Maine governor orders labor mural takedown
March 23rd, 2011
08:37 PM ET
12 years ago

Maine governor orders labor mural takedown

(CNN) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage ordered a 36-foot mural depicting the state's labor history be removed from the lobby of the Department of Labor headquarters building in Augusta, Maine, according to LePage's office.

The plan put forth by the Republican's administration also includes renaming several department conference rooms that carry names of pro-labor icons.

LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett said discussions about the mural began months ago. After they received phone calls in opposition to the mural, his administration concluded the art showed favoritism toward a certain group.

"We understand the value of history and respect the artist, we are now exploring options of where it can go," Bennett said. "We want to find the appropriate place for it. We want to find it a home."

Bennett said the Maine Arts Commission will help find a suitable place for the art.

The 11-panel mural depicts labor scenes including a cobbler and a textile worker, and pro-labor organizations have used the action to criticize the governor.

A statement from the Maine AFL-CIO said removing the mural is an "insult to working men and women" and is another example of how LePage is putting politics before people.

"No matter what you name a room, no matter how many pictures you take down, the truth is that this state was built by and for working people and this move dishonors the generations of hard working Mainers who came before us," the statement said. "Paul LePage cannot erase our history, and he will not silence the voice of working people in Maine."

LePage, a first-term governor, was elected with 38 percent of the vote and Tea Party support in the November elections, defeating independent Eliot Cutler and Democrat Libby Mitchell.

Laura Boyett, the acting commissioner for the Maine Department of Labor, in a letter to her employees, said the department received feedback that the building is "not perceived as equally receptive to both businesses and workers," and is therefore removing the mural and renaming all of the conference rooms.

"If either of our two constituencies perceives that they are not welcome in our administration building and this translates to a belief that their needs will not be heard or met by this department, then it presents a barrier to achieving our mission," Boyett wrote.

- CNN's Nina Raja contributed to this report

Filed under: AFL-CIO • Maine
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. bob

    And those businesses wouldn't exist without the working man and woman.

    March 23, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. Freedom

    Go LePage! Time to end these big unions! GOP 2012!

    March 23, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Well - I guess we all need to move to main - THERE MUST BE PLENTY OF JOBS THERE, since this nutjob is concentrating all his resources on historical artwork.

    Gheeeeesh !!

    March 23, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. GOP - the dumbing of America

    what a piece of crap. People republicans only like the rich, open your eyes, they hate the working class, those that built this country

    March 23, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. Mike

    Yet another republican looking out for the everyday working man & women. Gotta luv those pro-big businesss, pro- big banks, pro "to big to fail" Insurnace cos, pro- Wall St bailout repoublicans. How many times people do you have to be hit over the head before you realize who is hitting you over the head ? Get a grip people. If republicans you will be working until you die. Then. what have you got and what did you work for ? to enjoy your "golden years" LMAO @ you who vote republican. Oh. Not to worry. You can always go out and fight in a war of their choosing...

    March 23, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. 60s survivor

    right. sure. and of course for all the RIGHT reasons

    March 23, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Mason

    Is this a move against labor of the 17th and 18th century labor work force thatcould use their know how and wits to stop and settle down and start a business or do a job? Or is this move against the present day false idea that only union labor works the best?

    March 23, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. jim Bourque

    We may have to reconsider our Maine vacation this year. "Whose side are you on?"

    March 23, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    Maine put a RED MAN in office and this is what they get!! If they LIKE HIM, then SO BE IT!! This is also the same governor that said the NAACP can kiss his BUTT!!! I wonder if President Obama is hanging in the state/government offices in Maine???

    March 23, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Squigman

    Just another tell, of the real motivation of the republican party. This if nothing else should tip off the people who worked, and paid dues that the double speak of the right wing, was nothing more than a platform where power could be attained, and the war against the working class, could be extended. Now that they are entrenched, they believe they have a mandate to do the bidding of the morons (minority voters), that voted them in office. Wake up, or it's going to be too late for us all.

    March 23, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. normajean

    These state governors will do everything they can to abolish the unions and deprive the working men and women of protection in the market place, but in the long run they will fail. They are actually, { and we all know it} trying to put down our president because, {and I'm white} he's a black man and they just are too childish to handle that!! There have always been the working poor, the middle class and the wealthy. This will probably never change, but what happened in Wisconsin when Gov. Walker decided to do things the Koch way, showed that the people,{ the voters} are tired of being pushed around and we are going to continue to fight back for a little dignity in our lives.......!!!! .We'll see you all at the poles in 2012!!!!!

    March 23, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Sees All Evil

    Wow those rethug/tpers are really tearing down our working class. They are going to try to steal another election.

    March 23, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. visitor

    Lets put up a velvet Elvis poster instead, uh?

    March 23, 2011 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  14. jim

    still more proof that republicans are NOT for the common american.

    March 23, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  15. LMC

    Let's just rewrite history! Totalitarian governments love to do this!!

    March 23, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  16. ingrid

    Wow. Le Page really is trying to win the title for worst governor. I wonder what other Koch/tea party directives he will follow ?

    March 23, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. Tommy Mack

    So a multinational corporation can tell an American government building that they don't like pictures of Americans working (as they outsource our jobs and create tax-havens in the Caymans)?

    March 23, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. JohnReedjr

    This stuff is trully frightening and fascist.

    March 23, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. KJ

    This is another example of right wing extreme politics. How come these people who have complained did not complain years ago.

    March 23, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. kyle

    The Governor doesn't want to be reminded of the slave wages that are coming back.

    March 23, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. Robrob

    "the department received feedback that the building is "not perceived as equally receptive to both businesses and workers,"

    Remind me again, which one votes – businesses or workers?

    March 23, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  22. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    What a shoddy attempt to re-write the history of one's state.

    March 23, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. Nick

    Dear Maine: It was not that long ago when we were NOT regularly making national news for the boneheadedness of our governor. PLEASE get us back to that. No more LePage.

    March 23, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. TB

    Can the Republican agenda be any more clear than this? It seems that the Republicans are not only hell-bent on destroying unions, but also erasing the history of unions and why they were needed in the first place. This reminds me of the Romans sacking and burning the library of Alexandria Egypt. "He who controls the past (history) controls the future." The GOP must be stopped before the middle-class completely disappears.

    March 23, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. Darrell

    I can say the following because I live in Portland, ME and grow up here. LaPage is a clown and is becoming a disgrace to this great state. For along time I want to give him a break, but I am truly tired of his act.

    March 23, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
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