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Is Baldacci planning lay offs?

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Is Baldacci preparing for hundreds of lay offs?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rumors are flying. Is Governor Baldacci preparing plans to lay off possibly hundreds of state workers? Rumors are that Baldacci has ordered state department heads to prepare plans for layoffs, while he remains closed mouthed.

At the same time contract negotiations over a new contract are reaching a conclusion. The negotiations, started last year have been fouled by a legislature that decided to ignore collective bargaining when they refused to negotiate cuts. The contract Tentative Agreement is going to a vote of the Union Contract Action Team on Monday the 27th. State Employees have tried to be a part of the process for many months both through suggestions for real cost savings and political action.

Millions of dollars of cost savings ideas put forward by State Employees have been ignored while the State refused to allow any Union involvement in government oversight of waste and fraud, claiming the appropriations committee could do it all. The fear in the politician’s eyes is clear every time a State Employee says “We know where the waste is!”

MSEA reached out to the State last year and asked to be part of any discussions around employee pay cuts or benefit reductions. MSEA members know times are tough, we pay taxes, and we offered to save the State tax payer money. Every time we offered to point out the waste, a politician would say no thank you.

The ugly refusal of the legislature to respect collective bargaining has many employees demanding legal action be taken against the State for bargaining in bad faith.

State Employees have accused the governor and the legislature of undermining the negotiations and disrespecting all state employees and all taxpayers when they refused to allow citizens to be part of their so called savings committee.

The continuing refusal by the State to bargain in good faith is a common topic of discussion during Union discussions. It has been a constant disappointment that the Governor and the legislature continue to intimidate workers with the layoff threat. There are responsible solutions to be had, but the State has so far refused to listen to ideas that could save Maine tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. State Employees know where the waste is, where the political favors are being handed out at the expense of the taxpayer. Unlike the legislature, State Employees are committed to public service, not a political agenda.

The two sides have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, but the Union has refused to recognize shut down days in formal language as there were never any talks with the Unions only a midnight deal in the appropriations committee with no Union input.

MSEA-SEIU, which represents most state employees, tried to offer savings in order to bargain a guarantee there would be no future layoffs. The combination of attrition and retirement incentives was refused mostly by the right in a knee jerk refusal to offer any benefit to any State Employee, no matter the savings to the taxpayers of Maine.

The union proposed retirement incentives for cost savings, but the State said the retirement ideas would cost the state millions of dollars. The Union offered to be part of a cost savings committee and we were told not to let the door hit us on the way out.

The state’s biennial budget for 2009-2011 plans for about 200 retirements during the July retirement incentive period and allows the Union to negotiate for any “excess” personal savings the Union can identify. This may be the reason the appropriations committee refused to allow State Employees on the savings commission as they are certain to want to hide any monies found and protect their favored private contractors regardless of the cost to the state budget. State Employees, being taxpayers too would have been too likely to publicize the wasteful contracts to political allies and campaign supporters.

The union’s bargaining committee meets Monday to discuss ratification of the proposed contract and whether to send it out for a vote of the membership or to send the negotiations team back to the table. If the contract is sent back to the table the State is almost certain to call an impasse which would result in months of stalemated talks with no contract in place. The legislature found a way around our contract by making the law that came in to effect at the end of the last contract.

If we have a new contract in place it will be much, much harder to bypass an existing contract. Having a contract in place may very well be the least bad of a series of bad choices. Employees continue to be covered by the provisions of the old contract, which expired June 30 and a contract extension that runs until the end of August. Shut down days have already been implemented along with cuts in longevity pay due to the legislative refusal to bargain and instead rely on brute force.

Union members are of many opinions about the best course of action. Stress and tension have been building for months and the latest announcement of an “at least” $80,000,000.00 million dollar budget gap has only added to the strain.



It is time to look at some of the services being done by contractors that could be done by state workers at a lower cost. This would make it a lot easier to cut in the future without all the politics. The State is cutting back, why should private industry be any different?

Some State jobs are 100% federally-funded and the State still wants to cut the jobs and lose the funds that come with those jobs. The right wing doesn’t care about savings. They only want to reduce head count regardless of the cost. Many state employees are partially or fully funded by federal funds.

Stop the welfare, save the budget. How about instead of handing the money out with no question we use some state employees to investigate families collecting when complaints are made. Currently State Employees are told “There is no money for enforcement” or “We would lose Federal dollars”. Get it straight! State Employees don’t hate welfare but they do hate welfare cheats!


Get a job with Wal-Mart and see how long you last without a union. Unions don’t support poor work standards. If you let a company go out of business, you are out of a job. If it wasn’t for the threat of unionization wages would be far lower than they are now. State Workers don’t think they should be immune to the economy but if we have taken cuts instead of lay offs then asking for no more lay offs is only fair.

Why are cleaners being laid off and during a hiring freeze while new management positions are created in the budget at $75,000 a year or better to start? Essential employees must stay home without pay while there are internal job postings for even more management. That is the real insult.

SSDD, Same Shit Different Day. Cut the programs that help people. Why does it always have to be the departments that help people that get cuts? We thought we had a Governor that supported state employees. He gave us a speech promising no furloughs, no unpaid days while he was in office. Lying S.O.B.!

State employees have almost gotten used to being hated.It makes the economy of knuckle dragging radio shows run. State Employees don’t make a fortune and when we were paid far, far, under the private sector we were laughed at as being too dumb to get a real job with real wages. The Staff has been going down for a decade and many employees are now doing the work of several employees.

We couldn’t break a contract to pay AIG executives nearly half a Billion dollars in bonuses for destroying a company because the contract was sacred, yet the legislature can break our contract while trying to find out how to steal the health care and pensions we were promised for 30 years as if asking to be paid what you were promise is a crime.

Jesus hired three men at three different times yet paid them what they were promised, there should be some lesson there for the “moral majority”.

The state budget is out of control because ME’s politicians from both sides of the aisle refuse to produce a list of “essential services” and the real cost associated with those services. In many cases the service is unneeded or could be done cheaper by a State Employee. True costing is not something state employees are afraid of, it is something they are demanding. A true cost basis would cost some jobs but with the firing of wasteful contracting many more would open up.

Cuts should not be made on the basis of head count but on an honest review of costs and need for a particular service. If outsourcing a vital service can save money with out losing efficiency it must be considered. If a State Employee can do the job better and cheaper we should keep or hire a State Employee.

Cut employee pay and benefits and you will save temporarily save some money. You will also see the level of service drop because you will have lost a skilled work force while being unable to attract skilled replacement workers.

Services cost money, and if it costs $100.00 to fix a pot hole, then it costs a $100.00. If you pay less, you will get less, if you want less service and quality a politician will be happy to give you what you want.

The state should listen to suggestions of workers, not management, for cost-saving ideas.
In the worst economy since the Great Depressions, MSEA-SEIU members found cost savings ideas, instead of tax increases or reductions in services. Many on the right and some possible Democrat candidates for Governor were far more interested in publicity than saving Maine’s budget.

Union Employees want to provide quality public services and protect the jobs of our co-workers. These are your neighbors who plow the roads, protect the public, and fix the roads.


It’s bullshit!! Every time I hear “6 people to lean on a shovel” it is really bull shit. Most of the shovel leaners are contractors that buy the same uniforms and paint their trucks the same color as State trucks so their waste will be blamed on State Employees. The employees don’t ask for five friends to help. Management sends five because the more people they manage the more pay they get. Everyone blames the employee. It’s time to look at upper management.

Governor Baldacci didn’t even try to negotiate in good faith. He never offered State Employees the respect of even asking for their help. They sold us out to the Republican head hunters with no regard for the tax payers of Maine. “So what if it costs more!” Cutting State employees and paying more for the same services is always a good idea when you are looking for a consultant job when you leave the legislature.


A lot of consultants are former employees who retire, collect their retirement and then return to the same job in the same agency. The state pays them twice. Get rid of the double dipping mostly former managers if you really want to save $$$$.

Union workers want to help the public and save money. We are the public. We pay taxes. How about BMV? If you asked State Employees they might be willing to shift hours so the public could come in at 6 pm or at 6 am. The trouble is the politicians are afraid to ask State Employees for help. They are afraid we would say yes.

Some people hate Unions. OK, OK, but, state employees aren’t members of Tony Soprano’s family. State Employees are taxpayers and neighbors and make our state run, these cuts will be devastating to them and to our state services. No one else in Maine has been asked to take thousands of dollars of tax increases in a single year.You don’t think the contractors will have to take less money do you?

With State Lay offs more employees get laid off than needed in order to give bragging rights to some politician while he or she ships the work out to a business partner or friend at an inflated price. The contract MSEA-SEIU may get now is not a good contract but the fault is not on the union. The fault is on the legislature that has wasted money for decades while raiding retirement funds and borrowing even in years of surplus.

Union members were not smoking dope and dreaming of pay increases and more benefits. We know this is a rough time and we expected to take a hit. All we ever asked is to be part of the process and to get the respect we deserve.

The state is expecting to save money by having state employees use their vehicles while never increasing the mileage paid. Employees don’t even get what the Feds have determined is the least it takes to run a car. They can’t afford to run the cars but we are supposed to carry the load.

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July 24th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | BALDACCI, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, state employee pay cuts | no comments

A letter to Senator Diamond. State Employees are Mainers too

Scott Austin is a 20 year State Employee and a member of the MSEASEIU board of directors. If you have something to tell the Senator, click on the link at the bottom and send him your thoughts. Please remember to be polite no matter how you feel as yelling and rude comments only make us look ignorant and do not get sympathy.


Scott Austin
Senate Chair Diamond, House Chair Cain, Members of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs; I’m Scott Austin, a twenty year state employee at the Department of Environmental Protection and a member of the MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors.

I understand the magnitude of the crisis we are all in and the very unpalatable choices you are being charged to make. I don’t envy you and I know you are trying to do your best to minimize the pain while not excessively burdening any one group. It must be gut-wrenching.

State employees realize that we must do our part in this crisis; and we are willing to sacrifice to be part of the solution. (Emphasis added)

But we would like a voice in that solution. We have as an organization communicated that to all of you since the Governor’s announcement on May 1st. That view is universal through our ranks.

Up until last night, it seemed that there would be a spirit of cooperation amongst the affected parties to choose our “poison” as it has been expressed. There is support at the worksites I represent for the Governor’s proposal as well as Libby Mitchell’s proposal. The common theme being loss of salary for time off with the final package being negotiated by the affected parties to meet your need for booking savings with our desire for input and ideas to achieve Maine’s needs and goals is acceptable to State workers.

Unfortunately, that spirit did not survive your deliberations late last night. The door was slammed shut. All state employees woke up today to learn that their pay would be slashed 5% and there would be nothing in exchange, including input. And all this while some in the legislature are salivating over how much more they can extract from the health insurance premiums of the dedicated workers that serve the citizens of Maine.
Collective bargaining was respected…..until last night.

What you did last night and may be continuing to do as I type is sowing seeds that will reap you the lowest state employee morale in Maine history. Is that the legacy you wish for this legislative session?

I close by apologizing for any of my fellow state employees that may have left you disrespectful messages. I have heard that may have happened and I’m sorry if you received that type of message. MSEA always stresses that when communicating to you folks we can be open and frank, but always respectful to you who serve.
I know these are difficult times, but we really should broaden our perspectives, be creative and work together to get out of this mess.

Cheers! (I’m trying to stay positive)
Scott Austin
Environmental Specialist III Maine Department of Environmental Protection
MSEA-SEIU Board of Directors

EDITOR: Click the link below to send the Senator your thoughts.

http://www.mainesenate.com/diamond/email.htm



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May 15th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Maine State Employees, STATE EMPLOYEES, pay cuts, senator bill diamond | 5 comments

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No temporary taxes, No temporary benefit cuts

A friend of mine sent this to me and I think it expresses the opinions of a lot of State Employees. Don’t change the game half way through, just because you can. Don’t make permanent cuts for a temporary situation

You can use this as a model for a letter to your own legislator. Remember do nothing and you have to be happy what ever happens.

As a State employee and as one of your constituents, I am coming to you with great urgency regarding proposed cuts in State employee benefits. We all realize that these are very tough economic times across the nation, if not globally.

Governments, institutions, businesses and families are all caught up in this very unfortunate economic downturn. When you look at what has gone on in this country over the past eight years, however, one tends to seriously ponder the legitimacy of loading fiscal crises on the backs of everyday working men and women, while Bush cronies and corporate thieves seem to continue their pleasure cruise relatively unscathed. I truly feel for honest and concerned politicians who are doing their best at trying to equitably solve financial messes that they likely did not create, but it becomes very unsettling when it looks to be done at the expense of workers who, themselves, are trying desperately to make ends meet.

I became a State employee nearly 20 years ago, a few years before the last major fiscal “event” of the McKernan administration. I have already taken a significant “ding” in my benefits package, as did many, many of my fellow State employees.

Now, another significant blow to State employees’ benefits is being proposed, over an issue that is likely very temporary, yet the proposed cuts are again, permanent The temporary cuts will most certainly become permanent, even as budget issues wane. I would venture to say that many others, like me, came to State employment out of desire for a long-term, stable position where a “well-rounded” and sound compensation package would prevail, passing by much more lucrative salaries typically offered by (more volatile) private sector employment. Cutting benefits to State employees is conducive neither to retention nor recruitment of a loyal, dedicated and quality workforce.

Please consider this potential “slap in the face” to State employees, and work with your fellow Legislators and the Governor to turn things around in a more amicable and equitable manner for everyone. Thank you and best wishes for your ultimate success as my Representative in the Maine Legislature.


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March 23rd, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, health care cuts | 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

Strong Union Support in Maine

Over at Turnmaineblue Gerald is doing a great job of covering the Employee Free Choice Act and labor isuses. I don’t have the time or the skills to do the reporting they do over there and I hope I am only putting up “fair use” parts of the articles. I felt that I had to do this because it is what I would write if I could. Here is the beginning of two articles with links for the rest.
I am going to TurnMaineBlue and by some ad space. It is the least I can do to support his site.

More GOP hogwash about unions

by: Gerald Weinand

Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:50:40 PM EST

There is more anti-union hogwash from Republicans, and this time it’s Michael Steele, chair of the RNC that gets into the act. (Go to TMB for a link to the RNC’s website)
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele today released the following statement concerning the executive order quietly signed by President Barack Obama on Friday ordering the use of union labor for federal construction projects:
Raise your blood pressure and read the rest


PPH editorial repeats the industry

lie about the EFCA

by: Gerald Weinand

Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:32:40 AM EST

This morning’s Portland Press Herald has this (link at TMB) editorial that repeats the well established lie used by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA):
Taking away the right of workers to vote in secret on whether to have a union is fundamentally unfair.

Finish the rest at Turnmaineblue

Click here and send an email. Tell Turnmaineblue to keep up the great work.

I would be glad to be the first person to use my Pay Pal at his site. Ever since Politicker ME became an RSS feed instead of a real site Turnmaineblue has been taking up the slack.

.

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February 21st, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, Thomas Maher, turnmaineblue | 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

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

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