Policy Insights Talk: 2023

Our Talk features one speaker and highlights their lived experience and expertise on center stage.

The inaugural MECEP Policy Insights Talk featured a conversation with Chris Smalls, the founder and president of the Amazon Labor Union, an independent, democratic, worker-led labor union at Amazon in Staten Island and the founder of The Congress of Essential Workers, a nationwide collective of essential workers and allies fighting for better working conditions, better wages, and a better world.

Do you have suggestions for our next Policy Insights Talk speaker? Submit them to info@mecep.org!

Workers are the engines of the economy. Their labor, skills, and contributions make the economy run, and they have been the driving force digging us out of a global health and economic crisis. More than ever before, Maine workers recognize their own value — and want employers to recognize it too. But even as Maine workers come together to demand their value is recognized, many companies continue to engage in anti-union behavior and make it difficult for them to exercise their democratic, legally protected rights to bargain collectively.

At a FREE in-person event at 6 pm on Wednesday, September 20 at USM in Portland, we heard from Chris about the importance of worker power, the experience of organizing Amazon, and what can be done at the state level to support labor organizers — followed by real-time solutions to problems Maine organizers were facing during the Q&A.

Moderated by Taifa Smith Butler, president of Demos and former president & CEO of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Taifa has more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, public policy research and data analysis in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors and is a respected voice on economic and racial justice.

This was our very first Policy Insights Talk, and it exceeded all our expectations. Stay tuned for more events and opportunities to take action! In the meantime, check out MECEP’s latest brief on the state of labor organizing in Maine.

Thank you to our sponsors:

  • A. Philip Randolph Institute
  • Maine AFL-CIO
  • Consumers for Affordable Health Care
  • EqualityMaine
  • Frances Perkins Center
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Maine Small Business Coalition
  • Maine Education Association
  • Maine Equal Justice
  • Maine People’s Alliance
  • Maine Women’s Lobby
  • New Ventures Maine
  • Scontras Labor Center
  • UMaine Bureau of Labor Education

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