Labor leaders are standing strong in their support for Democrat Shenna Bellows in the race for U.S. Senate.  Bellows has received more than twice as many local union endorsements as her opponent, Republican Susan Collins.

  Bellows has been endorsed by all of the American Postal Worker Union (APWU) state locals as well as all of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) locals. She’s also received endorsements from Iron Workers Local 7, LIUNA Local 327, the Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Maine State Nurses Association, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 716, Teamsters Local 340, and the United Steelworkers Local 449.

 “Working people know that they need an ally in Congress – a Senator who will fight for their jobs and for their interests. Because of the efforts of the Republican Party to diminish the rights of working Americans and squeeze out the middle class, it’s become harder than ever before to work a full-time job and provide for one’s family. I’m honored to have the endorsement of so many unions here in Maine who know that I will never waver in my support for the working class,” Bellows said.

 It is unlikely that Susan Collins will come close to matching the support labor has showered on Bellows. In 18 years in Congress, Collins has voted time and time again against the interests of the working class. Collins has voted for budgets that would cut workforce investment and dislocated worker programs by more than 50% and against collective bargaining rights for certain workers.

 “Working families need a partner not just in building our cities and towns, but also in building up the middle class again,” said John Napolitano, representing the Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council as well as the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 716. “The struggles faced by working families are getting worse, and it’s time Congress stepped up. Shenna Bellows is the partner we need to make it happen.”

 The Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council is comprised of thirteen affiliates representing more than 4,000 workers: International Brotherhood of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 6, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers Local 29, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers, Local 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 567 &1253, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornament, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 496, Laborers International Union of North America, Locals 327, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 35, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada Local 716, United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers Local 33, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local 17, Road Sprinkler Fitters Local 669, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 340.

 Bellows also recently picked up the endorsement of the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA). “We’re proud to endorse Shenna, who is the daughter of a nurse. Through her mother’s experience, she learned exactly what our members are facing when it comes to the challenges of ensuring safe working conditions, providing good health care, and protecting our benefits. She’ll be a strong advocate for us,” said Cokie Giles, RN, Maine State Nurses Association President.

 “Shenna is not just the best candidate – she is the only candidate – who will be a leader in Congress on job creation. Where the status quo has failed to promote good, middle class jobs, Shenna will take the lead in creating sustainable, dependable work for laborers and growing a strong middle class again,” said David McKeone, Business Manager of LIUNA Local 327.

 “Congress today is made up of millionaires who are far removed from the lives of ordinary, working-class Americans. Shenna grew up working-class, the daughter of a carpenter. She understands the value of hard work and what it takes to get ahead. We need people like her – who understand the needs of working families – to fight for us in Congress,” said Tim Doughty, President of the American Postal Workers Union Local 458.

 In 2010, Collins voted with her fellow Republicans against the nomination of M. Patricia Smith for the number three position at the Department of Labor. Smith, a New York state labor commissioner, was known for her rigorous efforts to enforce basic minimum wage and overtime laws.  Bellows supports holding employers accountable for workplace violations and raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Collins does not support this wage increase.

  “Working Americans are being threatened on all sides. We’ve endorsed Shenna because we know she’ll work to protect the health, benefits, and job security of our workers,” said Reggie Munson, Business Agent for the State of Maine for Iron Workers Local 7.

 “Congress is broken. Our Representatives care more about catering to the interests of Big Money than they do about protecting middle class jobs. We need Shenna to reverse this trend and stand up for the rest of us who are working hard to support our families and contribute to a growing economy. We won’t ever have millions of dollars to buy the support of Congress, but we’ll have Shenna. And that’s what we really need,” said Al Shepard, President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 567.

 “At the end of the day, we need more people in Congress who will stand up for working Americans,” said Vianney Soucy, President of Teamsters Local 340.  “People are struggling right now because our laws favor big corporations over workers. We have endorsed Shenna Bellows because we know she will fight for working class people.”

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