Lobstermen Net Help from Bank of Labor
At five o’clock in the morning, daylight is just peeking over the ocean, and the lobsterman is worried. Not about the threatening storm or the oversized waves, but about whether, after another cold, wet, backbreaking 12 hour day, his catch will get a fair price from the buyers back at the dock—at least enough to pay for his bait and fuel, with enough left over to feed his family.
Like so many men and women who work hard and risk their health and lives to feed the American economy, a group of independent Maine lobstermen found themselves constantly at the mercy of price swings in a system that kept them several steps removed from the final buyers and a fair price for their product.
IAM Maine Lobstering Union (IMLU) Local 207 was created to bring a measure of self-determination to families who have worked the lobster fisheries for generations. And with support from union brothers and sisters, and financing from Bank of Labor, the lobstermen were able to form a Cooperative entity and acquire an existing lobster wholesaler, allowing them to perform their own wholesale marketing, and giving them valuable control over pricing and relationships with buyers.
“Bank of Labor was a godsend,” said Dave Sullivan, Special Representative for the eastern territory of the International Association of Machinists. “I just can’t say enough about that group. We worked closely with Joe Keller, Senior Lender, and everyone at the bank has been a class act since the day we met them. They really know their business, and they learned our business very rapidly.”
“We were able to do what other banks couldn’t do, and we were able to do it quickly”
~ Bank of Labor Senior Vice President, Bridget Martin
“Fortunately'” said Bank of Labor Senior Vice President, Bridget Martin, “we were able to do what other banks couldn’t do, and we were able to do it quickly and in a timely fashion. We’re about creating customized solutions to difficult situations. That solution totally changed a community and serves as a prime example of collective action that works to improve lives.”