A liberal “workers’ rights” activist who recently disrupted a press conference by Maine Gov. Paul LePage is facing criticism for berating a bus terminal worker.
Last week Paul Nickerson of the Maine People’s Alliance donned an Uncle Sam costume and toted a phony Publisher’s Clearinghouse-style check written for $1,050,000,000 and paid out to the State of Maine for the health care coverage of nearly 70,000 residents.
The stunt overshadowed a press conference being held by the tea party-backed LePage, who was presenting an oversized check of his own — one made out for $38 million, payable to the Central Maine Medical Center as payback for unpaid hospital bills attributed to welfare overspending.
Maine People’s Alliance says it “advances the interests of working Mainers and holds corporations accountable for the treatment of their employees.”
“MPA supports the right of workers to organize, to make a fair wage, to be secure in their employment and to be free from discrimination,” reads the organization’s website.
Yet Nickerson posted videos of himself harassing a Greyhound bus terminal worker, according to The Maine Wire, a conservative site which republished the videos.
“So when are they going to replace you with one of the electronic ticket machines that never make mistakes?” Nickerson asks during an exchange with the middle-aged employee. “You’re not sure when you’re going to get replaced? I hope it’s soon.”
According to The Maine Wire, Nickerson also commented, “I really really hope this guy is replaced with a [sic] electronic ticket booth soon” on his Facebook page. That entry and the video has been scrubbed from Nickerson’s page.
Nickerson’s wife contested the Wire’s report, saying that the video was taken out of context. She posted the YouTube video herself with the description “Unedited Video of Greyhound employee refunding the money he stole from my husband.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted the Greyhound bus employee, who works at the Lewiston, Maine terminal.
“It was an honest mistake,” the employee said of the exchange.
The employee said that he thought Nickerson’s wife wanted to purchase a ticket for a ride to Boston’s airport. Instead, she wanted a ticket to Boston’s South Terminal. The latter is a cheaper ride.
A Greyhound spokeswoman confirmed the explanation for TheDCNF: “Unfortunately, the agent misunderstood the customer when booking the ticket; however, once the mistake was brought to his attention, the agent rectified the situation.”
“The Greyhound employee in this video deserves an award for keeping his cool despite being subjected to despicable ridicule from one of the Alliance’s most high-profile activists,” Steve Robinson of the Maine Heritage Policy Institute told TheDCNF. Robinson also wrote the article for The Maine Wire.
The Wire also reported that Nickerson bragged on Facebook about harassing a fast food employee.
A spokeswoman for Governor LePage released a statement to TheDCNF responding to Nickerson’s Uncle Sam “photobomb.”
“For years, liberal politicians refused to pay Maine’s debt to our hospitals and Governor LePage put an end to their fiscal irresponsibility,” read the statement. “The stunt was the only way the liberal Maine People’s Alliance could grab headlines and try to detract from that.”
Maine People’s Alliance spokesman Mike Tipping called The Wire’s focus on Nickerson “creepy and sad.” He confirmed that Nickerson was a member of the Alliance and the press conference photobomb was an Alliance event. Tipping said that Nickerson was not paid to perform the stunt.
TheDCNF reached out to Nickerson but has received no comment.
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