PORTLAND – The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and the Maine Service Employees Association-Service Employees Union Local 1989 (MSEA-SEIU) have reached their first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) representing ACLU employees in the state.
Both organizations agree that the contract embodies the ACLU’s values, recognizing that fair wages and labor equity are linked to the fight for justice – especially gender and race equity – in our communities and across the country.
The contract guarantees a $60,000 minimum salary for all staff, regardless of their job position or years of work experience, guarantees raises to union staff over the duration of the contract, implements a leave policy that recognizes the demands of advocacy work, and increases employer contributions to family health care coverage.
“Economic justice is intrinsically linked to all of our work and to our identities as people. The injustices and inequities that we face in our community do not abandon us when we work for the ACLU. As a legal organization that seeks to root out these injustices, our workplace must reflect that mission in its wages, benefits, and culture,” said the bargaining unit in a joint statement. “Workers in non-profits are often in challenging roles; providing necessary services to the public and we deserve a wage that offers dignity and opportunities for the future. We hope that this contract empowers the working-class people of Maine to continue to fight for fair wages. We stand in solidarity with you.”
“In unprecedented times you never lost your focus to win an extraordinary first contract! You all have ensured that a contract can be fair and equitable,” said Dean Staffieri, President of MSEA-SEIU local 1989. “You have shown that non-profits, such as the ACLU of Maine, are critical to the workforce and that you are deserving of a wage that offers dignity and opportunities for your future and for future employees. Thank you for all that you do for the people of Maine and for your leadership in the labor movement.”
The ACLU of Maine voluntarily recognized the union in February 2021 and began negotiations in May 2021.
“Union staff have been fierce advocates for fair wages and an equitable workplace,” said Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “Through the bargaining process, the unit staff reminded us that too often, a person’s compensation is rooted in systemic inequities that have excluded BIPOC, women and queer people from workforce advancement and economic security. Unit staff’s dedication and advocacy to advance a minimum salary helped the organization practice its values.”
The ACLU of Maine is dedicated to defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and to extending their promises to all Mainers. The organization is active in the courts, the legislature and the community. Founded in 1968 and based in Portland, the ACLU of Maine is the statewide affiliate of the national ACLU, a nationwide organization with a presence in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 represents more than 12,000 Maine workers, including employees in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. Since 1989 the union has been affiliated with SIEU which unites 2 million workers across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada to win equitable wages and benefits.