Quality services for Maine people have been understaffed and underfunded for the past 10 years. Many of you have identified real barriers in delivering services such as protecting the public health, protecting vulnerable children and adults, maintaining Maine’s highways and bridges, and even answering 911 calls. With so many public services at stake, we’re encouraged the Governor’s proposed two-year state budget takes some important steps toward finally getting public services back on track. The budget proposal:
- Creates 106 new positions in State government, mostly in Public Safety, Education and Judicial. We all know there aren’t nearly enough workers to do the State’s work; adding positions is a step in the right direction. We also know scores of positions have been funded but left vacant, in many cases for years. In our recent survey, 83% of State employees who responded identified recruitment and retention problems in their worksites, so we are encouraged the Governor said in her State of the Budget Address on Feb. 11 the administration will fill vacancies for public health nurses along with other vacant positions within the Maine Centers for Disease Control.
- Increases funding for the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy and University of Maine System by 3 percent in each upcoming fiscal year.
- Funds the establishment of a prerelease center in Washington County following last year’s closure of Downeast Correctional Facility in Bucks Harbor.
In order to continue advocating for adequate staffing throughout our bargaining units, we want to hear from you whether filling vacancies is enough to address understaffing in your worksite/office/department, or whether new positions are necessary. Please provide us with this info by emailing us, on your own time — and be sure to identify your worksite!
We’re evaluating the proposed budget based on what’s necessary to ensure quality services for all Mainers and respect for the workers who provide them. We’re also assessing its impact on the State Employee Health Plan. We will advocate to ensure the health plan is adequately funded.
We are reviewing the Governor’s proposed changes relating to Child Development Services, and will address them accordingly. Together, we can make our voice heard throughout the budget process.
At the same time, MSEA-SEIU members in many of our bargaining units will start contract bargaining if they haven’t started already. The next steps are for us to strengthen our ability to communicate with each other as we build support for our issues at the bargaining table, in our worksites, in our communities, and in the Legislature:
- Like our social media accounts (facebook, twitter, Instagram) @MSEASEIU1989
- Get our email alerts! Sign up today!
- Labor Lobby Day is Thursday, March 14th! Sign up! Your legislators need to hear from you!
Together, let’s Fight Forward for quality services, respect for workers, and health and retirement security for all.