UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

WHAT HAVE UNIONS DONE FOR YOU?

E.T.I. 2009

What have Unions done for us? When the successes of Unions are listed and this is far from a complete list, the argument is often made that we have those things now so we don’t need Unions any longer. You don’t get to keep what you won’t fight for. If you are a State employee you are under attack. They want you to focus on any error the Union makes. They want you to pity them for having to pay Fair Share. Tell them this is what the Union has done for State employees, Fair Share payers included. This is what their out of State right to work employee hating supporters want you to lose.

An eight hour day.

A five day work week.

Health Insurance

Good Pensions

Paid Sick Leave

Overtime

Safe work places

Holidays

Paid Vacations

Family and Medical Leave

Higher wages for men, women, people of color.

Why are Unions under attack? Many reasons, but the main reason is because good Union jobs set the standard for fair treatment and respect for the employees. As long as there are good jobs employees for other companies will think they could improve themselves with a Union.

E.T.I. 2009

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October 13th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, FAIR SHARE, FairShare, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEASEIU, RIGHT TO WORK, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Bush, Bush, and Regan against America

E.T.I. 2009
Don’t forget to got to click on this link HTTP://UnionMaine.Informe.com everyone is invited to a wide open discussion of all types of topics. You want your blood to boil, listen to what some people are calling you. You want to be proud, listen to and participate in the debate as a proud Union member.

I still bet America wins. One Regan and two Bushes is not a poker hand I would bet on.

I won’t use fancy economics. Clinton’s economy had Surplus money and balanced budgets. Bush and Regan gave us monster deficits.

Between 1979 and 2003 the average income of the richest Americans more than doubled in real dollars, while that of middle-class Americans increased by only around 15 percent. By some measures actual wages have been going backwards for six years.

In thirty years mortgage foreclosures have increased five hundred percent.

It not “just” 49,000,000 Americans without health care, in the next two years at least 80 million adults and children, 85 percent of them working or the kids of working parents will go for some time without any protection against ruinous health costs that insurance offers.

Defined-benefit pensions that provided a predetermined monthly benefit for the remainder of a worker’s life used to be the norm, a reward for a lifetime of loyalty. The old reliable pension has been nearly destroyed by a mix of corporate greed and paid for politicians, destroyed with the willing help of Regan, and two Bushes. Corporations were released from pension obligations while paying top executives hundreds of millions in bonuses.

Our government and our largest corporations have partnered to increase costs to American families. This has all been done in the name of “Personal Responsibility”.

They say we have to cut costs to compete.

The average factory wage in much of China is thirty one cents an hour. Wal-Mart in China pays thirteen cents and hour. Do we need to work for 31 cents an hour to compete? Do we need to cut our pay to 12 cents an hour to compete with Chinese Wal-Mart factories?

The Republicans are selling their take aways as personal responsibility.

So what is wrong with Personal Responsibility?

Your employer will be more profitable and competitive if they don’t have to pay your health care. They will pay you more because their profits will be greater. Akk, Kaff, Wheeze, (Forgive me, I am choking on that statement). You will be careful it is your money. You will be careful not to send your kids to the doctor too often because it is your responsibility. Make sure little Sally really needs an emergency room after that fall off her bike. If you go broke, you should have worked harder, saved more. Anyway, your Sally might still live, even without that expensive treatment.

The lie about personal savings to cover health care and retirement is that the corporations want to get rid of the benefits but not raise wages to make the savings possible. If it is too expensive for them to provide the benefits, it is too expensive for them to pay you enough to pay for them. You won’t have any personal savings.

The Republicans proudly admit they want to get rid of the New Deal programs. What is still here from the New Deal of so many years ago? Social Security, which G. Bush tried to dismantle and give to the stock market to play with. Thank the voting geezers and the Unions for saving that. They vote. I vote too. We still have Medicare and Medicaid, which Republicans think both just waste money on the poor. George and friends still want to take Social security, company pensions, medical care, and children’s medical care and put it all on the individual with no safety net for unemployment or catastrophic health problems.

The number of employers offering health coverage to their workers keeps falling. The cost to the employees in real dollars and as a percentage of costs continues to go up and up. The number of employers paying full coverage is rapidly disappearing regardless of the profitability of the company. The Bush propaganda machine has spent years painting any employee receiving benefits as lazy, greedy or even worse a Union member. Talk shows talk about Union thugs and forgive millionaire drug addicts like Rush Limbaugh.

How long can government and Union employees hold on? Ask the UAW. We must build our political strength with politicians if we want to keep our benefits and our retirement. They are going to come after us with the argument that private sector employees are taking on more and more of their own costs and we need to share the costs.

As Union members, we must reach out to non union Americans and tell them who we are and what we want them to have. We must take the focus off the Republican attack. They are painting us as the devil so that no one will look at the $200,000.00 a year mercenaries in Iraq, Don’t look at private contractors feeding our troops and overcharging. Blame the Unions. Let us try to get the word out that we want all Americans to have security, health care, and a good retirement. The Republicans that don’t care how many people lose their benefits, they don’t ask that the benefits be restored, no, they look at government and Union employee benefits and demand that you have less.

On a note of hope. The Republicans wouldn’t bother hating us so much unless they were afraid. We vote. We vote in the highest percentages of any group. As a Union member your vote and your families votes frighten them.

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both” -Benjamin Franklin

E.T.I. 2009

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October 11th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, FAIR SHARE, FairShare, MSEA, MSEASEIU, RIGHT TO WORK, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE | no comments

More ideas for 2009

E.T.I. 2009

Would something like this work if you had a choice?

  • Eight hours of vacation per month after six months of service.
  • Employees receive increased vacation for increased years of state service:
    - seven hours of vacation per month for up to three years of service;
    - 8 hours per month for up to 10 years;
    - 12 hours per month for up to 15 years;
    - 14 hours per month for up to 20 years;
    - 16 hours per month for 20 + years.
  • Employees may opt for annual leave, in lieu of separate vacation and sick leave, and can opt to enroll in or leave the program each July.
  • Employees enrolled in annual leave receive combined vacation/sick leave of:
    - 12 hours per month for up to 10 years of service;
    - 16 hours per month for over10 years, to 15 years.
    - 18 hours per month for over 15 years up to 20years;
    - – 20 hours per month for 20+ years.
  • Nine hundred twenty (920) hours of vacation or annual leave can be carried into the next calendar year.
  • Employees must be paid for unused vacation or annual leave upon leaving state service.
  • Could make a great going away day and help make up for the cliff. What do you think? Should we go for something like this? Find the comments link under this post and leave your ideas.
    E.T.I. 2009
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    October 9th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, MSEA, MSEASEIU, RIGHT TO WORK, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE, Union Success | 2 comments

    MSEA CONTRACT 2009

    E.T.I. 2009
    I promised my brothers and sisters in the Union that I would work on collecting ideas for the next contract.
    I am going to keep up the collection. Here is an idea that showed up regarding sick time. The State loses a lot of money when people are getting near retirement and is always looking for ways to cut down on sick leave. If you take a day off, you get paid, and a contribution is made to the retirement fund. How about a way to cut down on the cost of sick time and a way to put a few dollars in your pocket at the same time? This would be at mutual agreement. The State could not just take away time you had earned and might be saving for that “rainy day” in case of illness.

    Sick Leave-Compensation for.

    1. Employees shall be eligible to receive monetary compensation for accrued sick leave as follows:
      1. In January of each year, and at no other time, an employee whose year-end sick leave balance exceeds 240 hours may choose to convert sick leave hours earned in the previous calendar year minus those used during the year to monetary compensation.
        1. No sick leave hours may be converted which would reduce the calendar year-end balance below 240 hours.
        2. Monetary compensation for converted hours shall be paid at the rate of 50% and shall be based upon the employee’s current salary.
        3. All converted hours will be deducted from the employee’s sick leave balance.
      2. Employees who separate from state service due to retirement or death shall be compensated for their unused sick leave accumulation at the rate of 50%. Compensation shall be based upon the employee’s salary at the time of separation.
    2. Compensation for unused sick leave shall not be used in computing the retirement allowance; therefore no contributions are to be made to the retirement system for such payments, nor shall such payments be reported as compensation.
    3. An employee who separates from service for any reason other than retirement or death shall not be paid for accrued sick leave. Don’t forget to try Http://UnionMaine.Informe.com E.T.I. 2009

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    September 26th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, Union Success | no comments

    MSEA CONTRACT 2009

    I promised my brothers and sisters in the Union that I would work on collecting ideas for the next contract. New ideas are starting to come in so I am reposting this entry to let you know that the contract for 2009-2011 starts here, starts now.

    This is just in from a member.
    I believe there is an important issue associated with Departments like the Warden Service, Maine State Police and Marine Patrol using sworn investigators and interrogators to look into allegations of contractual misconduct by bargaining unit members. I would like to see a provision in the discipline article that prohibits Dept. employees who are part of the criminal legal system to be used for contractual investigation.

    I am going to keep up the collection. Here is an idea that showed up regarding sick time. The State loses a lot of money when people are getting near retirement and is always looking for ways to cut down on sick leave. If you take a day off, you get paid, and a contribution is made to the retirement fund. How about a way to cut down on the cost of sick time and a way to put a few dollars in your pocket at the same time? This would be at mutual agreement. The State could not just take away time you had earned and might be saving for that “rainy day” in case of illness.

    As you all know Health Care is the biggest Elephant in the closet. A member suggested that the State offer employees a buy out of their Health Care. If you don’t want health care because you are retired from the military or have coverage through a spouse you would receive between $2.00 to $4.00 an hour to give up your health care. Remember, it would then be gone forever, but an extra $80.00 to $160.00 a week would certainly be attractive, especially if it went toward your pension. Would you still get Health Care when you retired? Interesting question and a fascinating proposal.

    Sick Leave-Compensation for.

    1. Employees shall be eligible to receive monetary compensation for accrued sick leave as follows:
      1. In January of each year, and at no other time, an employee whose year-end sick leave balance exceeds 240 hours may choose to convert sick leave hours earned in the previous calendar year minus those used during the year to monetary compensation.
        1. No sick leave hours may be converted which would reduce the calendar year-end balance below 240 hours.
        2. Monetary compensation for converted hours shall be paid at the rate of 50% and shall be based upon the employee’s current salary.
        3. All converted hours will be deducted from the employee’s sick leave balance.
      2. Employees who separate from state service due to retirement or death shall be compensated for their unused sick leave accumulation at the rate of 50%. Compensation shall be based upon the employee’s salary at the time of separation.
    2. Compensation for unused sick leave shall not be used in computing the retirement allowance; therefore no contributions are to be made to the retirement system for such payments, nor shall such payments be reported as compensation.
    3. An employee who separates from service for any reason other than retirement or death shall not be paid for accrued sick leave. Don’t forget to try Http://UnionMaine.Informe.com E.T.I. 2009

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    September 26th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, Union Success | no comments

    Fair to Fair Share? New Discussion Forum Opening

    E.T.I. 2009

    New Discussion forum being set up.
    Read the link at the bottom.

    Next Month, Union Members through their delegates will vote on how the Union should be run. Members just finished voting on a new contract but a number of fee paying employees don’t have that option. Why can even prisoners in Maine still vote? It is because of the importance of this right.

    If you do not join the Union, but pay the Union to negotiate a contract for you, should you have the right to judge the product? Should fee payers be denied the right to a ballot, or should Fair Share members be treated fairly?

    In our democracy, there’s a belief that everyone should be allowed to vote. I think that there are both practical and fair reasons for this. The practical reason is that the more people are involved in freedom the stronger the freedom will stay. The more people that vote, the more interest there will be in the issues that affect our jobs and our families. For fairness we should ask if only smart people, or Democrats, or people we agree with be allowed the vote? How do we identify who should have the right to vote? We are Mainers and we are U.S. citizens and that gives us a real hate for being bossed around without having some say. “No taxation without representation.” Before Fair Share there was no vote, and there was no taxation.

    Now if fee payers want to keep their jobs they will pay the Union to negotiate the contract that will affect their jobs and benefits. They will pay, or they will leave.


    If it sounds like I am being too nice to fee payers let me say that there must be limits. W can not let non members vote on everything. Fee Payers should not be allowed to run for office, or be a member of a bargaining committee, or vote for anything except the minimum they have elected to pay, by keeping their jobs. They have no concern and no interest in Union Political actions, social affairs, or even communications. A clear unbreakable barrier must be drawn between paying the absolute minimum and being willing to go beyond and help your fellow employee and Union members. Why should they not vote on other issues? Because we don’t trust them and their judgment or their interest in their fellow employees. They can not be trusted to judge actions that they have chosen not to be a part of. We don’t let kids vote, we don’t willingly let illegal aliens vote and we do not see that as unfair because they are not full members of our society. We don’t let children vote through lack of experience and Illegal aliens through lack of commitment to the laws of our land. Remember though, children can grow and immigrants have made this country what it is by coming to love their fellow Americans.

    Even if we allow a vote on our contract we cannot allow any rights beyond voting for a contract because we can not give someone unwilling to join in a common goal equal rights to that of any other member in running the Union.

    The question is whether Fee Payers belong in the voting denied category? I think the answer is in two parts. We trust them to pay for negotiations. We respect their judgment enough to let them make up their minds to pay or to go. In other words we treat them like adults. WE are taking their money and promising negotiations. Shouldn’t they get a vote on whether they like what they paid for? The second part of the answer is that they can not vote on any issue other than yes or no on a contract because they have shown they have no trust or involvement with their fellow employees. If you are not willing to be involved completely then you shouldn’t be able to make the rules for everyone else.

    If we do not give fee payers the right to vote on what we have demanded they pay for, there can be no involvement, there can be no healing or growth.

    What is the “real world impact” of allowing fee payers to vote? Could a few fee payers change a contract approval? Not if we have a healthy involved membership. If a few fee payers can bring down our Union do we deserve to keep power by any means whether fair or foul?


    Some members have said that they fear that letting fee payers vote will result in the Union being taken over by Union Busters. I’m not afraid that the MSEASEIU will be taken over by AGEM if we let them vote on contracts. If they can vote, they will discuss, and if they start discussions, they will become involved. Involvement will bring education and that education will change their minds. As for those we cannot change I think that if we give a face and a voice to opposition we will be respecting the right of free speech and we will let the members see exactly what they are up against. I also think that we will make a difference to some future members that are now only paying a fee. Be perfectly clear, that while I think they should get a vote since they are paying for the product I completely oppose giving them any rights they are unwilling to pay for in commitment and money.

    I have set up a link for discussion at http://unionmaine.informe.com/

    As Maine Goes has been doing a Great Job of providing a discussion forum for every type of viewpoint and I am far from too humble to copy success. I hope you like it.

    E.T.I. 2009

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    September 20th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, FAIR SHARE, MSEA, MSEASEIU, SEIU, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE, VSEA | no comments

    Mark Turek Speaks out. Click on comments to read All.

    E.T.I. 2009

    Mark,

    You are invited to present any of your issues on my Blog http://www.unionmaine.blogspot.com/

    While you may think I am a Union Lackey, I feel that my viewpoint is simply 180 degrees opposed from yours. What matters to me like the X files is that the truth is out there. The greater danger is that if we do not have a forum or if anyone is denied a forum then the truth is endangered specie. I suggest you have a “guest post”, rather than answering any of the current topics. Your points will be presented fairly. If you take advantage of this offer, be aware that a post could be edited according to the rules of my blog. I will submit my edits you for approval. If you wish to be a guest poster please include a picture, if you wish. You may also post anonymously or using a handle.

    Mark, you are wrong, you have not provided any proof, and you have claimed that if you lose it will be due to a crooked court. I will not participate allowing you to claim the game is rigged. I offer you a podium for your point of view.

    In total disagreement but with support for free speech

    Narsbars

    Trust me, I work for the government

    Please read Mark Turek’s response. If Mr. Turek chooses to post as a guest poster he will have a featured post.

    The Same invitation goes to anyone interested. I have said that the people opposed to our Union have one strength and that stength is persistance and dedication. I hope to hear from all view points as the real danger is lack of involvement. I have told Mr. Turek that I do not agree with him on any point. I think he is totally wrong, and his facts are questionable, BUT free speech will not be denied. To mangle Chandler, “This if Liberty hall, you may spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard”.


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    July 10th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, ATTACK ON UNIONS, MSEA, MSEASEIU, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, mark turek | 10 comments

    U.S. Dept. of Labor Union Wages

    Why would anyone want to bust a union? Obviously so they can pay the employee less.
    The figures speak for themselves. Keep reading, the punch line is at the bottom. “They say Unions are dying. Why would anyone rush out to say “I want to earn less”. Because Unions have been painted as the devil, denying good wages to everyone else. The truth of the matter is that you have to consider the source. Republicans, Wall to Wall mart, big employers with a vested interest in keeping wages low.

    Union Members Summary

         USDL 07-0113
        Thursday, January 25, 2007
                              UNION MEMBERS IN 2006The bold italics are my comments. Narsbars
    
    To be fair there is information stating union membership has declined.
    
    Why would membership decline with the facts shown here? Part of the reasonis George Bush, who has taken the right of unionionization from thousand ofFederal workers.
     --Workers in the public sector had a union membership rate nearly five times thatof private sector employees.                                  
    The union membership rate for government workers (36.2 percent) was substantiallyhigher than for private industry workers (7.4 percent).
    Within the public sector, local government workers had the highest union membershiprate, 41.9 percent.  This group includes several heavily unionized occupations, suchas teachers, police officers, and fire fighters.
    Among major private industries, transportation and utilities had the highest unionmembership rate, at 23.2 percent, followed by construction (13.0 percent).  Withinthe information industry, telecommunications had a 20.7 percent union membershiprate.  Financial activities had the lowest unionization rate in 2006--1.9 percent.
       
                                         - 2 -
     
    Union Representation of Nonmembers
       
       About 1.5 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union on theirmain job in 2006, while not being union members themselves.  (See table 1.)  Slightlymore than half of these workers were employed in government.  (See table 3.)
       
    Earnings
    In 2006, full-time wage and salary workers who were union membershad median usual weekly earnings of $833, compared with a medianof $642 for wage and salary workers who were not represented byunions.
    
    Do you think they could afford to pay fair share from the difference?
       
      
    
    

    June 14th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | AGEM, FAIR SHARE, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES | no comments