a cause. I don't think the mural should have been removed. I think the best thing at this point would be that the Governor put it back without any further comment. There are too many more important things that I am responsible for, that I must do, for me to go further. You are welcome to pass on my comments.

Les

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Maine GOP responds to mural controversy..

AND a response from Poet and Educator, Lee Sharkey...

"We all need to respond to this with letters to the editor, etc.. It's a timely reminder that, however attractice a target LePage may be, he is not the source of the problem. I've sent the following to the Bangor Daily:


The statement the Maine Republican Party issued today about the Maine labor history mural shows that it’s not just Governor LePage who refuses to recognize the struggles Maine’s working people have gone through to earn a living wage and better their families’ lives. The mural depicts Mainers working in the textile and paper mills, garment factories, shoe shops, granite quarries, and woods. To call it “a waste of taxpayer funds” is an act of disrespect for the generations of Maine workers it depicts and for the labor of the artist, Judy Taylor, who spent a year researching and painting the mural. To call it “a self-honoring monument selected by Baldacci Labor Commissioner Labor Fortman” is an uncalled-for personal attack. Perhaps it is a tactic to keep us from remembering that the Republicans in the state legislature are every bit as responsible as the governor for the legislative program that would eliminate environmental protections, drastically modify child labor laws, cut medical benefits for seniors and low-income Mainers, and give a big tax cut to the richest among us while using the fiscal crisis this contributes to as an excuse to cut essential programs. We need to let our legislators know what we think about their disrespect and the plans they have for us."

Bring Our War dollars Home.mov

Charlie Scontras Statement Mural Rally

Rob Shetterly Labor Mural Rally 4 April 2011

Put the Mural Back

EXCELLENT VIDEO OF APRIL 4 RALLY IN AUGUSTA BY ART MAYERS (approx 13 min)

link to "Put Back the mural"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f3BzVza6uM

Bangor Daily News on the US Dept of Labor letter and the capitol rally

BDN regarding the US Department of Labor's insisting that the mural it paid for be put back up:
http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/04/politics/us-labor-dept-steps-into-maine-mural-dispute/

BDN regarding the rally in the Capitol Building's Hall of Flags:
http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/04/politics/us-labor-dept-steps-into-maine-mural-dispute/?ref=relatedSidebar

"RECALL PAUL" NECN's video of today's rally in the capitol

http://www.necn.com/pages/video?PID=8A5hfcrfFS7I5CBENkUfj__7X5lfLS3n

Monday, April 4, 2011

NPR reports on todays actions at the capital

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=135121171&m=135121157

Michelle Norris from "All Things Considered" introduces MPB Susan Sharon on today's action at the capital, the lawsuits filed, and LePage's relationships to Obama, the NAACP, Republican senators and the people of Maine.

Actual DoL letter to LePage regarding misuse of funds

http://media.kjonline.com/documents/US+Labor+Dept.+letter+to+Maine+Labor+Dept..pdf

Notice that the letter indicates the LePage administration must comply with the terms of the letter "as a condition of the continued participation in the Federal-State UC program" - not something LePage can afford to mess around with...

US Labor Dept. tells LePage: Display mural or refund money | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

US Labor Dept. tells LePage: Display mural or refund money | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine Voices: Governor's rhetoric interferes with goals, say GOP state senators | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine Voices: Governor's rhetoric interferes with goals, say GOP state senators | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sunday, April 3, 2011

UPDATE: Current list of Speakers and Sponsors for Return Our Mural Press Conference tomorrow,April 4 at noon in the Hall of Flags, State House, Augusta

Speakers:

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA) Don Tuski, MECA president
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
Lee Sharkey, poet and educator
Reverend Linda Campbell-Marshall, retired United Methodist pastor
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
David Marshall, Portland City Council, artist and gallery owner
a statement from Judy Taylor, read by Joan Braun, artist

Sponsors:


Maine College of Art (MECA)
MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
CodePink
Maine Green Independent Party
Common Cause of Maine
Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Veterans for Peace, Maine Chapter 001
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003
Aucocisco Galleries
Carlo Pittore Foundation (Carlo was the founder of the Union of Maine Visual Artists)

RETURN OUR MURAL Press Conference Tomorrow,April 4!

How are those creative and eye-catching signs and posters coming?



Satirically 'Business Friendly' or just Sincerely outraged! OR,if it's more your style,respectfully disappointed! Colorful,eye-catching and on point!



OUR MISSION?



RETURN OUR MURAL TO ITS PROPER AND INTENDED HOME!!!!!!!!!






JOIN US TOMORROW AT NOON IN THE HALL OF FLAGS,STATE HOUSE, AUGUSTA.



We value the support of those who can attend in spirit only and WE HOPE TO SEE MANY OF YOU THERE!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A poem by Barbaria Maria 3/2011

Identity Theft (for the workers, artists, poets of Maine-many of whom are one & the same)


America, I hear you gasping,
mugged. Your home, your job,
your pension, your unions, your history,
your art. And when even
the memory of these is gone,
how will you stir? For what? For poetry.

Because poetry is not the ex-mayor
or the next mayor or the governor.
Poetry is not a Koch brother but what he heard
a neighbor say when he was eight and how his collar
scratches the back of his neck when he’s nervous
or how the light swept across his kitchen counter this morning.

Poetry is queen and king and everything,
the small gust of air from a battery powered
pocket fan that helps Betty
catch her breath when she reels
toward the floor on the company production line
after a double shift because a rag
got mangled in one of the machines
dispersing itself into hundreds of donuts
the first time around. Poetry is breath.

Poetry is not the talk, talk, talk,
or the big bloated idea
pushing a bad transaction,
but the other eye watching,
the ear making note of how words
that look like they’re going somewhere
start twisting backward to the opposite of truth,
and wrap around the throat.



Poetry is not the crosshairs
marking an Arizona Saturday
that coughs blood for lunch,
but the scope of things to come,
the angle begging the future
to slide toward us unharmed.
Poetry is not bodies dropping on the street
but the last thing they touched,
a rayon sleeve, a folded paper falling,
a hammered silver spiral pin below the collar.

Poetry is hunger, a thirst
rising off the lips of workers.
Poetry is spit and beauty.
Poetry is DNA. Our history
in minute detail. Was it yellow or gold,
cloth or plastic the little dog charm
she kept in her left pocket?

Was it blueberry pie your grandmother baked?
Try to remember?

America I hear you gasping, mugged.
Get some air, before you drift
unconscious and wake up jangling
with the sticky spare change
in the corporate cat’s pocket,
a legal alien in another world
than the one you were born in.
Get some air,
look for a detail you remember.
Count on the poetry.

Because poetry is not the ex-mayor
or the next mayor or the governor.
Poetry is not a Koch brother or a bank.
Poetry is queen and king and everything.
Poetry is oxygen.
©Barbaria Maria 3/2011

UPDATE TO SPONSORS AND SPEAKERS APRIL 4 RETURN OUR MURAL PRESS CONFERENCE

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA)
Don Tuski, MECA president
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Carlo Pittore Foundation,(founder of the Union of Maine Visual Artists(UMVA)
Maine Green Independent Party
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink
Common Cause of Maine

Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
Reverend Linda Campbell-Marshall, retired United Methodist pastor
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey, Poet and Educator
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003
Aucocisco Gallery

PLEASE VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE! Check out new posts there...

we've just posted A Letter to the Editor from Alan Crichton, Board President On behalf of the Board of Directors of Waterfall Arts,Belfast,Maine

(facebook link can be found in the right-hand column)

UPDATE TO SPONSORS AND SPEAKERS APRIL 4 RETURN OUR MURAL PRESS CONFERENCE

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA)
Don Tuski, MECA president
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Maine Green Independent Party
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink
Common Cause of Maine
Reverend Linda Campbell-Marshall, retired United Methodist pastor
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey, Poet and Educator
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003
Aucocisco Gallery

PLEASE VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!

WE HAVE OVER 1000 'FRIENDS' OF MAINELABORMURAL ON FACEBOOK--MUCH SHARED COMMENTARY AND POSTING OF ARTICLES AND BLOGS. CHECK IT OUT!

(There is a link to our page in the column to the right)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lawsuit: Return mural to Labor Dept. | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Lawsuit: Return mural to Labor Dept. | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Artists File Federal Lawsuit Over Maine Labor Mural

04/01/2011 4:20 PM ET from MPBN

The suit has been filed against Maine Gov. Paul LePage and other state officials for taking down an 11-panel mural depicting the history of labor in Maine that LePage ordered removed from the state's Department of Labor.

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court against Maine Gov. Paul LePage and other state officials for removing the labor history mural from the lobby of the state's Department of Labor.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of three artists, an attorney who requested a hearing before it was removed and two people in the labor community who have meetings in the building.

Artist Judy Taylor, who created the 11-panel mural that depicts the history of labor in Maine, is not one of the plaintiffs. Among other things, the plaintiffs are asking that the mural be restored.

UPDATE TO SPONSORS AND SPEAKERS APRIL 4 RETURN OUR MURAL PRESS CONFERENCE

UPDATE TO SPONSORS and SPEAKERS AT APRIL 4 RALLY IN AUGUSTA
some of the speakers and sponsors: (sponsors in bold)

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA)
Don Tuski, MECA president
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Maine Green Independent Party
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink
Common Cause of Maine
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey, Poet and Educator
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003
Aucocisco Gallery

SNOW DATE ---RETURN OUR MURAL PRESS CONFERENCE

Will be held on APRIL 4 AT NOON
HALL OF FLAGS,STATE HOUSE
AUSUSTA

A STATEMENT FROM LAWCHA (Labor And Working Class History Association)

Dismantling Labor's Past in Maine

March 31, 2011

Over the weekend of March 26-27, 2011, Maine Governor Paul LePage had removed a mural celebrating labor history from the Department of Labor offices. In ten panels painted by Maine artist Judy Taylor and installed in 2008, the mural depicts the working people who were central in the making of MaineĆ¢€™s rich industrial history. The panels portray diverse groups of working-class Mainers, including colonial-era artisans; nineteenth-century loggers and child laborers; shoe workers on strike with the CIO in Auburn and Lewiston in 1937; and women workers riveting ships at Bath Iron Works during World War II. Together with the renaming of department conference rooms previously named after important figures in the nation's labor history, such as Frances Perkins, the first female secretary of labor, whose family has Maine roots, this act constitutes an attempt to erase the historical memory and heritage of Maine's working people.

For those interested, Judy Taylor's website has detailed photographs of the mural.

The Museum in Lewiston-Auburn and Portland City Hall are deliberating with state officials to take the mural off the state's hands. The Portland City Council is set to vote on April 4 on accepting the mural. The state AFL-CIO and Union of Maine Visual Artists, which has coordinated protests on this, seems to be working to pressure Portland and the museum not to take the mural at this time, in hopes that it might be returned
LAWCHA Resolution

The following resolution has been adopted regarding the Governor Paul LePage's actions in Maine:

The Labor and Working-Class History Association, the largest organization of labor historians in the United States, supports efforts to preserve public art that represents the nation's labor history in local, state, and federal buildings. We deplore Maine Governor Paul LePage's removal of the labor history mural from Maine Department of Labor offices over the weekend of March 26-27, 2011. In eleven panels painted by Maine artist Judy Taylor and installed in 2008, this mural depicts the working people who were central in the making of MaineĆ¢€™s rich industrial history. The panels portray diverse groups of working-class Mainers, including colonial-era artisans; nineteenth-century loggers and child laborers; shoe workers on strike with the CIO in Auburn and Lewiston in 1937; and women workers riveting ships at Bath Iron Works during World War II. Together with the renaming of department conference rooms previously named after important figures in the nation's labor history, such as Frances Perkins, the first female secretary of labor, whose family has Maine roots, this act constitutes an attempt to erase the historical memory and heritage of Maine's working people. LAWCHA urges Maine's elected officials to reinstall the mural in its original location and to return the names of distinguished labor activists to the rooms where they belong.

Labor and Working-Class History Association

Executive Committee
President, Kimberley Phillips
Vice President, Shelton Stromquist
Secretary, Cecelia Bucki
Treasurer, Thomas Klug
Immediate Past President, Mike Honey
Executive Assistant, Ryan Poe

Board
Randi Storch, SUNY - Cortland
Moon-Ho Jung, University of Washington
Laurie Green, University of Texas - Austin
Franca Iacovetta, University of Toronto
Erik Gellman, Roosevelt University
Thavolia Glymph, Duke Universityn
Ruth Milkman, University of California, Los Angeles
Joan Sangster, Trent University
Emilio Zamora, University of Texas, Austin
Francisco Barbarosa, University of Colorado, Boulder
Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara
Brian Kelly, Queen's University
Clarence Lang, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Priscilla Murolo, Sarah Lawrence
More Information

Maine Labor Mural Blog - the most recent news on the event.
Kevin Miller, The (Maine) Times Record, "Moved Mural Uproar Persists" (March 29, 2011)
Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post, "Maine Department Of Labor Quietly Removes Mural Over The Weekend" (March 28, 2011)
New York Times Editorial, "He Dreamed He Saw Kim Jong-Il" (March 27, 2011)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Updated list of Sponsors and Speakers for Return Our Mural Press Conference on 4/4

some of the speakers and sponsors: (sponsors in bold)

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA)
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001

Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey, Poet and Educator
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
David Marshall, Portland city council, artist and art gallery owner
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003
Aucocisco Gallery

BATTLE OVER CENSORSHIP OF MAINE MURALS PART OF A LARGER STRUGGLE FOR BASIC RIGHTS AND JUSTICE

The Huffington Post:
Battle Over Censorship of Maine Murals Part of a Larger Struggle for Basic Rights and Justice
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/post_1887_b_842993.html

RESCHEDULED PRESS CONFERENCE MONDAY, APRIL 4 AT NOON

RETURN OUR MURAL - RESTORE THE NAMES PRESS CONFERENCE
HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO MONDAY, APRIL 4TH AT NOON.

PLEASE SEE REVISED PRESS RELEASE BELOW FOR FULL DETAILS

All are urged to come one hour early, at 11 AM to attend another related news Conference & Rally, COMMUNITY LEADERS OFFER SOLUTIONS TO BUDGET CUTS
sponsored by The Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home, the Union of Maine Visual Artists, and others.

RESCHEDULED PRESS CONFERENCE!!!

RETURN OUR MURAL!, PRESS CONFERENCE MONDAY APRIL 4, HALL OF FLAGS,STATE HOUSE, AUGUSTA
Return Our Mural! Restore the names!

Press Conference

contact: Robert Shetterly, 326-8459 robert.shetterly@gmail.com
Natasha Mayers, 549-7516 mayersnatasha@gmail.com
Joan Braun, 585-2218 joanhenrybraun@yahoo.com
http://mainelabormural.blogspot.com/

WHEN: Monday April 4, 2011

WHERE: Hall of Flags, State House, Augusta
230 State St.

Augusta, ME 04330

TIME: 12:00 Noon


Artists, labor leaders, civil rights advocates, historians, and concerned citizens will convene in the Hall of Flags to demand the return of the "Maine Labor History" mural to its rightful place in the Maine Department of Labor. Governor Paul Le Page's seizure and hiding of a mural painted for the people of Maine is not merely presumptuous and disrespectful but also illegal and a breach of the state's contract with artist Judy Taylor.

All Mainers who are concerned about this governor's disregard of the rule of law and of the dignity of Maine's workers and their history are invited to attend. All Mainers who believe in supporting art that tells our history and who believe in organizing to defend our rights, please join us.

All are urged to come one hour early, at 11 AM to attend another related news Conference & Rally, COMMUNITY LEADERS OFFER SOLUTIONS TO BUDGET CUTS
sponsored by The Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home, the Union of Maine Visual Artists, and others.


Members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (including Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers)will be on hand during the rally to help the public create images of where they believe our war $$ should be spent in Maine.
some of the speakers and sponsors: (sponsors in bold)


Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA)
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
David Marshall, Portland city council, artist and art gallery owner
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003

SNOW DATE---SNOW DATE---SNOW DATE--RESCHEDULED PRESS CONFERENCE

RETURN OUR MURAL - RESTORE THE NAMES PRESS CONFERENCE
HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO MONDAY, APRIL 4TH AT NOON. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATED PRESS RELEASE!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maine College of Art signs on a sponsor of Friday Press Conference!

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Maine College of Art (MECA)
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink ,
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
David Marshall, Portland city council, artist and art gallery owner
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003

Location of Labor Mural Spurned by Gov. LePage is Divulged

http://www.mpbn.net/News/MPBNNews/tabid/1159/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3762/ItemId/15807/Default.aspx

THE WAY SIGNS SHOULD BE.... shared by Sara Hotchkiss

COMMUNITY LEADERS OFFER SOLUTIONS TO BUDGET CUTS

News Conference & Rally
April 4 Augusta - Hall of Flags






Contact: Bruce Gagnon 443-9502 or Lisa Savage 399-7623





The Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home has announced a news conference and rally inside the Hall of Flags at the capital in Augusta on Monday, April 4 at 11:00 am. The event will be held on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. – killed exactly one year after his famous anti-Vietnam war speech was delivered.

The National Priorities Project reports that the total debt of all 50 state governments is now $130 billion. The U.S. will spend more than $170 billion on our wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Libya this year. Maine’s share of war spending since 2001 has been $3.4 billion.



“Governor LePage and President Obama have it all wrong. Cutting taxes as a job creator is a known dead end street. Studies show that jobs are best created by state investment in education and infrastructure. There won’t be much recovery for Maine or any other state though until we Bring Our War $$ Home. We need to stop endless war spending if we hope to continue to support social progress. Interestingly, 65% of the people across the nation now favor withdrawal from Afghanistan, but it’s only going to happen if the public repeatedly demands it,” said Bruce Gagnon of Veterans for Peace.

Speakers at the event will include:



Michael Brennan – Former State Senator and social worker (Portland)
Alexandra Valente and Nicole Moreau – Student activists (UM-Farmington)
El Fadel Arbab – Immigrant advocate, Fur Cultural Revival (Portland)
Dud Hendrick – President, Maine Veterans for Peace (Deer Isle)
Lisa Savage – Public school teacher and CodePink Maine Coordinator (Solon)
Matt Hight – Union member (Biddeford)
Peter Woodruff – Union member (Arrowsic)
Natasha Mayers – Union of Maine Visual Artists (Whitefield)
Music by Raging Grannies

Members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists will be on hand after the rally to help the public create images of where they believe our war $$ should be spent in Maine.



“Nation-wide people are increasingly using the Bring Our War $$ Home message in their local organizing. Resolutions have passed in Deer Isle and Portland, Maine and also in Amherst and Northampton, Massachusetts and just this week in Hartford, Connecticut. Many other communities are considering resolutions right now and Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles has begun to help promote the message to mayors of other hard-hit U.S. cities,” said Lisa Savage coordinator of CodePink Maine.


See the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign web site at: http://www.bringourwardollarshome.org/index.html

MECA requests LePage to "Put the mural back."

March 30, 2011

Maine College of Art believes that art and artists play a critical role in society. The removal of the mural from the Department of Labor in Augusta illustrates just how powerful art can be: it can incite controversy, galvanize communities, inspire dialogue, and serve as a catalyst for social change.

As part of their arts education at MECA, our students learn to understand and respect process because it is a crucial component of any civil society.

Governor LePage’s demonstrated lack of respect for the process of commissioning artwork is an act of censorship.

In the original call for art, the Department of Labor asked for a mural in which “the value and dignity of workers and their critical role in creating the wealth of the state and nation should be emphasized. In essence, Maine workers should strongly be portrayed as more than an ‘impersonal cost of production.’” It was the responsibility of the art review committee, consisting of representatives from the Department of Labor, to select the proposal which best met these criteria. They selected Judy Taylor who created the site-specific artwork depicting the requested theme.

Four years later, newly elected Governor LePage reacted to the content of the mural calling it “one-sided” and had it removed it from the lobby of the Department of Labor and asked instead for a neutral decor. Art is not decoration, nor is it neutral. It is provocative and should elicit a response from individuals. It is not created to please all who view it. Art, like democracy, allows for differing opinions, for discourse, for expression of personal beliefs.

Art serves as a mirror that reflects a moment in time. This mural captures a piece of history. Governor LePage did not like what he saw. By removing the mural, he smashed that mirror – an attempt to rewrite history.

This public mural is meant for the people of Maine. Maine College of Art requests that Governor LePage respect the process by which the artwork was selected and installed. Put the mural back.


Donald L. Tuski, Ph.D.
President
Maine College of Art
Portland, Maine

This letter appears online at:
http://www.meca.edu/news#meca-responds-to-mural-removal

Judy Taylor Statement Maine Labor Mural March 30, 2011

As the artist who created the mural, people ask me how I feel about what's
happening and what I would like to see done. Like many of the people of
Maine, I want to see the mural displayed publicly as it was originally
intended. I want people to see it and connect to Maine's labor history. The
purpose of the mural is historical, the artistic intent to honor. It belongs
to the people of Maine and needs to be accessible to them.


Painting the mural is what I have trained my entire life to do. The theme of
figure and context is what I set out to chronicle in my career as an artist.
In fact, my first painting as a child was of my grandfather on his farm in
Nebraska, in the context of his work and life. I loved seeing my
grandparents work and followed my grandmother all over her farm and rode with
my grandfather as he delivered oil around the state.

I've always had a deep curiosity and passion for my family's history as well
as our nation's history, so when in 2007 I learned that the Maine Arts
Commissions was requesting submissions for a commissioned piece of artwork
detailing the history of labor in Maine, I immediately entered the
competition.

After a competitive process, I was awarded the commission and commenced upon
a year of research, preparation of archival materials, sketches of stories in
context based on historical fact and painting the panels. I added one
personal piece which was to include my mother and father as I had lost both
of them the previous year. My father is the young Army officer and my mother
the little girl in the Frances Perkins panel. My father served as a Forward
Observer during the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star. He was a man
who stood by every word he spoke, every letter he wrote. It was so
heartbreaking to learn that this controversy may have started with an
anonymous letter comparing this mural to a North Korean propaganda poster.
Perhaps we should hang my father's Bronze Star for his service in Korea in
the now empty reception area of the Maine Department of Labor until the mural
is returned, as a symbol of the importance of remembering our history, and
not shuttering it away.

UPDATE TO SPONSORS,SPEAKERS AND SINGERS AT APRIL 1 RALLY IN AUGUSTA

Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers, Union of Maine Visual Artists
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Bruce Gagnon, Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
Codepink ,
Rachel Talbot or another representative from NAACP
Jose Joey Lopez, state director, Maine League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
a statement from Charlie Scontras, labor historian
Ed Beem, writer, critic, The Forecaster
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, District 61
Lee Sharkey
Jeff Young/John Beal, lawyers
Worker from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 (Christopher G. Quint Executive Director)
David Marshall, Portland city council, artist and art gallery owner
statement from Judy Taylor
The Jim Harney Chapter VFP 003

Stephen Colbert on LePage: It's like comparing oranges to...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Maine Department of Labor Mural Revised

Mt Holyoke President sees echoes of totalitarianism in LePage's action

From the Press Herald:

"In a letter faxed to LePage's office, Mount Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquarella said she has "grave concerns" about the decision to remove the mural, which includes a depiction of 1902 Mount Holyoke graduate and former U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins. The U.S Department of Labor in Washington is housed in the Frances Perkins Building, she said.

"I was particularly surprised to read that you were influenced by an anonymous fax comparing the 11-panel mural to North Korean political propaganda, because the act of removing images commemorating Maine's history itself conjures thoughts of rewriting history prevalent in totalitarian regimes," she wrote."

For the entire story, see: http://www.pressherald.com/news/maine-LePage-mural-mount-holyoke-letter.html

Go vote in a poll about removing the mural

http://www.pressherald.com/news/labor-art-stashed-at-secret-location_2011-03-29.html

As of 1:50 p.m., 82% of responders think LePage was wrong to remove the mural.

RACHEL MADDOW COMMENTS ON THE REMOVAL...

http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/37725942

RETURN OUR MURAL!, PRESS CONFERENCE FRIDAY APRIL 1, HALL OF FLAGS,STATE HOUSE, AUGUSTA

 Return Our Mural!
                         
                     Press Conference
         
           contact: Robert Shetterly, 326-8459
                          Natasha Mayers, 549-7516
                         Joan Braun, 585-2218
                     http://mainelabormural.blogspot.com/
WHEN:  MONDAY,  April 4, 2011
WHERE: Hall of Flags, State House, Augusta
230 State St.
Augusta, ME 04330
TIME: 12:00 Noon 
Map data ©2011 Google - Terms of Use
1000 ft
200 m

Artists, labor leaders, civil rights advocates, historians, and concerned citizens  will convene in the Hall of Flags to demand the return of the  "Maine Labor History"  mural to its rightful place in the Maine Department of Labor. Governor Paul  Le Page's seizure  and hiding of a mural painted for the people of Maine is not merely presumptuous and disrespectful but also illegal and a breach of the state's contract with artist Judy Taylor. 
All Mainers who are concerned about this governor's disregard  of the rule of law and of the dignity of Maine's workers and their history are invited to attend. All Mainers who believe in supporting art that tells our history and who believe in organizing to defend our rights, please join us.

Sponsored by:
Union of Maine Visual Artists
Veterans For Peace, Maine Chapter 001
Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home
       NAACP

Call the Governor: Here's how

Here and the phone number and link to Governor LePage's office:

(207) 287-3531

Leave a message on  "The People's Comment".  You have 2 minutes to speak.

It's been created as a way for citizens to express concerns and comments.

Tell him what you think about his illegal seizing of the mural, breaking Judy Taylor's contract - or anything else.

http://www.maine.gov/governor/lepage/citizen_services/index.shtml

"You have nothing to lose but your heritage" Charlie Scontras, Labor Historian

I am saddened that a gifted artist, Judy Taylor, who created these kaleidoscopic  images of working Maine men, women and children featured in the Labor Mural, is ensnared in that seething cauldron of political conflict which has been known to claim its own innocent victims. 

Judy Taylor is not a “card carrying communist” and her clothing is not draped in pins bearing the hammer and sickle  Her work is a pure and innocent depiction of a slice of Maine cultural heritage. 

When I first viewed her images of workers, I felt as if I could  walk into any of the panels representing desperate workers and interact with them.  I sensed the indignities they suffered, their quest for a measure of economic security and dignity, and their cries protection against the arbitrary and capricious actions of their employers.  

I could sense the granite cutters going into the bowels of the earth to extract the granite, cut the granite, and polish the granite.  I could sense the sweat and pain of those who labored to lay down the ribbons of steel that crisscrossed the state, who built the locomotives that drove over them, and the engineers who piloted them.  I could experience the  travails of those who penetrated the darkness of the forests to extract its resources and of  the men, women, and children who labored in the textile mills where the cry for fresh air could be heard with monotones  regularity, and where the hours were so long that it was often said that did not see sunlight for they labored from darkness to darkness.

These are images of those who did and do the work of the world, Those who wove the cloth, made the shoes, harvested the crops, made the ships, loaded and unloaded the ships, and manned  the “floating prisons”  at sea, and all others who labored to provide the necessities, comforts, conveniences, and services.  In short, those who labored in the mills, factories,  mines, shops, quarries, etc., who helped to create the wealth of the state.

I was particularly disturbed by the images of child labor. Images of society’s most vulnerable members tethered to the machine and hobbled in their educational and physical health, victimized by the ravenous appetites of their parents or their employers, and doomed to an infinite variety of pathologies which threatened not  only their own welfare but also the welfare  of the community, provided citizens of the state with a sense of the human costs of unchecked industrial growth and the factory system.

A dramatic example ot the consequences of the search for profit in unbridled  unbridled economic order was the Triangle fire of 1911 that we tearfully remember here today.  Maine workers knew something of the meaning of that fire.   They too labored in multistoried building with out fire escapes.  They too knew of doors closed after they entered the  workplace.  Little wonder that some expressed anxiety about their safety.  The First Biennial Report of the Maine Department of Labor and Industry, 1911-1912, was published against the background of the Triangle fire.  It stated that it was “folly” to assume that our mills and factories offered workers security against fire.  It would appear to be axiomatic that no one be permitted pursue profit at the expense of the health or safety of another.

Looking at these images one is reminded that it was organized labor that helped to create the modern middle class by demanding a greater share of the wealth it helped to create;  that it was organized labor that brought democracy to the  workplace and provided workers with a voice is shaping the laws and workplace policies under which they labored and which  made them citizens at work rather than subjects; and that it was organized labor that insisted a measure of dignity in the workplace rather than treated as  impersonal  costs of  production to be found in the ledger along with taxes, insurance, raw materials, etc. and whose “value” was determined by the “laws” of the market place.


The Labor Mural should remain in the Labor Department.  Workers of Maine Unite!  You have nothing to lose but your heritage.

Letter to Maine Senate President Raye

Dear Senate President Raye,

I urge you to take whatever action is needed and appropriate to undo the removal of the mural in the Department of Labor building, as ordered by Governor LePage.  

The removal of the mural is a rash and petty gesture that alienates a large segment of Maine's population at a time when everyone should be pulling together to deal with the very serious challenges the State is facing.  It does nothing to create jobs -- I worked in private industry for thirty years and I cannot imagine a CEO saying, "Well, Maine would be an attractive place to site our new plant, except for that dreadful mural."  

The Governor, in his brief time in office, has done nothing constructive and has made Maine a national laughingstock.  Does he really have nothing more important to do with his time, and no better way to use scarce State resources, than to insult everyone with any tie to workers or to art?  I hope that you will at the very least dissociate yourself and the Republican party from this disgraceful act and this disgraceful man.

Very truly yours,

Neil Gallagher
4 Stowe Lane
Brunswick, Maine 04011
 
 
 

Not contacted, mural artist "stunned by the governor's decision"

In the Lewiston Sun Journal:

"Last week, a spokesman for LePage said the mural would remain at the Labor Department until the administration found a new home. But over the weekend the administration ordered workers to remove the piece and put it in storage.

The administration declined to reveal the mural's location. Dan Demeritt, a spokesman for LePage, said the removal did not cost the state any money because workers were already present at the facility.

Judy Taylor, the artist who made the mural, said she has no idea where the mural is being kept. Taylor said the governor's office has not contacted her since the controversy began."


To read the full story, see: http://www.sunjournal.com/state/story/1006908

Monday, March 28, 2011

Maine Governor Moves Mural Depicting State's Labor History

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/03/28/134927412/maine-governor-moves-mural-depicting-states-labor-history

Maine Department Of Labor Quietly Removes Mural Over The Weekend

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/28/maine-labor-mural-removes_n_841369.html

CNN: Maine governor removes pro-union mural

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/03/28/maine.mural.removed/

The federal money that paid for the mural is from the Reed Act...

http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/TEGL18-01.pdf

LE PAGE'S SECRET ADMIRER MADE THIS REVISION!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SFwhlG5eqgs

First posted at:

http://www.politicususa.com/en/lepage-rips-labor-mural

The Maine Arts Commissioner speaks up

So who really owns it?...

"From Donna McNeil, Director of the Maine Arts Commission:The Maine Arts Commission has received several inquires from the public and the press on the issue of the labor mural. In response we would like to share that the mural was not commissioned through Percent for Art but was privately funded by the Department of Labor. The mural is actually a series of paintings on panels which can easily be removed from the wall without damage. The State of Maine is actively seeking an appropriate place to reinstall the mural where it can be more fully enjoyed by the public."


http://www.maineartscene.com/Special-Arts-Events/Protest-to-Stop-LePage-From-Removing-a-Piece-of-Maine-Art-and-History.html

AP article quotes Robert Shetterly on not transferring the mural


Maine labor mural comes down on governor's orders

(AP) AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A mural depicting Maine's labor history was removed from the lobby of the state Department of Labor headquarters and put into storage over the weekend after a directive from the new Republican governor that it come down.


The 36-foot, 11-panel mural will be kept at an undisclosed location until a suitable spot can be found to put it on public display, said Adrienne Bennett, spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage.


The artwork was not appropriate for the Department of Labor because it is one-sided in favor of labor interests at the expense of business interests at a time when LePage is pushing a pro-business agenda, Bennett said.


The mural depicts Maine labor history with images that include a paper mill strike in the town of Jay, a strike at a shoe plant in Lewiston, women shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works and child laborers.


The LePage administration last week directed that the mural be taken down and that Department of Labor conference rooms named for labor leaders be renamed for mountains, counties or something else perceived as neutral. The rooms have yet to be renamed.


Plans to take down the mural have attracted state and national media attention at a time when legislatures in several cash-strapped states are considering measures to restrict collective bargaining by public workers.


Because of the scrutiny, the administration felt it was appropriate to remove the mural during the weekend rather than on a weekday, when state offices are open, Bennett said.


"We feel the mural controversy is counterproductive to the work the Department of Labor needs to focus on and our state as a whole needs to focus on," she said.


The mural, which was bolted to the walls, was created by artist Judy Taylor of Tremont using a $60,000 grant that came from the U.S. Department of Labor, said Maine Department of Labor spokesman Adam Fisher.


Bennett released an anonymous fax received by the governor's office and signed by "A Secret Admirer" that said the mural was propaganda in line with "communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses."


Robert Shetterly, an artist from Brooksville and president of the Union of Maine Visual Artists, questioned whether something else was going on for LePage to "take this kind of political risk and expend this political capital" on a mural most people had never heard of or seen.


Shetterly called it "an exceptionally cowardly act" to move it over the weekend when no one would notice.


"If he really believed this was the right thing to do, he would ... be there himself, he would explain to Maine people why this was a good idea for Maine's democratic future and Maine's economic future."


The governor last week said an agreement had been reached for the mural to be moved to and displayed at Portland City Hall. But city officials and members of the City Council have yet to sign off on any such deal, said spokeswoman city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.


If Portland turns down the offer, the Museum of Art at Bates College and Museum L-A in Lewiston have expressed an interest in exhibiting the work, said Darrell Bulmer, spokesman for the Maine Arts Commission.


While the mural sits in storage, labor groups and artists continued urging the governor to put it back up at the Department of Labor.


"We've seen an outpouring of opposition and bewilderment to the governor's action from business leaders, working people, citizens and his own party," Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry said in a statement. "Yet he continues to take a my-way-or-the-highway approach."


Shetterly said nobody should display the mural because it would make them look "complicit" in the decision to take it down.


"I understand their motives to not have it kept in a closet, but I think the best outcome is for citizens to force it to be put back into the Department of Labor," he said.


Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ghLo79oqAr1ZVYxM3lu1yyDLKrjg?docId=bf39a5975b2e4d89a5b1590fcd75392d