In a first for our union, elected delegates convened virtually Oct. 17 for our 77th Annual Meeting.
Delegates passed the 2021 MSEA-SEIU General Operating Budget and a dues increase of 10 cents per week. Retiree dues go up 5 cents per month automatically with the retiree COLA going up.
Delegates approved resolutions relating to annual operating reserves and chapter representation/delegate counts/adjustments. They thanked MSEA-SEIU activists and staff for their advocacy for workers, active and retired. Delegates also nominated members to serve on the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors and union committees. Elected at the Annual Meeting or in subsequent mail-in ballots:
Board of Directors
— Area 1: Jeff Doyon and Miranda Wilson, two-year terms; and Brian Markey and Brandon Michaud, one-year terms. Note: Miranda and Brian got the same number of votes, so a coin toss determined their terms; Miranda won it.
— Area 2: Dave Projansky and Kris Segars, two-year terms; and Mike Hein, alternate.
— Area 3: Rachel Sherman and J.B. Whipple, two-year terms;
Retiree: Bob Ruhlin and Penny-Whitney Asdourian, two-year terms; and Ray Dzialo, alternate.
Jane Gilbert and Kevin Russell
VEBA (Voluntary Employee Benefits Association)
— Area 1 VEBA: James Willis
— Area 2 VEBA: Cheryl Dugal
— Area 3 VEBA: Laurian Doucette
DEMAND U.S. SENATE PASS COVID RELIEF
Our guest speaker, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, called on all of us to demand the U.S. Senate fund COVID relief for state and local services immediately. She said the U.S. House passed the Heroes Act back in May and it includes many of our demands, including nearly $1 trillion to fund vital state and local services, time-and-a-half pay for essential workers, personal protective equipment to save lives, and extended unemployment.
“As of today (and as this Stater went to press),” President Henry told delegates, “a second stimulus package has still not been passed. Without federal aid to states, MSEA members will face increased workloads, potential furloughs, pay cuts or layoffs — and we are taking action together as the SEIU family across the labor movement, across every movement in this country, to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have to get state and local aid. We have to get job security. We have to get PPE and hazard pay. We have to protect Social Security and Medicare.”
SYSTEMIC CHANGE NECESSARY
In his remarks, MSEA-SEIU President Dean Staffieri thanked members for stepping up and adapting in support of each other and quality services during the pandemic. He said we must advocate for systemic change to address critical issues like low wages, health and safety, and health and retirement insecurity. “The lack of affordable healthcare affects us all regardless of whether we have insurance. Worker safety protections, and the agencies that enforce them, are broken,” President Staffieri said. “The safety net in our country is in desperate need of reform. Nearly half of all American workers are barred from forming a union and claiming unemployment benefits. Far too many work too long before retiring.”
WE CAN’T LET OUR GUARDS DOWN
MSEA-SEIU Executive Director Alec Maybarduk told delegates that when the pandemic hit the United States, our union pivoted every function of our organization to respond.
“As a union of 13,000 workers, you understood early on that our worksites were the frontlines of the fight to ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of the coronavirus. If your worksites weren’t safe, your families and our communities would be at tremendous risk,” Maybarduk said. “Before the Governor issued her executive order, and well before many were taking the virus seriously, you already were raising concerns with your employers. Hundreds of you wrote to the Governor demanding the right to telework, additional sick leave, and greater safety measures – and you won! Together we were successful in getting thousands of workers released from worksites and enacted measures to keep those who go into work every day safe.”
Continuing, Maybarduk said, “You negotiated health and safety, leave time, and work-from-home policies with all of our employers. You worked together and won hazard pay for essential workers who continue to go into worksites to keep our society functional through the pandemic. Now many of you are running health and safety labor management committees to ensure our members’ concerns and ideas are heard. There have been a few members who have tested positive, and some have gotten very ill, and thankfully none have been fatal. But we know we can’t let our guards down.”
Maybarduk asked delegates and all members to keep demanding the U.S. Senate pass COVID relief immediately to fund state and local services during the pandemic and to prevent further job losses. Take action here.