October 2, 2020 by Southern Maine Workers Center

Workers Support Hotline Shut Down October 2nd thru November 9th 2020

The Southern Maine Workers’ Center is suspending the worker support hotline service beginning Friday, Oct 2nd until Monday, November 9th.

We are using this time to do a much needed overhaul of our volunteer program, intake process and legal referral system. Since the pandemic began in late March the hotline has experienced a surge in traffic from workers looking for support navigating this unprecedented time. Our volunteers have fielded hundreds of inquiries about unemployment, organizing rights, health and safety concerns, childcare, the list goes on. We have yet to fully process the data, but week to week our call volume tripled or more in use.

That combined with losing our in person legal clinic, our primary means of making legal referrals, and the devastating loss of our friend and coalition partner Juliet Holmes- Smith of Volunteer Lawyers Project, our capacity has been tested. Tested, but not overcome. The hotline is run by member volunteers from the Work With Dignity Committee, and a part time staff member. Our team has more than risen to the occasion, taking double and triple shifts, doing research, participating in DOL info sessions, leading KYRs trainings, supporting worker organizing inquiries, and MORE! I cannot thank them enough.

To respect this herculean effort, and respect the seriousness of our worker inquiries, we are pausing the program so we can come back stronger and more adaptable so we can continue this program for years to come.

In the these resources are available:

  1. Maine Workers COVID-19 resource page here. Our WORK Manual, which outlines your rights as a worker, is available in English and Spanish and French
  2. Maine Unemployment Insurance Assistance Facebook Group by SMWC, ME AFL- CIO, MEJ, 
  3. Maine Equal Justice COVID-19 Resource page here
  4. For legal inquiries, Free Maine Legal Answers
    1. Maine Employee Rights Group here
    2. Johnson Webbert and Young here.

Our deepest gratitude to our volunteers, coalition partners, members and supporters. 


Arlo Hennessey on behalf of the Work With Dignity Committee.