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Another State Employee Blog



Based on the Fionavar Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay

Poster from http://www.brightweavings.com/


I just ran into another Blog by a State Employee, Harold Shaw, his Blog has too much to list so I will paste in his description. This might be a great place for you to try if you are tired of politics and just want some humor, or great pictures of Maine or pets…..See I told you it was too much to describe.



Harold Shaw

About Harold


This Blog is my personal blog about my thoughts on whatever I am presently thinking about – it could be most anything from politics, aging, software/hardware reviews, education and other topics that are controversial or interesting to me or it could just be what is going on in my life today. Please do take the time to comment, how else will I learn what you think?

Editor: Staying in character for my blog, I will pick a post of Harold’s that deals with State Employees. It is just a little in the past but shows a great understanding of the problem and is a proud voice for State Employees.


MAINE STATE EMPLOYEE BUDGET CUTS

The opinions expressed in this blog and this post in particular are my personal opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer and do not provide any official or unofficial interpretations or guidance on what is being written about. See the above disclaimer tab for further information and my full blog disclaimer.

Well the news is out, we finally know (sort of) what is happening to Maine State employees if the State budget passes as it came out of the Budget Committee last night/this morning. Initial reports have State employees having at least 20 state closure days without pay and some sort of health insurance change/co-pay over the course of the next 2 years. (Editor: Since this post, the 10% health care cut, the loss of longevity, loss of merit steps and the loss of the right to bargain have added to the harm done with no negotiations)

How do I feel about this? I understand the rationale/reasons and would prefer to have the “state-wide closure no pay days” than a straight 5% pay cut. At least it means I will have some extra time off, even if I don’t get paid for it. Supposedly they will align these closure day with Monday holidays making it 4 days in a row vs 3. It does mean the there will be less time to complete projects, complete work, etc., but I do believe that we have to do our part to help through the budget crisis we are currently in. But I am concerned about State employees at the lowest end of the pay scale and how this will impact their budgets?

The medical insurance will impact people the most, but it is another reason why I support a single-payer health care system that covers every single American with the same basic coverage. If you want or can negotiate with your work to provide more than the basic coverage that is a great thing, but everyone needs to have health care, which in turn would make this less of an issue for any employer.

The bottom line is that I will loose at least 10 paid days a year which means that I am still employed for 230 (240 is considered the number of days the average person works in a year) days, which is a lot better than many people in the U.S. or the World are doing. Hopefully, this is the last round of cuts that have to be made. (Editor: Sorry to say Harold, but some in the legislature are planning on coming back for seconds in January. Next on the radar, current and future retirement benefits.)

However, if it did come to a lay-off, it would not be easy for us, but we would make the best of it, just like anyone else that is laid off does. But to be prepared (just in case) because you never know what will happen, we are pushing to pay off the mortgage – it is done in Sept 2010, and paying down all other bills we have, but it is better to be prepared than suddenly getting hit with a lay off and then having a mountain of bills.

I hope that we are beginning to turn this mess around and that this recession is going to get better soon, so that more cuts or layoffs are not necessary – only time will tell. Do I think that this is the right thing to do now? I think so, we as State employees have a responsibility do our part to help our State through this difficult time.

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June 14th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Harold Shaw, Maine Blogs, Maine State Employees, state employee lay offs, state employee pay cuts | no comments

Another State Employee Blog



Based on the Fionavar Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay

Poster from http://www.brightweavings.com/


I just ran into another Blog by a State Employee, Harold Shaw, his Blog has too much to list so I will paste in his description. This might be a great place for you to try if you are tired of politics and just want some humor, or great pictures of Maine or pets…..See I told you it was too much to describe.



Harold Shaw

About Harold


This Blog is my personal blog about my thoughts on whatever I am presently thinking about – it could be most anything from politics, aging, software/hardware reviews, education and other topics that are controversial or interesting to me or it could just be what is going on in my life today. Please do take the time to comment, how else will I learn what you think?

Editor: Staying in character for my blog, I will pick a post of Harold’s that deals with State Employees. It is just a little in the past but shows a great understanding of the problem and is a proud voice for State Employees.


MAINE STATE EMPLOYEE BUDGET CUTS

The opinions expressed in this blog and this post in particular are my personal opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer and do not provide any official or unofficial interpretations or guidance on what is being written about. See the above disclaimer tab for further information and my full blog disclaimer.

Well the news is out, we finally know (sort of) what is happening to Maine State employees if the State budget passes as it came out of the Budget Committee last night/this morning. Initial reports have State employees having at least 20 state closure days without pay and some sort of health insurance change/co-pay over the course of the next 2 years. (Editor: Since this post, the 10% health care cut, the loss of longevity, loss of merit steps and the loss of the right to bargain have added to the harm done with no negotiations)

How do I feel about this? I understand the rationale/reasons and would prefer to have the “state-wide closure no pay days” than a straight 5% pay cut. At least it means I will have some extra time off, even if I don’t get paid for it. Supposedly they will align these closure day with Monday holidays making it 4 days in a row vs 3. It does mean the there will be less time to complete projects, complete work, etc., but I do believe that we have to do our part to help through the budget crisis we are currently in. But I am concerned about State employees at the lowest end of the pay scale and how this will impact their budgets?

The medical insurance will impact people the most, but it is another reason why I support a single-payer health care system that covers every single American with the same basic coverage. If you want or can negotiate with your work to provide more than the basic coverage that is a great thing, but everyone needs to have health care, which in turn would make this less of an issue for any employer.

The bottom line is that I will loose at least 10 paid days a year which means that I am still employed for 230 (240 is considered the number of days the average person works in a year) days, which is a lot better than many people in the U.S. or the World are doing. Hopefully, this is the last round of cuts that have to be made. (Editor: Sorry to say Harold, but some in the legislature are planning on coming back for seconds in January. Next on the radar, current and future retirement benefits.)

However, if it did come to a lay-off, it would not be easy for us, but we would make the best of it, just like anyone else that is laid off does. But to be prepared (just in case) because you never know what will happen, we are pushing to pay off the mortgage – it is done in Sept 2010, and paying down all other bills we have, but it is better to be prepared than suddenly getting hit with a lay off and then having a mountain of bills.

I hope that we are beginning to turn this mess around and that this recession is going to get better soon, so that more cuts or layoffs are not necessary – only time will tell. Do I think that this is the right thing to do now? I think so, we as State employees have a responsibility do our part to help our State through this difficult time.

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June 14th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Harold Shaw, Maine Blogs, Maine State Employees, state employee lay offs, state employee pay cuts | no comments

Another State Employee Blog



Based on the Fionavar Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay

Poster from http://www.brightweavings.com/


I just ran into another Blog by a State Employee, Harold Shaw, his Blog has too much to list so I will paste in his description. This might be a great place for you to try if you are tired of politics and just want some humor, or great pictures of Maine or pets…..See I told you it was too much to describe.



Harold Shaw

About Harold


This Blog is my personal blog about my thoughts on whatever I am presently thinking about – it could be most anything from politics, aging, software/hardware reviews, education and other topics that are controversial or interesting to me or it could just be what is going on in my life today. Please do take the time to comment, how else will I learn what you think?

Editor: Staying in character for my blog, I will pick a post of Harold’s that deals with State Employees. It is just a little in the past but shows a great understanding of the problem and is a proud voice for State Employees.


MAINE STATE EMPLOYEE BUDGET CUTS

The opinions expressed in this blog and this post in particular are my personal opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer and do not provide any official or unofficial interpretations or guidance on what is being written about. See the above disclaimer tab for further information and my full blog disclaimer.

Well the news is out, we finally know (sort of) what is happening to Maine State employees if the State budget passes as it came out of the Budget Committee last night/this morning. Initial reports have State employees having at least 20 state closure days without pay and some sort of health insurance change/co-pay over the course of the next 2 years. (Editor: Since this post, the 10% health care cut, the loss of longevity, loss of merit steps and the loss of the right to bargain have added to the harm done with no negotiations)

How do I feel about this? I understand the rationale/reasons and would prefer to have the “state-wide closure no pay days” than a straight 5% pay cut. At least it means I will have some extra time off, even if I don’t get paid for it. Supposedly they will align these closure day with Monday holidays making it 4 days in a row vs 3. It does mean the there will be less time to complete projects, complete work, etc., but I do believe that we have to do our part to help through the budget crisis we are currently in. But I am concerned about State employees at the lowest end of the pay scale and how this will impact their budgets?

The medical insurance will impact people the most, but it is another reason why I support a single-payer health care system that covers every single American with the same basic coverage. If you want or can negotiate with your work to provide more than the basic coverage that is a great thing, but everyone needs to have health care, which in turn would make this less of an issue for any employer.

The bottom line is that I will loose at least 10 paid days a year which means that I am still employed for 230 (240 is considered the number of days the average person works in a year) days, which is a lot better than many people in the U.S. or the World are doing. Hopefully, this is the last round of cuts that have to be made. (Editor: Sorry to say Harold, but some in the legislature are planning on coming back for seconds in January. Next on the radar, current and future retirement benefits.)

However, if it did come to a lay-off, it would not be easy for us, but we would make the best of it, just like anyone else that is laid off does. But to be prepared (just in case) because you never know what will happen, we are pushing to pay off the mortgage – it is done in Sept 2010, and paying down all other bills we have, but it is better to be prepared than suddenly getting hit with a lay off and then having a mountain of bills.

I hope that we are beginning to turn this mess around and that this recession is going to get better soon, so that more cuts or layoffs are not necessary – only time will tell. Do I think that this is the right thing to do now? I think so, we as State employees have a responsibility do our part to help our State through this difficult time.

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June 14th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Harold Shaw, Maine Blogs, Maine State Employees, state employee lay offs, state employee pay cuts | no comments

State Employee? Do you think you have Seniority?

Bumping Rights for Maine State Employees stink and you can’t put lipstick on that pig.


In the right kind of seniority system, the rights of workers with greater seniority whose jobs are abolished to replace (bump) workers with less seniority so that the worker who ultimately loses a job is not the worker whose position was abolished. Not in Maine.

First, let me say thank you to our fellow Union members, Local 1984, in New Hampshire. The SEA had a great article on “Bumping rights 101″ on their web site and this piece is strongly based on that article. We share many of the same concerns.

In Maine a bill has been put forward to get rid of seniority pay as a way of getting rid of older employees. The focus is on the bottom line, not retaining experienced employees to serve the citizens of Maine.

Fairy Tale

You may think you have “bumping rights”, but that is mostly a fairy tale unless you work in Augusta and even then you can lose your job while watching a new hire enter a building accross the street. You have almost no bumping rights except to vacant positions. In this economy there will be no vacant positions. Will the State try to eliminate bumping rights? They did. We lost any real bumping rights and Seniority rights years ago. We pretty much let the State take away our job security, they didn’t do it alone, we let it happen and even helped make it happen. Bumping rights are often misunderstood by the public and by MSEA members. What, are are bumping rights – and why would we want to preserve or better them at this time?

Bumping Rights 101

In the simplest terms, “bumping” means the displacement of a junior worker by a senior worker to avoid the layoff of the senior worker. The principle is sometimes referred to as “last hired, first fired.” In Maine the ability to bump is almost gone. The State has configured “unit divisions so that they can pick who they want to fire and when”. If you have thirty years of State service in the same job, but you are in a small unit division, maybe the only one in your class and a layoff happens in your unit division, you are out of a job.

They may have hired someone in your job class the day before in Augusta, but you work in Waterville…..too bad, good bye, do not pass go, do not keep your job. Bumping rights is a practice rooted in good, sound, core business practices. MSEA stewards and activists listen to your and know what’s most important to members. They have not lost sight of the need to preserve and better these rights.

In this economy bumping rights have taken on a new level of importance. State of Maine employees used to have State wide bumping rights. You had the right to choose to bump another junior employee in your area and they in turn could bump another employee in an adjoining area or even much farther away. A senior employee knew their job was secure due to their many years of service and valuable experience.

Now the State operates under the “unit division” method. To make it clear, you can be in the Dept. of Labor and so can the employees across the street, but you can be in different “unit divisions”. You can watch the new hire enter the building across the street while you pack the remains of twenty years memories in a cardboard box and go home.

In Public service and private industry, good managers know the importance of a highly skilled and experienced workforce. Recently AIG made the argument that millions of dollars of bonuses were needed to keep experienced staff and after a lot of speeches Congress agreed. The value of an employee who has been trained, and has developed loyalty and dedication through years of service can not be ignored.

Most businesses know the risks that come with mishandling the workforce. Abusing or marginalizing the workforce, taking punitive actions in response to temporary conditions. In the long term employees will be demoralized, and become disloyal, while the State hires inexperienced replacements for highly qualified staff.

The preservation of bumping rights supports the good practices touted by the most successful industries and public sector agencies while avoiding the serious risks that come with a loss of experience and loyalty. The proof that bumping rights promotes loyalty to the employer and preserves a qualified workforce was described well in an article on the Local 1984 website.

A retiree named Michael Andosca, Jr., of Webster, wrote: “Rarely needed, bumping rights are one of the rewards for faithful service; every faithful servant who can demonstrate the ability – by training or certification – should have the option of bumping down in order to keep working. Junior employees, however eager to please, need to pay their dues before they, too, can enjoy the benefits of seniority rights.”

Current bumping rights and recall rights must be a primary concern for any State employee. Current bumping rights are the result of a long history but are now 180 degrees away from good management practices. During the past, administrations have invested in initiatives designed to retain a qualified workforce. Fearing a substantial reduction in the workforce knowledge base because so many state employees can retire in the next 3 to 5 years, the administration made changes to longevity pay in order to retain experienced employees. The fears and risks associated with what is commonly known as “brain drain” are well documented.

Many state governments are facing the same risk and are faced with having to reduce the workforce while at the same time continue to provide quality services to the public. Laying off experienced employees at the top of their range and hiring new employees at the lowest scale has been touted by many as a great idea to save money, but shows no respect for the public or for dedicated, long term employees.

Why would the State resist bettering and preserving bumping? There can be only one reason: they intend to selectively target long-term employees for unethical reasons. Long term employees are more likely to be Union activists and to be at the top of the pay scale. The State is planning to punish and retaliate against workers who have earned a better paycheck or have been active in the Union. Politicians and agency heads would prefer to protect less experienced but “well-connected” favored employees. They would actively engage in age discrimination. Perhaps they simply don’t want to bother with following an orderly lay off process at all.

Why should we fight to improve and protect bumping rights?

1. It is essential to maintaining quality public services, not only today, but for years to come. Bumping rights – and the Personnel Rules that determine how employees are laid off – represent the most orderly and least-complicated process for ensuring that the most experienced and valuable workers are retained when layoffs are needed.

2. Eliminating bumping rights is clearly another attempt by the administration to abuse management authority and attack all employee benefits and protections. We’ve seen the negative effects of management abuse of workers in the private sector. As the largest employer, the State would set a poor example for all employers if they break their promises to their own workers.

3. If we lose bumping rights when we really need them, why even have them at all? We’ve been here before The State warns that there will be workplace chaos if bumping rights are changed or improved. The truth is jobs will be saved and Human Resources is unwilling to do the work needed with their highly reduced staff to manage bumping in the right way. At the same time they are being pressured to allow senior employees to be targeted as a budget reduction tool.

Leaving bumping rights as they are will end with disastrous effects. This year the employees at the Levinson center in Bangor lost their jobs. Even skilled nurses could not walk across the street to the Dorothea Dix center and bump. They had been exiled to a Unit division with no way to bump. DHHS had been ordered to reduce budget last year and agency heads identified the Levinson center as employees with no recourse.

In New Hampshire, SEA fought the State for nearly a decade and finally won reinstatement for 54 of 58 employees represented by SEA that had been fired under similar circumstances. The State paid tens of thousands of dollars in back pay. Why? Because these workers had been selectively targeted by the agency heads for elimination. Experience proves that the chaos predicted by Human Resources and even by some Union members will only happen if the State makes mistakes in handling a painful process in an incompetent and understaffed fashion. They will do it unless we can stop them.

Rubbing Salt into the Wound

To make matters worse, the resistance to improve bumping rights includes even more disturbing rehire provisions.
Currently, laid off workers who are qualified for future vacancies must be allowed four refusals. You have to actually be offered a job and refuse four times to be kicked off the list. The State wants be able to kick you off if you refuse two interviews.

If they don’t like a Union activist, or someone who could come back in at top step, in Portland, what do you think the chances are that the first two interviews for jobs will be in Caribou?

The proposal rubs salt into the wound. A laid off worker would watch a non-laid off worker, or worse yet, someone entirely new to state service, be eligible for a job that the laid off worker could not be eligible for simply because they wanted to stay with their family.

The same employees could watch an existing worker with no seniority or even a new hire take their job just because they work in a different building. This State has nearly succeeded in eliminating bumping rights already and has created the opportunity to retaliate against long-term workers. There is no other reason why the current set of rules is being fiercely protected by the State.

What do we need to do?

Contact your Union, 1-800-452-8794 and tell them to protect and improve your bumping rights. We are the UNION and that means you, your co-workers, all the way up, and every MSEA elected leader, needs to be part of that discussion.

You should:

Call or write to the members of your negotiation team. Call the Union and leave them a message.
Ask them to improve the current Bumping language – which has been in place for many years, is obsolete and does not protect your seniority rights. Tell them that improving bumping rights is good business practice and will protect quality public services for years to come. Tell them that ignoring bumping rights will leave many valuable State employees open to discriminatory treatment, and personal and political attacks that will harm State operations and cost taxpayers more money in the long run.

Let them know that allowing senior employees to be targeted in the middle of a recession sends a chilling message to workers everywhere that it is OK to abuse management authority. Lastly, but extremely important, is to talk with newer employees about the reasons we need to preserve bumping rights. The threat of lay-offs shakes out in the workplace many different ways.
It is important that we talk to each other, and help each other, during these difficult times. Long term workers have seen many more injustices happen in the workplace than short term workers; bumping rights could seem to be an unfair practice if a newer worker hasn’t been around long enough to personally witness selective hiring or firing practices play out.
Self-preservation is a keen sense that needs to be respected and understood. Newer workers may feel more at risk if bumping rights are retained and long term workers need to recognize that fact.

The bottom line:
Remember that weak employee rights will only allow employee rights to continue to get weaker.

But I don’t want to get involved, I don’t care, it won’t happen to me.

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April 26th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989, bumping rights, seniority, state employee lay offs | no comments

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

Lighten Up!

Maybe Gilligan did have some private moments with one of “the girls”.
Bobby (Gilligan?) Jindal

The next link, caught my attention while I was wondering if Advil could help with writers block. At first I thought it was funny, if you are over 50, I hope you are strong enough for laughter. Read the excerpt and follow the link to

“Teach me to booger sleaze”

From the blog, BadAttitudes

If, like me, you have entered the funhouse of late middle age you will soon discover that the mirrors distort not only how you look but what you hear.

Did that refined-looking woman next to you at the lunch counter really say, “Could you teach me to booger, sleaze?” And if she didn’t say that, what did she say? You haven’t a clue, so you retreat into safe territory: you take umbrage. “Excuse me. I beg your pardon. What did you say?”

The woman carefully, patiently, repeats her request: “Could you reach the sugar for me, please.” Link

Check out the Republican Spokesman with no answers, claiming PORK.

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March 2nd, 2009 Posted by Tom Maher | MSEA-SEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments

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

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?

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