Our testimony opposing legislation to lease out and contract out the operations and maintenance of the state-owned Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in Bristol
Testimony of Mary Anne Turowski, Maine State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989, before the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation And Forestry, January 16, 2018, in Opposition to LD 1739, Resolve, Authorizing the Lease of the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site
Senator Davis, Representative Dunphy and members of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee, my name is Mary Anne Turowski, Director of Politics and Legislation for the Maine State Employees Association, Service Employees International Union Local 1989. We are a labor union representing 13,000 public sector and publicly funded workers and retired workers statewide.
Under this legislation, the State of Maine could lease out and contract out the operations and maintenance of a National Historic Landmark, the State of Maine-owned Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in Bristol, to a nonprofit organization. We represent the state workers who operate and maintain the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site with the highest level of accountability to Maine people. This legislation could result in the elimination of their jobs, ultimately resulting in layoffs.
Maine’s state historic sites and state parks are invaluable public resources. They draw record-breaking numbers of visitors year after year. Maine residents ages 65 or older are admitted free provided they show proof of age. Everyone else can either pay an admission fee onsite or, if they purchased one, show a Maine State Park Pass at applicable locations. While a Maine State Park Pass is valid for admission at the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site, some state-owned parks or sites that have become subject of public-private partnerships for their operations and maintenance don’t accept Maine State Park Passes for admission. These include Scarborough Beach. We are concerned that under LD 1739, public access to the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site via a Maine State Park Pass could be restricted or disappear.
We do want to recognize the good work of the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid, the volunteer, nonprofit organization that potentially would lease, operate and maintain the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site under this legislation. The members of Friends of Colonial Pemaquid have shown through their advocacy over the past 25 years that they care deeply about the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site. While we appreciate their dedication and determination to protect and preserve the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site, we strongly believe Maine’s state parks and state historic sites, including the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site, are best protected and maintained by State of Maine workers who are directly accountable to Maine people. Your due diligence is critical in assessing whether turning over the operations and maintenance of a state resource to a third party is in the best interest of Maine citizens. We respectfully urge you to oppose LD 1739.
Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,
The MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee will present our 6th Annual MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award to one of our retiree members Tuesday, May 29, 2018, during our 31st Annual MSEA-SEIU Retirees Day at the Augusta Civic Center. Anyone can nominate. Using the two-page nomination form linked here, please nominate a retiree whom you think might be deserving of this award. Past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are: Frank Kadi (2013); Jackie Roach (2014); John Hinkley (2015); Bill Deering (2016); and Bob Galloupe (2017).
These factors (in no particular order) will be considered in selecting the 2018 award recipient:
1. Living person;
2. Active in being a leader;
3. During his or her work years, showed leadership in support of working families and retirees;
4. Advocates for MSEA-SEIU retirees through the political process;
5. Promotes spirit of retirees;
6. Supports the MSEA-SEIU retiree agenda;
7. Community Involvement.
You can also request a copy of the nomination form by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may nominate someone by email or U.S. mail. Send nominations to Tom Farkas, MSEA-SEIU communications and training coordinator, at email@example.com or via U.S. mail at: Tom Farkas, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, 65 State St., Augusta, ME 04330-5126.
You may self-nominate or nominate someone else. In nominating someone else for this award, we need your help by answering some of the criteria above as we don’t know what all retirees have done to contribute.
Once the deadline has passed, a subcommittee will look over the nominations, score them and select someone. Nominations must be received at MSEA-SEIU headquarters by 5 p.m. Friday, April 13.
The MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee
Bangor Daily News editorial —
“Raising the state’s minimum wage helped the state’s economy and the state’s low-wage workers. Reversing these benefits makes no sense.” Read the full editorial here.
Eric Noyes named Executive Director of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
The Board of Directors of the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union, has named a longtime union organizer, Eric Noyes of Yarmouth, as the union’s new executive director.
“What impressed us about Eric is his experience in advocating for working people, his commitment to the labor movement, and his high level of engagement with workers in so many occupations,” said MSEA-SEIU Director and Chief Steward Robin Upton-Sukeforth, who served on the union’s personnel committee for the executive director search. “Eric has helped make lives better for working families all across our nation. We’re thrilled he has joined us, as our executive director, in the fight for quality public services, working families and retirees in Maine.”
Since 2001, Eric has worked with SEIU and its affiliates helping thousands of public and private sector workers in higher education, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, Head Start, and the fast food industry gain a voice in their wages, benefits and working conditions. His union organizing work has taken him to many states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada. He most recently served as SEIU’s Deputy Division Director for the Public Division.
“The issues facing working families in Maine are significant,” Eric said. “They are counting on quality public services so they can go about their daily lives. They deserve to earn a living wage so they can keep up with inflation. They deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare. And everyone, someday, should be able to retire with dignity. That’s what the members of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 are fighting for, and it’s an honor to be helping to lead that fight.”
Eric, who started his new job Jan. 2, earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Buffalo. He is married with two children.
Bangor Daily News editorial —
“The department says it’s moving to fill vacant public health nursing positions as lawmakers required in legislation that passed last year over LePage’s objections.” Full story here.
“The staff increase for 2018 is being driven by a new law sponsored by Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Brunswick, that requires Maine to have at least 50 public health nurses on staff, a measure originally opposed by the LePage administration but now supported by DHHS. The public health nursing staff – front-line nurses who respond to infectious disease outbreaks and perform a number of health prevention duties – has been slashed by more than half under Gov. Paul LePage’s administration, declining from 59 in 2011 to about 25 positions in early 2017.” Full story here.
Please support LD 1163, State Senator Nate Libby’s student debt relief bond initiative
Student debt relief is an issue of direct importance to many MSEA-SEIU members. It affects most of us with children, grandchildren, and other family members burdened with student debt. If we want to support workers willing to dedicate their careers to public service, we should support programs like student debt relief. That’s why we support LD 1163, State Senator Nate Libby’s student debt relief bond initiative.
Here’s what the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Central Maine Morning Sentinel say about LD 1163: “Libby’s bill would issue a $100 million bond for student debt forgiveness and refinancing. Eligible graduates working in Maine could shave 15 percent off their debt per year of work. In six years, the average employee would be debt free. The bill will be coming back to the Legislature this year, and lawmakers should take advantage of this opportunity to put partisanship aside and invest in Maine’s future.”
MSEA is ME
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MSEA-SEIU 2018 Statewide Steward Skills Training Program: Monday, April 30: Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Training runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
MSEA-SEIU Fall 2018 Regional Steward Skills Training Programs. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Training runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.:
- Tuesday, Sept. 11: Portland, Clarion Hotel, 1230 Congress St. Portland, ME 04102
- Wednesday, Sept. 19: Bangor, Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor, ME 04401
- Thursday Sept. 20: Presque Isle, Northeastland Hotel, 436 Main St, Presque Isle, ME 04769
- Tuesday, Sept. 25: Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330
What a disappointment, Senator Collins and Congressman Poliquin
By voting for the #GOPTaxScam, despite overwhelming opposition from Maine’s working families and retired workers, Senator Collins and Congressman Poliquin put the interests of corporations and millionaires ahead of the interests of Maine’s working families and retirees. The #GOPTaxScam will give enormous tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy at the expense of working families and retirees. The tax bill will cause 13 million Americans to lose their healthcare by repealing elements of the Affordable Care Act. The Republican leaders now intend to use the huge deficit their tax bill will create as an excuse to cut Medicare and Social Security. Don’t let them get away with it. Hold them accountable. Please keep making your voice heard. Together We are Stronger.
The proposed highway worker legislation won’t move forward
Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,
The calls you and your coworkers made to key Republican legislative leaders over the past few weeks helped make them aware of the statewide recruitment and retention issues at MDOT camps. So it was disappointing Nov. 30 to see the Legislative Council vote, once again, along party lines to prevent Senator David Miramant’s proposed highway worker wage legislation from proceeding as emergency legislation.
All five Republican legislative leaders voted to prevent it from proceeding. All five Democratic legislative leaders voted to let to proceed. The 5-5 vote means the proposed legislation won’t move forward.
We will continue to look for other possible ways to address state highway worker issues in the upcoming legislative session. Thank you for your efforts, the calls and conversations. I believe you made a difference and helped your cause moving forward by your participation. Again, thank you.
Ramona Welton, President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
MSEA-SEIU delegates reelect President Ramona Welton and Vice President Dean Staffieri
Congratulations to MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 President Ramona Welton and MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri on their reelection to their respective union offices during our union’s 74th Annual Meeting held Oct. 20-21 at the Samoset in Rockport. In addition to voting in union elections, MSEA-SEIU delegates also approved our union’s proposed 2018 General General Operating Budget and approved a resolution funding the MSEA-SEIU Emergency Relief Fund. So far, MSEA-SEIU chapters have pledged over $6,000 in funding for the MSEA-SEIU Emergency Relief Fund, which was formed in the event of a shutdown, lockout, strike or similar event impacting the active members of our union. Talk with your chapter’s elected union delegates for a complete report on our 74th Annual Meeting, or check out the links below:
BY ELIZABETH SIMPSON
MSEA-SEIU retiree member
The State of Maine offers a phenomenal benefit to their employees, retirees and spouses/domestic partners of State of Maine employees/retirees. The State of Maine Employee Wellness Center Program is sponsored by the Maine Division of Employee Health & Benefits and Office of Workers’ Compensation partnering with Maine General Medical Center. Membership to the State of Maine Employee Wellness Centers is provided at no cost to eligible members. Read the rest of Elizabeth’s column here.
Attention all MSEA-SEIU members: Welcome to SEIU Member Benefits, a new online benefit program exclusively for SEIU members. Go to seiumb.com for details.
At seiumb.com you can take advantage of a range of benefit programs – everything from insurance and credit cards to discounts on travel and everyday items. We’re proud to bring you this assortment of great benefits at no cost or obligation – just for being a member of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989.
Go to seiumb.com to see how the buying power of millions of SEIU members can help you:
Manage finances: Get competitive rates on everything from credit cards to personal loans;
Protect your family: Benefit from group rates on a growing portfolio of insurance products;
Cut your cost of living: Get special discounts at thousands of stores and favorite merchants;
Travel for less: Enjoy specially negotiated rates and travel programs.
There’s no cost or obligation. Get started today by registering at seiumb.com and then keep going back to see new benefits. You also can sign up at seiumb.com for emails to be the first to know when new benefits are added.
Every day we go to work and on many days our work goes unnoticed. Often it seems like we’re only noticed when there’s a problem. I want to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for the work you do, or have done, for Maine people. Thank you also for what you do every day for your community and for your union. Together We are Stronger!
MANY OF YOU STEPPED UP IN 2017
This year, many of you stepped up in support of Maine workers, retirees and quality public services. Over the summer, you demanded passage of a fair budget ending the state shutdown. In October, nearly 200 of you served as delegates at our 74th Annual Meeting. As you will read in the Dec. 7 edition of your Maine Stater, delegates approved our 2018 General Operating Budget. They also passed a special resolution titled “MSEA is ME.” This resolution, printed on Page 7, is your call to action for 2018:
“MSEA is committed to fighting against all attacks on our ability to be a voice for all workers across Maine, that MSEA is committed to maintaining our strength in every single worksite by increasing membership and developing new leaders. By speaking with a unified voice MSEA will make our presence known at the worksite, at the State House and in our communities. MSEA’s members, leaders and staff will devote every effort to amplify the voice of Maine’s workers and working families to ensure that ‘Together We Rise’ in each MSEA bargaining unit and chapter, and that we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers fighting for workers’ rights across the country.”