Tell Mills, legislators: Protect State workers from COVID-19

Dear MSEA-SEIU Member,

These are challenging times for our state, nation, and world. Many of our members are on the frontline of fighting COVID-19, and many more are working to make sure Mainers are able to weather the devastating economic impact across many industries. They’re making sure that children have enough to eat, that laid-off workers can access unemployment benefits, and that seniors and families are safe. It’s critical that we do all we can to make sure our members who are providing critical services have the tools they need, the protective measures that will keep them and their families safe, and take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 so they have a fighting chance.

Our sisters and brothers who work under Governor Mills need your help immediately. Tell Governor Mills and your state legislators: Protect State workers from COVID-19!

Over the past two weeks, we’ve heard some powerful personal stories from many of you about conditions in your worksites. Still too many state employees who are telework ready, are being denied the ability to work from home. Too many state employees are being asked to come to work whose jobs are not directly related to the public health or economic crisis, and risking further spread of the virus. Too many employees are questioning whether they’ll have enough leave time to care for themselves and their loved ones. Your brothers and sisters need your help. Governor Mills, your State Senator and your State Representative need to hear them right away! Tell them your story; then ask them to:

• Provide additional paid sick leave to all state workers across the board so they can take care of themselves and their families during this unprecedented time;

• Address the myriad issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, including releasing workers who can telework, and do so immediately. The administration has indicated teleworking is an option. Many workers say they’re ready to telework; however, they report their managers haven’t yet let it happen;

• Release non-essential state employees for a limited period of time, with pay, to give the administration time to prepare telework options and to prepare for whatever comes next.

• Demand priority testing for health care workers and essential state employees to keep their families and the people who rely on their services safe.

Tell them as one of Maine’s largest employers, the State of Maine should lead by example to protect the public health and the state workforce. The State of Maine should make a priority of minimizing the COVID-19 exposure risks of Maine’s emergency-service providers so they are best positioned to care for Mainers in need. Doing so also would reduce the likelihood of Maine’s precious medical resources becoming overwhelmed. We believe taking the immediate actions above will go a long way toward protecting all Mainers from COVID-19. Tell Governor Mills and your legislators: Protect State workers from COVID-19!

In Solidarity,
Dean Staffieri
President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989

Updated: March 19, 2020 — 4:10 PM