A bill that would have given farm workers the right to form a union and collectively bargain with their employers died Wednesday, Jan. 26 when Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed the legislation.

The Maine House voted 67-66 on Jan. 26 to override the veto, but a two-thirds majority was needed. All Knox County House members voted to override the veto. The Senate did not get to vote on a veto after the override failed in the House. Both local state Senators, however, had voted for the legislation during the past session.

The bill was co-sponsored by state Sen. David Miramant, D-Camden; and independent Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship.

Gov. Mills in her veto message said she was generally a strong supporter of the rights of workers to collectively bargain terms of their employment.

“I cannot, in good conscience, allow a bill to become law that would subject our farmers to a complicated new set of laws that would require them to hire lawyers just to understand. I am also concerned that this bill, at this time, would further burden our small, family-owned farms by saddling them with increased costs (costs that would likely be passed along to Maine people in the form of higher prices) at a time when State government should be doing all it can to support Maine farms and ensure they are able to thrive in the years to come. While this bill is well intended, I fear its unintended consequence would discourage the growth of farms in Maine,” the governor stated.