FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19
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In July of 2017, services ground to a halt in Maine State Government due to a ridiculous and unnecessary state government shutdown.
Statement by MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 President Dean Staffieri on the Back-to-Basics Budget Proposal
Dean Staffieri, president of the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union (MSEA-SEIU Local 1989), released the following statement on the Back-to-Basics Budget Proposal:
“For too long, the continuity of basic essential services such as courts, road construction and Maine’s essential safety net have been political bargaining chips in budget negotiations. The last thing Maine people need during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is another ridiculous and unnecessary state government shutdown like the one in July of 2017. We encourage all legislators to support this reasonable budget proposal to ensure the continuity of the services Mainers need now more than ever.
“Passing a baseline state budget by month’s end ensures essential services will continue without interruption while legislators continue to debate how to use increased revenues and new federal funds to address Maine’s many unmet needs.“
MSEA-SEIU members who work as office assistants and office associates are on the front lines of providing quality services to Maine people in this pandemic, yet workers in both classifications are paid only 79 to 80 percent of what their peers throughout New England earn. Underpaying is rampant throughout Maine State Government, a new report shows.
On Feb. 10, the Mills administration released to the Maine Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee a new and comprehensive State of Maine Market Study Report comparing the wages of State workers to our public and private sector counterparts throughout New England. The findings confirm what we’ve been telling the public and lawmakers for years: The State continues to substantially underpay us for the work we do. Immediate action and progress are needed to address this longstanding injustice.
Apply for 2021 MSEA-SEIU scholarships!
One of the benefits of MSEA-SEIU membership is our union’s scholarship program. We have 11 scholarships to award. Seven are for full-time students who are dependents of dues-paying MSEA-SEIU members. The other four are for MSEA-SEIU members continuing their education. Instructions and requirements for all scholarships are here. Our MSEA-SEIU scholarships are:
- MSEA-SEIU 2021 Full-Time Student Scholarships. Seven scholarships ranging from $750 to $1,500 apiece are available for students who have one of the following relationships with a dues-paying MSEA-SEIU member: son or daughter of an MSEA member; stepchild of an MSEA member who resides with the MSEA member; son or daughter of the MSEA member’s significant other who resides with the MSEA member in accordance with the sick leave article of the Executive Branch contract; student who is under legal guardianship of an MSEA member; and/or grandchild of an MSEA member who resides with the grandparent. Applicants must be entering full-time post-secondary educational or vocational programs for the first time as freshmen. Download the Full-Time Student Scholarship application and instructions here.
- MSEA-SEIU 2021 Member (Part-Time Student) Scholarships. Three $500 scholarships, one for each of the three MSEA Areas, are for MSEA-SEIU members enrolled in educational programs. These scholarships are for members who furthering their education either on a part-time basis while employed OR on a full-time basis after obtaining an educational leave of absence. Download the MSEA-SEIU Member (Part-Time Student) Scholarship application here.
- 2021 Wayne Hollingworth Scholarship. One scholarship in the amount of $500 will be awarded to an active member of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 who is pursuing her/his education while continuing to work. Preference will be given to an active member who is or has been a participant in the Aspire Program. Download the Wayne Hollingworth Scholarship application here.
Applications and all required data for all scholarships must be received at MSEA-SEIU headquarters by April 16, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact MSEA-SEIU Account Clerk Luanne Collins at 622-3151 ext. 1114 or Luanne.Collins@mseaseiu.org. Again, instructions and requirements for all scholarships are here.
Representational services roundup —
Executive, Judicial, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Community College System, Maine Maritime, Green Valley, Baxter School for the Deaf
In a first for our union, elected delegates convened virtually Oct. 17 for our 77th Annual Meeting. Delegates passed the 2021 MSEA-SEIU General Operating Budget and a dues increase of 10 cents per week. Retiree dues go up 5 cents per month automatically with the retiree COLA going up. Story.
While recent State revenue projections reflect an improved economic forecast, the State continues to expect revenue shortfalls estimated at $655 million for the three years covering the current fiscal year and next two-year state budget cycle.
The projections anticipate a protracted, slow and uneven recovery from the current recession. They anticipate further federal COVID relief in 2021, including support for state and local governments, beyond the $809 billion federal COVID relief legislation being discussed in our nation’s capital as the Stater was going to press.
The voices of essential workers like you, active or retired, matter. During the 2021 legislative session, we will need to work hard to ensure our voices are heard during every step of the biennial budget process. Our legislators need to know who we are and the work we do. We need a fair, responsible budget that protects state workers and the critical services we provide to our communities.
Please sign up today to receive alerts when there are actions YOU can take to ensure we have a fair, responsible budget. There will be numerous ways to get involved, including calling, emailing, testifying virtually and attending virtual town halls. It’s up to all of us to advocate for a fair state budget. Please advocate for the funding necessary to ensure quality services for Maine people. Join with MSEA-SEIU members fighting to protect jobs and services by pushing for a fair state budget. Pledge your support here.
Because of the advocacy of MSEA-SEIU members in support of leaders who respect us and our work, on Nov. 3 we elected a pro-worker majority of state legislators in both the Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives for the 130th Maine Legislature. We re-elected our pro-worker Congressman, Jared Golden, and our pro-worker Congresswoman, Chellie Pingree. Members took a leadership role in electing a pro-worker president and vice president in President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Story.
“The workers at Planned Parenthoodorganized their union election during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s unprecedented; it speaks volumes to their commitment and dedication to the work they do,” said Allison Perkins, vice president of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. “With face to face organizing limited, the workers at Planned Parenthood in Maine had to communicate with each other virtually through Zoom calls and shared messaging as they united for a voice at work. The workers at Planned Parenthood refused to let the pandemic interfere with their right to form a union. On behalf of all the members of MSEA, we congratulate the workers at Planned Parenthood on their union election and look forward to working together to advocate for each other and the services we all provide. Now more than ever, workers need a voice at work to ensure safe and healthy worksites, and respect for the work they do.” Story here.
The summer of 2019, workers at the statewide anti-poverty agency Preble Street voted overwhelmingly for a voice at work by forming a union with ours, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. They elected coworkers to serve on their first bargaining team, Preble Street Workers United, and began negotiating with management over their wages, benefits and working conditions.
“We have seen so much happen in that time,” members of the Preble Street Workers United bargaining team said in a joint statement. “A pandemic has hit, a civil rights movement was reignited, a wellness center was opened and our resource center was abruptly dismantled. Through it all, we have been working hard to make improvements at work. It has been quite a journey! Over the past year we have filled out surveys, drafted proposals, met with management, had union cupcakes with our clients, had button and t-shirt days to show our unity, and stuck together to make changes at work.”
The hard work and determination of the Preble Street Workers United bargaining team has culminated with Preble Street workers ratifying their first union contract. They secured substantial gains on the issues that led them to unionize: Safety, quality services and respect for the work they do. Story here.
MSEA-SEIU Adjunct Faculty Member and Union Negotiating Team Member Camilla Lofving testifies in 2019 for pay equity for adjuncts.
Ten years after joining together as union members for a stronger voice at work, MSEA-SEIU members who work as adjunct professors for the Maine Community College System ratified a new contract providing them with a key victory they’ve been determined to secure since Day 1: Pay parity across all seven campuses by August of 2022. Story.
Members at Green Valley Association ratify new contract
Congratulations to MSEA-SEIU members at Green Valley Association on ratifying their new contract. It provides a path to enhance recruitment by improving scheduling and committing to two pay raises this year.