MSEA-SEIU members are devastated by
the sudden death March 17 of longtime MSEA-SEIU member-leader
Bill, who was 66, began his career in
public service in 1973. He most recently worked as a
health facility specialist for Maine DHHS in Bangor
as a member of our Professional-Technical Services Bargaining
Unit within the State of Maine Executive Branch.
No matter how big the task, we could
always count on Bill to advocate tirelessly for his
coworkers and all of our members. Behind his soft-spoken
manner was a unionist to the core who knew how to get
Over the decades, Bill served as an
MSEA-SEIU chief steward, member of our Board of Directors,
member of our Union Negotiating Team, and as a Penobscot
Chapter treasurer and delegate to our Annual Meeting.
Most recently, he served as labor chair of his local
labor-management committee at Maine DHHS, and as a member
of our union's Building Needs Committee.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his
family, friends and coworkers. His obituary
William R. "Bill" Bernier
BRADLEY - William "Bill" Bernier, 66,
died unexpectedly March 17, 2015. He was born October
24, 1948, in Augusta, a son of John and Marjorie (VanHorn)
Bill was a 1966 graduate of Cony High
School, served in the US Marine Corp, and graduated
from the University of Maine, Orono. He was employed
by the State of Maine as a Health Facilitator Specialist
for over 30 years. He served as Chief Steward for MSEA
for many years. Bill loved fishing, the outdoors and
his Camaros. He enjoyed being involved with his children
and grandchildren and coached softball for his girls.
He will be remembered as always lending a helping hand
He is survived by his companion, Kelley
King of Bradley; two daughters, Stephanie Bernier of
Bangor and Jennifer Francis and her husband, Miles of
Indian Island; five grandchildren, Gavin and Gabrielle
Gammon and Hannah, Trevor, and Eben Francis; the mother
of his children, Laurie Holmes of Bangor; brother, Robert
Bernier and his wife, Joyce; three sisters, Julie Bernier
and her partner, Cathy Cobb, Elaine Morin and her husband,
Michael, and Elise Patenaude and her husband, Tom; sister-in-law,
Joanne Bernier; several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased
by his parents and a brother, John Bernier.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial
will be celebrated 10AM Saturday at Parish of the Resurrection,
Holy Family Church, 429 Main St. Old Town. Graveside
services with military honors will be announced in the
spring. Memorial contributions may be made to Susan
G. Komen Foundation at www.komen.org
5 goals for 2015
(Click here to print a 2-page flier of this message to
post on your Union Bulletin Board!)
There's a lot at stake for all of us
in the 127th Maine Legislature. In addition to making
sure state legislators pass a responsible state budget
funding our contracts, our priorities for the 127th
Maine Legislature include:
Addressing the serious
public employee recruitment and retention problem
the State of Maine has been experiencing throughout
all branches and departments;
to solve the problem of impossible workloads
and caseloads many of our members are
experiencing as they do the public's work;
Maine's mental health service structure;
contractors who do the public's work accountable
so Maine taxpayers will know whether they
are getting their money's worth;
the retirement security of Maine's retired
We can win on our issues by building
support for our legislative agenda, advancing other
legislation helping Maine workers and retirees, and
opposing legislation harming Maine workers and retirees.
Among the over 1,500 legislative proposals submitted,
there are several supporting our priorities this legislative
session. We are proud of the following legislative proposals
and their bipartisan support:
"An Act to Improve
State Employee Recruitment and Retention," sponsored
by State Rep. Lori Fowle. This legislation would require,
by statute: funding for merit and longevity pay for
workers in all three branches of State of Maine Government:
Executive, Judicial and Legislative; full funding for
the State of Maine's group health plans; and the negotiation
and the implementation of the findings of the three
remaining Executive Branch Classification and Compensation
Study Committees covering the Operations, Maintenance
& Support Services Bargaining Unit; the Professional-Technical
Services Bargaining Unit, and the Supervisory Services
"An Act to Protect Taxpayers by Regulating Personal
Services Contracts," sponsored by State Rep. Roland
"Danny" Martin. This legislation would provide greater
protection to taxpayers by requiring contracts for personal
services under Title 5, Section 1816-A, demonstrate
long-term cost savings and, if contracts are up for
renewal, demonstrate actual savings during the initial
contract and projected savings for the renewal. This
legislation also would provide ombudsman authority to
the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability.
"Resolve, An Act to Study Staffing Levels of State
Agencies," sponsored by State Rep. Peggy Rotundo.
This resolve would establish a work group composed of
stakeholders (collective bargaining representatives,
state agency/department representatives and state legislators)
that would review staffing levels, caseloads, workloads
and any national standards to assess staffing levels.
The work group would report back to the respective committee
of jurisdiction, which could then file legislation.
"An Act to Improve Retirement Security for Retired
Public Employees," sponsored by State Rep. Roger
Sherman. For the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 state budget
years, this legislation would lock in, at no less than
2.55% on the first $20,000 of pension income, the cost
of living adjustment to retiree pensions for retired
workers in all three branches of state government and
for retired teachers.
"An Act to Increase the Reimbursement Rate for Direct
Care Workers Serving Maine's Seniors," sponsored
by House Speaker Mark Eves. This legislation would raise
the current low hourly wages for home care workers,
including personal care attendants, who help Maine people
live independently in their own homes. We represent
these workers at Home Care for Maine and Alpha One.
We are monitoring legislation relating to worker and
patient safety at Riverview Psychiatric Center. One
proposal is "An Act to Improve Inpatient Mental Health
Services," sponsored by State Rep. Andrew Gattine.
This legislation would improve inpatient services for
mental health by providing more effective assessment,
improved staffing, better staff education and more effective
In addition, we are supporting legislation raising
Maine's minimum wage. Maine's minimum wage has been
stuck at $7.50 since October 2009, yet the cost of living
has been going up. Raising the wage merely will help
low-wage earners catch up to the rising cost of living.
Raising the wage also will reduce the need of low-wage
earners to resort to public assistance programs to survive.
We are disappointed the Governor once
again is pushing so-called "right-to-work-for-less"
legislation. We oppose any attempts to weaken the ability
of labor unions to advocate for Maine's working families.
Stagnating wages, rising income inequality and retirement
insecurity are plaguing the American workforce. If anything,
Maine's elected leaders should make it easier, not harder,
for workers to organize.
In order for us to win on our issues,
we need you to begin a conversation with your state
senator and state representative. Please pull out and
save our 2015 Guide to Contacting Your State Legislators
arriving with your Maine Stater in mailboxes this week.
Keep the Guide handy. We will follow up with you in
the coming weeks and months on key hearing dates, legislation
and facts so you can have informed and persuasive conversations
with your state senator and state representative in
support of our issues. Together, we can win for Maine's
working families and retirees.
News Stories and Feature Links
Attention MSEA-SEIU Stewards!
Mark your calendars for the 2015 MSEA-SEIU Steward Training Programs
listed below. Registration begins
at 8 a.m. at all locations. All training programs run from 8:30
a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Click
here for a poster to post on your Union Bulletin Board:
2015 MSEA-SEIU Statewide Steward
Skills Training Program: Thursday, May 28, 2015, Augusta Civic
2015 MSEA-SEIU Regional Steward
Skills Training Programs:
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, Spectacular Event;
Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, Hampton Inn;
Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, Augusta Civic Center;
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015,Clarion Hotel, Portland.