March 2011
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Day 24/03/2011

Mural of Maine’s Workers Becomes Political Target

Panels 7-9: The 1937 Strike, Francis Perkins, and Rosie the Riveter.

Panels 1-11.

Steven Greenhouse, Gov. Paul LePage Takes Aim at Mural to Maine’s Workers, N.Y. Times, Mar. 24, 2011, at A18.

Clashes at state capitols over organized labor have become commonplace this year, with protesters throughout the country objecting to proposed limits on collective bargaining and cuts in benefits. Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, has opened a new — and unlikely — front in the battle between some lawmakers and unions: a 36-foot-wide mural in the state’s Department of Labor building in Augusta.

The three-year-old mural has 11 panels showing scenes of Maine workers, including colonial-era shoemaking apprentices, lumberjacks, a “Rosie the Riveter” in a shipyard and a 1986 paper mill strike. Taken together, his administration deems these scenes too one-sided in favor of unions.

A spokeswoman said Mr. LePage, a Republican, ordered the mural removed after several business officials complained about it and after the governor received an anonymous fax saying it was reminiscent of “communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses.”