Portland Press Herald editorial:

DHHS outsourcing plan should be cause for alarm

“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:


 

“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’

Calais 1web

“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.


You’re invited! Celebrate Labor Day the union way

WATERVILLE: Sunday, Sept. 4: Central Maine Labor Council’s Labor Day Weekend Celebration, 12-3 p.m., Head of the Falls, downtown Waterville. Come one, come all to an old-fashioned Labor Day Weekend Celebration. Food, family-friendly games, blueberry pie eating contest. Info: conley_04901@yahoo.com

PORTLAND: Monday, Sept. 5: Southern Maine Labor Council Labor’s Day Breakfast, 8 a.m., Maine Irish Heritage Center, corner of State and Gray streets, Portland. Music, food, friends and inspiration. Info and tickets: dougia114@gmail.com

LEWISTON: Monday, Sept. 5: Western Maine Labor Council Labor Day BBQ, 1-3:30 p.m., IBEW Local 567, 238 Goddard Road, Lewiston. Barbecue with food, music, children’s games, speakers. Info: cynthia@maineaflcio.org

BREWER: Monday, Sept. 5: Eastern Maine Labor Council, and Food & Medicine’s 12th Annual Labor Day Event, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Solidarity Center, 20 Ivers St., Brewer. Food, music, speakers, friends and more. Info: jack@gbaclc.org


In your Maine Stater: Our endorsements and our Legislative Scorecard

Maine Stater stacks

Attention MSEA-SEIU Members! Your Maine Stater contains important information, including our endorsements for the Nov. 8, 2016, General Elections. The Stater also contains a special section: our 2016 Legislative Scorecard for the 127th Maine Legislature. LCheck the Scorecard to see if your legislators voted FOR or AGAINST Maine workers. Then hold them accountable on Election Day, Nov. 8.


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.


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 lynn.warner@mseaseiu.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.


Please help our sisters and brothers in Louisiana —
Contribute to the Local 21LA Member and Family Support Fund

MSEA-SEIU members can support the families of those affected by the severe storms and floods across Louisiana by making a financial donation of to cover their needs as they heal from this terrible event.

The severe storms and floods devastated the residents of Baton Rouge, LA, leading to more than 20,000 evacuations, with many losing their homes.

A number of our Local 21LA members were hit by the floods, including severe damage to their homes.  Many are left to rebuild their lives, including recovering their valuables and possessions, rescuing missing pets, and dealing with the aftermath of the storms.

If you are an SEIU member, you can contribute to the Local 21LA Member and Family Support Fund. Please be aware that your contribution to the Local 21LA Member and Family Support Fund is not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.


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.”

Read the full editorial here.


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.”

Read the full editorial here.


The Governor can’t spin his way out of this one

Dear MSEA-SEIU Members,

On Aug. 2, the Governor emailed state workers in response to news reports disclosing his plan to cut 20 percent of the state workforce in order to lower taxes for the wealthiest Mainers. In his email, he argued the press and our union somehow fabricated these reports. However, the Governor can’t spin his way out of this one.

As detailed in the press, one of the Governor’s top policy advisers listed the Governor’s top three goals as follows:

  • “Decrease top marginal tax rate to 5.75%”
  • “Decrease in overall budgeted spending to below 16/17 biennial levels”
  • “Decrease number of state employees to 9,500”

Don’t take my word for it—read the memorandum for yourself here.

The Governor’s budget office states there are currently 11,800 state employees. This means that he would have to eliminate 2,300 jobs in order to meet his goal of 9,500 employees.

This is why the November 8 elections matter. The good news is you and I can make a difference in November. We are stronger together, and working together, we will elect legislative majorities on November 8 who will fight for you and deny the Governor the votes he needs to push through his radical agenda.

Your August 22 edition of the Maine Stater includes a complete list of candidates endorsed by the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors. These candidates have proven their support for working people like us. If elected, they will determine funding for public services, jobs and benefits. I urge you to get involved in their campaigns and to vote for them. The stakes are simply too high to sit on the sidelines this election.

In Solidarity,

Ramona Welton
MSEA-SEIU President


President Ramona Welton’s statement on
Governor LePage’s proposal to eliminate 2,300 currently filled state jobs:

 “Once again, the Governor, through his budget, puts at risk quality public services. The Governor’s stated goal is to cut taxes for the wealthiest Mainers. In doing so, he will be sacrificing vital services at the expense of the rest of us.  Full story.


MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 announces 2016 scholarship winners

MariahLane2016ScholarshipWinner
Mariah Lane, center of photo, is the daughter of MSEA-SEIU member and Central Aroostook Chapter member Torry Lane, at right, and Hilary Lane. Mariah won our 2016 Murray L. Brown Scholarship worth $1,000 after articulating an understanding and appreciation for the value of her family belonging to a union and the impact union membership has had on her family. The scholarship was presented to Mariah at Southern Aroostook Community School. Mariah is attending the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Her father, Torry Lane, works for the Maine DOT as a transportation worker.

Congratulations go to all of the winners of our union’s 2016 scholarships:

Richard J. McDonough Scholarship ($1,500)
Keyana Prescott, granddaughter of Philip York Sr. of the Southern Maine Retirees Chapter, is attending Utica College in Utica, New York.

Howard L. Bowen Scholarship ($1,000)
Francesca Beth A. Haines, daughter of Merlyn Haines of the Androscoggin Chapter, is attending Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

Murray L. Brown Scholarship ($1,000)
Mariah Lane, daughter of Torry J. Lane of the Central Aroostook Chapter, is attending the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

George A. Davala Scholarship ($1,000)
Nicholas A. DePatsy, son of Michelle DePatsy of the Harborside Chapter, is attending Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.

Area I Community College Scholarship ($750)
Hailey Rose Caron, daughter of Jill Caron of the St. John Valley Chapter, is attending the Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.

Area II Community College Scholarship ($750)
Sara A. Tsomides, daughter of Peter Tsomides of the Cumberland Chapter, is attending Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

Area III Community College Scholarship ($750)
Alison Grace Eaton, daughter of Michelle Eaton of the Maine Maritime Academy Local 8842 Chapter, is attending University of Maine in Orono.


If you are running for election to the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors, to be voted on by delegates at the 2016 MSEA-SEIU Annual Meeting scheduled for Oct. 21 and 22, 2016, you can submit a candidate statement and photo for publication in the Maine Stater. The terms of the following MSEA-SEIU directors expire Dec. 31, 2016: Area I: Tom Maher and Miranda Wilson; Area II: Jennifer Neumeyer and Robin Upton-Sukeforth; Area III: Genevieve “Gen” Lysen and Lisa Morgan; and Retirees: Peggy Rice and Loren Snow. All candidate statements and photos for publication in the Maine Stater are due at MSEA-SEIU headquarters by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9. If you would like to have your photo taken for this purpose, call Tom Farkas at 1-800-452-8794 at your earliest convenience. Email candidate statements and photos (JPGs) by clicking here.

Or U.S. mail candidate statements and photos to:
Maine Stater, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
65 State St., Augusta, ME 04330-5126

Click here for a bulletin board poster of this announcement to post on your union bulletin board.


Updated: September 13, 2016 — 11:13 am
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