MSEA-SEIU members at our Scott Austin Eastside Chapter in Augusta show their support for their bargaining team in anticipation of Executive Branch contract negotiations that started Feb. 25. From left: Denise Behr, Jenn Curtis, Marianne Senechal, Phil Garwood, Cherrie Plummer, Boris Golubow, Andrea Galasyn, Rich Greves, Kerem Gungor, Lyle Hall, Mike Hudson, Mark Margerum, Stacy Ladner and Bob Hartley.
MSEA-SEIU Stewards Cordell Hackett and Jim Cawood, from left, say they’re supporting the Executive Branch bargaining team in negotiations for new contracts in all of our four Executive Branch bargaining units: Operations, Maintenance and Support Services; Administrative Services; Professional-Technical Services; and Supervisory Services.
MSEA-SEIU Cumberland Chapter Members Rebecca Day and Kaylene Godwin, from left, both child protective workers at Maine DHHS in Portland, show their “America Needs Union Jobs” poster in support of their bargaining team.
Executive Branch Bargaining — Employee survey results identify key issues; take action!
Feb. 21, 2019
Dear MSEA-SEIU Members,
To prepare for negotiating our next contract, we surveyed our coworkers around the state. With well over 1,000 state workers responding, we found an urgent need to stand up for ourselves, the work we do and the people we serve each day. See detailed survey results here.
Too many state workers live under a constant cloud of worry about our own ability to pay our bills, afford healthcare and have a secure future. According to the survey results, 82 percent of state workers are concerned about their ability to retire and 41 percent struggle to pay their monthly bills.
“My pay is not enough to cover my household’s needs and it probably never will be if I remained employed with the state. Since 2011, our benefits have decreased and more of the cost sharing has been placed on us. For a healthier work/life balance, I need more support.”
What we want is the respect and fairness we deserve in order to provide the timely, effective, high quality services Mainers need. We believe Maine State Government can and should be a bedrock of support that allows Maine people to flourish in good times and steadies us all through hard times. We want to show up to work each day knowing we have the training, resources, staffing and structures to do our best for the people of Maine.
Years of working short have forced many to leave state service and many more to consider leaving. When they leave, we lose experience, knowledge and stability in our departments. In addition, we spend countless resources training new staff only to see many of them leave, too. According to the survey results, 59 percent of state workers have considered leaving state service
“If I could, I would leave due to working conditions. We are down seven people and just don’t have enough people left to do the job to our standards.”
Our pay and benefits have prevented the State from recruiting and retaining much-needed staff. 83 percent of state workers report recruitment and retention problems due to pay and other problems.
“We have lost so many employees – I believe 15 in 2018 alone. It’s negatively impacting our work and our clients.”
We need the resources to do our jobs. 31 percent of state workers deal with equipment that is broken or not functioning properly.
“We are expected to perform our work tasks without proper training, equipment and respect. We are overworked, underpaid and not appreciated.”
Our voices, experience and dedication should be listened to. What is clear is we can’t realize this vision without real change. In the coming months, we have an enormous opportunity. In February, we will begin bargaining a new contract. We have a new governor and many new commissioners. To make the changes we want to see, we will need to seize every opportunity to be heard. In addition to taking our issues to the bargaining table, we need to have a voice in the halls of the Legislature as legislators decide how to fund the work we do and resource our departments. We need to stand up for ourselves with legislation addressing our issues and fight back against attacks. Over the next six months, we will be challenged to come together and take action at work, at the State House and in communities across the state.
The next steps
1 Stay connected:
Sign up for MSEA-SEIU text alerts on the upcoming negotiations
Text CAT to 38470.
2 Make sure the message is loud and clear!
Send our bargaining team to the table with a show of strength during the worksite action challenge!
Get together with your coworkers and plan a day to show support at your worksite. You could wear purple, make signs, decorate with purple . . .
Take a picture and share it on social media (or email it to us) and make sure to use the hashtag #FightForward
For worksite support ideas, sign up to join the Contract Action Team or to submit your photos, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Mark your calendars!
Get ready to take action on our issues in the Legislature! Labor Lobby Day March 14th! Sign Up Today! Your legislators need to hear from you!
Together, we can fight forward for quality services for all Maine people and for respect for the work we do.
Ramona Welton, President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
The MSEA-SEIU Executive Branch Bargaining Team
Robyn Egan, Corrections – Windham
Thomas Maher, DAFS-OIT – Bangor
Jennifer Curtis, DAFC – Augusta
Sherri Beaulieu, DHHS – Augusta
Cindy Proulx, DHHS – Bangor
Brian Tuttle, SOS-BMV – Portland
Nicholas Pitarys, DHHS – Lewiston
David Projansky, DHHS – Augusta
Maureen Sullivan – DOL – Augusta
Operations, Maintenance & Support Services
Michael Bathory, Corrections – Windham
Carl Holbrook, DOT – Fairbanks
Brian Markey, DOT – Bangor
President Ramona Welton
Vice President Dean Staffieri