Part of the order issued by Gov. Paul LePage, as transmitted by Acting Commissioner of Labor Laura Boyett, is that the names given to various conference rooms at the department headquarters be changed. To quote from Boyett's email (which I'm told she wrote):
We have received feedback that the administration building is not perceived as equally receptive to both businesses and workers - primarily because of the nature of the mural in the lobby and the names of our conference rooms. Whether or not the perception is valid is not really at issue and therefore, not open to debate. 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.
I will be seeking a new home for the mural and we will be renaming the conference rooms in our administrative office at Commerce Drive in Augusta. However, I'd like your help in coming up with new names for the conference rooms. I'm holding a 'renaming contest' and will select from your suggestions. The names can be places, concepts or things but should not reflect a bias toward either business or workers - the names should feel welcoming to both. Although arguments can be made that some of the existing names do not reflect any bias, to keep things simple, we are going to make a clean sweep across the board and change all. Therefore, we need naming suggestions for 8 conference rooms.
The eight names to be changed are:
Able ME Room
César Chávez Room
William Looney Room
Marianne Martin Room
Frances Perkins Room
Rose Schneiderman Room
Charles Scontras Room
Sarah Wilson Room
About those names:
* Able ME is named after a program of the Department of Labor.
César Chávez is the well known labor leader who organized farm workers in California in the 1960's.
William Looney, also known as W.H. Looney, was a Republican legislator from Portland who chaired the House Committee on Labor in the late 19th Century. Looney sponsored a bill limiting the number of hours that women and children could work http://books.google.com/...] in factories (h/t snoopydog).
* Marion Martin was Commissioner of Labor from 1947 to 1972, a Republican who helped advance the cause of women and was known for her "innovative approach to labor problems."
* Frances Perkins was the first woman to head a department of the Federal government when she became Secretary of Labor for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You can find much more about this remarkable woman - and Maine native - at the Frances Perkins Center.
Rose Schneiderman was a labor activist who began her career in the early 20th century, later held positions in FDR's administration working on the New Deal.
Charles Scontras was a professor at the University of Maine and author of the book Organized Labor in Maine: Twentieth Century Origins. He is the uncle of Dean Scontras, who ran for Congress last year.
* I could not find info on Sarah Wilson.
(If you can provide information on
William Looney and Sarah Wilson, please contact me or post it in the comments. Thanks).