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CDS workers rally May 2 for quality services and a fair contract outside CDS Reach on Forest Avenue in Portland. The workers have started an online petition in which Maine people can show their support for the CDS workers and demand management negotiate contracts that address key issues like paid parental leave, remote work and fair compensation. Story.
PORTLAND – The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and the Maine Service Employees Association-Service Employees Union Local 1989 (MSEA-SEIU) have reached their first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) representing ACLU employees in the state.
Both organizations agree that the contract embodies the ACLU’s values, recognizing that fair wages and labor equity are linked to the fight for justice – especially gender and race equity – in our communities and across the country.
The contract guarantees a $60,000 minimum salary for all staff, regardless of their job position or years of work experience, guarantees raises to union staff over the duration of the contract, implements a leave policy that recognizes the demands of advocacy work, and increases employer contributions to family health care coverage. Full story.
Thanks to members mobilizing during our contract campaign, we made progress on closing the state employee pay gap, including raising the minimum starting wage to $15 an hour, but it’s not nearly enough to correct years of cuts, stagnation and rising costs.
We all know reports in 2020 and 2009 show we’re underpaid by 15% on average — far more than that for scores of positions including, but certainly not limited to, chemists, maintenance mechanics, civil engineers, office assistants and associates, customer service representatives for our state parks, corrections officers and supervisors, and the workers at the State-run schools in Maine’s unorganized territories.
It’s past time to right this ship: Tell Governor Mills, your state legislators and the Appropriations Committee: In the Supplemental Budget, fund closing the pay gap!
Maine’s elected leaders need to hear from you. Tell them your story. Tell them what you’re doing to make ends meet as you provide the services Maine people count on. Tell them the State has the resources to address the pay gap and it’s unconscionable to do nothing. Tell them to fund closing the pay gap!
Check our latest Maine Stater for our tribute to the late MSEA-SEIU-SEIU Retiree Member and State Rep. Donna Doore, our tribute to the late MSEA-SEIU Retiree Member Jackie Roach, actions you can take in support of our legislative and bargaining initiatives, info about applying for MSEA-SEIU scholarships and cancelling student debt, and more!
We lost a true advocate for all Maine workers with the death of MSEA-SEIU Retiree Member and four-term House District 85 State Rep. Donna Doore of Augusta on Jan. 31. She was a member of our Motor Vehicle Chapter, then our Area 2 Retirees Chapter. Read our tribute here.
Jackie Roach left this world on January 16, 2022, at the age of 89. Jackie loved The County, and her granddaughter even more, and it is only fitting that she spent her last few months in Easton in her care. Growing up in Mattawamkeag, she learned her work ethic at her family’s business, the Huston House. An Alumni of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, she had many humorous stories to tell. And she did. Read our tribute here.
Our 2021 in Review rounds up our many bargaining, legislative and electoral initiatives with a message from MSEA-SEIU Executive Director Alec Maybarduk. Read our 2021 in Review here before it arrives in your mailbox!
MSEA-SEIU members at the American Red Cross Blood Services Unit in Bangor on Dec. 1 ratified a new two-year contract that takes effect immediately. The new contract increases the starting hourly pay to $16.49; it previously had been $14.61. Also under the new contract, wages increase for current employees anywhere from 50 cents an hour to $2.14 an hour. Members of our bargaining team are Sean Moncrieffe, Kristen Erickson and Ben Gates. National negotiations are ongoing. Click here for a roundup of 2021 bargaining in all of our bargaining units.
Lobbying Congressman Jared Golden in support of the Build Back Better Act.
MSEA-SEIU members stepped up big in 2021 to move key issues in the Maine Legislature and make our voice heard. We saw increases in member engagement with our federal delegation and that has shaped issues on the federal level. Members raised worksite issues by engaging legislators and by advocating for better working conditions.
Occasionally someone asks why we engage in politics and activities at the State House. We saw a great example of why this year, with some fast action under the State House dome on LD 1735, An Act To Fund Collective Bargaining Agreements with Executive Branch Employees. Now law, LD 1735 increased funding for State of Maine Executive Branch raises to up to $75 million by being amended on the floor.
In 2022, we are likely to see a Governor’s race between Governor Janet Mills and former governor Paul LePage. We will focus on engaging members early in 2022 to highlight their records on our issues. In 2022, we must unite around things we have in common and struggles we share, and stand in solidarity with those across our union.
Billy Noyes, Steven Keaten receive Lifetime Achievement Awards
At our 2021 Annual Meeting, we recognized two retiree members with Lifetime Achievement Awards: Billy Noyes, shown in photo at top, with his wife, Wanda, holding their September 1969 edition of the Maine Stater; and Steven Keaten, shown in photo below speaking with Governor Janet Mills at our 2021 Annual Meeting banquet.
At our 2021 Annual Meeting, members of our Retirees Steering Committee recognized two retiree members with MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Awards: Harold West Retirees Chapter Vice President Billy Noyes and Area 2 Retirees Chapter 2nd Vice President Steven Keaten.
A longtime union leader in Washington County, Billy Noyes started as an active member in February of 1969 as a highway worker for Maine DOT. He served on our negotiating teams at the beginning of collective bargaining for state employees and chaired our Highway Committee. He served as an officer and delegate both as an active and retiree member, as a union steward and on our board of directors. He retired as a foreman in 1997. He’s always been a strong advocate and supporter for retiree issues. He succeeded in renaming his chapter, and the bridge over the Narraguagus River in Milbridge, in honor of his longtime friend and mentor, the late MSEA-SEIU retiree member Harold West. In his hometown of Jonesboro, Billy has served as president of the local water association and the local PTA, and as a church deacon.
Steven Keaten began his state service in 1984. He worked nearly 28 years for Maine DHHS, most recently as a healthcare financial analyst. He retired in 2011, not because he was ready to leave state service, but rather as a direct result of the pension and healthcare cuts imposed by the former governor. This further empowered him to advocate at the State House and in Washington, D.C., for retirement security for all of us. He’s as strong an advocate as you will find for our political action program, PASER, Political Action by Service Employees and Retirees. He consistently stands up for workers, active and retired, by testifying at the State House, rallying for responsible budgets, picketing Maine’s congressional delegation, going door to door or making calls in support of our issues and candidates. A member of our Solidarity Committee, he organizes our booth at the Common Ground Country Fair.
“As an employer, the State of Maine must lead by example and start paying workers fairly for their labor and service to Maine people. The Mills administration and the Legislature must eliminate the pay gap for state employees and raise the state government minimum wage to $15 an hour. The status quo must change. Maine’s leaders must start making Maine workers and their families, not corporations and the wealthy, the priority.”
—MSEA-SEIU Steward Kyle Thomas, who works for the State of Maine Postal Center, in an op-ed column in the Bangor Daily news
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, 2021, 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.