Maine workers say they’re sticking together; no court decision will stand in their way
June 27 — Members of the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union, today joined with their sisters and brothers throughout the nation in resolving to stick together in their union. While the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its long-expected decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case – a lawsuit backed by anti-worker extremists – people who belong to MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 said they are determined to keep uniting more workers in unions and holding politicians accountable for creating more good union jobs.
“My coworkers and I in the Judicial Branch know the power of our union comes from all of us as members, which is why we have such strong union participation,” said MSEA-SEIU Steward Darcey Emery, a courtroom technology assistant based in Portland for the Judicial Branch of Maine State Government. “We negotiate, as equals with management, employment contracts ensuring fair treatment for all workers. This keeps the wheels of justice turning in Maine. While the Supreme Court’s decision is an attempt to divide working people, my coworkers and I are determined to stick together in our union so we can continue providing the quality public services Maine people count on.”
MSEA-SEIU Chief Steward Bill Hartley said the overwhelming majority of his coworkers are union members because they recognize the value of union membership.
“The fair wages, affordable healthcare and retirement security our members fight for are necessary to ensure a qualified workforce at the Maine Turnpike Authority,” said Hartley, an automotive mechanic III at the Maine Turnpike Authority’s Kennebunk maintenance facility and vice president of his union’s Maine Turnpike Authority Chapter. “No court decision will keep us from sticking together and advocating for each other and the services we provide.”
MSEA-SEIU members know when working men and women join together in a union, they gain the power in numbers to ensure quality public services, raise wages, win affordable healthcare and put retirement security within reach.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is the latest example of billionaires rigging the system against working people and quality public services,” MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton said. “The members of our union are united in advocating for the public services Maine people count on. We will keep fighting for people who want to form a union and continue calling on all of Maine’s elected leaders to do everything within their power to make it easier, not harder, for workers to join together in unions.”
Run for the 2019 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors
Announce your candidacy for the 2019 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors. You will be elected by fellow members who are delegates to the Annual Meeting on October 26 and 27. Delegates will elect 10 (ten) MSEA-SEIU members to serve on our union’s Board of Directors: two directors each from Areas I, II, and III, plus two Retiree Directors and two Alternate Directors.
You can be involved in setting the direction of your union representing your fellow union members when you serve on the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors. To announce your candidacy, please submit a candidate statement and photo for publication in the next Maine Stater. The following terms expire Dec. 31, 2018:
- Area I Directors: Tom Maher and Miranda Wilson (Miranda is term-limited);
- Area II Directors: Jennifer Neumeyer and George O’Connor;
- Area II Alternate Director: David Projansky;
- Area III Directors: Jon LeRoyer and Luci Levesque;
- Retiree Directors: Peggy Rice (Peggy is term-limited) and Penny Whitney-Asdourian;
- Alternate Retiree Director: Loren Snow.
All candidate statements and photos for publication in the Maine Stater must be received at MSEA-SEIU headquarters by 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. If you would like to have your photo taken for this purpose, please call Tom Farkas at 1-800-452-8794 ext. 1127 at your earliest convenience. Email candidate statements and photos (high-resolution JPGs please) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail candidate statements and photos to: Maine Stater, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, 65 State St., Augusta, ME 04330-5126
Great turnout of MSEA-SEIU members June 21-22 for the 2018 Maine AFL-CIO COPE (Committee on Political Education) Convention in South Portland. At the Convention, the Maine AFL-CIO recognized the Downeast Correctional Facility workers with the 2018 Solidarity Award for their relentless and ongoing advocacy for the quality public services Maine people count on. Together, let’s elect leaders on Nov. 6 who value quality public services and respect Maine workers. Let’s elect leaders who will ensure quality, affordable healthcare for all Mainers.
MSEA-SEIU members at the Maine DHHS Office of Child and Family Services in Augusta wore purple June 14 as a growing and strong voice for themselves and the quality public services they provide. Thank you, OCFS workers, for all you do for Maine people.
Our testimony on the OPEGA report “Maine’s Child Protection System: A Study of How the System Functioned in Two Cases of Child Death by Abuse in the Home”
May 31 – Senator Katz, Representative Mastraccio, members of the Government Oversight Committee, my name is Peggy Rice. I am a retired social worker and caseworker for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. I am speaking on behalf of my union, the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union. My union represents over 12,000 workers and retired workers in Maine, including workers employed by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
We are here today in support of a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Marissa Kennedy and Kendall Chick. The care and safety of all Maine children is our primary concern. As such, we encourage the implementation of high quality standards of practice for all workers, including Maine DHHS workers, contractors and mandated reporters who come into contact with Maine children.
Our members who work at Maine DHHS remain extremely concerned about the department’s chronic public employee recruitment and retention problem. The turnover rate among intake workers, assessment workers and permanency workers within in the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) within Maine DHHS is high, averaging approximately 60 percent a year, according to our members. Caseloads of OCFS workers and the contracted workers in the Alternative Response Program (ARP) also are high – so high that many DHHS workers we represent say they are completely overwhelmed.
Many of the “potential areas for concern or improvement in the child protection system” listed in the OPEGA report are concerns we share. These areas include, but are not limited to, guidance and training for mandated reporters, a caseload and staffing that allows for timeliness of answering phone calls, timeliness and comprehensiveness of OCFS and ARP assessments of risk, and appropriateness of caseloads and adequacy of supervision and training of OCFS and ARP staff. A revolving staff, coupled with a workforce fractured between public workers and private contractors, can make it difficult to piece together the big picture necessary to keep Maine children safe and to protect them from dangerous situations.
For these reasons, we urge you to do everything within your power to address the public employee recruitment and retention problem at Maine DHHS, and to ensure that all OCFS workers and all other workers in contact with Maine children have the training, tools and support necessary to provide quality public services. Please also ensure that the voice of OCFS workers is heard in both the ongoing investigations and in related policy making. Many Maine DHHS workers we represent feel as if their voices haven’t been heard in management decisions relating to the delivery of child-protective services. They want to ensure high quality standards of practice are implemented at every turn. Thank you.
MSEA-SEIU members who are canvassers for the Maine People’s Alliance agree: America Needs Union Jobs.
MSEA-SEIU members who work for York County Government ratify contract
On May 15, MSEA-SEIU members who work for York County Government ratified their tentative contractual agreement with management.
MSEA-SEIU stewards show their solidarity April 30 at our MSEA-SEIU Statewide Steward Skills Training Program.
First in a series of member profiles: Bob Galloupe and Kerem Gungor began their public service in Maine State Government nearly a half century apart, Bob in 1971 as a driving license examiner, Kerem in 2016 as an environmental engineer for the Maine DEP. Their public service and determination to have a voice in their pay, benefits and working conditions led both of them to join the Maine State Employees Association. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary year, the stories of these two members, Bob and Kerem, symbolize the many generations of workers our union has represented and advocated for since MSEA formed in 1943. Read their stories here.
MSEA-SEIU Area II Retirees Chapter meetings
All MSEA-SEIU Area II Retirees Chapter meetings are at MSEA-SEIU headquarters, 65 State St., Augusta, unless otherwise noted.
- September: Annual meeting, location to be announced; notice to be sent
- Oct. 1: 10 a.m.
- Nov. 5: 10 a.m.
- Dec. 3: 10 a.m., followed by potluck luncheon and optional Yankee swap.
MSEA is ME
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MSEA-SEIU Fall 2018 Regional Steward Skills Training Programs. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Training runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.:
- Tuesday, Sept. 11: Portland, Clarion Hotel, 1230 Congress St. Portland, ME 04102
- Wednesday, Sept. 19: Bangor, Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor, ME 04401
- Thursday Sept. 20: Presque Isle, Northeastland Hotel, 436 Main St, Presque Isle, ME 04769
- Tuesday, Sept. 25: Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330
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.
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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.
Seventy five years ago, on March 18, 1943, about 200 state workers converged on the State House around a common purpose. As public servants, they knew they needed a voice in their jobs and in their pay, benefits and working conditions. They formed the Maine State Employees Association and began advocating for each other and the work they do.
Back in 1943, state workers had no employment contracts. They didn’t have health insurance. There wasn’t any pension system, either. Yet those founding MSEA members were united in their resolve to advocate for each other and the public services they were providing.
Their hard work and perseverance culminated in 1974 when state workers secured the right under state law to collective bargaining. By 1989, MSEA members recognized they needed to be part of something bigger to advocate effectively for public services, good jobs, affordable healthcare, and retirement security. So they voted to affiliate with the Service Employees International Union, our over 2-million member international union. We’ve been known as MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 ever since.
Time and time again, we have shown we are Stronger Together. Read the rest of President Welton’s column here.