Union delegates elect leaders, change our name, strengthen chapter structure, adopt budget
In addition to electing MSEA-SEIU Vice President Dean Staffieri as President and MSEA-SEIU Chief Steward and Director Allison Perkins as Vice President effective Jan. 1, 2020, delegates to our 76th Annual Meeting on Nov. 1-2 took a range of actions so we can keep winning for Maine workers, active and retired, in 2020 and beyond.
Over the Annual Meeting, delegates also heard from SEIU International Vice President Heather Conroy, Governor Janet T. Mills, Congressman Jared Golden, Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman, Senate President Troy Jackson, House Speaker Sara Gideon and State Senator Shenna Bellows. All thanked the delegates for their advocacy for quality services and Maine workers.
At our Annual Meeting, elected delegates make all the decisions.
MSEA-SEIU Vice President-elect Allison Perkins, left, and MSEA-SEIU President-elect Dean Staffieri, right, stand with MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton after their election at the union’s 76th Annual Meeting Nov. 2 in Rockport.
In her remarks to delegates, MSEA-SEIU President Welton discussed many of the gains we’ve made over the past year at the bargaining table and in the Legislature. “Today, let’s reflect on what brought us to this point. Then let’s take action, so we can keep advocating for quality services, making work pay, and fighting for the health and retirement security we’ve earned,” she said. “We’ve made all of this progress by making our voice heard – at the ballot box, in the Legislature, in worksites, at the bargaining table. Our victories show elections do matter. We’ve got a big one coming up! Mark your calendars for November 3rd, 2020. Pay attention to what the presidential candidates are saying, especially when it comes to $15 and a union for all working people – black, white and brown – because everyone deserves the opportunity to join a union — no matter where they work. That’s what the Unions For All campaign is all about.”
MSEA-SEIU Executive Director Alec Maybarduk told delegates there is more urgent work to do, including bargaining new contracts for adjuncts, nonprofit workers and homecare workers. “We’ll fight the scourge of contracting out. We’ll tackle the persistent issues of sick buildings and diminishing health insurance benefits,” he said. “We’ll strengthen our collective action rights. We’ll strengthen the economic security of retirees. And we’ll elect candidates who make workers, active and retired, their priority. To win, we must organize from the ground up. We must show up for each other to seize these opportunities. There isn’t a moment to waste.”
Past Presidents Luncheon: Delegates recognized the following past presidents in attendance: Bob Ruhlin, 1986 to 1987; Mary Anne Turowski, 1990 to 1991; Ray Dzialo,1996 to 1999; Brenda Kaler, 2000 to 2003; Bruce Hodsdon, 2008 to 2011; and Ginette Rivard, 2012 to 2015.
Elected to the Board of Directors: Area 1: Andrew Robinson, Kandi Crawford and Richard Harriman, Alternate; Area 2: Maryann Griffin, Clara Alvarez and Kristopher Segars (Alternate completing Sue Garcia’s term ending 12/31/2020); and Area 3: Cal Paquet, Jason Mitchell, JB Whipple as Alternate, and Nathan Thayer (Alternate completing Rachel Sherman’s term ending 12/31/2019); and Retirees: Steve Butterfield and Ginette Rivard, Alternate.
Elected to the Finance Committee: Ramona Welton, Mark Brunton and Marshall Archer. Alternates: Elizabeth Cousins, Jeffrey Doyon, Darcey Emery and Kerem Gungor.
Elected to the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) Committee: Area 1: Rachel Murchison and Lorraine Curtis, Alternate; Area 2: Ramona Welton and Cheryl Dugal, Alternate; and Area 3: Cynthia Lizotte and Douglas Winterich, Alternate.
Elected to the Executive Committee: Bob Ruhlin, Tom Maher and Jen Neumeyer. Area 3 committee member to be elected at a caucus.
Elected as MainePERS Trustee: Mark Brunton.
New name: Maine Service Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989: Delegates voted to change our name to the Maine Service Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989. Since 1943, we’ve grown from an association of state employees to a union representing a whole range of workers. MSEA-SEIU members provide services via 19 different employers that are publicly and privately funded. Our new name reflects every worker, active and retired, we represent. Even with the name change, we’re still MSEA.
Chapter structure strengthened: Delegates voted to strengthen our chapter structure by encouraging members to organize their chapters by their closest community of interest so that every member has a cadre of coworkers they can talk to about issues they are facing at work. This change gives chapters more flexibility to define their own bylaws by allowing them to elect their officers for one- or two-year terms. The approved resolution also asks chapter leaders to take ownership of building a strong unified union from the ground up by signing up members.
MSEA-SEIU 2020 General Operating Budget: Delegates approved the 2020 MSEA-SEIU General Operating Budget that the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors unanimously recommended. It funds the work we need to do next year. It increases dues by 35 cents a week for working members. It increases dues by 10 cents a month for retiree members.
Other resolutions: Delegates passed resolutions establishing an annual operating reserve, clarifying that the MSEA-SEIU President appoints members to serve on labor-management committees, clarifying who can serve on our Executive Committee, updating our bylaws relating to chapter elections, and showing appreciation for the MSEA-SEIU staff and activists. Resolutions relating to the election of the MSEA-SEIU secretary and treasurer were withdrawn.
Delegates recognized Directors Tracy Bonnevie, in photo at top, and Phil Garwood, in photo below, for their service to our union. Delegates also recognized President Welton for her service to our union.