UnionMaine

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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

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


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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


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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

Success or Failure?


What is happening around the Unions and around the nation? Are Unions succeeding or failing?

California has a very active membership that attends meetings, goes to rallies, and supports their Union loudly and persistently with the legislature and in the press. They have just finished negotiations during the worst economy California has seen in over seventy years. What did they lose and what did they hold on to? Is this a crystal ball for what is happening in Maine or could we do better or worse?

California SEIU 1000, the states largest employee union negotiated for nine months during the worst economic times in over seventy years. SEIU Local 1000 and the State reached a tentative agreement Saturday night covers 95,000 state employees until June 30, 2010.

The TA will be sent to the union’s elected State Bargaining Advisory Council; which serves the same purpose as MSEA-SEIU’s Contract Action Team where if passed it will be put to a vote of all SEIU 1000 members. The agreement must also be approved by the state Legislature and signed by the governor.

SEIU 1000 went in to negotiations during bad times that only worsened while they talked. CaliforniaCalifornia like Maine State employees provide critical services that must be maintained to keep citizens safe and healthy. Like Maine the governator, no matter how powerful just can’t say there are no emergencies on specific days. Unlike California Maine has always forced State employees when taking furloughs to rotate them in an attempt to hide from the public the impact on State services. California had the courage even on the State side to move to close offices for furlough days, arguably saving far more money.

When negotiations concluded, there were sacrifices on both sides. The State made concessions they did not want to make and so did the Union.

Major provisions of the Tentative Agreement include: now has a forty billion dollar hole to fill and the governor intended to fill it with State employees. In

  1. Reducing the governor’s demand for two unpaid furlough days per month to eight hours monthly. Two days could have forced employees working ten hour days to take ten or twenty hours off a month.
  2. The tentative agreement improved the state’s layoff procedures and guarantees layoffs only when departments are eliminated or when facilities or offices are closed.
  3. Two holidays, Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day were traded for two personal holidays, which are similar to vacation days. State offices will be open for normal business and employees who work on those days will no longer receive overtime pay.
  4. Overtime costs will also be reduced under this agreement; an employee who uses a sick day cannot receive overtime in the same week until they have worked a full 40 hours. Vacation time continues to count towards the forty hours requirement.
  5. Unlike Maine, SEIU 1000 negotiates health care and in a successful fight against a money grab, the state agreed with Local 1000’s proposal to freeze employee contributions for health insurance at 2008 levels though 2010.
  6. The tentative agreement will increase career enhancement options by creating a Joint Labor-Management Trust to continuing education and professional development for Local 1000-represented employees.


Unlike California we are now in talks with the State after the stimulus bill has passed. What effect the money coming to Maine will have is impossible to say at this time, but it can only have a positive influence.
Tune in tomorrow for a close up look at N.H. They compromised on Health Care two years ago. Was it a success?



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February 18th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, Maine Turnpike Authority, SEIU 1989, msea maine | no comments

Keeping Promises, Supporting Labor




President Obama: “You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.”

Friday January 30, 2009

President Obama signed three critical Executive Orders reversing anti-worker Bush policies and it needs to be heard. Federal contractors can NOT be paid for anti-union activities

I am still in shock, this president is keeping his promises. The Republicans and the old style politicians are (hopefully) in cardiac arrest.

President Obama is not afraid to support labor:

He said “I also believe that we have to reverse many of the policies towards organized labor that we’ve seen these last eight years, policies with which I’ve sharply disagreed. I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem, to me it’s part of the solution. We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests, because we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.

We know that strong, vibrant, growing unions can exist side by side with strong, vibrant and growing businesses. This isn’t a either/or proposition between the interests of workers and the interests of shareholders. That’s the old argument. The new argument is that the American economy is not and has never been a zero-sum game. When workers are prospering, they buy products that make businesses prosper. We can be competitive and lean and mean and still create a situation where workers are thriving in this country.

So I’m going to be signing three executive orders designed to ensure that federal contracts serve taxpayers efficiently and effectively. One of these orders is going to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to reimburse federal contractors who spend money trying to influence the formation of unions. We will also require that federal contractors inform their employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Federal labor laws encourage collective bargaining, and employees should know their rights to avoid disruption of federal contracts.

And I’m issuing an order so that qualified employees will be able to keep their jobs even when a contract changes hands. We shouldn’t deprive the government of these workers who have so much experience in making government work

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January 31st, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Employee Free Choice Act, MSEA, MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, State lay offs, TECHNORATI, msea maine | no comments

Cut, Cut, Cut

http://www.flickr.com/photos/darkpatator/2290947745/page2/

The middle of winter and all through the state, workers are working both early and late. What do they get for their long hours and strife? A gift from the state in the dead of the night.
Not just furloughs, but wage freezes, too. But that isn’t all they want to give you. They’ve got a plan to jack up health care prices and make you bear the burden for their budget crisis! Check the side bar for the AFSCME Xmas You Tube video.

Governors across the nation are seeking State employee sacrifices and concessions to help balance budgets during the economic downturn.

In States with no strong Unions governors are ordering cuts including pay and benefit cuts, shut downs, and furlough days. In States with strong Unions states are offering bad contracts with concessions and cuts but they are forced to negotiate.

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, and in many more states governors have asked or ordered state workers to accept furloughs, salary reductions, shortened workweeks and/or benefit cuts. The concessions may be the only way to minimize further job losses in the face of record-breaking unemployment.

Unions argue their members shouldn’t be singled out and are even more vital in hard times providing social services, to a growing population in need, public safety, and education.

Democratic Governor of Ohio, a long time Union friend is asking over 60,000 state employees to accept a 5 percent pay cut, a 35-hour workweek, mandatory furloughs, elimination of step increases, higher costs for their health insurance ,elimination of paid personal days, along with unpaid holidays. State employees are represented by the Ohio Civil Service Employees

Union president Parks said that the union’s negotiating team was “aghast at the scope of the concessions the state proposed.” Union negotiators have been told that layoffs might be necessary even if concessions are made

There has been a long history of Unions compromising with State governments and then having the promises to protect jobs broken. When the MSEASEIU accepted the Cliff, furloughs, and contracts with no raises during the nineties hundreds of jobs were still lost.

Another Democratic Governor, Martin O’Malley of Maryland, imposed furloughs and salary cuts on thousands of state workers in December in an attempt to save $34 million.

The part time legislature of Maryland earns $47,000.00 a year and has so far exempted themselves from the cuts.

The largest State employee Union in Maryland, AFSCME, succeeded in preserving employee benefits but could not halt the furlough days. The Maryland legislature is expected to try to cut State employee benefits and health care for both current and retired State employees.

In 2008 the New Jersey legislature along with Democratic Governor Jon Corzine cut two paid holidays, Lincoln’s Birthday and the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Utah eliminated one paid holiday and is trying a four-day state workweek.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, will probably pursue furloughs for 36,000 state employees and ask them to pay a larger share of health insurance coverage and to skip raises. The Governor cut two traditional half day holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The cuts apply to 53,000 state employees in all departments, including the state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii. Marie Laderta, director of the state Department of Human Resources Development recommended that employees be allowed vacation leave to allow additional holiday time off, subject to operational needs.

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said layoffs and unpaid furloughs are likely in that state as well.

California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to force furloughs two days a month beginning in February for 230,000 employees mostly represented by SEIU………GOOD NEWS:…………Democratic State Controller John Chiang said he will refuse to reduce state worker pay as demanded by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, possibly sparing more than 200,000 public employees from furloughs and pay cuts.

Chiang filed documents last week in Sacramento Superior Court arguing that the governor’s plan is illegal.”California law is clear that only the Legislature has ultimate authority over setting state employee salaries,”

Gov Schwarzenegger has so far been unable to cut two paid holidays from State employees due to the need to engage in collective bargaining.

In 1992 and again in 2003, state employees bargained leave agreements that accepted pay cuts 4.6% to 7%, in exchange for leave credits. Those agreements, were collectively bargained and ratified by the Legislature.

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January 25th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA Dues, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, afscme, state employee lay offs | no comments

Right wing SCOTUS rules for MSEA-SEIU

Thanks to Andrea LaPointe for forwarding these two stories.

It seems even the Supreme Court thought the fee payers should go home and pay up. A long time ago in a forum far, far, away I asked what they would do if the Supreme Court ruled against them. The general answer was that they would either quit or accept the ruling.

IT is the end of the road. To put it nicely, pay up or get out. Either way shut up. It is done, over, finished. If you want to shake hands and agree to disagree with no more small minded comments and bragging predictions over what would happen when the case got to the Supreme Court, come on over. The Union could use some people that can stick to an idea all the way.

Today, January 21, 2009 The Supreme Court today unanimously agreed the MSEA-SEIU can force other State workers who are not Union members to pay Fair Share.

The MSEASEIU has been representing fee payers for years and spending huge amounts of money for a group that (IMHO) only wanted to keep the money and not share the load for the benefits and pay they were receiving.

The court has previously held that people who choose not to join the union still must pay fees to the union because they too are covered by collective bargaining.

No fees can be charged for politics and lobbying. The suit was based on a portion of the fees that were spent on legal costs that also benefitted SEIU on the national level.

In an attempt to avoid paying their fair share, some workers sued in federal court. A District Court judge judge and the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state. The high court affirmed those rulings today in an opinion by Justice Stephen Breyer.

AMG should be in a hissy fit.

More News, from Andrea

An Order Establishing the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification

January 14, 2009
23 FY 08/09
WHEREAS, the practice of employing individuals as “independent contractors” when legally they should be classified as “employees” (hereinafter referred to as “employee misclassification”) is increasing nationally and in Maine; and

WHEREAS, employers sometimes engage in employee misclassification in an attempt to avoid the employers’ legal obligations under the federal and state labor, employment and tax laws, including laws governing minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, temporary disability insurance, wage payment, child support and income tax; and

WHEREAS, employee misclassification has a significant adverse impact on the residents, businesses and economy in Maine, because this practice reduces compliance with employment and safety standards depriving vulnerable workers of important protections and benefits to which they are legally entitled; gives employers who misclassify their employees an improper competitive advantage over law-abiding businesses; increases the risk of avoidance of child support; deprives the State of substantial revenues; and imposes indirect costs on the State from decreased legitimate business activity and increased demand for social services; and

WHEREAS, a 2005 independent study based on audits of Maine unemployment records for construction employers between 1999 through 2002 found that one in seven or 14% of these employers misclassified employees as independent contractors; and

WHEREAS, a review of the unemployment audits performed by the Maine Department of Labor identified misclassification of employees as independent contractors occurring in 29% of employers audited in 2004 (all industry types), 39% in 2005, 43.0% in 2006 (mostly construction employers) and 41% in 2007; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement activities in this area historically have been divided among various agencies, reducing the efficiency, consistency and effectiveness of enforcement; and
WHEREAS, enforcement efforts to address the problem of employee misclassification can be enhanced and made more consistent and efficient through interagency cooperation, information sharing, and the prosecution of violators; and

WHEREAS, the creation of joint task forces has proven to be an effective mechanism for coordinating and enhancing labor law enforcement, including efforts by other States to address the problem of employee misclassification;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John Elias Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby establish the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification.
Purpose and Duties
The purpose and duties of the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification shall be to coordinate the investigation and enforcement of employee misclassification matters by the members of the Task Force and other relevant agencies. In fulfilling this mission, the Task Force shall:
1. Facilitate the timely sharing of information relating to suspected employee misclassification violations between and among Task Force members to the maximum extent permitted by law;

2. Identify those industries and sectors where employee misclassification is most prevalent to help inform and focus Task Force members’ investigative and enforcement resources;

3. Assess existing investigative, prevention and enforcement methods in Maine and develop and recommend strategies and measures to improve the effectiveness of these methods;

4. Facilitate the formation of joint enforcement teams where appropriate to leverage the collective investigative and enforcement capabilities of the Task Force members to combat employee misclassification;

5. Identify potential regulatory or statutory changes that would strengthen enforcement efforts, including any changes needed to resolve existing legal ambiguities or inconsistencies, as well as potential legal procedures for facilitating individual enforcement efforts;
6. Increase public awareness of the illegal nature of, and harms inflicted by, employee misclassification;

7. Work cooperatively with employers, labor and community groups to reduce the number of employee misclassifications by, among other means, disseminating educational materials regarding the legal differences between independent contractors and employees, and enhancing mechanisms for identifying and reporting potential employee misclassification; and

8. Meet with representatives of business, organized labor and community organizations, and members of the applicable legislative oversight committees to discuss the activities of the Task Force and ways to improve the effectiveness of its operation.

Membership
The Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification shall be chaired by the Commissioner (or designee) of the Department of Labor and shall include representatives of the following state agencies:
The Department of Labor (including the Bureaus of Unemployment Compensation, Employment Services, Labor Standards & Center for Workforce Research & Information)
Workers Compensation Board (including the Office of Monitoring, Audit and Enforcement)
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Administrative & Financial Services (including Maine Revenue Services)
Professional & Financial Regulations (including the Bureau of Insurance)
Members of the Task Force shall serve without compensation.
Annual Report
The Task Force shall transmit an annual report to the Governor summarizing the Task Force’s activities during the preceding year. The report shall:

1. Describe the Task Force’s efforts and accomplishments during the year including the amounts of wages, premiums, taxes and other payments or penalties collected with the assistance of Task Force activities, as well as the number of employers identified as misclassifying workers and the approximate number of employees affected;

2. Identify any administrative or legal barriers impeding the more effective operation of the Task Force including any barriers to information sharing or joint action;

3. Recommend measures, including legislative or regulatory changes, to strengthen the Task Force’s operations and enforcement efforts and reduce or eliminate any barriers to those efforts; and

4. Identify successful preventative mechanisms for reducing the extent of employee misclassification, thereby reducing the need for greater enforcement.
The Task Force shall also take appropriate steps to publicize its activities and findings.
Effective Date
The effective date of this Executive Order is January 14, 2009.
John E. Baldacci, Governor

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January 21st, 2009 Posted by narsbars | FAIR SHARE, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, mark turek, msea maine | no comments

A message about your money from SEIU



Cartoon Courtesy of XKCD

I just read a message from SEIU. Billions for executives, nothing for employees. Billions for bonuses, nothing for mortgage relief. Check out the video in the side bar or follow the link below. I read the story and I told Bank of America to use some of its bailout money to support a real economic recovery and provide health care for its 247,000 workers—or give the money back. Watch this video explaining it all:
http://freechoice.seiu.org/page/s/bankofamerica

Taxpayers gave Bank of America $25 billion in bailout funds to help jumpstart our economy, but instead the bank has misspent on executive salaries and corporate jets.

Then Bank of America took even more money from cash-strapped states by not paying for workers’ healthcare.

It’s time for Bank of America to use its taxpayer-funded windfall to support a real economic recovery and provide health care for its 247,000 workers—or give the money back.

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January 15th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | 2009 contract bank of america, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments