UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

State Employees are Calling Libby Mitchell


Libby Mitchell has been a friend of labor and her district has a LOT of State Employees. If you call or email remember that she thought she was doing the right thing for all State Employees with her package. Be polite and clear when you contact her.

From the Senator’s website

Whether I am home, at work, or presiding over the Maine Senate, I always welcome your opinion. It is my pledge to listen to your thoughts and concerns, ideas and positions, and hopes and aspirations as we work together for a better Maine. Please feel free to contact me if I may be of any assistance to you or your family. I am best reached at the Senate President’s Office at (207) 287-1500 or by email.

“Libby” has been getting more emails and calls than she can believe. Senator Mitchell did not anticipate the outcry from State Employees over the package of cuts proposed. Cuts in health care, cuts in merit raises, cuts, cuts, cuts. The final straw was the suggested take away of nearly all holidays for the next two years. Employees know that a benefit once gone may never be replaced. “but they will come back, in two years” In this case “Trust me, I work for the government” has a very hollow ring. I am not ready to trust a future legislature and a future governor. There are no temporary cuts State Employees have been sending emails to me at NarsBars@UnionMaine.Org

The emails have been 100% for State Employees chipping in to help in this economy but they have been 100% against this final insult.

All of my emails have said that State employees will take shut down days that cost the same, but they will not accept this ripping away of a negotiated benefit with no chance to talk. All we have asked is to be included in the process, to let us negotiate the impact even if we only have days, but the legislature is using a chain saw not a scalpel.

The appropriations committee is meeting today, Wednesday, to propose even more cuts. There doesn’t seem to be any end to the pain a State Employee can be hit with.

Elizabeth (Libby) H. Mitchell was unanimously elected as Maine’s 113th Senate President on December 3, 2008. She is the first woman in America to serve as both the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Senator Mitchell represents Senate District 24, which includes Augusta, China, Oakland, Sidney and Vassalboro.

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May 13th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, Maine State Employees | no comments

Bargaining Updates Bargaining team and Contract Action Team meet to make tough decisions.


AUGUSTA - Members of MSEA-SEIU The State’s largest union met Saturday to debate a State proposal for benefit cuts that would mean thousands of dollars out of employee’s pockets for the next two years and possibly forever.

The State legislator says the cuts in benefits, that amount to 24 unpaid days in two years and up to $1200 or more in health care cuts are necessary to balance the budget.
A merit raise freeze will cost extra hundreds to thousands of dollars to employees over the next two years. This will make five of eight years with no pay raises and two years with large pay cuts.

There were a lot of upset members of the crowd Saturday. One long time member said “We offered to tell the State where the waste was in State government and they refused. They have refused to come to the table and listen”.

They are passing laws and refusing to talk. State employees know these are hard times and they are willing to chip in, but the State is afraid that the knowledge of the wasteful spending of State government would only be brought to light if they were willing to work with us. Many representatives have decided that as far as State Employees go “There will be blood” they have decided that they are going for the talk show vote instead of the truth.


Saturday’s meeting started at 8:30 and went until late in the afternoon with members staying to tell their negotiators how they wanted them to vote and what was important to their families.

What has been put in front of these members is a joke. This is not negotiations, this is blackmail. The legislative blackmail calls for the equivalent of a 4.7 percent wage cut and a freeze on merit raises for one year while at the same time steeply increasing health care costs.

None of these options have been passed into law yet, but the message was clear. “Take it, because if you don’t we will hurt you even more”.

There are so many cutbacks included in various bills in the legislature that if they all passed the only good job in the State would be a State representative.

The best proposal floated would still have multiple painful cuts, but would put two rank and file State employees on a new board to help find waste in the State.

I can just see the business representatives faces when the true cost of their services is put up against the almost always lower cost of State Employees doing the same work.

Cutting Merit Raises is irresponsible and the current policies that allow the most experienced workers to be laid off while keeping new hires to cut cost is both cruel and wasteful.

The no lay off promise is coming from the same Governor that promised no shut downs, no furloughs. I think the State will start laying off employees as soon as the next contract is signed. First they will fund the positions, then they will cut them in order to fund pet projects.

They did it the last time things were this bad and there is no reason they won’t do it again. It’s ugly, we are trying to keep our jobs, and our lives, and the legislature has bypassed the bargaining process.

Union leaders have explained the pros and cons of all of the options but are waiting for the membership to tell them how to act. Our leadership works for us and that is how it should be.

Will the State want more blood if we don’t bend our knees and kiss the ring?

There is no “crystal ball,” but everyone I know is taking the threat seriously. The State wants millions and the Executive Branch has been told they will carry most of the concessions. Like many States across the country, Maine is facing huge deficits, no Union member thinks that they deserve more than the public, yet they don’t feel they should take cuts that are far out of proportion to what others are facing.

The Turnpike Authority just received a 10% plus raise with no health care cuts. The State “raised taxes” by raising tolls to fund a fair contract but a temporary one cent raise in the sales tax has completely rejected.

It is likely that many branches of State government may see little or no impact. The publicity is what they want and we are the source.

Tax revenue has fallen, a $500,000,000.00 hole in the budget doesn’t even seem to get a rise of of stunned Mainers any longer. If it is no time for a tax increase then it is no time to increase taxes on State Employees far out of proportion to any other group.

I for one would volunteer to pay a one cent sales tax on everything I buy if they would only leave me at status quo, but the mob is howling, they want to spray the cockroaches.

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May 10th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, Maine State Employees, Maine Turnpike Authority, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, UNIONMAINE | one comment

We have lost a Friend

Members of SEIU 1989 recently lost one of their own. One of our long term field reps, one of the best, was hired by our the State’s Human Resources Dept, A.K.A. “The Dark Side”, the same group your negotiations team and your stewards sit across the table from. Someone who knows how we think, what we were talking about this contract year, has now joined the dark side and taken his knowledge of our plans with him.

While he won’t be working for us I know he won’t be giving up our secrets just to get ahead. This guy has honor and I trust him. In this case we don’t have a problem. Our ex rep will probably be one of the “good guys” in HR and he will know when we are right as we defend our members and our contract.

The issue is, his years of skill will be put to work to defeat our members in grievances and job actions. He did his best for us, and he will do his best for HR, his best is damn good!

That worries me. I liked this rep, he did great work for members in the past, but I have to ask, how long the recruitment dance has been going on for, under cover, without MSEASEIU staff being aware. Is it only this rep or have they made an approach to other SEIU staff?
While thinking about offers, can a rep focus on representing our members? Will they worry they might do something that could kill the job offer? Do our members get the representation they need when staff is being solicited? Work done for our members after a job is sought or offered is done under conflict of interest.

We won’t have an enemy in HR this time, possibly even a friend, but what about the next time and the time after that?
We have to know why someone would take an offer like this and we need to prevent it in the future.

Our board of directors should take action to prevent this hostile raiding in the future. Our members deserve to receive representation without divided loyalties. Is this betrayal or did the State just make an offer he couldn’t refuse? Maybe the State is paying more.

SEIU employees have NO retirement, and from what I have seen, when they are working for us, they have no lives except the Union. To retire they have to save for themselves and I can only imagine what has happened to their plans in the last few months. It can’t be good.

Maybe the benefits that field rep helped us win in the past are better than the SEIU provides employees. Maybe the reality of having to live and feed your family overcame any dedication to Labor Rights. There are many reasons why someone changes jobs. Money, family, health care, retirement, or just a more interesting job.

The worst scenario is if our Rep. looked around, heard things, and decided he wanted be a winner. Did he hear something from the other side while being recruited that made him think he was on the losing side?
We think we know what we are losing. What is HR gaining? The rep has helped to plan our bargaining in the past.
He knows how we think and what we would use to win a contract or win a grievance. He knew some of our bargaining priorities and strategies for this year. He will never give up our private information, the real danger is brain drain, our reps know how we think, and we are hurt when we lose someone with his skills, abilities, and historical knowledge.

Human Resources, might see him rightly or wrongly as an ace in the hole, a resource they can use to counter our stewards, our bargaining teams, or just to break our spirit. That rep is lost to us, but we cannot let this continue! We don’t know why he left or what they offered him. We can plan for the future. It is time to let the reps still working for us know that we are grateful for their years of service and all the help they have given our members. We can’t let one incident change our opinion of this great bunch of men and women, that don’t have many of the benefits they have helped us win for ourselves.

O.K. it is a lousy situation but how do we fix it? Both Unions and Business have known two ways to protect themselves from hostile knowledge raiders for decades: pay them more and have a Non-Compete Clause. We have lost a lot of staff recently and we have trouble attracting field reps to Maine. The MSEASEIU rep pay scale may seem good on the raw numbers but in the same way we compare our salaries to other states you need to compare rep salaries to other states. MSEASEIU rep pay is significantly lower and comes with reduced benefits in Maine, how else could the State or even other Unions hire our staff even in this economy?

The second method, a non-compete clause, has become more common in some contracts especially when it protects “secrets” or information that could unfairly advantage the entity hiring an insider.
No one would want to prevent someone from making a living in their field of expertise. You don’t want to lock them in to one job and have a miserable employee. It is immoral to prevent someone from finding another job.
What would be wrong with an agreement preventing an SEIU employee from taking an HR position with any company, in Maine, employing members represented by MSEASEIU? You could make it easier by limiting the restriction to only a year.
I don’t know what the staff contract says or doesn’t say on non-compete. But it certainly looks like something needing investigation.

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April 11th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, state employee lay offs | one comment

Airlines Favor profit over safety. The Employer Free Choice Act

Untrained Pilots of

the Future?

Pilot Sully says Pilot Pay Cuts Put Passengers in danger. The pilot of Flight 1459 says the industry is driving out experienced pilots. The hero pilot has seen his pay cut and his pension destroyed as a reward for years of dedicated service. When do you think we will hear about Sully getting his huge retention bonus?

The pilot who successfully saved a planeload of passengers using years of skills and training by safely landing in the Hudson River said that pay and benefit cuts are driving experienced pilots from the cockpit. The US Airways pilot told the aviation subcommittee he has seen a 40 percent cut in his pay at the same time his pension was terminated and handed to the Federal Pension Guaranty Corp where he will get a pension “worth pennies on the dollar” .

Trained Union Pilot on the

River

The cuts were forced after several airline bankruptcies. Many of the management teams that oversaw the destruction of pay and pensions received huge bonuses as a reward for performance.. The cuts have placed “pilots and their families in an untenable financial situation,” Sullenberger said. “I do not know a single, professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps.”

Copilot Jeffrey B. Skiles said without labor-management reforms “experienced crews in the cockpit will be a thing of the past.” Sullenberger said in his always controlled style that without experienced pilots “we will see negative consequences to the flying public.” Will the airlines report a 200 mile an hour landing in a pine forest as an “extended delay”.

Do you think temp agencies can send in pilots on an as needed basis? How about we take one of the executives that received bonuses for cutting Union pay and benefits and put them alone into the cockpit of a plane, take it off remotely and then kill the engines. If the executive lives then they can keep their life and consider it “pay for performance”. Due to training and skills only gained through years of training Sullenberger landed in the river and all 155 people survived. If only Sully’s pay and pension had been so lucky.

The Employer Free Choice Act

There has been a novel suggestion made to solve the problem of Unions that destroy the companies they work for. A program for the complete management of labor resources has been put forward by the National Right to Work for Less organization. A spokesperson said that after the idea was brought up everyone was amazed that it had taken them so long to arrive at this clearly obvious solution.

The new management initiative for complete management of labor resources for the parts of the American auto industry that have been hardest hit by the Union movement will be the first to see the effects of this new plan.


The program is based on a simple premise. Companies that have been hardest hit by Unions will be required to own their workers.


The spokesperson gave examples of how proper labor management has achieved greatness, the pyramids, and the entertainment industry in the days of the emperors, and the growth of the South into a burgeoning supplier for cotton in the early 1800’s. The “Complete Labor Management” program will allow commercial success to extend the free market principles to humans themselves.

Complete management of labor is the fastest, best, solution to investor losses and the pinnacle goal of free-market theory.

While is some ways the program could be mislabeled slavery, it is explained by the supporters as returning to their “roots”. In the past eight years labor relations have been taken in the direction of less conflict by allowing management to make the decisions unfettered by employees or long term commitments to pay benefits or pensions. We need to simply extend and polish these early improvements to labor relations. Much of the rest of the world including Iran has already taken the lead in these areas and now sees almost no Union conflict. America must not fall behind.

A management system where corporations make all the decisions is the only solution for falling dividends. Today, in American factories, employers must wend their way through a thicket of laws controlling wages, safety, and who they can hire. The only worries a corporation should have is if the employee is productive. Employers can not be saddled with the responsibility of an employee’s health or what they live on after their careers are done.

Rules must be set. If an employee is too sick to work, pregnant, or too old to be productive they should be out the door.

By encouraging employees to remain productive by not relying on an employer (or the government) we will be giving every employee true freedom of choice. They will decide their own destinies.

Further examples of the method at work were given, the late 1800’s success of Oil and Rail Roads. Chinese auto companies are rising stars. Chinese auto workers currently earn a dollar an hour. In each of these cases workers have been freed from labor worries, and management allowed to focus solely on the profitability without interference. In each case tremendous returns on investment have grown the corporations. There is a definite pattern and it can be proven that if it is Good for Unions, it is Bad for business. Bad for Unions, Good for business. The complete implementation of this plan is seen as the logical defense against the Employee Free Choice Act.

Some public sentiment still brands the word slavery with some negative connotations so we are re-branding the initiative as the Employer Free Choice Act. We can stress the benefits to the employee and the economy. The employee is freed from choices and conflicts with management. All their time is productive or the company is freed from the employee.The benefits to the economy have been obvious since the building of the pyramids.

This is what free choice is all about. The employee is freed when they only have to follow orders and management is freed when they can make any choice needed for the good of the corporation.

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February 25th, 2009 Posted by Tom Maher | MSEA, MSEA contract, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments

Warning! Deadly new Virus Alert




Government virus warning!

*** VIRUS ALERT *** “The “Government Virus” has been found to be spreading. Courtesy of a conservative think tank, I interrupt this Blog to bring you a warning. You may think that losing your job, your home, running out of unemployment, and losing your health care are bad things. If you think these things are bad. You are at risk! You may already be a carrier! You need tax cuts!

The virus starts slowly. You start to feel a need to eat every day. You see your kids pants cuffs six inches above their ankles and your grow sad for no reason. Living in your car doesn’t feel good any longer. During the final stages you have insatiable cravings to own a home and have a job. The virus has started.

There is only one way to stop the infection. Tax Cuts! Don’t ask for any services from Government. This is how the virus spreads. Whenever possible avoid government immediately. Do not complain about a closed motor vehicle office. Don’t worry about not having State cops or elevator inspectors! Do not complain to your legislators about a lack of service! Learn self control.

Opening the door to the government virus will erase every penny from your wallet, drain your kids college fund and empty your change jar.

Asking for services from the State will reprogram the stripes on your credit and ATM cards, and make deposits to State programs that you don’t support like education even if you don’t have kids. Asking for government services on the web will let the government use subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD’s you attempt to play and erase your hard drive.

Contact with government will turn off your refrigerator so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles, while doubling your electricity bill..
It will program your phone to text the Democratic National Committee with automatic donations.

Government will mix antifreeze into your fish tank and have the DEP fine you for throwing out the dead fish. Government will tax and then drink all your beer.
Government will leave Planned Parenthood booklets on the coffee table when you are expecting company.

Government will allow gays to have special rights which will immediately cause you to get a divorce, beat your spouse, give up on God and hate your kids.

Government will grow your ear hair into a pony tail.
Government will replace your shampoo with Nair and your Nair with Rogaine, all while sending your current boy/girlfriend pictures of any other “friends” you might have along with copies of your hotel bills.
Government changes all the pre-set buttons on your radio to NPR.

Government will give you diseases you can’t spell to sell you government health care. You could be break out in ugly “rationality” spots before you know it.
Government will send copies of your internet browsing history to your wife or husband and your employer….. With pictures.

If Government is not stopped it will it will leave the toilet seat up and leave your hair dryer plugged in next to a full bathtub. Government will let the dog onto the couch.

Government will replace your instant coffee with Latte mix.
Government will replace all your luncheon meat with Spam. It will replace all your Email with Spam.

It will molecularly rearrange your cologne or perfume, causing it to smell like Bill Clinton on a hot day, near an intern. All of your internet favorites will be changed to left wing Blogs.

An experimental cure is being tried but it is too early to judge the results. Some people are taking all their money, finding an unlocked Mercedes and stuffing all the cash in the car as a last ditch effort. Maybe there is hope.

The Government virus is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold. It is also a rather interesting shade of blue.

These are just a few signs of infection.

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February 23rd, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine DOT, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, msea maine | no comments

Buy a house? Do you want to use Visa or Mastercard?


If you have a Union job you are blamed for the collapse. The talk shows say the only way out is to “break the backs of the Unions”. Depressed yet? It gets worse.

Welcome to 2009. You’re out of work, maybe drinking or taking tranquilizers because you may be furloughed, laid off, or foreclosed on. You most likely know someone who is.


You can’t pay your mortgage and you are shamed to look for help. Asking for help will get you labeled a free loader by the right.

Unspoken during the arguments for and against the stimulus package is the fact that we may already be in worst financial collapse in history.

1929 may go down as the first, not the worst great depression.

Credit markets are frozen. The banks are spending our money on bonuses and shareholders. Wall St. has gotten billions to protect profits and they foam at the mouth when the subject of helping homeowners is brought up. “Let ‘em sink!” They made bad choices! The rant is “Why should I help someone that bought more house than they can afford?”


Instead we should ask, why we should help banks that bought more bad assets than they can afford. The right screams mortgage help to homeowners is socialism while they have their hand in our pockets. We keep them in limos and Mansions while losing our homes and our jobs. We pay their losses and we take the blame.


Bad borrower horror stories have made headlines for months, with examples of no income loans given to undocumented workers, and single mothers. The root causes are not discussed. Wall St. shipped our jobs overseas. Oil is at $35.00 a barrel and gas prices are going up. The combination of job loss, stagnant wages, retirement account losses, is killing the middle class, ad in falling home prices, and stir for a drink called toxic assets.


First the Bush Whitehouse helped corporations declare bankruptcy and make retirement funds disappear. They tried to prop up their Ponzi scheme with Social Security. Constant attacks on Unions has lowered the overall wage scale in the US and made employees afraid to speak up. Where is the middle class? They are still here, but their jobs are in China or India or even down the street. being done on an H1B visa. In Maine, State Employees are displaced by contractors costing more than the employee. Real estate tycoons grow rich while State buildings go empty.


So, you have a family of four and you bought a three bedroom with a mortgage you could afford? Wrong! You made a bad choice because you didn’t pay cash or you didn’t save two years of your income as a cushion. Deadbeat!


How bad is it getting? Huge chunks of this country are up for sale because there are no jobs. The pictures of some PA homes on the right speak for themselves. It only took a couple of minutes to find these examples and there are many more in every state. Two or three years ago, these houses would have been on “Flip this house”.The next time you see a lot of these there will be a bulldozer or a fire truck parked on an empty lot. The banks are still making the choice to foreclose and evict rather than deal. Even at these prices there are no buyers. Do these houses look like the McMansions talk shows claim the bad borrowers bought? In Florida you can buy nice homes because retirement incomes were stolen to pay an bonuses and dividends.


I don’t want to end on that note. Remember we elected a President with a slogan of “Yes we Can!” and Yes we can get through this. Don’t believe the right, most of this country has seen through the theft of tax cuts for the rich and wage cuts for the rest. The stimulus passed. Wait for the hypocrisy to show up. Follow the Republican Governors that are talking about turning down the stimulus money. Watching them grab for all they can get while the Republican members of congress give speeches about how much they did to bring home the package should brighten up some of our days to come.


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February 22nd, 2009 Posted by Tom Maher | EFCA, Great Depression, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, msea maine | no comments

Fox TV anchor sunk by Mayor Benero

I caught this posted at Firedoglake
If you enjoy seeing a right wing Union hating talking head get his head handed to him. You need to watch Mayor Benero of Lansing Michigan tear this guys head off using passion, anger and logic. Patriotism is not the property of the right wing. Their attempt destroy Unions is a thinly disguised attempt to destroy this country. No matter how little you make, whatever you have will be seen by the right as having been taken from the rightful owners…..business. Following this logic the only way for American business to be competitive is to stop paying wages. I am certain they might give us cots and drinking water on the factory floor but that is all. Chinese auto workers earn one dollar an hour. By Fox News argues that this is what is needed for us to compete.

It is not the communists, or the radical Islamists that are the current clear and present danger. It is the Wall Street moguls paying their way out of failure with your money while awarding themselves bonuses because they think you are stupid. Given the chance they will crush Unions, ship jobs overseas, lower wages, and take away pensions earned over a lifetime. I don’t usually wave the flag, patriotism must be personal, but disinfecting these slime molds who would take everything from everyone is not only necessary, it is a duty.

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February 20th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments

Who Do You Want on Your Jury?



State Employees continue to be judged in the press, no on the bottom line. When a politician wants cover, they just fire a few or a lot of State Employees regardless of the real or imagined savings.


Now back to the east coast and what is happening with Unions and State governments in New England.

In New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984 has been in discussion with Gov. John H. Lynch about the 2010-2011 budget.

Gov. Lynch has proposed laying off 250-300 State employees.


SEA in N.H. and MSEA in Maine are trying to show the serious impact these proposals would have on their states.They are both trying to work with, not against the State to find savings.

The State Employees in New Hampshire have committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to seek ways to reduce costs. I hope their Governor and their legislature are not also among the hearing challenged when it comes to working with State employees rather than against them.

New Hampshire estimates the State deficit at $500 million to $1 billion without drastic cuts.

This is where it feels like looking in a mirror. Cut funds for the sick and needy while making some contractors rich.

New Hampshire would:

  • Lay off 250-300 State employees; the largest cuts coming in the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Corrections

  • Cut funding for nearly 400 vacant positions, always a budget tactic and maybe the only sign of government pre-planning (having vacancies to cut) that you can find.
  • Closing the Tobey School. The Tobey School, similar to the soon to be closed Levinson CenterMaine, is an alternative day and residential school for students identified as educationally disabled. Almost exactly like Maine there will be an estimated loss of services for a population of children at risk and a loss of an estimated 50 State jobs.
  • Close the Lakes Region Correctional Facility, causing the loss of 90-95 positions.
  • Unlike Maine, New Hampshire retirees don’t have constitutional protection for their retirees health care and the State wants to change the health insurance premiums for State retirees and shift all retirees onto the active State health plan (estimated savings $10 million), and an estimated $10 million increase for retirees.
  • In what many Union employees might see as a long overdue move the State proposes to offer a different health policy for what we call Confidential State employees, with the same offer made to Union employees.
  • In a move that spells Déjà vu to Mainers there is a proposal to sell the Liquor Commission warehouse, lease the four State Welcome Centers and reorganize and close many liquor stores statewide. The governor in a good move also proposed building new liquor stores in expanding market areas.
  • Close eight District Courts


Facing reality, the Governor also proposed some revenue increases:

  • Increase the tobacco tax by 35 cents
  • Increase the room and meals tax by three-quarters of one percent
  • Increase the cost of registering each vehicle by $10
  • Taxing gambling winnings over $600. They are way behind Maine us there.
  • Changing the toll collection system. Another echo from Maine.


The N.H. Governor didn’t propose any increases to the gasoline tax or broad-based sales or income taxes, but like Governor Baldacci’s proposal to “tax only State Employees” by increasing their cost for health care the proposals place a tax burden onto select groups of public servants.

Some of the N.H. and Maine’s “rainy day funds” are being used to balance the current budgets. These funds were built up in good economic times to be used to help keep us afloat in bad economic times. The State workforce is seen by some as being “built up” and a target to support the State in bad times also. Unfortunately, the Maine State workforce is at the lowest head count in over twenty five years. State Employees as usual are expected to pay a price higher than others in the name of publicity, not fiscal responsibility.

All Union members share many of the same concerns:

  • Bumping rights were one of the most important Union protections ever put into a contract. Those rights come to the fore in tough economic times. We must fight to protect and improve bumping rights. A layoff is one of the most devastating events a person faces. An employee facing a layoff must be given that guarantees management can not cherry pick people to lay off.

  • When looking for savings state employees in Maine have identified possibly hundreds of unreviewed positions filled by private contractors. Many of these outside contractors and consultants cost the State far more than the average State worker’s salary. The Governor, agencies, and the legislature must provide better oversight of the thousands of contracts, vendors and services the State pays for that could be done more efficiently and cost-effectively by State workers.

  • We must not forget our brothers and sisters losing their jobs on February 28. No bumping rights after ten, twenty or thirty years of service. They were targeted and had no where to go. Turning the Levinson center over to private hands will not save the State any money and will severely impact if not harm, those dependent on Levinson to care for the State’s most at risk children. Do you hire a baby sitter on “the lowest bid” approach?

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February 19th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments

Who Do You Want on Your Jury?



State Employees continue to be judged in the press, no on the bottom line. When a politician wants cover, they just fire a few or a lot of State Employees regardless of the real or imagined savings.


Now back to the east coast and what is happening with Unions and State governments in New England.

In New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984 has been in discussion with Gov. John H. Lynch about the 2010-2011 budget.

Gov. Lynch has proposed laying off 250-300 State employees.


SEA in N.H. and MSEA in Maine are trying to show the serious impact these proposals would have on their states.They are both trying to work with, not against the State to find savings.

The State Employees in New Hampshire have committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to seek ways to reduce costs. I hope their Governor and their legislature are not also among the hearing challenged when it comes to working with State employees rather than against them.

New Hampshire estimates the State deficit at $500 million to $1 billion without drastic cuts.

This is where it feels like looking in a mirror. Cut funds for the sick and needy while making some contractors rich.

New Hampshire would:

  • Lay off 250-300 State employees; the largest cuts coming in the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Corrections

  • Cut funding for nearly 400 vacant positions, always a budget tactic and maybe the only sign of government pre-planning (having vacancies to cut) that you can find.
  • Closing the Tobey School. The Tobey School, similar to the soon to be closed Levinson CenterMaine, is an alternative day and residential school for students identified as educationally disabled. Almost exactly like Maine there will be an estimated loss of services for a population of children at risk and a loss of an estimated 50 State jobs.
  • Close the Lakes Region Correctional Facility, causing the loss of 90-95 positions.
  • Unlike Maine, New Hampshire retirees don’t have constitutional protection for their retirees health care and the State wants to change the health insurance premiums for State retirees and shift all retirees onto the active State health plan (estimated savings $10 million), and an estimated $10 million increase for retirees.
  • In what many Union employees might see as a long overdue move the State proposes to offer a different health policy for what we call Confidential State employees, with the same offer made to Union employees.
  • In a move that spells Déjà vu to Mainers there is a proposal to sell the Liquor Commission warehouse, lease the four State Welcome Centers and reorganize and close many liquor stores statewide. The governor in a good move also proposed building new liquor stores in expanding market areas.
  • Close eight District Courts


Facing reality, the Governor also proposed some revenue increases:

  • Increase the tobacco tax by 35 cents
  • Increase the room and meals tax by three-quarters of one percent
  • Increase the cost of registering each vehicle by $10
  • Taxing gambling winnings over $600. They are way behind Maine us there.
  • Changing the toll collection system. Another echo from Maine.


The N.H. Governor didn’t propose any increases to the gasoline tax or broad-based sales or income taxes, but like Governor Baldacci’s proposal to “tax only State Employees” by increasing their cost for health care the proposals place a tax burden onto select groups of public servants.

Some of the N.H. and Maine’s “rainy day funds” are being used to balance the current budgets. These funds were built up in good economic times to be used to help keep us afloat in bad economic times. The State workforce is seen by some as being “built up” and a target to support the State in bad times also. Unfortunately, the Maine State workforce is at the lowest head count in over twenty five years. State Employees as usual are expected to pay a price higher than others in the name of publicity, not fiscal responsibility.

All Union members share many of the same concerns:

  • Bumping rights were one of the most important Union protections ever put into a contract. Those rights come to the fore in tough economic times. We must fight to protect and improve bumping rights. A layoff is one of the most devastating events a person faces. An employee facing a layoff must be given that guarantees management can not cherry pick people to lay off.

  • When looking for savings state employees in Maine have identified possibly hundreds of unreviewed positions filled by private contractors. Many of these outside contractors and consultants cost the State far more than the average State worker’s salary. The Governor, agencies, and the legislature must provide better oversight of the thousands of contracts, vendors and services the State pays for that could be done more efficiently and cost-effectively by State workers.

  • We must not forget our brothers and sisters losing their jobs on February 28. No bumping rights after ten, twenty or thirty years of service. They were targeted and had no where to go. Turning the Levinson center over to private hands will not save the State any money and will severely impact if not harm, those dependent on Levinson to care for the State’s most at risk children. Do you hire a baby sitter on “the lowest bid” approach?

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February 19th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments

Who Do You Want on Your Jury?



State Employees continue to be judged in the press, no on the bottom line. When a politician wants cover, they just fire a few or a lot of State Employees regardless of the real or imagined savings.


Now back to the east coast and what is happening with Unions and State governments in New England.

In New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984 has been in discussion with Gov. John H. Lynch about the 2010-2011 budget.

Gov. Lynch has proposed laying off 250-300 State employees.


SEA in N.H. and MSEA in Maine are trying to show the serious impact these proposals would have on their states.They are both trying to work with, not against the State to find savings.

The State Employees in New Hampshire have committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to seek ways to reduce costs. I hope their Governor and their legislature are not also among the hearing challenged when it comes to working with State employees rather than against them.

New Hampshire estimates the State deficit at $500 million to $1 billion without drastic cuts.

This is where it feels like looking in a mirror. Cut funds for the sick and needy while making some contractors rich.

New Hampshire would:

  • Lay off 250-300 State employees; the largest cuts coming in the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Corrections

  • Cut funding for nearly 400 vacant positions, always a budget tactic and maybe the only sign of government pre-planning (having vacancies to cut) that you can find.
  • Closing the Tobey School. The Tobey School, similar to the soon to be closed Levinson CenterMaine, is an alternative day and residential school for students identified as educationally disabled. Almost exactly like Maine there will be an estimated loss of services for a population of children at risk and a loss of an estimated 50 State jobs.
  • Close the Lakes Region Correctional Facility, causing the loss of 90-95 positions.
  • Unlike Maine, New Hampshire retirees don’t have constitutional protection for their retirees health care and the State wants to change the health insurance premiums for State retirees and shift all retirees onto the active State health plan (estimated savings $10 million), and an estimated $10 million increase for retirees.
  • In what many Union employees might see as a long overdue move the State proposes to offer a different health policy for what we call Confidential State employees, with the same offer made to Union employees.
  • In a move that spells Déjà vu to Mainers there is a proposal to sell the Liquor Commission warehouse, lease the four State Welcome Centers and reorganize and close many liquor stores statewide. The governor in a good move also proposed building new liquor stores in expanding market areas.
  • Close eight District Courts


Facing reality, the Governor also proposed some revenue increases:

  • Increase the tobacco tax by 35 cents
  • Increase the room and meals tax by three-quarters of one percent
  • Increase the cost of registering each vehicle by $10
  • Taxing gambling winnings over $600. They are way behind Maine us there.
  • Changing the toll collection system. Another echo from Maine.


The N.H. Governor didn’t propose any increases to the gasoline tax or broad-based sales or income taxes, but like Governor Baldacci’s proposal to “tax only State Employees” by increasing their cost for health care the proposals place a tax burden onto select groups of public servants.

Some of the N.H. and Maine’s “rainy day funds” are being used to balance the current budgets. These funds were built up in good economic times to be used to help keep us afloat in bad economic times. The State workforce is seen by some as being “built up” and a target to support the State in bad times also. Unfortunately, the Maine State workforce is at the lowest head count in over twenty five years. State Employees as usual are expected to pay a price higher than others in the name of publicity, not fiscal responsibility.

All Union members share many of the same concerns:

  • Bumping rights were one of the most important Union protections ever put into a contract. Those rights come to the fore in tough economic times. We must fight to protect and improve bumping rights. A layoff is one of the most devastating events a person faces. An employee facing a layoff must be given that guarantees management can not cherry pick people to lay off.

  • When looking for savings state employees in Maine have identified possibly hundreds of unreviewed positions filled by private contractors. Many of these outside contractors and consultants cost the State far more than the average State worker’s salary. The Governor, agencies, and the legislature must provide better oversight of the thousands of contracts, vendors and services the State pays for that could be done more efficiently and cost-effectively by State workers.

  • We must not forget our brothers and sisters losing their jobs on February 28. No bumping rights after ten, twenty or thirty years of service. They were targeted and had no where to go. Turning the Levinson center over to private hands will not save the State any money and will severely impact if not harm, those dependent on Levinson to care for the State’s most at risk children. Do you hire a baby sitter on “the lowest bid” approach?

Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

February 19th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments