Increasing numbers of Republican governors are taking action to curb the power of public unions. Most of them seek to limit pension and health benefits, but Maine Gov. Paul LePage has a unique approach. The freshman governor has ordered the removal of an 11-panel, 36-foot-wide mural of the state’s labor history that appears in the lobby of the state Department of Labor’s building in Augusta, according to media reports.
The idea is to show business leaders that the state is just as friendly to them as it is to workers, the governor says.
“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,” LePage said in a radio interview Wednesday. “The mural sends a message that we’re one-sided, and I don’t want to send that message.”
LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt told the Lewiston Sun Journal that some business owners found the artwork offensive.
Matt Schlobohm of the Maine chapter of the AFL-CIO said it was "arbitrary and mean-spirited" to remove the mural, which was installed in 2008.
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