Question 4: “Do you want to raise the minimum hourly wage of $7.50
to $9 in 2017, with annual $1 increases up to $12 in 2020, and annual cost-of-living increases thereafter; and do you want to raise the direct wage for service workers who receive tips from half the minimum wage to $5 in 2017, with annual $1 increases until it reaches the adjusted minimum wage?”
No one can live on $300 a week. Nobody who works full-time should be living in poverty, either. That is why members of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 respectfully urge you to vote YES on 4 in the Nov. 8 elections to raise Maine’s minimum wage. Full story.
Question 2: “Do you want to add a 3% tax on individual Maine taxable income above $200,000 to create a state fund that would provide direct support for student learning in kindergarten through 12th grade public education?”
All Maine student deserve a good education regardless of what city or town they live in. That’s why a coalition of parents, teachers and other organizations, including our union, on Nov. 8 are urging Yes on 2, the statewide citizens’ initiative for tax fairness and increased funding for Maine’s public schools. Full story.
2017 contract negotiations –
Executive Branch bargaining call for volunteers!
It seems like every time a new bargaining team is being formed, you hear how “this is going to be a tough bargaining year.” On June 30, 2017, the four collective bargaining agreements between MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 and the State of Maine Executive Branch will expire.
Will this be a tough year? We don’t know. What we do know is we have been dealing with this administration for six years, and it has been challenging at best. MSEA-SEIU is Stronger Together and it is time to stand together to deliver fair contracts for all Executive Branch workers.
This is your invitation to become a part of the next contract negotiations.
An initial meeting for MSEA-SEIU members is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, at the Augusta Civic Center, North Wing, Arnold/Howard Room. To participate, sign up by contacting MSEA-SEIU Member Support Specialist Karen Rancourt-Thomas no later than Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-800-452-8794 or 622-3151.
The initial meeting Dec. 3 for MSEA-SEIU members will start the process to secure successor contracts for all of the Executive Branch contracts (4) that expire June 30, 2016. Together, the four agreements cover employees in the:
- Administrative Services Bargaining Unit:
- Professional-Technical Services Bargaining Unit;
- Operations, Maintenance and Support Services Bargaining Unit;
- Supervisory Services Bargaining Unit.
Each of the four bargaining units will have three members representing their co-workers’ interest during the bargaining process. If you would like to be considered for a position on the union negotiating team, you must attend the meeting Dec. 3, 2016, and be nominated, or have someone who is attending the meeting nominate you for the union negotiating team.
Members of the union negotiating team are expected to attend all of the negotiating sessions with the State and all of the union negotiating team’s planning sessions.
Additionally, as a member of the union negotiating team, you would be responsible for giving updates on the process and progress, answering members’ questions regarding the negotiations, and keeping the union negotiating team informed of members’ concerns.
All MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 members covered by the four Executive Branch collective bargaining agreements — Administrative Services; Professional and Technical Services; Operations, Maintenance and Support Services; and Supervisory Services — are encouraged to submit bargaining proposals using the form linked here. All proposals must be submitted to MSEA-SEIU headquarters no later than Dec. 31, 2016. There are two requirements in submitting bargaining proposals:
1) Only one proposal will be accepted per form. If you would like to submit more than one proposal, please download and print copies by clicking here.
2) Your contact information (name, home and work phones, and home and work email) is required on the bargaining proposal from for your proposal to be considered.
Once the union negotiating team has been seated, the members of the team will meet at MSEA-SEIU headquarters in Augusta to undergo team training, to review bargaining proposals and to build a meeting calendar that will include future bargaining dates with management.
Bangor Daily News report:
Portland Press Herald editorial:
“It’s alarming to hear the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is in the final stages of signing a $62.5 million contract with a private company to oversee a major public assistance program….Mainers have a right to be skeptical of the department’s ability to successfully outsource such an important service. Taxpayers deserve proof that the people at the DHHS have learned from their mistakes.” Read the full editorial.
Related news coverage:
- DHHS Seeking Private Partner for Welfare-to-Work Program
– News story, MPBN News, Sept. 12
- LePage welfare privatization bid puts 51 state jobs on chopping block
– News story, Bangor Daily News, Sept. 12
Bangor Daily News editorial:
“For nearly a century, public health nurses have been the ‘boots on the ground,’ contributing to emergency preparedness; monitoring treatment for those infected with tuberculosis; training health-care providers in TB treatment protocols; visiting expectant and new mothers in their homes; carrying out immunization clinics; and much more. But over the course of the LePage administration, the state’s staff of public health nurses has been cut in half. Today, there are 25 who are regularly out in the field and in a position to stage an effective response the next time there’s a public health crisis. The LePage administration has undermined the public health nursing program in other ways, too, from barring its director from emailing staff without approval from staffers in Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew’s office to closing many of the program’s regional offices and forcing nurses to complete paperwork in their cars.” Read the full editorial.
‘Save Calais DHHS’
“Keep our services local.” “Save Calais DHHS.” “Machias too far to go for services.”
Community members and workers at the Maine DHHS regional office in Calais joined together Aug. 24 for an informational picket in support of keeping the Calais DHHS office open.
The workers and residents are all mobilizing in opposition to management’s announced closure of the Maine DHHS office in Calais. Under the closure scheme, the 13 workers at the Calais office would be relocated to the Maine DHHS office in Machias.
The distance between the Calais and Machias offices is 44.4 miles to 51.4 miles depending on the route. The announcement has raised many travel and safety concerns especially because many Mainers rely on the Calais office to access state services. For many Mainers, reliable transportation, particularly during winter, can be a problem.
Workers at the Calais office and residents throughout the region are circulating petitions in support of keeping the Calais office open. We submitted a demand to management for impact bargaining.
The Calais office provides Washington County residents with many services, including services in the Office of Family Independence, the Office of Aging and Disability Services, the Office of Child and Family Services, and Child Protective Services.
Protected: Fort Kent office! Workers, residents mobilize, persuade administration to keep DHHS office open
For weeks this summer, northern Mainers and the Maine DHHS workers who serve them held informational pickets protesting the announced closure of the Maine DHHS regional office in Fort Kent and the announced relocation of those services and 17 workers to Caribou. Then on July 18¸ management announced the regional office and the 17 workers will remain in Fort Kent after all. Full story.
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 home or work email address, 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 September 2016, 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.
Bangor Daily News editorial: “Gov. Paul LePage’s repeated rhetorical flip-flops this week on whether his administration had instituted a state hiring freeze were frustrating and inaccurate. His statement blaming the freeze on raises given to workers at the state’s mental health facilities was cruel.”
Spot-on editorial in the Maine Today Media newspapers: “There may be an argument for reducing the size of state government, but LePage hasn’t made it. That puts the burden on him to convince legislators that eliminating 20 percent of the state workforce is the right thing to do, and not just a ploy to pay for income tax cuts of questionable efficacy. It puts the burden on him to show that the positions should be eliminated because they are truly not needed, not because he holds some personal vendetta against their function.”