Elected to the 2019 MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors, standing in front from left: Area I: Retiree Director Bob Ruhlin, Alternate Retiree Director Diane Sharpe, Director Paul Edgecomb; Director Tom Maher and Alternate Director Kandi Crawford; Area II: Director Jen Neumeyer; Alternate Director George O’Connor, and Director Dave Projansky; Area III: Alternate Director Steve Kimball, Director Lisa Morgan and Retiree Director Penny Whitney-Asdourian. In back row at center are MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton and MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri. Also standing in back row, at far left is MSEA-SEIU Director Maureen Sullivan.
75th MSEA-SEIU Annual Meeting —
Union delegates chart new course with Fight Forward
Nearly 200 MSEA-SEIU elected delegates converged on the Samoset in Rockport for our 75th Annual Meeting on October 26-27.
In her remarks to the delegates, MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton outlined three priorities for all MSEA-SEIU members in 2019 so we can win on our issues.
“First, strengthen our membership,” President Welton said. “As we prepare for our negotiations at the bargaining tables and advocacy for a responsible state budget at the State House, we must be strong and resilient in the face of ongoing anti-worker and anti-union attacks. We must demonstrate our unity as MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 members for everyone to see. We need everyone’s help in welcoming new members into our union.
“Second, speak up, loudly, in our communities, in the State House, at the national level, on social media and in the news for the quality services we provide. When a pothole goes unfilled, when a child goes hungry, or when an emergency goes unanswered, the public must be made aware of who has prioritized tax breaks for the wealthy over the quality services we all depend on.
“And third,” President Welton said, “support members advocating for solutions to problems they have identified. This means having the resources to meet with members throughout the state, collect their stories, their ideas, and support each other in taking collective action.”
MSEA-SEIU Executive Director Alec Maybarduk talked about the importance of building union membership to strengthen our collective voice.
Union delegates approved the 2019 MSEA-SEIU General Operating Budget as proposed by the Finance Committee and approved by the Board of Directors. The budget contains a 50 cents per week dues increase for the year 2019 for working members. Of that amount, 22 cents will cover increased general operating expenses necessary to maintain our current level of services. The other 28 cents is for our Fight Forward fund. This fund will allow us in 2019 to enhance our internal organizing programs to meet the opportunities and threats to our members. It will allow us to go from defense to offense, to advocate for members and the quality services we all provide. With this fund, we’ll upgrade and modernize our ability to communicate and organize digitally. We’ll increase our strength through comprehensive membership drives. We’ll support members organizing in their communities, in their worksites, and at the state and national levels. The dues rate for retiree members will increase 15 cents per month in 2019.
GERRY HUDSON: WE’VE ALL BEEN HARMED BY RACISM
SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Hudson, our guest speaker, said strategic racism over the decades has built power for the wealthiest individuals and undermined the middle class, workers and unions. “We’ve all been harmed,” Gerry Hudson said. “Isn’t it time we put in its place a different kind of politics” that really gives a voice to working people?
Delegates welcomed Governor-elect Janet Mills, Congressman-elect Jared Golden, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, State Senator Dave Miramant and Maine Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Senator Nate Libby to our Annual Meeting.
Delegates elected the following members to the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors: Area I: Retiree Director Bob Ruhlin, Alternate Retiree Director Diane Sharpe, Director Paul Edgecomb, Director Tom Maher and Alternate Director Kandi Crawford; Area II: Director Jen Neumeyer, Alternate Director George O’Connor and Director Dave Projansky; and Area III: Alternate Director Steve Kimball, Director Lisa Morgan and Retiree Director Penny Whitney-Asdourian.
Elected to the MSEA-SEIU Executive Committee were Allison Perkins, Phil Garwood, Penny Whitney-Asdourian and Cal Paquet.
Elected to the MSEA-SEIU Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) Board were Miranda Wilson, Lorraine Curtis, Maryann Griffin, Jessica Pomerleau and Scott Redlon.
Elected to the MSEA-SEIU Finance Committee were Jeff Doyon, Jane Gilbert, Darcey Emery, Kevin Russell and Cheryl Dugal.
DELEGATES VOTE ON RESOLUTIONS
Delegates approved five resolutions as presented: Annual Operating Reserve Request (18-01); MSEA-SEIU By-Laws, Section 1, Definitions, Subsection 1.11, Executive Committee (18-06); The Council (18-07); Staff Appreciation (18-09); and Activist Appreciation (18-09).
Delegates approved, as amended, MSEA Membership (18-03), relating to associate MSEA-SEIU membership and retiree MSEA-SEIU membership. With its passage, two related resolutions, 18-04 and 18-05, were withdrawn as moot.
Delegates approved, as amended, MSEA Dues (18-08), relating to a pilot program for dues in the following nontraditional bargaining units: Alpha One, Child Development Services, Green Valley, Home Care for Maine, Treats Falls, and any newly organized nontraditional bargaining unit after ratification of it first contract.
Delegates voted down MSEA-SEIU Constitution, Article 1, Name (18-02), which would have changed our union’s name to the Maine Service Employees Association.