Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills.
Every day, working people across our state keep the state moving strong — the people who plow the roads before sunrise in winter; people who protect our public safety; the people who stock the grocery stores and those who grow the food that’s on those shelves; the people who care for our children and our most vulnerable citizens; the people who preserve our clean drinking water and clean air and so many many more unsung heroes— you are the people who make this state the best state in the nation.
This Labor Day, I want to recognize the contributions of all Maine working people to our State, especially during the challenges of this COVID-19 pandemic.
We know how difficult these times have been on hardworking Maine families, which is why we have made investments that we know you need to succeed.
This summer for instance, I signed into law a bipartisan budget that will provide nearly $300 in hazard pay for Maine people who stayed on the job during the pandemic. The budget also fully funds public education for the first time in history and it fully restores revenue sharing to the towns to help hold down your property taxes and put money back in your pocket.
I signed into law the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, my bill to use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to make historic investments in Maine’s workforce. Under the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, we will build more affordable housing and access to child care especially in rural areas, but all to help people get back to work. The Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan also invests heavily in skills development, training, and apprenticeship programs to give people the skills they need to be fully and productively employed.
These steps build on other actions we are taking to support working people in Maine.
We enacted one of the most progressive paid leave policies in the country, and we enacted a law to examine how to expand benefits to more families, working families, in Maine.
We expanded health and safety training for Maine’s construction workforce to protect people on the job. In 2019, we successfully negotiated seven new contracts for state employees. Those included pay raises and a first-time provision for parental leave. This year, we’ve worked hard to reach fair agreements that raise pay for state employees who provide such critical services to all Maine people.
We are working directly with employees and employers to match Maine people with good-paying jobs and to support businesses who are looking to hire now. We are encouraging employers to re-evaluate their hiring procedures, their benefit packages and hybrid work options to reach and retain more staff. And we are modernizing state government so that’ll be easier for people to access services, including resources that assist people in overcoming barriers that prevent them from working full time.
Maine people have adapted throughout our history to provide for their families, to contribute to our economy, and to shape the foundation of our state, perhaps no more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic. And Maine people deserve a lot of credit.
The Mills Administration is adapting too to build a stronger economy where every working person can succeed. This Labor Day let’s reflect on the many contributions of working men and women to our state and commit to rebuilding a bright future and opportunity for all Maine families.