Home > Art, Politics, Trends > Gov. LePage Says History of Labor Mural Must Go

Gov. LePage Says History of Labor Mural Must Go

March 24, 2011

Here is another case of a public servant deciding what is art and acceptable, and what is not art and not acceptable. This marriage to one’s ideology is beyond normal.

Portland Press Herald reports: AUGUSTA – Labor leaders and the state’s biggest Latino group expressed outrage Wednesday at Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to remove a mural depicting workers from the Department of Labor’s headquarters and rename conference rooms in the building.

Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, called the decision “insulting to working people, petty and shortsighted.”

“It seems the governor is much more interested in picking fights with labor than creating jobs that people so desperately want,” he said. “We believe their story deserves to be told on the walls of the Department of Labor.”

The 36-foot-long, 11-panel mural depicts the state’s labor history, including a shoe worker strike in Lewiston, female shipbuilders and striking papermakers in Jay.

It also highlights dangerous working conditions, long work hours and child labor, according to a 2008 memo from the Department of Labor.

LePage explained his decision on the Boston-based Howie Carr radio show late in the day.

“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,” he said. “The mural sends a message that we’re one-sided, and I don’t want to send that message.”

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