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Maine Gov. LePage Takes Aim At Labor Mural

Maine Department Of Labor Mural
(The Labor Mural at the Maine Department Of Labor is broken into 11 sections. Click an image to view a section and its description.)

Across the country, the relationship between organized labor and state government has been a hot-button issue in recent weeks. Here in New England, another controversy over labor is brewing — this one over a piece of art.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said that a 36-foot mural hanging in the Department of Labor needs to go:

I’m trying to send a message to everyone in the state that the state of Maine looks at employees and employers equally, neutrally and on balance. And the mural sends a message that we’re one sided, and I don’t want to send that message.

The 11-panel mural depicts scenes from Maine’s labor history, including Rosie the Riveter, child laborers and two labor strikes.

Radio Boston’s Anthony Brooks speaks to Susan Sharon, deputy news director and reporter at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, to find out what’s going on in Augusta.

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  • Anonymous

    Art and labor – a Republican’s worst nightmare!

  • Anonymous

    They shouldn’t honor worker heroes. They should sell the naming rights to corporations.

  • jacque

    Personally, I like the art. It truly depicts the history of labor in our country, and should be a great education tool for the younger generations.

  • Raoul

    LePage was elected with 38% of the vote in Maine. That explains a lot.

  • Bartcaruso

    this is ridiculus, Politicians bending over backwards to attract corporations who have been out-sourcing, downsizing, or just leaving the country. Why don’t we start revoking charters of Un -American Corporations instead and boycotting their products, or services.

  • Kinstler

    How ironic that Frances Perkins’ name will be removed on the 100th anniversary, to the day, of the event that she witnessed, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Maybe the conference room can be renamed for Froilan Tenorio.

  • Steveroy111

    It’s called trying to rewrite history, Gov, and it is wrong.

  • Britpainter

    In the course I teach, I often spend a little time teaching my students about the history of labor in this country. I remind them that as artists they have a responsibility to have a social message in their work, the removal of this mural has only strengthened my desire to teach my students about this issue. It will be one of the first things we look at in class next week.

    • Hefferman1

      It is your job to educate children, not brainwash them into being good little socialist.
      The places that brainwash children have been murderous socialist regimes, like Naxi Germany, Communist Russian, Communist China, or Cambodian Communist.
      The Nazis killed 13-15 million for being Jewish, intellectuals, Communist, or Gay. The Russian Communist murdered by starvation, work camps, or bullets. They murdered 35-60 million for being farmers, Jews, and or wanting liberty. The Chinese Communist murdered by starvation, relocation, and or bullet 40-80 million for wanting freedom. The Cambodian Communist murdered 2 million people out of a population of 7 million for being intellectuals, doctors, teachers, or wanting freedom.
      Your job is to educate children, so they can make thier own minds up about what they want to do. That is what freedom is all about, and this country is based on the God Given Inalienable Rights of man, which include freedom.

      • Calderasf

        Your an idiot! Child labor, long hours, poor pay, no benefits, unsafe working conditions, goon squads attacking labor organization. This was early American industrialization. YOU need to go back to school and learn American history. Getting rights as a worker does not make you a Nazi. There were no concentration camps where business owners were gassed. What an idiot!

      • Hawaiiana

        Let’s wipe out any reference to slavery in art and books. Erase Lincoln’s name from textbooks.
        Martin Luther who? Dont’ let our kids find out two Kennedy’s were assassinated. Japanese no longer will be mentioned as being sent to relocation camps. You mention Communist countries but they were/are masters of revisionist history. I really can’t tell if you want the truth told or only that which makes you personally feel good

  • Mcerviniadj

    It’s hard to argue that the mural panels and comments are not pro labor and pro union. They for the most part depict labor strife from the the first half of the last century.The artists politcal bent is clear.The panels about apprenticeship and Rosie the riveter are the most unbiased.
    Maybe art work emphasizing the cooperation between labor and business moving forward in this century would be more appropriate.

  • Mbanavy

    Maybe the governor doesn’t want all that ‘fact’ in the history of HIS state. He may have a new take on a kinder , genlter world vision. He may want to shape the future and the past.

  • Zoe

    what he has done is to positively reveal that this onesidedness still yet is, as mind set. ironically, we cannot sweep our history under the rug, no more than we may change the past pretending a future without its true memorys. the mural represents ‘forgiveness’, even as it reveals human error toward understanding positive change from a rather negative seeming history.

  • golfer

    I See nothing wrong with what the panels represent.I don’t feel that the art workis very good

Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

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