On Sunday, August 11, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Maine Lobster Union Local 207 held its inaugural meeting in Bangor and elected officers.
Rock Alley, a fisherman from Jonesport, was elected president of the union. About 170 members made the trek to Bangor for the inaugural meeting, said Alley.
During the inaugural meeting, the members who were present walked through the local chapter’s bylaws.
“We reviewed them all and made some changes, reworded some things,” said Alley. The revised copies are being circulated, and at the next union meeting, likely within a few weeks, will be voted on. Once approved, the union will be a fully-functioning IAM local.
Then the local can start doing business, said Alley. When asked what the first item or items up on the agenda might be, Alley said that it would be up to the union’s members. “It depends on what fishermen want,” said Alley. “It’s not my agenda, I’m just the spokesman.”
Alley said he is excited to be president of the union. “It’s quite something when fishermen can come together,” said Alley. “I hope we can bring more fishermen on board up and down the coast.”
Alley said one of the major issues moving forward is discussion on the proposed changes to the vertical lines meant to protect whales. “That’s a big concern of ours,” said Alley.
Other elected officers include Chris Radley of Vinalhaven as vice president, Mark Brewer of Boothbay as recording secretary and Julie Eaton of Stonington as secretary/treasurer.
“I’m very honored and want to do a good job,” said Eaton of her election to the post of secretary.
“As a union, we’ve got a president from Jonesport, a VP from Vinalhaven, a treasurer from Stonington and a secretary from Boothbay,” said Eaton. “We’ve got people from everywhere, all up and down the coast, and it wasn’t intentional; it was just how it worked out. We all have the same desire for change.”
A union meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 4, at 6 p.m. in the Deer Isle-Stonington High School cafeteria.
“The meeting is for anyone interested; it will update everyone on what’s going on and is a chance for people who are interested in becoming members to ask questions,” said Eaton.