State Employees Identify Barriers to Providing Quality Public Services

Over 1,000 state workers identify barriers to delivering quality services

Heavy workloads, staff turnover, understaffing, inadequate equipment and training, job stress and overall lack of resources are among the problems, survey shows

In a comprehensive survey, over 1,000 State of Maine workers identified understaffing, staff turnover, inadequate equipment and training, stress, lack of resources and concerns about their ability to support themselves and their families as barriers to the quality public services they provide to Maine people.

The Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union, conducted the survey of both union members and nonunion members employed in all State of Maine Executive Branch departments. Eighty-three percent of respondents identified problems in recruiting and retaining staff due to pay or other departmental problems. Sixty-three percent said their worksites or offices are insufficiently staffed. Full story here. Detailed survey results here.


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Nearly 200 MSEA-SEIU members and guests spoke directly with Governor Janet Mills on Feb. 20 about problems they’re experiencing in delivering quality services to Maine people. From wages to DHHS staffing to rising healthcare costs to retirement insecurity, members asked the Governor to work with them in finding solutions. Story here.

Fight Forward update
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MSEA-SEIU members who work as Adult Protective Caseworkers at Maine DHHS testified Feb. 27, on their own time and as private citizens, before the Maine Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee in support of legislation ensuring wage equity among Maine DHHS caseworkers. Story.

The State of Maine’s wage compensation system for Executive Branch employees has never been updated in a comprehensive, meaningful way since its implementation in the 1970s. It needs to be brought into the 21st century, in line with market wages, in order for the State of Maine to recruit and retain qualified employees. It’s time for a Compensation Study. We are supporting legislation titled Resolve, To Conduct a Comprehensive Study of the Compensation System for State Employees, introduced by Senate President Troy Jackson and currently known as LR 1585. Take action!

Quality services for Maine people have been understaffed and underfunded for the past 10 years. Many of you have identified real barriers in delivering services such as protecting the public health, protecting vulnerable children and adults, maintaining Maine’s highways and bridges, and even answering 911 calls. With so many public services at stake, we’re encouraged the Governor’s proposed two-year state budget takes some important steps toward finally getting public services back on track. It’s a starting point for quality services.


 

Senator Bellows and Hal Booth

MSEA-SEIU Retiree Member Hal Booth thanks his State Senator, Shenna Bellows, for sponsoring LD 162, An Act to Eliminate the State Income Tax on Maine Public Employees Retirement System Pensions.

The Maine Legislature is working on the next two-year state budget and considering legislation directly impacting you and the quality services Maine people count on. It’s up to all of us to alert our state senators and state representatives to issues like understaffing, retirement security, the shortage of MDOT workers, the need for a Compensation Study, the need to protect taxpayers against costly and inefficient contracting out, the need to strengthen courthouse safety and to ensure pay equity for DHHS caseworkers, the need for a prerelease center in Washington County, and the need for paid sick days. Story.


 

2019 Board

Members of the 2019 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors gathered Jan. 12 to strategize for working families and retirees. From left: MSEA-SEIU Secretary Kathy Ferrick, Director Allison Perkins, Director Tom Maher, Director Paul Edgecomb, Director Tracy Bonnevie, MSEA-SEIU Treasurer Mark Landry, Director Jen Neumeyer, Director Maureen Sullivan, MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton, Director Phil Garwood, MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri, Director Dave Projansky, Director Jason Mitchell, Director Steve Kimball, Director Lisa Morgan, Director Cal Paquet, Retiree Director Paul Gilbert, Alternate Retiree Director Diane Sharpe, and Retiree Director Bob Ruhlin. Since this photo was taken, Ginette Rivard was elected as a Retiree Alternate Director.

 MSEA-SEIU Stewards: Mark your calendars! Statewide Steward Skills Training, Monday, April 22, Augusta Civic Center!

The MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee will present our 7th Annual MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award to one of our retiree members during our 32nd Annual MSEA-SEIU Retirees Day on Tuesday, May 28, at Augusta Civic Center. Story. 2-page Nomination Form to print out and mail in.

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Members of the MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee include, from left, seated: Ginette Rivard, Chair, Peggy Rice, Bob Galloupe, Lois Baxter, Nancy Henry, Mary Oullette and Paul Gilbert; and standing: Bob Ruhlin, Monique Gendron, Mary Peabody, Sharon Labbe, Lewis Prescott, Ben Conant, Steve Butterfield and Junior Tardiff. Committee members scheduled the 32nd Annual MSEA-SEIU Retirees Day for Tuesday, May 28, at Augusta Civic Center. So far, confirmed speakers include Congressman Jared Golden and Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey.

Throughout our bargaining units small and large, MSEA-SEIU members and nonmembers identified common themes after a decade of understaffing and underfunding public services: workloads, understaffing, recruitment and retention, making ends meet, and retirement. Read President Welton’s column here.

Updated: March 4, 2019 — 1:38 pm
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