UnionMaine

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Keeping Promises, Supporting Labor




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

Friday January 30, 2009

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

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

President Obama is not afraid to support labor:

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

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

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

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

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

Bargaining Update.


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On Friday the Governor will announce his budget plans and we will see what the impact on State employees may be. Remember “the governor proposes” and “the legislature disposes”.

No matter what comes up tomorrow, nothing is final until the legislature weighs in. In 2008 we worked harder than ever and succeeded in electing law makers that are more willing to listen to labor.

The Executive Branch Negotiations teams met on Thursday and will meet with the State team on Friday. We will be presenting some general ideas and reminding the State that even in these times of challenges and economic problems we are part of the process and our members must be respected.

On Friday the negotiations team will be presenting a suggested schedule of meeting dates with the State and we will be discussing how many days both sides feel we may need to arrive at a contract. We will let the State know that we are serious and we will take the time needed to get this done.

On Saturday January 10 the teams will meet with the C.A.T. (Contract Action Team) members to bring them up to date and discuss the issues and proposals that have been collected.

The C.A.T. members will let the team members know what they have heard from their coworkers and make recommendations on priorities.

There will be some interesting discussions over what the best possible contract looks like in this economy.

Every member of every team determined to do the most good for the most members. We have all promised to do whatever is needed and to stay as long as we have to. No matter how tough things get, at least we don’t have John and Sarah.

And here is what is happening in California:

Local 1000 Tells California how to save the state $370 million
State says, ‘No exemptions from furloughs’

The California Local 1000 bargaining team met with the the State negotiators and offered a package of proposals that would save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said “Our members are suffering just like all Californians. Our proposals are designed to reduce that pain.” The proposals included more than $370 million in savings over two years and include:

1) A voluntary reduced work week program of 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent.

2) A golden handshake for state workers willing to take early retirement.

3) Converting two state holidays – Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day – for two additional personal holidays.

The State has taken a position that says no one will be exempt from furloughs, but that certain revenue generating departments would be exempt from layoffs.

California follows a bargaining strategy of a Master table and Unit negotiations that is similar to the last contract negotiations in Maine where we had coalition bargaining and small table talks.

January 9th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, TECHNORATI, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Buy your beer and wine now

After returnig from New Hampshire where he was stocking up on beer, wine, and ciggarettes Governor Baldacci issued a new executive order calling for further cuts in the 2007-08 fiscal year in a bold move towards streamlining government.

Among his suggestions is closing the MDOT, laying off all employees and selling all State Highways to corporate bidders. A Republican suggestion to allow all legislators to retire immediately regardless of age with full benefits and a $36,000.00 was hailed by the minority party as helping the economy. To quote a Republican leader “We are in favor of less government, and with a deal like this, a lot of us will quit tomorrow. This is the one suggestion that got both Union and Public support if they promised to stay away.

One story going around has blamed the Democrats for wanting to shorten the sentences of minor drug offenders. The Republicans have shot back with a plan to save even more money.
All criminal offenses will be subject to death penalty if you are found to be a liberal, no appeal, immediate sentencing. Funding the courts will be done on a “pay go” system where if you pay you can go. This is considered simply an extension of corporate deregulation.

Republicans moved to exempt incomes over $350,000.00 form all taxation including excise, sales, income, and bottle deposits. They say they want to build on the successes of the Bush tax cuts.

All funding will be removed from the public defender program in deference to the new “waterboard legal assistance program”. Defendants will be given a fair chance to provide the answers that the court deems necessary. They will know their sentences even before the questioning begins. In the case of trouble makers prosecutors are authorized to keep asking until they get the answers they need. Giving the defendants the answers ahead of time will almost eliminate the need for trials. All defendants that plead guilty before being told the charges will be given a free bright orange “Club Gitmo” Tshirt signed by Rush Limbaugh.

DHHS will no longer take children from parents. Every year there have been two or three mistakes where kids had to be given back.

If this program saves even one child from being removed wrongly from their family, it will be worth it one law maker said.
The governor’s order puts in place a hiring freeze – for all hourly employees, but actually increases funding for upper management due to the increased workload handling lay offs.
The deficit will force all State departments and agencies to shut down except for upper management employees.

Not having to actually provide services for the citizens of Maine will save hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

In other news:

Three Bargaining Units rally for reclass anticipating pay study outcomes.
State stonewalls again
In a preview of things to come, nearly 10 workers in offices participated in worksite actions in support of pay study negotiations.

A Union spokesperson commenting on the large turnout as compared to the usual rallies said “This is the kind of member action we’ll need to prevail in the upcoming contract battle,” In every worksite, in every department, we need to show state officials, legislators and the governor we are united, we are fearless, and we are ready to act.”

More than 3 members picketed and rallied at the SOB, while three or four more work­ers statewide took a five-minute solidarity break, standing up in their offices, or maybe they were just stretching. There is an unproven rumor that two more employees emailed their representatives, but there is no real proof.

Asked about the claims of stalling by the Union a human resources spokesperson was quoted as saying that Union members are being unreasonable if they think an increasing work load, massive increases in the complexity of the jobs, and wages that have fallen behind inflation for years are a justification for a living wage.

If State employees want increases every contract they must first accept a 50% reduction in pay and benefits. They must all become salaried, doing away with overtime. After a fresh start we would have room to start discussing reasonable increases during the next budget, or maybe the one after that, or the one…………………………

PLEASE TAKE THE BARGAINING SURVEY

YOUR IDEAS COUNT.

The first Union Bargaining summit coming up on May 10. All former members of negotiating teams and bargaining committees are invited. Do you think things should be done differently? Have you ever asked why something was done? Show up and make yourself heard.During the bargaining for the 2007-2009 contract your bargaining team found the bargaining survey gave our teams more input and information than had ever been received before. This site and your Union are both collecting ideas now.

Your ideas count!Click Here to take survey Click HERE to see how other members are voting.Interested Union members will be given a chance to be heard and help develop plans before they are sent to the Union Board of Directors for a vote. Please take the first step and take the online survey.

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April 16th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | BALDACCI, MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine DOT, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI, msea maine | one comment

Bargaining Suggestion Pro-Tech & OIT

This is a suggestion from an OIT employee. I have edited it to remove all personally identifying information. We need to be looking for Pro-Tech and OIT ideas for the next contract and we need to be doing it yesterday. This is one of the best laid out ideas yet. Why is it a good idea? Because it puts forward a goal, and then provides justification. It also raises other questions about fair play, and does not ask for anyone to be knocked down, only for talented employees to be recognized and compensated fairly.

The tech people in the field should be considered 2nd and 3rd level support. That being said, the regional folks should be at least an ISS 2 or higher. They work with minimal supervision and most of the time none at all. They have a very large range of skills that are needed to be able to resolve issues on their own. The help desk should be mostly ISS 1, at first level support and work under the supervision of managers or more skilled 2s and above.

Most field personnell are doing things that qualify as a 2. They work on servers. Our department is full of non-technical management over the ISS 1’s and ISSS 2s who have less technical ability than the field workers and are getting paid more for doing it. There should be a career structure setup that if you start out as an ISSS 1, then lets say in 3 years, you take a test to score your skills and if you pass, then you would be promoted to a 2. Right now it seems that to get promoted, someone has to like you. Just my 2 cents.

PLEASE TAKE THE BARGAINING SURVEY AND

MAKE YOUR IDEAS COUNT.

The first Union Bargaining summit coming up on May 10. Do you think things should be done differently? Have you ever asked why something was done? Show up and make yourself heard.
During the bargaining for the 2007-2009 contract your bargaining team found the bargaining survey gave our teams more input and information than had ever been received before. This site and your Union are both collecting ideas now. Your ideas count!

Click Here to take survey

Click HERE to see how other members are voting.
Interested Union members will be given a chance to be heard and help develop plans before they are sent to the Union Board of Directors for a vote. Please take the first step and take the online survey.

Enter your Email

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April 9th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI | no comments

Lay offs? Benefit Cuts? Apathy?

The current budget negotiations have brought up the ghosts of years past. No raise contracts, furlough days and political pressure to “hurt” State Employees not for financial reasons but for political gain.

We must face the fact that we are looking at demands that we get no raises, suffer benefit cuts, and layoffs, the MSEA will face some tough challenges when its representatives take their seats at the bargaining table some time later this year.

The first meetings should take a place towards the end of the year, while the legislature will be working to finalize the 2009-2011 budget.

The State plans to have privatized the Levinson center by that time, though the plan was delayed for a while after workers and the parents of clients objected. Decreases in Social benefits will be widespread and the right wing will be in frenzy as they face serious political challenges in both the local and National elections. They will be desperate to blame anyone for their failed policies. In Maine they will want to blame Unions.

The right will be promising that more tax cuts for the rich and privatization of State services to their friends will solve all the problems.

In order to avoid becoming a public target we must get the word out that the union recognizes that Maine and the county are facing difficult times.

We need tell our neighbors that Union members want to suggest ways to make State services more effective and efficient. Tell them we know State workers have an obligation to participate in innovation and quality. We know the jobs best and this gives us the ability to suggest ideas to provide better services and do the best job possible at the lowest cost. We are Mainer’s too, and we don’t want to waste tax payer money because we are tax payers too.

Whether the Bush administration admits it or not the economy is in a recession, and that will impact our negotiations. We can go in and demand ridiculous terms, but that doesn’t make any sense. What we have to do is sit down early and work on both the financial aspects and all of the open working condition issues that are open and unresolved. Then with our research done and in unity we can begin to bargain with the State.

The MSEA, executive branch bargaining teams must realize that we are also carrying the hopes for the State College system, AFSCME, and other units. Historically their contracts have mirrored whatever we have been able or unable to achieve at the table. We will need to try to hear from as many members of our MSEA-SEIU locals to get ideas and gather strength.

Our Union is looking at new methods of bargaining starting with a bargaining summit on May 10 but so far neither members or Union officials know what new process may be developed or how they will be implemented.

The bargaining summit is not exclusive. Individual workers are invited to meet other members and with Union officials to create an official channel for workers to raise proposals, grievances, lobby for policy changes and ask to be heard. One thing is certain; any member that does not participate is giving up the right to complain about the results.

PLEASE TAKE THE BARGAINING SURVEY AND MAKE YOUR IDEAS COUNT.

There is a Bargaining summit coming up on May 10. Do you think things should be done differently? Have you ever asked why something was done? Show up and make yourself heard.
During the bargaining for the 2007-2009 contract your bargaining team found the bargaining survey gave our teams more input and information than had ever been received before. This site and your Union are both collecting ideas now. Your ideas count!

Click Here to take survey

Click HERE to see how other members are voting.
Interested Union members will be given a chance to be heard and help develop plans before they are sent to the Union Board of Directors for a vote. Please take the first step and take the online survey.

Enter your Email and sign up to get new posts.

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April 5th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE, msea maine | no comments

Lies, Lies, and a roadmap

Today as a steward I helped a number of employees get the respect they deserve. As a Union representative I heard some problems from some employees. I contacted management and asked if they understood the contract language. Contract language that I helped to write. There was no big fight. A few calls, mention of some old emails and contract language and we all agreed. The result was an agreement that this was all a misunderstanding and that, of course, the employees would get the wages they were due. I honestly don’t think that management intended anything, but because of our Union, management and labor avoided a confrontation and bad feelings. The best result is the employees will get the wages and respect they feel they have earned.
A phone call, a little involvement, and we had a success. We must all be prepared to get involved. I will slip this next comment in quickly. If you want to keep reading any of this blog—comment. I agree with my own writing, except when the voices keep shouting each other down, but I don’t know what you want or even if you want any more of this. It is up to you.

Waiting for State Employees to become involved.


Don’t say the Republicans are sneaky. They are very clear. They do not respect the citizens of Maine or State employees.

I have tried to be even handed recognizing that a good idea or a bad idea has no political party and neither party has a monopoly on being right.

But if you are a State Employee or a citizen of Maine that expects to have good services when you need them you will know who to blame when you can’t register a car or get the roads plowed.

Republicans have put forward their own versions of budget cuts, at least three of which would directly affect state workers.

The GOP members of the Health and Human Services Committee want to require all state workers and legislators to pay ten percent of their health insurance premiums and regardless of how little they make to prohibit them from signing up for MaineCare.

They also want to eliminate vacant state jobs and even knowing my audience I have to say that may have merit. If the cuts were enforced fairly it could work. The remaining employees would share in the overtime needed to do the work. Just don’t say fair to the university system. During the Big Job Freeze the University system just kept on hiring. During the travel ban the University travel budget kept on growing.

The most harmful suggestions will not be able to be put in force now because of fair contracts negotiated by the MSEA-SEIU. Even though we have paid for our benefits in advance for ten, twenty or even more years, they are only guaranteed until 2009. They will be targeted again and again.

Let us put a name to some of the GOP members that think it is OK to break the word of the State and promises given to prospective employees in order to hire talented hard working employees to serve Maine.

Sen. Kevin Raye, R-Perry, and Rep. Robert Walker, R-Lincolnville, said the proposed cuts provide a roadmap for budget cuts over the long term. TRANSLATION: THEY WANT TO KEEP ON CUTTING, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT WILL MAKE IT ON THE CITIZENS OF MAINE. THE NO NEW TAXES PROMISE IS A LIE. NO NEW TAXES UNLESS YOU ARE A STATE EMPLOYEE.

Rep. Henry Joy, R-Crystal, will sponsor a bill to make a joke out of what Mainers voted for, the 55 percent State share of education. His bill would cut the percentage of educational spending the State provides to 49 percent.

Why are we in a race to the bottom? It is because the State Employee plan sets an example for employee coverage that the corporations sponsoring many legislators don’t want to admit is working well and could be affordable for many other employers in Maine.

I have been hoping to see a little more involvement from State Employees in the process but today’s cartoon says it all.

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March 19th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI, msea maine, turnmaineblue | no comments

2008 Bargaining Survey

If you ever think that no one is listening, you are wrong. This year is probably one of the most important years for bargaining in a decade or more. Health care is under attack. The Bush administration is trying to write as many laws as possible to destroy organized labor in an attempt to break our vote and elect John McCain. The federal budget is a mess, our troops are being killed to protect the profits of big oil. The richest country in the world is now the biggest debtor nation in the world.
The State of Maine has a huge deficit and the legislature is thrashing around looking for a way out. They have cut funds for kids, the handicapped, and education. If you don’t thing you need to become involved just to save your job you may be next on the legislative buffet table.
The Union is you. Please become involved, take the survey and let people know what is important to you.
In Solidarity.
Click Here to take survey

Click Here to take survey

March 2nd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA 2008 bargaining survey, Maine State Employees, Mark Katz, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, turnmaineblue | no comments

Nobody Knows the Troubles I seen

I am getting older and maybe I am feeling mortal.

At nearly sixty years old and after fifteen years as a State Employee I don’t look forward to the loss of income retirement brings. I am going to have to let my butler go back to the old country. My Chef is no longer a perk I can afford.

During every one of my years with the State there was never a month in which I did not have to do some work. The unending demands on my time made planning for my vacations nearly impossible. I nearly claimed disability from the stress induced from trying to choose between a time share in Florida, Nevada or both. I think that I am due more for the many hard weeks of work during my employment than a pension, a home in Florida, Nevada, Maine, and a retirement near my grand kids with only one private doctor on call.

At my age maintaining the Mercedes, the Cadillac, my wife’s cars and the real estate investments is getting to be too much. I will be cast out and forced into my twilight years without domestic staff.

If only they knew how much we will suffer. No Filet Mignon, just sirloin, No double lobster, just soft-shell and fries. The future is bleak.

Some of my friends will be forced into choosing between giving up their private golf club memberships or giving up the new plasma TV. Can be more a frightening future be imagined?

Realistically we must all suffer to weather these tough economic times. We must share the burden of our fellow citizens. From here on in, I am going to be more productive. I will work three days a week. I will give up the catered lunches, and the Swedish massage.

I am willing to share the burden. I will give up a lot, keeping only the consultant fee for rodent control for my cat.

If you are a State Employee, this is how the right wants the public to see you. A parasite. A tick to be burned off with a cleansing match. They don’t want the public to know that we are Mainers, tax payers, real people that do not get cost of living raises.

If you have read the articles or listened to the radio recently the right wing says that promises of healthcare and retirement can be broken. O.K. I promised to work, until I am 62 to get my benefits. So if I don’t get my benefits can I just stop working and still get paid? Can I strike? Can I get back the 60% of my Social Security the Feds will take as punishment for having a pension? Can I get the same respect that I give the public every day?

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January 22nd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Come and meet my little friend!


The outgoing Federal administration is running scared, and the anti-Union, anti working family, conservatives in Maine are starting the campaign to blame State Employees for any thing that is wrong in Maine. On several Radio Stations there are now ads running saying that State Employees are too well paid, have too many benefits and the leader of the organization in an interview on WVOM radio on January 3 said the State should just break the contract now and stop paying the benefits. As I have said previously the articles have started in the K.J. a new web site is up, and they are directly telling legislators that they are being watched.

One thing they say is right. The legislators are being watched by the most organized voting block in the state. Union Members vote. This is all a run up to the next gubernatorial elections. The Republican candidates will be like Tony Montana in Scarface, telling State employees to “Come and say hello to my little friend!” before they start screaming and shooting. They will be trying to out do each other calling Union members the devil, lazy, greedy, and blaming you instead of failed national policies. The Federal present and near term future are the blueprint for what will be attempted in Maine.

In the next year the Bush Federal Anti Labor board will be trying to engineer a blitzkrieg against labor, taking the whole organized labor system into a death spiral that no Democratic presidency will be able to fix. They would rather destroy decades of law than leave anything for the survivors. The propaganda has been running for years picturing organized labor as an already beaten and despised remnant of weaklings. This is the Republican way. The Unions and the American middle class are quickly becoming unable to provide the things their parents grew up to believe are the American birthright, health, a good home, and to provide for families. They call names and tell lies, all State employees are lazy, all Unions are corrupt, and they are attempting to put us in isolation and blame their own failed polices on labor. This will happen in our working lives, and it will be bad for Maine and the U.S. The drive of the middle class, American optimism and can-do spirit will be gone, replaced by employers that will say “you are lucky to have a job at all”.

If the Republicans can’t finish us in a year they will try to prevent meaningful reform during a Democratic presidency and force the nation into a slowly decaying one world, Wal-Mart economy, where only a few share the wealth. Everything will grow worse. Your children will know something is wrong, but without good jobs with security and benefits they will have nothing to compare to. Don’t fall for the bull; it is not the teachers Union that is running schools down, it was the Republican takeover of our schools to teach good consumers, not good thinkers. They blame the teachers Unions while children become less and less able to compete against better educated foreign students.

It seems like we may win against the false conservatives. The new direction we need to go in could be called “conservative” in the best possible sense of the word. Our children need to be educated in reading, writing, science, and math. We must stop teaching a false U.S. history where we helped the ignorant red man and all American wars are good wars. An educated citizen is the best weapon against the big lie.

We must start locally and so will we become involved with our Union or will we return to the seeing employers as royals, while we are the grateful serfs? The Republicans say that the employer freed of Unions will happily reward the productive employees (with whatever they feel we deserve). Under Republican logic Wal-Mart is rich and successful so therefore all Wal-Mart employees must be rich and successful with not Unions. One more example of Republican logic is that tax cuts increase government revenue. Therefore I would think that cutting all taxes would increase government revenue so much we could all retire now.

As a State and as a Union will we remain so divided from one another that no one can get anything they want? Or, should we organize and by reaching out to others overpower the tower of lies that have been told about all of us?

Will we be able to picture a future, and know the only way to get there is together?

Remember, Union households vote at a three to one ratio to the rest of the Public. Find your legislator. You can do that on this Blog and email your legislators. Ask what they will do to protect the pay and benefits promised to you for one, five, ten, even thirty five years.

Ask them if they want to cut your pay if they will then support your right to strike? If you are so unimportant you can be lied to and stolen from then giving you the right to strike should not matter.

Solidarity

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January 3rd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | ATTACK ON UNIONS, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, STATE VIOLATES CONTRACT, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE, anti union talk show, msea maine | no comments

Apathy or a lack of information?

Dr. Uncle SamThis poster was put out during WW I showing how business and the Government had partnered to destroy the evils of Unionism. Look in the back at the greedy Union boss sneaking out with the money belonging to business and the Public. Listen to any right wing talk show, listen to the K.J. and you will hear the same talk.

Lack of member participation, interest, lack of concern and understanding about their own union and the Labor Movement in general, are reaching critical levels. Until 1/20/2009 the G. Bush labor department will be trying to disassemble a hundred years of labor gains. In Maine a portion of the legislature is preparing a devastating attack on wages and benefits under the guise of saving the public from the rapacious Unions. We will no longer be able to afford both the Mercedes and the Bentley. Some of us may have to fire one of the maids. The lack of concern for learning how to affect their future and the future of their families is a hugely frustrating problem for me. The MSEA has an outstanding monthly newsletter, staff and a website. The chapters have regular meetings; stewards are active and helping members every day. I publish this Blog and still the uphill fight to motivate members to act in their own interest is nothing but uphill over twenty miles of bad road.

Regardless of the web, and the efforts of the active members, we are not getting the level of support that will be needed. I realize that people are busy with jobs, children, and just trying to have a life and they can’t be bothered with one more thing.

We know the signs, the hype has started. State employees will be painted as the devils with the gold plated everything, stealing from the public. I can understand not being interested in the troubles of transit workers in France but I find it amazing that so many Union members seem to have given up the fight before it has started.

If Members are so apathetic, why bother?

I am publishing UnionMaine because I think our members need and want several things that they have not had or not known about.

1. The members need a place where they can freely speak out about what is on their mind. I also invite non-members because they say no one listens. If all it takes is someone to listen to bring them in, I will listen.

2. Members need to know that they can not use the remote to watch their unions and benefits crumble. There is no Tivo for wages and benefits.

3. I don’t know what it will take to get members active but they must learn that they are not alone and there is power in numbers. They need to know that other members share the same concerns. Wages, Health care, retirement and more. Talking to members is the core of the answer, find out what they want, and find out what they will do to help themselves. Most of all they need to know they can make a difference, there is truly strength in numbers.

The State will say “it is bad all around” and we have to take another cut in pay and benefits. State employees could understand a temporary sacrifice to help everyone in the State. With one exception, no cut is ever temporary, no benefits are ever given back The one exception was furlough days. When the State had to get along without State employees they soon realized how much we do to enable the business of government. We regained our lost wages and regained lost respect. Apathetic workers believe that the legislature will do what they will do regardless. They forget that the legislators don’t want to read in the newspapers about employees qualifying for food stamps and they want votes! A highly active Union in Maine could sway fifty to a hundred thousand votes. We have real power; we need to let Augusta know that we will use it.

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December 29th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, federal mileage rate, msea maine, turnmaineblue | no comments