How you can help the strikers at Ryder in Lewiston


I wanted to give you a quick update on the strike at Ryder in Lewiston, and ask for your support. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by, dropped off food and fire wood, and shown your support for these workers.

Mechanics who are members of Teamsters Local 340 join other Ryder workers across New England fighting for equal treatment, good jobs and retirement security at Ryder Truck.   They have yet to settle a contract with corporate officials from this Fortune 500 company.

Here are 2 ways you can help support these workers:

1) Join them on the picket line anytime at 45 Westminster St. in Lewiston. They are picketing 24/7. Any amount of time you can spend on the line with them is appreciated.

2) Send a contribution to their strike fund. These brothers and sisters are out of work and not getting a paycheck, which can be especially hard in the winter and around the holidays.  You can give a contribution to these workers by writing a check made out to TEAMSTERS LOCAL 340 STRIKE FUND and sending it to Teamsters 340,  144 Thadeus St., South Portland, ME 04106.

The workers in Lewiston are demanding to be treated as equals with their fellow workers at other Ryder locations throughout New England.  Workers at nearby Ryder locations have greater retirement security.

Please join me in doing what you can to support these workers who are standing up for what’s right.

In Solidarity,
Sarah Bigney & the Maine AFL-CIO


Federal District Court Stays Implementation of New Overtime Rules

In May of 2016, the US Department of Labor announced a new rule that would greatly expand overtime eligibility to salaried employees. Under this new rule, scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016, salaried employees who make less than $47,476 per year would earn “time and a half” for hours worked in excess of forty in a week.

This rule change represented a significant pay raise for millions of Americans, and likely tens of thousands of Mainers. The Executive Branch alone has approximately 500 employees that would be impacted under the new rule. MSEA and various employers have been discussing how the rule change would impact represented employees.

However, yesterday, November 22, a Federal District Court Judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction against implementation of the new rule. Accordingly, the rule will not go into effect next week, as scheduled. Moreover, although the injunction is temporary, it is unclear if the rule will ever be implemented, as the new administration may choose not to appeal the judge’s Order.

Accordingly, the current overtime rules will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

We will keep you updated with any further developments.


Attention MSEA-SEIU members in the Executive Branch: Reminder! Help determine your next contract

Dear MSEA-SEIU Members in the Executive Branch of Maine State Government,

Now is the time to step up with your ideas, suggestions, expertise and leadership. Let’s work together to secure the kind of employment contracts we all know we have earned. As we explained in your most recent Maine Stater, the planning begins now for the contract negotiations with management that will start in the coming months.

Please join your fellow Executive Branch MSEA-SEIU members from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Augusta Civic Center, for an initial meeting at which we will begin preparing for next year’s contract negotiations with management. The Dec. 3 meeting is for MSEA-SEIU members only. Lunch will be provided.

Registration is necessary. To participate, sign up by contacting MSEA-SEIU Member Support Specialist Karen Rancourt-Thomas no later than Thursday, Dec. 1, at karen.rancourt-thomas@mseaseiu.org or 1-800-452-8794 or 622-3151.

The initial meeting Dec. 3 for MSEA-SEIU members will start the process to secure successor contracts for all of our Executive Branch contracts (4) expiring June 30, 2017.  Together, the four agreements cover employees in the:
— Administrative Services Bargaining Unit:
— Professional-Technical Services Bargaining Unit;
— Operations, Maintenance and Support Services Bargaining Unit;
— Supervisory Services Bargaining Unit.

Each of the four bargaining units will have three members representing their co-workers’ interest during the bargaining process. If you would like to be considered for a position on the union negotiating team, you must attend the meeting Dec. 3, and be nominated, or have someone who is attending the meeting nominate you for the union negotiating team.

Members of the union negotiating team are expected to attend all of the negotiating sessions with management and all of the union negotiating team’s planning sessions. As a member of the union negotiating team, you also would be responsible for giving updates on the process and progress, answering members’ questions regarding the negotiations, and keeping the union negotiating team informed of members’ concerns.

Additionally, what are your bargaining priorities?

All MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 members covered by the four Executive Branch collective bargaining agreements — Administrative Services; Professional-Technical Services; Operations, Maintenance and Support Services; and Supervisory Services — are encouraged to submit bargaining proposals using the form linked here.

We printed the bargaining proposal form on Page 4 of the Oct. 17 edition of the Maine Stater, so you also can clip the form out of the Stater, fill it out and mail it in.

All proposals must be submitted to MSEA-SEIU headquarters no later than Dec. 31.  There are two requirements in submitting bargaining proposals:

  • Only one proposal will be accepted per form. If you would like to submit more than one proposal, please download and print copies by clicking here.
  •  Your contact information (name, home and work phones, and home and work email) is required on the bargaining proposal form for your proposal to be considered.

Once the union negotiating team has been seated, the members of the team will meet at MSEA-SEIU headquarters in Augusta to undergo team training, to review bargaining proposals and to build a meeting calendar that will include future bargaining dates with management.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you Dec. 3 at the Augusta Civic Center.

In Solidarity,

Ramona Welton
President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989


Nov. 8, 2016, General Election —

Secured: Legislative majorities for workers, retirees

Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,

Our electoral work and support of our endorsed legislative candidates in the Nov. 8 General Elections helped us secure majorities of MSEA-SEIU endorsed or supportive candidates in both the Maine Senate and the Maine House of Representatives.

This legislative majority will help us advocate for quality public services, workers and retirees throughout the 128th Maine Legislature that will be sworn in Wednesday, Dec. 7. Thanks go to those members who knocked on doors, made phone calls and helped get out the vote in support of our endorsed legislative candidates. These conversations made the difference.

All four MSEA-SEIU endorsed statewide ballot questions passed: Questions 4, 2, 5 and 6.

Question 4 will raise Maine’s minimum wage while Question 2 establishes a fairer way to fund our public schools. Both of these approved citizens’ initiatives will go a long way toward creating an economy that works for all of us.

Many MSEA-SEIU members were involved every step of the way in passing Questions 4 and 2. Our members signed the citizens’ petitions and collected the signatures necessary to put these questions on the ballot. We got out the vote on Election Day. Thanks go to all MSEA-SEIU members who supported Questions 4 and 2.

We also helped pass Question 5 for ranked-choice voting. Bond Question 6 to improve Maine’s public infrastructure also won with our support. Thanks you to those members who supported Questions 5 and 6.

Together, we helped re-elect Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. We can count on Congresswoman Pingree to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare. We fell short in electing Emily Cain to Congress. We thank Emily for her advocacy on behalf of Maine workers and retirees. You and I will hold Congressman Bruce Poliquin accountable to the people of Maine.

You and I must hold President-elect Trump accountable as we continue our advocacy for working families and retirees. The threats to working families and retirees are real. Working families stand to lose a path to better wages with attacks on their ability to join together at work. Immigrant families face the prospect of having their families torn apart. Millions of people who have secured quality, affordable healthcare could see their healthcare taken away.

To be sure, we have experienced setbacks before. We know by uniting in support of workers, women, immigrants, seniors and civil liberties, we can achieve a society where work is valued and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. This is our challenge for the months and years ahead. Thanks again to everyone who took action in support of our endorsed candidates and ballot questions. We are stronger together.

In Solidarity,

Ramona Welton
President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989



Our 2016 Annual Meeting — –

MSEA-SEIU delegates elect leaders, set budget and dues rate, vote on resolutions

Delegates at our 2016 Annual Meeting Oct. 21 and 22 approved our union’s 2017 General Operating Budget. They approved a dues increase of 10 cents per week for working members and 15 cents per month for retiree members.

The union delegates elected MSEA-SEIU members to serve on the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors, Finance Committee and the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) Board for the following terms:

Area I
Miranda Wilson, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
Tom Maher, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18

Area II
Robin Upton-Sukeforth, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
Jennifer Neumeyer, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
Alternate – George O’Connor, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18

Area III
Sam Portera, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
Luci Levesque, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18

Peggy Rice
Penny Whitney-Asdourian, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
Alternate – Loren Snow, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18

Jane Gilbert, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
Kevin Russell, 1/1/17 to 12/31/18
First Alternate – Jason Inman, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17
Second Alternate – Lisa Morgan, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17
Third Alternate – Andrew Robinson, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17
Fourth Alternate – Melissa Boyan, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17

Area I – Andrew Robinson, 1/1/17 to 12/31/19
Alternate – Tamra Keaton, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17

Area II – Cheryl Dugal, 1/1/17 to 12/31/19
Alternate – Lebrun Joseph, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17

Area III – Lisa Morgan, 1/1/17 to 12/31/19
Alternate – Doug Winterich, 1/1/17 to 12/31/17

Delegates voted as follows on the resolutions listed below. The text of each resolution was printed in the Sept. 22 edition of the Maine Stater, except for Resolution 16-17, which was presented at the Annual Meeting. The text of the resolutions that involved changing our Constitution also were printed in the Aug. 22 edition of the Stater per our Constitution and Bylaws:
16-01 Annual Operating Reserve Request, passed as presented.

16-02 Elimination of Executive Director Position from the By-Laws of Maine State Employees/SEIU Local 1989, withdrawn.

16-03 Powers of the President, failed.

16-04 Powers of the Board, failed.

16-05 Aiding and Promoting our Union Philosophy Outside of the Workplace, passed as presented.

16-06 Alternate Retiree Directors, passed as presented.

16-07 Standing Committees, withdrawn.

16-08 Presidential Appointment Committee – MSEA Rising Organizing Committee, passed as presented.

16-09 Term and Office Limit (6.113 & 6.213), failed.

16-10 Board/Council Meeting Notices and Agenda, withdrawn.

16-11 Reduction of the proposed 2017 Budget due to elimination of Executive Director Position from the Constitution and By-Laws of Maine State Employees/SEIU Local 1989, withdrawn.

16-12 Elimination of Executive Director Position from the Constitution of Maine State Employees/SEIU Local 1989, withdrawn.

16-13 Recorded Board of Directors Votes, failed.

16-14 Members Interest, Trials and Appeals, failed.

16-15 Staff Appreciation, passed as presented.

16-16 Activist Appreciation, passed as presented

16-17, Report Out on Annual Meeting, passed as presented.


Portland Press Herald editorial:

DHHS outsourcing plan should be cause for alarm

“It’s alarming to hear the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is in the final stages of signing a $62.5 million contract with a private company to oversee a major public assistance program….Mainers have a right to be skeptical of the department’s ability to successfully outsource such an important service. Taxpayers deserve proof that the people at the DHHS have learned from their mistakes.” Read the full editorial.

Related news coverage:


“For nearly a century, public health nurses have been the ‘boots on the ground,’ contributing to emergency preparedness; monitoring treatment for those infected with tuberculosis; training health-care providers in TB treatment protocols; visiting expectant and new mothers in their homes; carrying out immunization clinics; and much more. But over the course of the LePage administration, the state’s staff of public health nurses has been cut in half. Today, there are 25 who are regularly out in the field and in a position to stage an effective response the next time there’s a public health crisis. The LePage administration has undermined the public health nursing program in other ways, too, from barring its director from emailing staff without approval from staffers in Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew’s office to closing many of the program’s regional offices and forcing nurses to complete paperwork in their cars.” Read the full editorial.

Attention MSEA-SEIU Members!

We rely on you to keep us apprised of any changes to your status, your position and your contact information. Accordingly, please contact MSEA-SEIU Systems/Database Administrator Lynn Warner at 622-3151 ext. 1131 or lynn.warner@mseaseiu.org to update us whenever the following information changes:

  • YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION: Please let us know of any changes to your mailing address, your home or work email address, or your home, cell or work phone numbers.
  • YOUR POSITION: Please let us know of any changes to the number of hours you are regularly scheduled to work each week, your work location, or your position, including changes through promotion, demotion, transfer or reclassification.
  • YOUR SEASONAL PAYROLL STATUS: If you are a permanent seasonal employee, please contact us to let us know when you go on or off payroll. Under our Constitution and Bylaws, permanent seasonal employees may maintain active member status while off payroll by paying dues at the retiree rate. This allows seasonal employees to continue to serve as chapter officers and delegates, to participate as delegates in our Annual Meeting, and to vote in contract ratification votes even while off-payroll. As of September 2016, the retiree dues rate is $5.05 per month. If you go off payroll, Lynn can help you make the payment arrangements necessary to maintain your active member status.

Thank you for your attention. It is your responsibility to provide us with accurate and up-to-date information. Failure to do so could affect your ability to participate in union matters, as well as your rights under your contract, Constitution and Bylaws.

Bangor Daily News editorial: “Gov. Paul LePage’s repeated rhetorical flip-flops this week on whether his administration had instituted a state hiring freeze were frustrating and inaccurate. His statement blaming the freeze on raises given to workers at the state’s mental health facilities was cruel.”

Read the full editorial here.

Spot-on editorial in the Maine Today Media newspapers: “There may be an argument for reducing the size of state government, but LePage hasn’t made it. That puts the burden on him to convince legislators that eliminating 20 percent of the state workforce is the right thing to do, and not just a ploy to pay for income tax cuts of questionable efficacy. It puts the burden on him to show that the positions should be eliminated because they are truly not needed, not because he holds some personal vendetta against their function.”

Read the full editorial here.

Updated: December 1, 2016 — 11:33 am
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