UnionMaine

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When do we start Bargaining?

CLICK ON THE CARTOON FOR A FULL SIZE PICTURE.

Tonight I sent out over one hundred emails to stewards. I will enclose the body of the letter in this post. If you know a steward that did not get an email it was because either there was no email listed, a bad email was listed, or the only address was a Maine.Gov address and I won’t abuse the system the same way some of the decert people abused the email in 2007. This is not just my idea, the last negotiations team unanimously endorsed early bargaining. A Union official said publicly that bargaining would start early. Bargaining before all the money is gone. Bargaining with time to collect all the bargaining proposals and do the research. Time to answer members questions about proposals. We need time. If you know anyone that was P.O.ed about their proposal not being included in the last contract or someone that wants to know what we can do to try to head off the attempt to make MSEA-SEIU members pay for the budget deficit with no raises and cuts in benefits tell them to start asking when the bargaining teams will be elected. Unless we start NOW we will be in the same boat again.Here is what I sent out. Pass it on.

I am sending this email to as many stewards as possible. If you know anyone, steward or member that might be interested please pass this on.

My name is Thomas Maher, a steward from Bangor. I am a member of the Pro-Tech unit. I have been involved in contract negotiations for the MSEA-SEIU for several contracts as both a negotiations team member and as a bargaining committee member. Most members don’t know that the negotiations team last year voted unanimously to start bargaining as early as possible this time around. The reason is that the State always puts us up against the wall saying that time is short and if we don’t have a contract members will go without step raises, we could see shut down days, and more scare tactics of that type. I am trying to contact as many stewards as possible to get involved and to get bargaining going early before the legislature has taken all the cash and we are reduced to collective begging in place of collective bargaining. Another effect of this would be for all members to get their proposals in early so every proposal has a chance to be read and studied if research is necessary.

I will be putting up articles about early bargaining on my website, address included and I have already collected a number of bargaining proposals. Please drop by if you have a minute. My site is not Union sponsored or supported. I am doing this on my own. If do not want me to email you again just reply with “Do not Email” in the subject line and I will not email you again.

In Solidarity,

Thomas Maher

E.T.I. 2009

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December 26th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, federal mileage rate | no comments

When do we start Bargaining?

CLICK ON THE CARTOON FOR A FULL SIZE PICTURE.

Tonight I sent out over one hundred emails to stewards. I will enclose the body of the letter in this post. If you know a steward that did not get an email it was because either there was no email listed, a bad email was listed, or the only address was a Maine.Gov address and I won’t abuse the system the same way some of the decert people abused the email in 2007. This is not just my idea, the last negotiations team unanimously endorsed early bargaining. A Union official said publicly that bargaining would start early. Bargaining before all the money is gone. Bargaining with time to collect all the bargaining proposals and do the research. Time to answer members questions about proposals. We need time. If you know anyone that was P.O.ed about their proposal not being included in the last contract or someone that wants to know what we can do to try to head off the attempt to make MSEA-SEIU members pay for the budget deficit with no raises and cuts in benefits tell them to start asking when the bargaining teams will be elected. Unless we start NOW we will be in the same boat again.

Here is what I sent out. Pass it on.

I am sending this email to as many stewards as possible. If you know anyone, steward or member that might be interested please pass this on.

My name is Thomas Maher, a steward from Bangor. I am a member of the Pro-Tech unit. I have been involved in contract negotiations for the MSEA-SEIU for several contracts as both a negotiations team member and as a bargaining committee member. Most members don’t know that the negotiations team last year voted unanimously to start bargaining as early as possible this time around. The reason is that the State always puts us up against the wall saying that time is short and if we don’t have a contract members will go without step raises, we could see shut down days, and more scare tactics of that type. I am trying to contact as many stewards as possible to get involved and to get bargaining going early before the legislature has taken all the cash and we are reduced to collective begging in place of collective bargaining. Another effect of this would be for all members to get their proposals in early so every proposal has a chance to be read and studied if research is necessary.

I will be putting up articles about early bargaining on my website, address included and I have already collected a number of bargaining proposals. Please drop by if you have a minute. My site is not Union sponsored or supported. I am doing this on my own. If do not want me to email you again just reply with “Do not Email” in the subject line and I will not email you again.

In Solidarity,

Thomas Maher

E.T.I. 2009
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December 26th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, federal mileage rate | no comments

Merry Grinchmas Contract to be signed 1-4-08

The 2007 -2009 contract for State Employees will be signed on January 4, 2008. I don’t know how you feel about this contract, wages and benefits but unless you think it was the best thing since free beer and pretzels just wait. Too many State Employees think that “the union” will bargain the contract and that there is nothing that can be done. We can make a difference, we are the Union and if we are not interested enough to take care of our own issues no one will do it for us.When contracts are bargained, both the Union and the legislature start looking at neighboring States to make economic comparisons. The legislature only looks for cuts while your Union is looking at the whole picture. If another State pays less do they have better benefits? If their benefits took a hit did they get a better raise? Here is what New Hampshire got hit with at their last contract. They did get an 11% raise in two years, nearly twice what we got. They pay almost all of their employees overtime and standby regardless of being “salaried”. Our legislature will be looking for cuts and the only way we will get anything is to look ahead and plan.

The Union has promised to start bargaining early, when? Read this summary of New Hampshire and see if you would settle for a contract that guts your health care and that makes a joke of all the promises you were given when you came to work last year or or twenty five years or more ago. You kept your word, you worked for less for the promise of a health plan.

Cutting your pre paid health care would be like Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler sending tow trucks to your house to take your car back even a paid off car. They could just say that it was too expensive to honor the warranty they promised, too expensive too keep making spare parts so you will need to give up your car to help them.

Will you settle for a contract like this?
If you say yes, you would settle we have not seen 11% in two years since Dick Cheney ran his last marathon for charity. It is likely that the legislature is going to try for another zero and zero with benefit cuts. Contact your legislator now and ask them if they will fight for you.

Wages

What would it take for you to accept the rest of this agreement? New Hampshire Employees settled for about 11%. After you take out what they are going to be paying they got about 6%, the same as Maine employees.

Healthcare, the Agreement

  • Provides $200 in “health reimbursement” funds to employees who complete an on-line “Health Risk Assessment” questionnaire (this money can be used for office visit and prescription co-pays);
  • Cap maximum out-of-pocket expenses for office visits at $500 per individual and $1,000 per family;
  • Cap maximum out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs at $500 per individual and $1,000 per family;
  • Employee pays $25 per pay period health care fee for employees who subscribe to the state’s health insurance system (a total of $650 a year in pre-tax dollars); the fee would increase to $30 per pay period ($780) on January 1, 2010;
  • Office co-pays will also increase effective January 1, 2010; primary care visits will increase to $20; most specialists’ visits will increase to $40, but some will remain at $30);
  • Prescription drug co-pays remain at current rates;
  • Increase maximum dental benefit 20%
  • Add adult orthodontia benefits

While you are working these amounts don’t look like they would destroy your budget. They would prevent you from going to the doctor, they will prevent you from affording care for your kids, which is the whole idea. If you can’t use your health care the costs will definitely go down. The State is looking to balance the budget on your backs and on your family’s health. If you are near to retirement it will make the health care you worked a lifetime to earn a joke. “Thank you for thirty years, get out!”

Happy New Year.

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December 23rd, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, federal mileage rate, msea maine | 4 comments

Merry Grinchmas Contract to be signed 1-4-08


The 2007 -2009 contract for State Employees will be signed on January 4, 2008. I don’t know how you feel about this contract, wages and benefits but unless you think it was the best thing since free beer and pretzels just wait. Too many State Employees think that “the union” will bargain the contract and that there is nothing that can be done. We can make a difference, we are the Union and if we are not interested enough to take care of our own issues no one will do it for us.

When contracts are bargained, both the Union and the legislature start looking at neighboring States to make economic comparisons. The legislature only looks for cuts while your Union is looking at the whole picture. If another State pays less do they have better benefits? If their benefits took a hit did they get a better raise? Here is what New Hampshire got hit with at their last contract. They did get an 11% raise in two years, nearly twice what we got. They pay almost all of their employees overtime and standby regardless of being “salaried”. Our legislature will be looking for cuts and the only way we will get anything is to look ahead and plan.

The Union has promised to start bargaining early, when? Read this summary of New Hampshire and see if you would settle for a contract that guts your health care and that makes a joke of all the promises you were given when you came to work last year or or twenty five years or more ago. You kept your word, you worked for less for the promise of a health plan.

Cutting your pre paid health care would be like Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler sending tow trucks to your house to take your car back even a paid off car. They could just say that it was too expensive to honor the warranty they promised, too expensive too keep making spare parts so you will need to give up your car to help them.

Will you settle for a contract like this?
If you say yes, you would settle we have not seen 11% in two years since Dick Cheney ran his last marathon for charity. It is likely that the legislature is going to try for another zero and zero with benefit cuts. Contact your legislator now and ask them if they will fight for you.

Wages

What would it take for you to accept the rest of this agreement? New Hampshire Employees settled for about 11%. After you take out what they are going to be paying they got about 6%, the same as Maine employees.

Healthcare, the Agreement

  • Provides $200 in “health reimbursement” funds to employees who complete an on-line “Health Risk Assessment” questionnaire (this money can be used for office visit and prescription co-pays);
  • Cap maximum out-of-pocket expenses for office visits at $500 per individual and $1,000 per family;
  • Cap maximum out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs at $500 per individual and $1,000 per family;
  • Employee pays $25 per pay period health care fee for employees who subscribe to the state’s health insurance system (a total of $650 a year in pre-tax dollars); the fee would increase to $30 per pay period ($780) on January 1, 2010;
  • Office co-pays will also increase effective January 1, 2010; primary care visits will increase to $20; most specialists’ visits will increase to $40, but some will remain at $30);
  • Prescription drug co-pays remain at current rates;
  • Increase maximum dental benefit 20%
  • Add adult orthodontia benefits

While you are working these amounts don’t look like they would destroy your budget. They would prevent you from going to the doctor, they will prevent you from affording care for your kids, which is the whole idea. If you can’t use your health care the costs will definitely go down. The State is looking to balance the budget on your backs and on your family’s health. If you are near to retirement it will make the health care you worked a lifetime to earn a joke. “Thank you for thirty years, get out!”

Happy New Year.

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December 23rd, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, federal mileage rate, msea maine | no comments

Growing hunger in Augusta


In both Washington DC and in Augusta Maine there exists a rising hunger made worse by the knowledge that many of the old crew are going to be gone in 2009.
They want their last meal to be made up of the rights of citizens and the rights of the Unions.
I thank Change to Win for the hard information in this post. At least my health care plan still pays for the blood pressure medication these facts make necessary.

The National Labor Relations Board was established to encourage “the practice and procedure of collective bargaining” and to protect the “exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid and protection.”

Recent NLRB decisions prove the corporations that paid for Bush are not satisfied. They want the law destroyed before Bush leaves office.

This President has tried to rewrite the Constitution, and is attempting to destroy the administrative rules which by which our laws have been enforced. Obviously, he plans to finish the job before he leaves office.

Stop em from joining, make it easy to kick em out!

  • Dana Corp., 351 NLRB No. 28 (Sept. 29, 2007) –The Board reversed 40 years of precedent and invented a new rule: even when more than 50% of the workers sign cards indicating they want a union and the employer respects that choice, a 30% minority of employees may, within 45 days of voluntary recognition, petition to decertify the union, prevent the parties from bargaining, and force employees to suffer through the NLRB’s lengthy and divisive election process.

  • Wurtland Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 351 NLRB No. 50 (Sept. 29, 2007) – The Board took the opposite view about the reliability of signing a card when it comes to getting rid of a union! In this case, the NLRB ruled that signatures on a petition were good enough to get rid of an existing union and the Board rejected its own election process, arguing that employees who want to get rid of their union should not have to endure the delay involved in a decertification election. In Dana, the NLRB said that signature cards were not true indicators of employee support.

Easier for Employers to Fire and Intimidate Union Supporters

  • BP Amoco Chemical-Chocolate Bayou, 351 NLRB No. 39 (Sept. 29, 2007) – The Board ruled that it was perfectly permissible for an employer to target union supporters for layoffs, and then to force them to sign release forms, as a condition to receiving severance pay, that prevented them or anyone else from challenging the legality of their termination.

The next election cycle, local, State, and Federal may be the most important chance for workers in this country to share in the wealth they are producing.

We need to vote. The last two elections proved that only a few votes can make the difference. In Maine the legislative talk is already on how to take the easy way out. Cut State Employees benefits, retirement, and deny pay raises no matter what inflation is doing. One party is already blaming the deficit on State Employees. If we don’t want to wear that target on our backs we have to let the legislature know we are here. Email, write, call, or see them in person.

They come out when the sun goes down, and the sun is going down on failed policies and policies of hate. Before the next elections they will be trying to get a last bite out of you.

They got one million dollars from the health plan last time and now they are hungrier.

E.T.I. 2009

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December 12th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Kennebec Yellow Journalism

As reported on the MSEA-SEIU web site the attacks have begun again. Cut State employees jobs. Cut their health care. When you talk with anyone that believes this ask them if they would give their car or truck back to Chevy of Ford because the car companies are having a tough time.If you don’t think that is a fair comparison remember they already paid for the car it belongs to them. We have paid in advance for our benefits. We have made less real money for years by taking increases less than the rate of inflation. The State has always justified this by telling us we were paying for our health care! We paid and the promises should be good.
We need to start the next contract bargaining NOW or by the time we get to the table there will be no choices the legislature will have taken the money and sold the program to the public.
I wrote my letter to the Editor of the K.J. This is hate speech, rhetoric to give an excuse to hate. The right wing needs to blame anyone but the Republicans and their failed policies that have been in control in Washington for the problems of the economy. Maybe failed is the wrong term if you are among the richest 1% in the US the past eight years have been an endless Christmas of tax breaks, anti labor law and war profiteering.

Letter to the Editor.
Cut State employee health care. Steal what has already been paid for. State employees have been taking pay cuts for ten years, any increases have been smaller than the rate of inflation. We have paid in advance for our health care. Our terms of employment were based on wages and promises. Your proposal would make the word of the State worthless.
I remember Mainers as keeping their word.
State Employees with health care set an example that shames the right wing and embarrasses well funded corporations. State Employees work in their off time and with their Union dues to help find ways for other Mainers to achieve good jobs, and security.
Proposing a race to the bottom is not the way to save money it is only a way to save face for the selfish on the right.
This is the devil making rhetoric that is always used by the top to enrage the mob and divert attention. Blame the Union, blame the Jews, blame the immigrants. Your reason for this article is transparent. More sales, more money for the owners of your paper. Any student of history can see the pattern you are following to foster hate and create a class of those it is OK to hate.
http://www.unionmaine.blogspot.com/

Click Here to send a letter to the editor of the KJ.

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November 28th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Kennebec Journal Attacks, MSEA, MSEA contract, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Mileage Rates Why can’t Maine and the Union pay Federal Rates?

E.T.I. 2009
The State and the MSEA-SEIU have one small thing in common. They don’t think anyone needs to be paid a fair rate for mileage. The Union says it is because the members are sacrificing to build the Union. You can just write off the difference on your taxes. The State says they can’t afford to pay the mileage, but you can. You can just write off the difference on your taxes.

The Union needs to realize that the Federal Mileage rate is way below what it costs to actually run a vehicle, so with Federal mileage rate there is still plenty of suffering to go around. The State has to stop the hypocrisy, they charge daily for each vehicle whether it moves or not and when they lease vehicles the agency pays 100% of the gas.

The Union must take the lead and show the way. We can not ask the State to pay a fair rate if the Union is setting the example of unfair reimbursement.

Check this excerpt from Oregon

Mileage Rate Changes

State.or.us Wednesday January 31 2007

From the State Controllers Division Travel Coordinators: The General

Services Administration (GSA) has announced that the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate will be 48.5 cents per mile, effective February 1, 2007 for Federal agencies. Our intent in State Travel Policy is to mirror those federal rates. This change was published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2007

…… “Effective 2/1/07, vehicle mileage is 48.5 cents per mile. State mileage rates mirror the federal rate and change automatically when the Federal rates change.” The HRSD Labor Relations Unit…notified employee union representatives that the rates may go up on January 1, 2007 and that the union would receive notice if the anticipated increase in the rate occurs. …Union representatives (AEE, IAFF, KFAFFA and SEIU) about the rate change and effective date.

The SEIU is starting to take the lead. In NH and in Maine this year the Union voted to study increases in the mileage rate paid to volunteers, committee members, and witnesses.

Here is NH
On November 17th the 67th SEA Convention completed its business.

The Convention also approved an increase in mileage reimbursements to members who serve on Committees.

E.T.I. 2009

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November 27th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE, federal mileage rate | no comments

Mileage Rates Why can’t Maine and the Union pay Federal Rates?

E.T.I. 2009
The State and the MSEA-SEIU have one small thing in common. They don’t think anyone needs to be paid a fair rate for mileage. The Union says it is because the members are sacrificing to build the Union. You can just write off the difference on your taxes. The State says they can’t afford to pay the mileage, but you can. You can just write off the difference on your taxes.

The Union needs to realize that the Federal Mileage rate is way below what it costs to actually run a vehicle, so with Federal mileage rate there is still plenty of suffering to go around. The State has to stop the hypocrisy, they charge daily for each vehicle whether it moves or not and when they lease vehicles the agency pays 100% of the gas.

The Union must take the lead and show the way. We can not ask the State to pay a fair rate if the Union is setting the example of unfair reimbursement.

Check this excerpt from Oregon

Mileage Rate Changes

State.or.us Wednesday January 31 2007

From the State Controllers Division Travel Coordinators: The General

Services Administration (GSA) has announced that the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate will be 48.5 cents per mile, effective February 1, 2007 for Federal agencies. Our intent in State Travel Policy is to mirror those federal rates. This change was published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2007

…… “Effective 2/1/07, vehicle mileage is 48.5 cents per mile. State mileage rates mirror the federal rate and change automatically when the Federal rates change.” The HRSD Labor Relations Unit…notified employee union representatives that the rates may go up on January 1, 2007 and that the union would receive notice if the anticipated increase in the rate occurs. …Union representatives (AEE, IAFF, KFAFFA and SEIU) about the rate change and effective date.

The SEIU is starting to take the lead. In NH and in Maine this year the Union voted to study increases in the mileage rate paid to volunteers, committee members, and witnesses.

Here is NH
On November 17th the 67th SEA Convention completed its business.

The Convention also approved an increase in mileage reimbursements to members who serve on Committees.

E.T.I. 2009

Enter your Email

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November 27th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE, federal mileage rate | no comments

Mileage Rates Why can’t Maine and the Union pay Federal Rates?

E.T.I. 2009
The State and the MSEA-SEIU have one small thing in common. They don’t think anyone needs to be paid a fair rate for mileage. The Union says it is because the members are sacrificing to build the Union. You can just write off the difference on your taxes. The State says they can’t afford to pay the mileage, but you can. You can just write off the difference on your taxes.

The Union needs to realize that the Federal Mileage rate is way below what it costs to actually run a vehicle, so with Federal mileage rate there is still plenty of suffering to go around. The State has to stop the hypocrisy, they charge daily for each vehicle whether it moves or not and when they lease vehicles the agency pays 100% of the gas.

The Union must take the lead and show the way. We can not ask the State to pay a fair rate if the Union is setting the example of unfair reimbursement.

Check this excerpt from Oregon

Mileage Rate Changes

State.or.us Wednesday January 31 2007

From the State Controllers Division Travel Coordinators: The General

Services Administration (GSA) has announced that the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate will be 48.5 cents per mile, effective February 1, 2007 for Federal agencies. Our intent in State Travel Policy is to mirror those federal rates. This change was published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2007

…… “Effective 2/1/07, vehicle mileage is 48.5 cents per mile. State mileage rates mirror the federal rate and change automatically when the Federal rates change.” The HRSD Labor Relations Unit…notified employee union representatives that the rates may go up on January 1, 2007 and that the union would receive notice if the anticipated increase in the rate occurs. …Union representatives (AEE, IAFF, KFAFFA and SEIU) about the rate change and effective date.

The SEIU is starting to take the lead. In NH and in Maine this year the Union voted to study increases in the mileage rate paid to volunteers, committee members, and witnesses.

Here is NH
On November 17th the 67th SEA Convention completed its business.

The Convention also approved an increase in mileage reimbursements to members who serve on Committees.

E.T.I. 2009

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

November 27th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE, federal mileage rate | no comments

Mileage Rates Why can’t Maine and the Union pay Federal Rates?

E.T.I. 2009
The State and the MSEA-SEIU have one small thing in common. They don’t think anyone needs to be paid a fair rate for mileage. The Union says it is because the members are sacrificing to build the Union. You can just write off the difference on your taxes. The State says they can’t afford to pay the mileage, but you can. You can just write off the difference on your taxes.

The Union needs to realize that the Federal Mileage rate is way below what it costs to actually run a vehicle, so with Federal mileage rate there is still plenty of suffering to go around. The State has to stop the hypocrisy, they charge daily for each vehicle whether it moves or not and when they lease vehicles the agency pays 100% of the gas.

The Union must take the lead and show the way. We can not ask the State to pay a fair rate if the Union is setting the example of unfair reimbursement.

Check this excerpt from Oregon

Mileage Rate Changes

State.or.us Wednesday January 31 2007

From the State Controllers Division Travel Coordinators: The General

Services Administration (GSA) has announced that the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate will be 48.5 cents per mile, effective February 1, 2007 for Federal agencies. Our intent in State Travel Policy is to mirror those federal rates. This change was published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2007

…… “Effective 2/1/07, vehicle mileage is 48.5 cents per mile. State mileage rates mirror the federal rate and change automatically when the Federal rates change.” The HRSD Labor Relations Unit…notified employee union representatives that the rates may go up on January 1, 2007 and that the union would receive notice if the anticipated increase in the rate occurs. …Union representatives (AEE, IAFF, KFAFFA and SEIU) about the rate change and effective date.

The SEIU is starting to take the lead. In NH and in Maine this year the Union voted to study increases in the mileage rate paid to volunteers, committee members, and witnesses.

Here is NH
On November 17th the 67th SEA Convention completed its business.

The Convention also approved an increase in mileage reimbursements to members who serve on Committees.

E.T.I. 2009

Enter your Email

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November 27th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, TECHNORATI, The Cliff, UNIONMAINE, federal mileage rate | no comments