State budget compromise update --
Merit/longevity officially funded
state budget compromise funding merit and
longevity pay effective July 1, 2014, became
law overnight without the Governor's signature.
a result, workers in all three branches of
state government who are eligible for a contractual
merit increase will get one on their anniversary
date in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2014,
subject to a satisfactory performance evaluation.
who were denied contractual longevity pay
due to the longevity freeze will begin receiving
longevity pay on their anniversary date in
the fiscal year starting July 1, 2014.
succeeded in putting merit and longevity back
on track after years of freezes by speaking
with a united voice and never giving up. We
truly are Stronger Together.
Advocating for severance pay for 147 production
laid off at Maine Military Authority
General Counsel Tim Belcher testified March
24 in support of legislation aimed at securing
severance pay for the 147 production workers
whom the State of Maine laid off in October
2013 at the Maine Military Authority in Limestone.
His testimony is below in support of L.D.
1837, "An Act to Provide Former Employees
of the Maine Military Authority the Ability
to Sue for Severance Pay."
Patrick, Representative Herbig, and members
of the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic
Development Committee; my name is Timothy
Belcher, and I am the General Counsel of the
Maine State Employees Association - Service
Employees International Union, Local 1989.
I am here to testify in favor of LD 1837.
Legislation seeks to hold the State of Maine
to the same standard that we hold other employers
when it engages in industrial production,
and then implements a mass layoff as a result
of substantial cessation of business. Since
1997, the Maine Military Authority has refurbished
Humvees and heavy equipment for the National
Guard at the former Loring Air Force Base
in Limestone. Over the years, it has employed
hundreds of mechanics and related trades in
tearing down these pieces of equipment and
rebuilding them from the ground up. Aroostook
County proved ideal for this operation, with
a strong labor pool of skilled mechanics used
to hard work. I think everyone involved in
this operation was rightfully proud of its
October, the Maine Military Authority essentially
shut down its industrial operations in Limestone,
and laid off 147 production workers. The loss
of 147 industrial jobs, with good pay and
benefits, would hurt anywhere. In Aroostook
County, that loss is devastating. These are
hardworking blue collar workers who grew up
repairing and operating machinery. They come
from all over the County, earning needed income
to their families and communities.
any other industrial employer had done the
same thing, Maine law would require the payment
of severance pay. Maine's severance pay law
requires industrial employers who implement
mass layoffs as a result a substantial closure
to pay severance pay. As the union representing
the 147 laid off employees, we demanded payment
and were refused. Maine Law allows the Union
to bring suit for these payments, and we filed
response to the lawsuit, the Attorney General
raised the defense of Sovereign Immunity.
Whether the State is right or wrong, it says
it is above the law and cannot be sued. While
we disagree on the question of immunity, these
men and women cannot wait for us to litigate
obscure legal questions. They need help now.
For that reason, we are asking simply that
the Legislature sweep aside this one defense,
and permit us to proceed.
are not asking to open floodgates or set new
precedents. We are unaware of any other operation
in state government that engages in industrial
production, or is facing even the possibility
of a curtailment of operations resulting in
a mass layoff. We simply ask that the Maine
Military Authority be held to the same legal
standards as any other employer who lays off
147 mechanics when it closes down its industrial
these reasons, we respectfully urge you to
vote ought to pass LD 1837.
Legislature Funds Merit and Longevity
On March 21, the Maine House
voted 121-6 and the Maine Senate voted 33-1
for the state budget
compromise. It includes
funding for merit and longevity pay effective
July 1, 2014, for workers in all three branches
of state government.
The budget compromise also
ensures that the $9 million dedicated for
the State Employee Health Plan effective July
1, 2014, would be spent to help offset health
insurance premium costs.
The budget compromise, known
1843, now goes to the Governor.
He has until April 2 to do one of the following
with it: sign it into law, allow it to go
into law without his signature, or veto it.
We will follow up with new developments.
compromise puts merit and
longevity pay back on track for state workers
effective July 1, 2014. Workers eligible for
a contractual merit increase would get one
on their anniversary date in the fiscal year
starting July 1, 2014, subject to a satisfactory
performance evaluation. Workers who were denied
contractual longevity pay due to the longevity
freeze would begin receiving longevity pay
on their anniversary date in the fiscal year
starting July 1, 2014.
The inclusion of merit and
longevity in the budget
compromise is the direct
result of years of resolve and determination
by thousands of MSEA-SEIU members who never
stopped fighting to get our contracts fully
funded. Our contracts have been underfunded
since the Great Recession hit in 2008. We
did our share of sacrificing --and there is
no question that our shared sense of purpose,
unity and strength through it all made this
budget compromise possible.
- an 11%
is a real
As a Maine
the Desk of President Ginette Rivard
here for President Rivard's column:
members in Limestone, Houlton are facing tough times"
News Stories and Feature Links
Our sympathies to the family
and friends of the late MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee
member Ivan Hawkins. He was a longtime leader of our union, most
recently in our Harold West Retirees Chapter.
"He graduated from Machias
High School and worked at Shoppee's Dairy and Gay's Shop n' Save.
Retired from ME DOT after 27 plus years. Not being able to sit
still, he went back to work in the Blueberry and Wreathing Industry
with Herb Hanscom, a special friend. Ivan enjoyed, gardening,
ice fishing, working in his Maple Sugar Shack, family gatherings,
driving his tractor and working in the woods. He was a member
of the Wesley Historical Society and Wesley Cemetery Association."
Hawkins' obituary is here.
Our thoughts and prayers are
with MSEA-SEIU Knox-Waldo Chapter President Lucille Gardiner and
her family at this difficult time on the death of her son, Austin
"Visiting hours will be held Wednesday, March 26, from 2 to 4
p.m. at Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast where funeral
services will be held Thursday, March 27 at 10 a.m. Those who
wish may make memorial contributions in Austin's memory to the
family c/o Dakota Gardiner, 617 Fuller Road Apartment C, Hermon,
Austin Gardiner's obituary is here.
Red Sox v. Detroit Tigers
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Time: 8:05 PM
$56 per ticket total (Right
Field Box 90 Rows HH, JJ, KK)
We have only 27 tickets remaining
for MSEA-SEIU members and their families. You are on your own
for transportation. Call MSEA-SEIU headquarters at 1-800-452-8794
or 622-3151 to buy your tickets today.
Our four State of Maine Executive
Branch contracts for state employees are now online in PDF format
faculty ratify first union contract with Maine Community College
Jan. 17, adjunct faculty represented by the Maine State Employees
Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International
Union, ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with
the Maine Community College System. The agreement ensures raises
totaling over 8 percent, along with improved job security and
agreement, which runs through June 30, 2015, covers more than
1,000 adjuncts at the seven community college campuses. The adjunct
faculty voted to organize with the Maine State Employees Association
in May 2010 to gain a voice in the community college system. They
have been working on temporary contracts with no rights or benefits,
and for low pay. "First
and foremost, adjunct faculty want to be respected and compensated
for the work we do," said Paul Trahan, president of the adjunct
faculty chapter of MSEA-SEIU. "We provide most of the instruction
throughout the system, and we want to be recognized as equal members
of this community. This union contract is an important first step."
unionization of the adjunct faculty in the Maine Community College
System represents the latest victory in a growing national effort
by adjunct faculty to organize for collective bargaining. "While
our system of higher education relies increasingly on adjunct
faculty, universities and colleges across the country are failing
to pay them adequately or to give them the respect they deserve,"
said Ginette Rivard, president of the Maine State Employees Association.
"MSEA-SEIU is proud to be at the forefront of addressing these
Congratulations to Jen Neumeyer
from the Jay Poor/Richard West Chapter on her election to the
MSEA SEIU Local 1989 Board of Directors from Area 2. Maureen
Warner from the Eichel/Crinion Chapter was elected Area 2
Alternate. Both terms expire on 12/31/2014. Congratulations as
well to Jonathan French on his election as Area 2 Caucus
Chair for 2014.
Attention MSEA-SEIU members serving
on Labor-Management Committees: Mark your calendars. The 2014
MSEA-SEIU Labor Management Training Summit is Tuesday,
April 8, 2014, at Augusta Civic Center.
MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 rejoins Maine AFL-CIO to strengthen the voice
of Maine workers
: Members of the
Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees
International Union, have rejoined the Maine AFL-CIO, a statewide
labor federation, after a seven-year hiatus. Collectively, the two
groups represent more than 42,000 Maine workers.
"Rejoining the Maine AFL-CIO formalizes the effective
working partnerships that MSEA-SEIU members and Maine AFL-CIO
members have demonstrated over the last several years," said Ginette
Rivard, president of the Maine State Employees Association. "We
have worked closely together to defend the right of Maine workers
to have a voice in their wages, benefits and working conditions.
Together, we will move forward to address common legislative issues
such as the urgent need to accept federal funds to expand healthcare
coverage and to elect a governor who respects Maine workers. We
are united in supporting Congressman Mike Michaud as Maine's next
Don Berry, president of the Maine AFL-CIO, a federation
of 150 local unions, welcomed members of the Maine State Employees
Association back into the statewide federation.
"MSEA's decision to unite with the broader labor
movement is great news for Maine workers. A stronger, more unified
grassroots movement of working men and women is exactly what's
needed to raise wages and rebuild economic security for Maine
families. Together we are stronger - it's as simple as that. Together
working people have a stronger voice to challenge inequality and
defend their rights on the job. Now that MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
members have rejoined our federation, we can work even closer
together to make sure all Maine workers earn a living wage and
have good healthcare and respect on the job."