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News release: Maine service workers endorse Raegan LaRochelle for Maine House District 86, citing her record of public service as a city councilor, small business experience and community service
Members of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 have endorsed Raegan LaRochelle for Maine House District 86 in the Nov. 2 special election.
Members of the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union (MSEA-SEIU Local 1989), have endorsed Augusta City Councilor Raegan LaRochelle in the Nov. 2 special election in Maine House District 86 covering the entire portion of Augusta west of the Kennebec River.
“Raegan LaRochelle knows the importance of public services in all of our lives. Through her service as an at-large member of the Augusta City Council and her work as a self-employed economic development consultant and as a property-maintenance business owner, she understands the concerns of Augusta voters,” said MSEA-SEIU Member Katrina Ray-Saulis of Augusta, president of the union’s Adjunct Faculty Chapter. “Her proven record of service will make her a great state representative, so join me in voting Raegan LaRochelle for Maine House.”
The daughter of career public servants, LaRochelle has served as an Augusta city councilor since 2020. She serves on the council’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee and on the Substance Use Task Force. A community leader, she also serves on the Kennebec Valley YMCA Board of Directors and as an Augusta First facilitator.
A member of Le Club Calumet, she previously served as chair of the Augusta Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and on the board of the Friends of Lithgow Library.
“From the workers whom she employs to everyone in Augusta she represents as a city councilor, Raegan LaRochelle listens to workers,” said MSEA-SEIU Retiree Member Dale McCormick of Augusta. “We can count on Raegan to advocate for all of us and quality services as our state representative. For those reasons and many others, I’m voting to elect Raegan LaRochelle for Maine House District 86.”
Members of the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors voted Sept. 17 to endorse LaRochelle, who is a Clean Elections candidate, after reviewing her endorsement questionnaire responses. The union sent its endorsement questionnaire to both candidates in House District 86; LaRochelle was the sole candidate to request the union’s endorsement by completing the questionnaire.
The Maine House District seat became vacant following the resignation of Justin Fecteau.
There’s a couple of things anyone familiar with MSEA-SEIU Member Jonathan French knows: He’s a big fan of the Baltimore Orioles, even when they’re 43 games out of first place – and he loves to talk about, of all things, transportation infrastructure. So with Congress on the brink of passing the largest-ever investment in infrastructure in our nation’s history in the form of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, you can bet Jonathan is all over it. Full story here.
For MSEA-SEIU Member Chris Martinez, a screener for Maine’s Capitol Police, his union membership has provided him and his family with more than a voice in his wages, benefits and working conditions. It also was his ticket to earn a free college degree through the SEIU Free College Benefit, a benefit program available to MSEA-SEIU members through our affiliation with the Service Employees International Union. Earlier this year, Chris earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio, one of two participating colleges. The other is Central State University; both are affiliated with the University System of Ohio. Through the SEIU Free College Program, eligible SEIU members and their spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, siblings and financial dependents, as well as retirees and their families, are eligible to earn free bachelor’s or associate degrees. Full story here.
Solidarity at Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Governor Baxter School for the Deaf
This is what solidarity looks like in American Sign Language, as shown by our members at the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. Members designed and wore solidarity shirts and buttons May 25 for a day of action.
Over 2,500 state workers signed our petition demanding Gov. Mills end the gap for state employees. Members delivered the petitions May 13.
“As an employer, the State of Maine must lead by example and start paying workers fairly for their labor and service to Maine people. The Mills administration and the Legislature must eliminate the pay gap for state employees and raise the state government minimum wage to $15 an hour. The status quo must change. Maine’s leaders must start making Maine workers and their families, not corporations and the wealthy, the priority.”
—MSEA-SEIU Steward Kyle Thomas, who works for the State of Maine Postal Center, in an op-ed column in the Bangor Daily news
“While Gov. Janet Mills didn’t create this problem, the excuses have run out. State revenue forecasts now exceed even pre-pandemic predictions — it’s time to invest in the services the people of Maine rely on and the people who make them possible. As one of Maine’s largest employers, state government must lead by example and be a part of raising standards for working people.”
— Allison Perkins, Vice President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, in an op-ed column in the Kennebec Journal and Central Maine Morning Sentinel
MSEA-SEIU members who work as office assistants and office associates are on the front lines of providing quality services to Maine people in this pandemic, yet workers in both classifications are paid only 79 to 80 percent of what their peers throughout New England earn. Underpaying is rampant throughout Maine State Government, a new report shows.
On Feb. 10, the Mills administration released to the Maine Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee a new and comprehensive State of Maine Market Study Report comparing the wages of State workers to our public and private sector counterparts throughout New England. The findings confirm what we’ve been telling the public and lawmakers for years: The State continues to substantially underpay us for the work we do. Immediate action and progress are needed to address this longstanding injustice.
Because of the advocacy of MSEA-SEIU members in support of leaders who respect us and our work, on Nov. 3 we elected a pro-worker majority of state legislators in both the Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives for the 130th Maine Legislature. We re-elected our pro-worker Congressman, Jared Golden, and our pro-worker Congresswoman, Chellie Pingree. Members took a leadership role in electing a pro-worker president and vice president in President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Story.
“The workers at Planned Parenthoodorganized their union election during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s unprecedented; it speaks volumes to their commitment and dedication to the work they do,” said Allison Perkins, vice president of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. “With face to face organizing limited, the workers at Planned Parenthood in Maine had to communicate with each other virtually through Zoom calls and shared messaging as they united for a voice at work. The workers at Planned Parenthood refused to let the pandemic interfere with their right to form a union. On behalf of all the members of MSEA, we congratulate the workers at Planned Parenthood on their union election and look forward to working together to advocate for each other and the services we all provide. Now more than ever, workers need a voice at work to ensure safe and healthy worksites, and respect for the work they do.” Story here.