I was outraged at the passage of LD 1207 in the last legislative session. Sponsored by Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon, and co-sponsored by Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, this bill ended the collective bargaining rights of the workers at the former DeCoster egg farm in Turner. Employees and their supporters had worked tirelessly for decades to improve the deplorable conditions there, but that bill turns back that progress.
Now it appears that the influence of money is in play in Maine politics regarding this bill. On Sept. 20, a major newspaper reported that both Rep. Crafts and Sen. Mason received the maximum campaign contributions from Moark LLC, the current owners of DeCoster, as well as from the general manager and another company official. Rep. Crafts also received money from Austin "Jack" DeCoster, who was called before Congress for the conditions in his other out-of-state egg farms.
This is a clear case where money is tied to sponsorship and passage of legislation that restricts egg farm workers' labor protections. This includes repealing the law that these workers be paid overtime.
Joni Foster, Lisbon Falls