LEWISTON, Maine — The re-election campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was touting another union endorsement Wednesday.

According to a campaign release, the Massachusetts & Northern New England Laborers’ District Council of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, AFL-CIO has endorsed Collins.

The union represents about 25,000 general construction laborers and public employees. The endorsement is the seventh for Collins from a labor union, which have traditionally thrown their political weight behind Democrats. Collins also has been endorsed by four of the unions at Bath Iron Works.

“The endorsement of the Laborers’ Union is such an honor,” Collins said in a prepared statement. “I appreciate their support, and I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of the people of Maine.”

Collins’ Democratic opponent, Shenna Bellows, the former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, dismissed the endorsement, noting Collins has voted against raising the federal minimum wage and also voted against a bill that would have helped eliminate wage disparity between male and female workers.

“The needs of working Mainers are the top issue in this campaign, and I’m proud to have the support of so many locals, statewide unions and multi-union groups,” Bellows said. She also highlighted the unions that have endorsed her, including the state AFL-CIO chapter and the Maine State Nurses Association.

Bellows also emphasized union endorsements from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Metal Trades Council.

“Maine voters deserve clear and honest answers from Sen. Collins about her votes against raising the minimum wage and against paycheck fairness for working women, and I look forward to having that conversation with her throughout this campaign,” Bellows said.

Lance Dutson, a spokesman for Collins’ campaign, said the Republican senator did vote against raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour as proposed by President Barack Obama but is not opposed to increasing the federal minimum wage by a lesser amount.

“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that an immediate increase of the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could cost 500,000 jobs,” Dutson said. “Sen. Collins believes a bipartisan compromise that takes into account the needs of low-income families without causing mass layoffs is the best path forward.”

Scott Thistle

Scott Thistle is the State Politics Editor for the Lewiston Sun Journal. He has covered federal, state and local politics in Maine for nearly two decades.