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 Big wins on all three MSEA-SEIU-endorsed statewide ballot questions

On Nov. 7, Maine voters approved  all three MSEA-SEIU-endorsed statewide questions: Question 4 for retirement security; Question 3 the transportation bond; and Question 2 for more affordable healthcare. Thank you to all who voted YES on 4, 3 & 2.


MSEA-SEIU delegates reelect President Ramona Welton and Vice President Dean Staffieri

Ramona and Dean at the podium

Congratulations to MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 President Ramona Welton and MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri on their reelection to their respective union offices during our union’s 74th Annual Meeting held Oct. 20-21 at the Samoset in Rockport. In addition to voting in union elections, MSEA-SEIU delegates also approved our union’s proposed 2018 General General Operating Budget and approved a resolution funding the MSEA-SEIU Emergency Relief Fund. So far, MSEA-SEIU chapters have pledged over $6,000 in funding for the MSEA-SEIU Emergency Relief Fund, which was formed in the event of a shutdown, lockout, strike or similar event impacting the active members of our union. Talk with your chapter’s elected union delegates for a complete report on our 74th Annual Meeting.

Under their union contracts, adjunct faculty members at the Maine Community College System have the right to be considered for course assignments based on seniority. They are protected, under state law, against retaliation for engaging in protected union activity. They also have a right, under state law, to copies of their performance evaluations.

Recently we learned that management at the Maine Community College System (MCCS), through a Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) department chair and its academic dean, violated these rights of an adjunct faculty member.

Management’s egregious conduct toward SMCC Adjunct Faculty Member Rosemarie De Angelis began with its failure to consider her for course assignments based on seniority in the fall of 2016. Working with her campus steward, Dr. Ralph Carmona, we filed a grievance over this contract violation. After mediation with management failed to resolve our grievance, we filed for arbitration, which is pending.

After initially denying Rosemarie’s requested course assignments for the fall of 2016, management discouraged her from bringing her concerns to her union steward. When she did so, Rosemarie was branded a “troublemaker,” criticized for her job performance, and denied requests for course assignments for the summer and fall of 2017, after 28 consecutive semesters. No one from management ever spoke with her to tell her this or explain why. They simply removed her from the course schedule. SMCC management also failed to comply with requests, made under state law, for materials relevant to the course assignment process as well as Rosemarie’s performance evaluation.

As a result, on Sept. 27, we filed a Prohibited Practice Complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board against MCCS management. Our complaint states management discriminated against, harassed, blacklisted and retaliated against Rosemarie for engaging in a protected union activity, and that management has failed to provide Rosemarie and our union with requested information despite repeated requests.

In our complaint, we are asking the Maine Labor Relations Board to order MCCS management to cease and desist from further coercion and restraint. We are asking that management be ordered to make Rosemarie whole for any financial losses she has suffered. We also are asking that management be ordered to post a notice informing all bargaining unit members that it violated the Maine Labor Relations Act, and that it will honor its legal obligations. Management has until Oct. 17 to respond. Read our complaint here.

If you are an adjunct faculty member at MCCS and you believe management has violated any of your rights, please contact your steward or MSEA-SEIU Field Representative Meg Reilly at meg.reilly@mseaseiu.org or 622-3151 ext. 1143.


Maine Snowfighters are second to none

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Congratulations go to MSEA-SEIU Member and Transportation Crew Supervisor Curtis Lewis and MSEA-SEIU Member and Transportation Worker II Mark E. Merrill II, both of our Oxford Chapter, for taking first place and beating 60 teams in the 2017 National Snow Plow Roadeo in Colorado. Photo via MDOT.


Update on SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program)

Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,

This is an update on the recently gained right of eligible parents with State Employee Health Insurance coverage to enroll their children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), pending federal authorization. We secured this right by making sure state legislators included the necessary language in the enacted two-year state budget.

Since the budget’s enactment, Maine DHHS has begun the process of applying to the federal government for the ability to offer SCHIP coverage to the children of eligible parents covered by the State Employee Health Insurance Plan. It’s important for Maine DHHS to get federal approval because many of our members who are working parents cannot afford the cost of dependent coverage through the State Employee Health Plan.

We will follow up with new developments. In the meantime, please contact maryanne.turowski@mseaseiu.org or 622-3151 ext. 1133 if you have any questions.

In Solidarity,

Ramona Welton
President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989


Protecting Medicare and Medicaid is a matter of life and death for older Americans like MSEA-SEIU retiree member Jim Betts. Read his story as told by Eileen Kirlin, a retired SEIU Retiree Advisory Council chair and retired SEIU executive vice president. Read Jim’s story here.


74th MSEA-SEIU Annual Meeting preview

hurricanes contribute

Contribute to SEIU’s Disaster Relief Fund

SEIU members and staff can support the families of those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma by making a financial donation to the SEIU Disaster Relief Fund which helps support members in times of need.

Our SEIU sisters and brothers in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico are among the millions of people impacted by the devastating effects of these powerful storms. As these communities start to pick up the pieces, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone dealing with these disasters.

It’s times like this when being united with two million members in a strong union matters. We must band together and use our power in numbers to provide support and relief to our sisters and brothers in need.


Take advantage of the State of Maine Employee Wellness Centers

BY ELIZABETH SIMPSON
MSEA-SEIU retiree member

The State of Maine offers a phenomenal benefit to their employees, retirees and spouses/domestic partners of State of Maine employees/retirees. The State of Maine Employee Wellness Center Program is sponsored by the Maine Division of Employee Health & Benefits and Office of Workers’ Compensation partnering with Maine General Medical Center. Membership to the State of Maine Employee Wellness Centers is provided at no cost to eligible members. Read the rest of Elizabeth’s column here.

americaneeds

Attention all MSEA-SEIU members: Welcome to SEIU Member Benefits, a new online benefit program exclusively for SEIU members. Go to seiumb.com for details.

At seiumb.com you can take advantage of a range of benefit programs – everything from insurance and credit cards to discounts on travel and everyday items. We’re proud to bring you this assortment of great benefits at no cost or obligation  – just for being a member of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989.

Go to seiumb.com to see how the buying power of millions of SEIU members can help you:
Manage finances: Get competitive rates on everything from credit cards to personal loans;
Protect your family: Benefit from group rates on a growing portfolio of insurance products;
Cut your cost of living: Get special discounts at thousands of stores and favorite merchants;
Travel for less: Enjoy specially negotiated rates and travel programs.

There’s no cost or obligation. Get started today by registering at seiumb.com and then keep going back to see new benefits. You also can sign up at seiumb.com for emails to be the first to know when new benefits are added.


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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 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.


For many of us, it’s become harder and harder to pay the bills, find affordable healthcare, pay for childcare or college, save for retirement, and stay out of debt.

You and I understand these struggles. So it’s disappointing the Governor keeps pushing an ideologically driven agenda at the expense of working families and retirees. Just this year alone, the Governor’s attacks have taken many forms, including but not limited to proposals to freeze the retiree cost of living adjustment and cut public services and jobs. The ill-conceived agenda of the Governor and his allies led to the shutdown of Maine State Government over the Fourth of July weekend, disrupting the quality public services Maine people count on.

This year, members of our Executive Branch bargaining team put in scores of hours and days at the negotiating table advocating for state workers in another tough contract fight with this administration. Our bargaining team fought hard for meaningful wage increases. We secured those wage increases at the price of eliminating the service fee in our Executive Branch contracts effective Jan. 1, 2018. I was there for the negotiations. I was there for the ratification vote ballot count Aug. 30 when members in all four units approved the agreements. Read the rest of President Welton’s column here.

Updated: November 8, 2017 — 8:58 am
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