UnionMaine

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A Bridge Between Dark Clouds


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State employees are facing “troubles on the left of them” and “troubles on the right” as their pay and benefits become a football and a distraction from a real solution for economic problems.

The good news is there is a middle ground between slashing State services and cutting State employee pay and benefits as demanded by some on the right. There is a way and State employees want to be part of the solution. They are not part of the problem.

The State budget released today will cut more State employees and reduce services to the public. Employees are concerned that there will be political attacks on State employees based only on publicity and not on sound fiscal planning. Will we be looking at more layoffs, furlough days, and a proposed tax hike that ONLY affects State employees?

State employees are all Mainers and all Mainers are facing the same thing. An economic collapse fueled by eight years of tax breaks for the rich and constant attacks on labor.

MSEASEIU 1989 members know that, more than ever, all Maine citizens must work together and work as a group. State employees are not a separate group from the public, we are their neighbors and their friends. We plow the roads, prosecute criminals, and we take the term “public service” seriously. Our message is that the attempt to balance the budget on State employee paychecks is only smoke and mirrors, the budget can not be balanced on the paychecks of State employees.

To get an eleven percent savings in the State budget you would need to layoff EVERY SINGLE State employee, cops, judges, nurses, plow drivers and fire inspectors.
All of them. No lottery tickets. No cops. No aid to schools. Do you want to be asked for your credit card when you call 911? A true Dick Cheney heaven.

State employees are at the mercy of the Governor and the legislature. No one knows what ideas the governor and the legislature may come up with next, and it is too soon to say what issues will be brought to contract negotiations by the State on several key issues, including increased health insurance costs. Both sides are expected to return to the table this coming week.

Meanwhile, the governor and legislative leaders continue to look for solutions to the state’s budget deficit that is now nearly a billion dollars with no short term relief in sight.

While the nearly $200 million expected in federal stimulus will help plug a piece of the state’s deficit, the governor and legislative leaders all say it is not a cure for our chronic budget problem. The federal stimulus package now moves to the Senate where debate over the size and focus of the aid money will rage on.

At home, State employees know where the waste is, we know where contracts send money out of State instead of sending it to Maine businesses. We want to save taxpayers money because we are taxpayers too.


The governor and legislators need to hear from you.

Send the governor and e-mail today using the sample letter or write your own. Don’t let them make decisions behind closed doors. We pay taxes, we vote, and we want to help.

Governor@Maine.Gov

Governor Baldacci I am a state employee working at ______________.

Cutting State Employee Health Care is a tax increase, and shutting down state government using furloughs or shut down days is unfair to the citizens of Maine and will not solve the budget crisis.

Closing government or reducing services to the public will do more harm than good to Maine. State employees have many suggestions for saving money and feel that the shutting down state agencies is unfair and necessary savings can be made without furloughs. We want to work with State government to save money for all Mainers. Our current contract negotiations are an opportunity for cooperation in place of conflict.

Shutting down state agencies won’t just harm State Employees, it will harm all Mainers who depend on vital services provided by State employees. You say you want to protect all Mainers and you will not raise taxes. We are citizens and ask you not to raise our taxes.

How will state agencies respond to emergencies when they are understaffed? How many bridges will not be inspected or repaired because no one is there to do the work? Who will issue unemployment checks and drivers licenses?

Will elderly Citizens be safe when there are no nursing home inspectors. Can we drive safely when there are not enough snow plow drivers? Maine needs you to to focus on solutions to this crisis instead of crippling agencies that provide services all Mainers need and depend on.

MSEASEIU members stand ready to work with the State and present ideas to enable millions of savings that can be realized by stopping contracting State work to out of State vendors.

We can save money by utilizing unused State property rather than pay rents for poorly maintained buildings. Me and my coworkers believe we can save the State millions over the next two year budget without raising taxes. Ideas that would not result in cutting State services to the Public with closed offices and lack of staff.
Will you listen? We live here too.

Sincerely,


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January 28th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA contract, Maine DOT, Maine State Employees, PRIVATIZE, SEIU 1989 | no comments

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