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.
Our deepest sympathies to the Mason family
Our deepest sympathies to the Mason family on the death of State Rep. Gina Mason on Sept. 5, 2017. Read her obituary here.
Ginette Rivard named Interim Executive Director
Please join me in welcoming Ginette Rivard as our union’s interim executive director. The MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors named her to the position Sept. 7.
Ginette served as president of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 from November 2011 through Dec. 31, 2015, retiring at the conclusion of her second term. She spent her career as a public servant working for Children’s Behavioral Health Services at Maine DHHS. She remains active as a retiree member of our union.
While working in public service, she served on our Board of Directors and as a steward. She also served on the Deferred Compensation Advisory Council and on the AFL-CIO Executive Board.
A resident of Caribou, Ginette earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maine at Fort Kent and a certificate of graduate studies in nonprofit management from the Muskie School of Public Policy. She is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She has two adult daughters and three grandsons.
In response to President Trump’s decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months, SEIU International Executive Vice President and iAmerica Action president Rocio Sáenz issued the following statement:
“We are saddened and outraged to see the president crush the hopes and dreams of nearly 800,000 young people who are lawfully living and contributing to our society, working to provide for their families, and planning for their future. Now, they are deportable to lands they may barely remember.
“This shameful move is cruel and only seeks to fuel Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist agenda.
“But let it be clear, SEIU members and our communities won’t let President Trump’s actions stop us from standing up for immigrant families. At this difficult moment, we vow to stand together, mobilize on an unprecedented scale to resist these racist attacks against all communities of color. United, we’ll use this fight to build our movement so we can drive a turnaround in 2018 to change the direction of the country and win an America where immigrant families and all working people have a say at work and in our political system through unions, and where every family and community have the opportunity to thrive.
“I call on every member of Congress to pledge to take immediate action and support legislation to protect immigrant families and our communities from Trump’s mass deportation plan. We all must resist this racist attack on our communities and work towards common-sense policies that put America’s DREAMers and immigrant families on a path to full legal status, not mass deportation.”
Statement by Ramona Welton, President of the Maine State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989, on the Aug. 30 ratification of our four Executive Branch contracts
On Aug.30, MSEA-SEIU members ratified new contracts for the four Executive Branch bargaining units, representing approximately 9,000 employees, effective immediately. The new contracts provide our members with meaningful, long overdue and well-deserved raises and avoid many of the nasty and unwarranted takebacks that this administration sought. The service fee will be eliminated on January 1, 2018, a change this administration pursued in the hopes of weakening our union. This will necessitate some changes to our structure, but we are confident that we can continue to provide high quality representation for our members at the Legislature, in grievances and arbitrations and at the bargaining table. Although it has been a difficult process and we continue to be frustrated with the unreasonable and ideological demands of this administration, we believe we have emerged stronger and more united as a union. As we approach the Labor Day Weekend and look ahead to 2018, we will continue fighting for the rights of workers in Maine and throughout our nation, and for the right to join together in a union.
Executive Director’s resignation
Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,
On Wednesday, Aug. 30, MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors accepted the resignation of our Executive Director, Rod Hiltz. We wish Rod all the best in his future endeavors.
We anticipate filling the Executive Director position permanently and as soon as possible.
Thank you for all you do for Maine people. Have a safe Labor Day weekend.
President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
Attention MSEA-SEIU members running for MSEA-SEIU President, Vice President, Board of Directors, or as our state worker representative on the MePERS Board of Trustees
If you are running for election for MSEA-SEIU President, MSEA-SEIU Vice President, the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors, or as MSEA-SEIU’s state worker representative on the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MePERS) Board of Trustees, all to be voted on by MSEA-SEIU delegates at the 2017 MSEA-SEIU Annual Meeting scheduled for Oct. 20 and 21, 2017, you can submit a candidate statement and photo for publication in the Maine Stater. The following terms expire Dec. 31, 2017:
- The term of MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton;
- The term of MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri;
- The terms of the following members of the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors: Area I: Tracy Bonnevie and Allison Perkins; Area II: Phil Garwood and Maureen Sullivan; Area III: Stephen Kimball and Nick Pitarys; Retirees: George Burgoyne.
- The term of MSEA-SEIU member Ben Viola as our state employee representative on the MePERS Board of Trustees.
All candidate statements and photos for publication in the Maine Stater must be received at MSEA-SEIU headquarters by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. If you would like to have your photo taken for this purpose, please call Tom Farkas at 1-800-452-8794 at your earliest convenience.
Email candidate statements and photos (JPGs please) to: email@example.com
Or mail candidate statements and photos to:
Maine Stater, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, 65 State St., Augusta, ME 04330-5126
VICTORY for public health nursing
Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING
Thanks to your advocacy, a bipartisan, supermajority of state legislators Aug. 2 overrode the Governor’s veto of the public health nursing legislation, LD 1108, and put it into public law. The law requires the filling of all public health nursing positions, including vacancies, funded in the budget. The law also provides policy direction.
The “roll-calls” section of this link identifies how your state representative and state senator voted. Please take a moment and thank your legislators if they voted YES. Be sure any personal communications with legislators take place on your own time using personal phones or personal computers.
STUDENT DEBT RELIEF
The Legislature carried over the bipartisan student debt relief bond initiative known as LD 1163 to the next legislative session. Thanks go to the MSEA Rising members and all other MSEA-SEIU members who took action and will continue to take action in support of LD 1163. Learn more here.
TWO-YEAR STATE BUDGET
Thank you to all MSEA-SEIU members who took action in support of the two-year state budget. It protects bargaining unit positions and the retiree cost of living adjustment.
Mary Anne Turowski, MSEA-SEIU Director of Politics and Legislation
Advocating for student debt relief
MSEA-SEIU members Allison Perkins and Jonathan French talk with Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Nate Libby, at center, in support of the bipartisan LD 1163, the student debt relief bond initiative. The Governor also supports LD 1163.
Having access to affordable healthcare is critical to ensuring Americans are able to retire with dignity. That’s why working people and retirees across our country have successfully fought back against Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, gut Medicaid, and undermine job creation in our communities.
Despite the latest failed attempt to take away healthcare from working families, the fight is not over. We must keep fighting for affordable healthcare and retirement security. House Republicans recently unveiled a budget bill that would switch Medicare into something more like a voucher program and tries yet again to significantly shrink Medicaid.
Medicaid and Medicare both play an important role in helping Americans live in dignity when they can no longer work. Cutting these programs would worsen the retirement crisis our country is already experiencing, with seniors forced to make the unthinkable decision of whether to buy medications and getting groceries. Many older Americans would have to rely on the financial support of their adult children who already struggle with the expenses of raising their own families and aren’t saving enough for retirement. This would fuel an ongoing cycle of retirement poverty.
That’s why we must continue to stand together in our union and demand that our elected officials continue to protect essential healthcare, Medicaid and Medicare for seniors, children and people with disabilities.
Are you worried about how the House budget cuts will impact your retirement? Share your story today on the Retirement Security for All story bank.
— Editorial in the Portland Press Herald, July 30
“The nation is extraordinarily lucky that Maine sent two people to Washington, in Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, whose commitment to public service would not let them to take part in such a mean-spirited and reckless political gambit.” Read the full editorial here.
“Working people know — despite the latest failed attempt to take away healthcare, gut Medicaid and undermine job creation in our communities — that the fight is not over. Self-interested politicians share the same ultimate goal of taking away healthcare from millions of working families and undermining job creation in our communities,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “That’s why SEIU members, including frontline healthcare workers, are redoubling their commitment to winning quality, affordable healthcare for their families, their patients and clients, and everyone in America.”
2018-2019 Biennial Budget impacts on our members and other key issues
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Thank you for all your hard work throughout the entire legislative session; your testimony in support or in opposition of critical issues in the biennial budget and other key legislation did make a difference. Your activism in the days that lead up to the shutdown and throughout the shutdown itself made sure our voices were heard.
Below is a summary of the 2018-2019 Biennial Budget impacts on our members and other key issues.
In Solidarity, Ramona Welton, President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
• Retiree COLA: The Governor’s proposal to freeze the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for retired state employees and educators was rejected by the Legislature. COLA-eligible retirees will receive COLAs this year and next year, subject to the Consumer Price Index determination.
• Jobs restored: In his original budget, Governor LePage proposed eliminating almost 500 positions; over half were filled. The final budget restored 7 laid off Long Creek educators, postponed the closure of Down East Correctional Facility for 1 year, keeping 11 MSEA members’ employed and giving closure authority to the Legislature, not the Governor; kept a number of positions in Department Of Labor – MSEA will continue to monitor ongoing position concerns at DOL; saved 4 State House security screener positions in Public Safety; protected OADS –DD caseworker positions, at least temporarily, pending caseload transfers to community providers. Restoring Public Health Nurse Positions and recalling laid off members to state park positions is still a work in progress.
• State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for State Employees: State employees and other employees covered under the State Employee Health Plan were prohibited from enrolling their children
• Increases investment in Maine students, schools, and teachers and funds K-12 public education at $162 million. Department of Education School funding estimates for 2018 can be viewed by district by entering your district info into the following link. www.maine.gov/doe/eps/
• Rejects an elimination of the Homestead exemption for most families, as originally proposed in Administration budget.
• Direct Care Worker Investment: Secures $14.25m additional funding for the direct care workforce which serves seniors and Mainers with disabilities.
• Invests in higher education: Provides operational funding for the University of Maine, keeping tuition affordable and higher education accessible
• Supports job training: Funds the Maine Community College Systems Strategic Workforce Initiative at $10 million, designed to give Mainers the skills and training necessary for immediate employment.
• Protects vital services: Rejects damaging cuts to Public Health Nurses and MaineCare.
• Protects investment in Head Start: Giving more young Mainers an opportunity to thrive as children, and later as productive adults.
• Improves disability services: Doubles the number of hours for Mainers who can receive services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities under the Section 29 waiver.
• Funds Rural Hospitals: Rejects cuts to reimbursement rates for Critical Access Hospitals who serve most of Maine’s uninsured throughout the state. This ensures that Critical Access Hospitals will continue to be reimbursed at a higher rate for the work they do and the people they serve.
Eliminated in the Budget
• The 3% surcharge on incomes in access of $200,000: Approved by voters last November (Question #2), was not included in the final budget. Question #2 was supported by MSEA, so the failure to include it in the final budget was disappointing.
• The HHS Medical Review Team; Eliminated in the budget by privatizing the work by next June.
• Pension Tax Exemption: Pension tax exemption increases were proposed in the budget and also in legislation, but was not included in the final budget. The pension tax exemption remains at $10,000.
Direct Link to the budget. Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019 https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0281&item=57&snum=128
I want to express my gratitude; to Senate President Mike Thibodeau and the Senate Republican Caucus, House Speaker Sara Gideon and the House Democratic Caucus, Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson and the Senate Democratic Caucus for the open lines of communication and willingness to talk to our members and staff during this entire budget process. Your leadership during the budget process and during the shutdown was reassuring for our members. Your commitment to state workers and the services they provide is clear. Taking the time to talk to our members in the halls of the state and inviting them into your offices helped ease tensions during the shutdown.
Ramona Welton, President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Members of our union have gone through several turbulent months working to reduce the harm the Governor’s proposed state budget would cause Maine people. Your coworkers, retirees, staff and allies have been testifying before legislative committees and asking their state senators and state representatives to reject the Governor’s bad budget. Together, we have been asking legislators to start with the current baseline budget and build from there. There is still a lot of work to be done. Each of us has a role in making sure the Legislature passes a responsible state budget. Read President Welton’s column here.