Standing up for the Downeast Correctional Facility, Long Creek Youth Development Center and the Capitol Security Screeners

Down East Correctional Facility WEB

Workers from the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport traveled to the State House Feb. 16 to testify against the Governor’s proposal to close the facility. State Sen. Joyce Maker of Calais and State Reps. Will Tuell of East Machias and Robert Alley of Beals, all of whom are members of the Legislature’s Down East delegation, all testified against the proposed closure, as did Down East business owners and Machais Town Manager Christina Therrien. The hearing was before the Appropriations Committee and the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Also pictured here with the workers and the Down East delegation is Sen. Scott Cyrway, who has worked in corrections and law enforcement and who serves on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

During the same hearing, workers from the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland testified against the Governor’s scheme to reduce the center’s education staff by 10 teachers. The targeted workers provide direct care to vulnerable Maine youth. The Governor’s scheme to cut these positions appears arbitrary and without regard for the public services Maine people need. “Our students population has incredible mental health and substance abuse issues that are or have extremely limited their functioning,” seven  workers wrote in their testimony. “These are not students we can put on a computer to learn and eliminate our teaching staff. They need qualified teachers committed to their educational and social growth. They need qualified teachers to provide them with the same educational opportunities that are provided to other students in this state. They need an approved school with enough certified teachers to provide their educational programming. Cutting the teacher staffing at Long Creek would remove their rights to a proper education, a right that they have even if they are committed to Long Creek.”

Additionally, legislators on the Appropriations Committee and the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard testimony from workers opposing the Governor’s scheme to eliminate security screening at the State House in Augusta. The Governor proposes to eliminate the jobs of the security screeners. These are the workers who help keep everyone safe by preventing dangerous weapons from getting inside the State House.

The excerpt below is from Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley’s State of the Judiciary Address to the 128th Maine Legislature:

Clerks and Marshals
First, as you may have heard me mention before, Maine’s trial judges are among the lowest paid judges in the nation.

But even more distressing is the fact that the pay scales of marshals, clerks, and others in the Judicial Branch have not remained competitive either with other law enforcement agencies or with what the staff can make working other public sector jobs or the private sector. We no sooner train new clerks and marshals than we lose them to other employers.

Yet the clerks and the marshals are the unsung heroes of the Maine Courts.

You may have noticed that I did not begin today’s presentation with my usual request for more marshal positions to help us reach 100% entry screening. That is because the compensation situation is so bad that we struggle just to fill the existing  marshal positions.

We must adjust the compensation of court staff. Our recently completed salary study confirmed that we have fallen significantly below market averages. Ted Glessner will shortly be discussing this problem with the Appropriations Committee. This is important. We need to act quickly to make  Judicial Branch wages more competitive in order to attract and retain good employees.

Read Chief Saufley’s entire State of the Judiciary Address here. Her references to low wages appear on Page 11.

“We’re feeling very good about what happened today, and I think this is a victory for all in the middle class today,” said Bill McQuillen, director of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire. Full story.

SEIU’s Henry: Working families will scrutinize Acosta with standards we expect of nation’s Labor secretary

Feb. 16 — SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement on President Trump’s announcement he is nominating Alexander Acosta to be secretary of Labor:

“Less than 24 hours ago, working people stood together and proved with Andy Puzder’s withdrawal as Labor secretary nominee that when we join together we can fight back against corporations that take advantage of workers. Working people are still in this fight for an economy and political system that works for all of our families and where hard work means our families can get ahead. This is the lens through which we will examine the record of President Trump’s new Labor nominee, Alexander Acosta. Together, workers will stay in the streets to demand a Labor secretary who is a champion for working people and fights to represent their interests in our economy.

“In the coming days and weeks, workers will find out more about how Alexander Acosta will ensure working people have pathways to good jobs on which they can raise their families; and a real voice impacting the decisions that affect them at work, in their communities, and in the economy and democracy. We will hold Mr. Acosta to the same high standards the American public rightfully expects of our nation’s Labor secretary: to advance the interests and needs of wage earners in our economy.”

Editorial in the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Central Maine Morning Sentinel, Feb. 9:
“There were 417,132 people who went to the polls in November and said ‘yes’ to raising the minimum wage, the highest vote total for any referendum in Maine history. It was also 122,599 votes more than Gov. LePage got the last time he ran for election. Despite what the governor says, Maine is a democracy and the people have spoken. Now it’s time for their representatives to get to work.

Puzder out

02-03-17 WEB Petition delivery STOP the Puzder nomination

Together with our allies, we signed and delivered petitions Feb. 3 to Sen. Susan Collins urging her to oppose the nomination of fast-food CEO Andy Puzder at the committee level. We participated in other actions highlighting why Puzder is the wrong person to lead the Labor Department. Puzder withdrew his nomination Feb. 15. We thank Sen. Collins for listening to our concerns and publicly voicing her doubts about his nomination.

MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 members mourn the death of fellow union member and Maine Turnpike Authority worker Jeff Abbott

MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 members mourn the death of fellow union member and Maine Turnpike Authority worker Jeff Abbott. A member our Maine Turnpike Authority Chapter and a highway maintenance worker, Jeff was struck and killed Friday, Jan. 20, while working at Exit 48, according to authorities.

“Like all workers, Jeff Abbott went to work with every expectation that he would be home for dinner at the end of the day. His death is a tragic reminder of the dangers our members experience every day as they serve the people of Maine,” said Ramona Welton, president of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. “We are devastated. We grieve with Jeff’s family, friends and coworkers.”

Read Jeff’s obituary here.

Visiting Hours will be 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 at Hope Memorial Chapel, 480 Elm St., Biddeford, ME 04005. A memorial service will begin at 6 p.m. in the Hope Chapel.

“Democrats have argued for decades that increasing wages among people who spend every cent they make stimulates growth more than letting rich people sock away money for their great-grandchildren. It is as unthinkable that Democrats would shy away from championing a minimum-wage hike as it would be for Republicans to be embarrassed about cutting the estate tax.” Read Greg’s full column here.

The 2017 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors and our union’s officers

The 2017 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors WEB

Members of the 2017 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors and our union’s officers include, from left, seated: MSEA-SEIU Secretary Kathy Ferrick, Director Nicholas Pitarys, Director Tom Maher, Director Phil Garwood, Director Tracy Bonnevie, Director Robin Upton-Sukeforth, Director Miranda Wilson and Director Maureen Sullivan; and standing: MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri, MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton, Director Allison Perkins, Retiree Director Peggy Rice, Director Sam Portera, Alternate Retiree Director Brenda Kaler, Director Jennifer Neumeyer, Retiree Director George Burgoyne and Alternate Retiree Director Loren Snow. Absent from the photo are MSEA-SEIU Treasurer Mark Landry, Director Luci Levesque, Director Ron Ahlquist and Retiree Director Penny Whitney-Asdourian.

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 to update us whenever the following information changes:

  • YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION: Please let us know of any changes to your mailing address, your personal or work email addresses, 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 January 2017, 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.

“At the end of the day, despite the governor’s consistent pitch to add jobs to this economy, it seems that he only wants to take away.”
– Mary Anne Turowski, director of politics and legislation, Maine State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989

Union Negotiating Team election results for the State of Maine Executive Branch

The following MSEA-SEIU members were elected to serve on our 2017-2019 Executive Branch Union Negotiating Team:

Glenn Jalbert, Shawn Kelley and Dean Levasseur

Tracy Bonnevie, Cindy Proulx and Debra Stowe

Dave Projansky, Maureen Sullivan and Charles “Chuck” Dame*
*Two candidates were nominated and elected. The MSEA-SEIU President has appointed the third member, Charles “Chuck” Dame, who works in the Department of Corrections.

Andrea LaPointe, Tom Maher and Michael McCormick

Caring starts at home. It begins with each of us and spreads to our families, neighbors, coworkers and beyond. The responses by you and your fellow members to two separate tragedies involving a union brother and a union sister reflect the caring spirit that MSEA-SEIU membership is all about. Read President Welton’s column here.

Updated: February 17, 2017 — 3:32 pm
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