Trust me, I work for the Government

Chellie Pingree wants your questions.

UnionMaine has received a number of questions about the Iraq war, guns, Union Issues, and health care. All the questions have been grouped and the common themes have been put together in a series of questions.

Your questions will be posted here tomorrow and the candidates replies will go up as soon as they arrive.

Republican Candidates have been offered chances to post or to respond to questions. No answers. No replies. Nothing. I may be impatient but we have a bounty of good Democratic candidates for office that are willing to talk to the public in an arena that does not cost $200.00 a plate. Democrats recognize the power of communication and have been willing to reach out to us.

In this case, Thank you Chellie Pingree for being open and accessible to the voters.

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December 18th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Chellie Pingree, MSEA, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine Congressional Elections, Tom Allen, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE | one comment

Chellie Pingree Candidate for Congress

Chellie Pingree, candidate for Congress in Maine’s First Congressional District sent in her Biography and the candidate, through her campaign office has agreed to answer questions from readers. What do you want to ask? Sign up for this site, and then place your questions in the comments. We will accept questions until until December 21 but let’s give the candidate a break and not look for answers until after Christmas. I really didn’t know enough about the candidate until I read her biography found here. The record is impressive. The real measure of a candidate is not what they promise but who they are and what they have done. I have written to our two Republican Congressional representatives and they have never bothered to answer. The one time I requested help for a State violation of the Federal Fair Labor Standards act, Snowe’s office finally sent me a message saying it was a State matter. What part of “Federal Fair Labor Standards Act” didn’t she want to understand?
Since the last Congressional election cycle the voters know they can regain control of their country. Please read the candidate’s Biography and check out her voting record. Andy Stern should be hoping she wins.
A couple of excerpts.

Chellie Pingree’s Labor Record

1992 – 2000: Knox County Senator and Senate Majority Leader

…State Senator, including four years as Senate Majority Leader….Chellie demonstrated her strength as a lead and fighter for workers’ rights and the labor movement……She also was a strong supporter of expanding workers’ benefits……Chellie voted…to allow workers to sue their employers and to limit mandatory overtime…she also supported legislation to ban professional strikebreakers. ..note how many battles Chellie fought with labor by her side and vice versa. From corporate accountability to fair pricing of prescription drugs, Chellie’s relationship with labor runs deep and has produced some remarkable victories for the people of Maine.

Pingree’s AFL-CIO COPE Rating











Pingree on the Issues 1998-2000

Corporate Accountability: Pingree

sponsored Legislation….so the (State)…could get money back from companies that move jobs out of state. In 1998, Pingree worked with workers and union leaders to pass LD 2243 …….If a company doesn’t comply with the standards laid forth in the Act or fails to create or maintain the jobs as promised in its incentive package, the…provision of the Act kicks in and mandates that the violating company must return all money back to the state. [LD 2243,1999] (Editor: Imagine that, if the company lies, they have to give back the money. I LIKE it!)

Living wage: ….. “We shouldn’t subsidize businesses with economic development incentives and then have to subsidize those workers to get off of food stamps and Medicaid,”

Organizing: Pingree voted to allow legislative workers to join unions. (LD 2096, 4/7/98)

Family and Medical Leave: Pingree voted to expand family and medical leave. (LD 406, 5/6/93)

Permanent Replacement Workers: Pingree voted to prohibit hiring permanent replacement workers. (LD 66, 4/29/97)

Strikebreakers: Pingree voted to prohibit professional strikebreakers. (LD 113, 5/5/97)

Pingree as a Leader for Working Families

Chellie Pin gree fought to keep jobs in Maine. According to the Bangor Daily News, “The workers at Van Baalen [a subsidiary of Nautica] in Rockland will never forget the state senator from North Haven.” ……when the plant announced it would close…….Pingree…worked with company officials to cancel the move..(and)..assisted…with a 330,000-square-foot expansion of the facility that boosted the work force to more than 300 employees.

Nautica Chairman Announcement Business Would Remain in Maine. A few months later, “Our business will remain in Maine,” Nautica Chairman Harvey Sanders said. Van Baalen, a subsidiary of Nautica, is a clothing firm with 135 -1 50 employees and a $3 million payroll, which has been in Rockland since 1939. Because of unprecedented business expansion, the company has outgrown its 200,000 -square-foot building in the city industrial park.

…..Althea Leach of Union, a Van Baalen employee. “She not only talked the talk. She walked the walk,’ Leach said.” [Bangor Daily News, 6/07/0 1]

Pingree on the Issues 2002-2007

Chellie ran a…campaign against….Susan Collins in……2002. (With)….the support and endorsement of virtually all labor unions, and thousands of supporters across the state of Maine, her campaign was considered strong even if it was not a good year from Democrats, in Maine or across the country.

In 2003,Chellie was….national president of the government watchdog organization Common Cause…..she fought for fair elections and “counting every vote,”……Under Pingree’s watch, Common Cause…helped to expose the corrupt ethics and practices of leaders such as Tom Delay and Duke Cunningham.

Pingree continued to be an outspoken and forceful advocate for workers…. At Common Cause she helped…..(fight) the Bush administration from undermining workers rights…..by developing a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Pingree also led efforts in Washington to fight against no-bid contracts given to companies like Haliburton with little or no oversite and cost controls.

Chellie Pingree on current legislation

If Chellie Pingree were in Congress today, she would be an ally to working people: Pingree supports H.R. 800, The Employee Free Choice Act

Pingree supports H.R. 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act

Pingree would not support additional “free trade” agreements; would push for the reexamination of existing trade agreements,…….

Appointments, Awards and Union Membership

Pingree is a proud member of the National Writers’ Union/UAW Local 1981.

Pingree serves on the board of the national organization, Wal-Mart Watch, and previously served on the board of Families USA, which advocates for universal health care.

Editor: As long as this list of accomplishments is, this is only a heavily edited distillation of the record of Chellie Pingree. Read her record, ask yourself “What would Dick Cheney do?” and you will know we should find out all we can about Chellie Pingree.

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December 15th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Chellie Pingree, MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, Maine State Employees, Olympia Snowe, SEIU 1989, Susan Collins, TECHNORATI, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE, msea maine, turnmaineblue | 3 comments

Election 2009

On this site I try to present any point of view that comes forward. Any point of view will be treated with respect if not applause. I tried to reach a number of Republican office holders to ask questions and to understand their point of view on State and National issues.

I tried to discuss issues with the Republican representatives from to my own State legislature, both Republicans. I tried to reach Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. I will continue to try but I have to ask myself why they refuse to speak to this audience and another candidate will answer questions.

They don’t return emails. Honest, you can talk to a Liberal and it won’t rub off. I know Democrats are not always right and though Republicans are always right they are not always correct.

We need to reach out to the other side. I wonder how long I will wait.

The right fears the positive results for Unionism if the Democratic majority in Congress also increases when the next president, a Democrat is elected.

The Democrats may win enough votes to block future Republican Filibusters or get so close that Republicans will be forced to go along in order to pass any of their own bills.

There is fear and loathing over the possibility that the recently filibustered Employee Free Choice Act (E.F.C.A.) may actually pass strengthening labor.

The E.F.C.A. is being characterized as political payback to organized labor and every Democrat running for office has promised their support.

The right has a list and that list contains anything that might affect the wages of the working public or strengthen labor in any way.

This article, http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2007/05/21/an_agenda_for_labor.php is the basis for the fears of the CEOs. The (Extremely) condensed version is listed below. Read the article and you will realize that Unionism is not dead. There are still a lot of dedicated intelligent Union supporters working for progress, not just for Union members but for America.

While you are cheering for the ideas here, realize that the same ideas are creating fear, loathing, and disgust in the minority party.

I want to ask them why they are afraid but they won’t answer.

1. Enact the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

2. Enact the (RESPECT) Act and narrow the definition of exempt “supervisors” under the NLRA.

3. Allow union organizers access to employees on private employer property and/or during working hours in order to organize employees.

EDITOR: I support Unions but I can’t see how number three has any legs. A Union can not control the employer’s property.

4. Fix the trade agreements that have sucked the jobs out of this country. Ross Perot was right.

5. As in many State Unions, allow for the unionization of supervisors.

6. Repeal the federal allowance for state “Right-to-Work” laws.

7. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act’s ban on “secondary boycotts.”

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November 13th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, MSEA, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, Tom Allen, UNION CANDIDATES | no comments

Universal Health Care, The other Side.

E.T.I. 2009

The debate about Universal Health care has proponents and opponents. Since I am a firm believer in Universal Health Care I felt that I should go out and listen to the reasons given by the opposition. I have collected the most common reasons and it is only fair to listen to the other side.

I have listed the most common below.

1: With Universal Health Care people would live longer and the money would just be wasted on old people.

2: If you knew you could go to the doctor for yourself or your kids you would go for every minor broken bone and the Government might even end up paying for inoculations to prevent disease. Why pay for something that has not happened?

3: Universal Health Care would stop Americans from paying more and getting less than other counties and that could harm the economy.

4: Single payer countries are run by dictators in lands with no choice, like Canada, and Holland.

5: The people that oppose a single payer system can afford health care and it would be an unfair burden on the rich.

6: Paying insurance companies for poor care is more American than paying taxes and receiving good care.

7: The U.S.A. which has one of the highest infant mortality rates of all the civilized countries would become overcrowded if we let all those babies live.

8: Clients have become fond of their HMO providers and would miss dealing with them.

9: Regardless of how much good would be done, if good is done by government then it must really be bad.

10. It’s fun to see how long you can get one prescription to last by skipping days, and cutting doses. The mental activity helps prevent Alzheimer’s.

Since I write so much about State employees who (for now) still have health care you may ask yourself what this has to do with you.

I listened some more. The other side says we are the worst criminals. By having health care and good wages we are almost single handedly driving out all of the business in Maine. I have listened to the arguments and they sum up to a demand that we give up at least a third of our pay, all of our benefits, and stop being a part of a Union. There are also other demands that want all poorly performing State employees fired immediately. This demand leads right back to the “get rid of the Union” argument, so government can be efficient.

Some how this will then lead all of the businesses to flock to Maine for the low wages. At that time anyone in Maine that wants to work for minimum wage in ugly working conditions (Wal-Mart) will have the opportunity. Did I miss the point? We suffer, business does great, and that is good?

Let me know if I missed the point.

E.T.I. 2009

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October 19th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, Universal Health Care, VEBA, VSEA | no comments

Liberal is not a Dirty Word

E.T.I. 2009

Oil hits $86 for the first time

Crude prices reach record high on worries about declining oil inventories.

Everywhere you look you will find an excuse to attack labor. Oil prices will be used to cut benefits, deny raises, and provide breaks to the corporations in the name of jobs. It won’t matter if you need to work four eight hour jobs a day just to make your old wages, never mind benefits.

What can we do about it? We can vote for a Liberal in Maine and in Washington. I am only concerned that the liberals have forgotten that they “should dance with the one that brung em”.

What has happened to Liberal America and the Democratic Party? It seems like they have forgotten what this is about. Forgetting what they are supposed to do if elected and who they should support if elected.

Democrats used to be proud to say that government exists to do good for the people. It stands on the side of the poor to even the odds against power and money that are used to push the advantage to the few, the rich, and the arrogant. Democrats are supposed to stand for one person, one vote and to be proud of free speech even when the speech is unpopular.

What have Liberals done for this country? Look at Public buildings built during the New Deal, schools, roads, homes and utilities paid for by government grants, loans, and subsidies, national parks, all built by Liberal America. One of the greatest Liberal improvements ever in this country was the Freeway system rammed through by that great Liberal Dwight Eisenhower. Liberals have produced the 40 hour week, OSHA, fair pay for women and minorities and integration. Look for the benefits of Liberalism in government programs, from college loans to unemployment, from the minimum wage and collective bargaining to safe medicines, and clean water.

When the Constitution was written, it was written to allow the government to help even the odds for all. That is why we have the Bill of Rights. Ever since the revolution we have built a stronger force of law to keep the powerful from destroying the poor. One of the greatest successes of Liberal America came at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s when the Robber Barons were broken, leaving only poor millionaires no longer emperors of all they surveyed.

One of the most frightening topics affects both the American Political scene and in particular the American Union scene. The loss of voting participation. The Republicans led by the far right of their party have been attacking any help given to the needy as and attack on the independent American spirit as if to help another human were a crime against the one you help. Ronald Reagan won the White House with only 51.5% of eligible voters going to the polls and then he acted as if he had been given a free pass by God to do what he decided was right. He was elected by only 28% of the eligible voters.

The current president lost the popular election in his first term. As little as a few thousand votes would have given us a different president and perhaps no war. In Maine the Union took a ONE MILLION DOLLAR CUT, in health care last contract and we considered ourselves lucky. With almost no one calling the legislature, rallies that look like two bit car washes, and members wanting the Union to do it for them, we are headed for disaster.

Our legislature would just as soon anyone wearing purple stay away from the polls. The Union still votes two or three to one compared to the general public and we have families. They need to hear from us. We still have what we have not through the generosity of the legislature. We have what we have because they want to keep their jobs!

Blogs are not going to save America or the Unions, only an involved and educated membership and citizenry can accomplish anything worthwhile.

We will make it! America and the Unions will not be sold to pay for someone’s third Lexus. Unions and Liberal America will make it. I don’t know why non voters don’t vote, but the last several years have created fear in America and in Union ranks. The fears is worse than anything since the Great Depression, a fear that is causing this country to remember who it belongs to. I hope this fear brings the voters out before we lose any more of what makes this a great country.

In our Union and in the presidential race the same thing will make a difference for a candidate. Both Union members and Americans are looking for change and hope. Democrats can get by for a little while just by not being George Bush, but if one candidate starts talking about principles they will win. Our candidates must tell us what they believe in, not chase votes.

If we cannot get voters involved then more voters will stay home and the politicians in Augusta and in Washington will sell your jobs and sell your country to the lowest bidder. They will listen to those they represent, but they will not be representing the public. No one will hold them responsible.

How far have we actually changed? I include the following fact to show how far we have gone down the wrong road and the direction some want us to travel.

The Unite States “does not torture” according to George Bush. George says we practice “enhanced interrogation”. Do you know where the term came from? “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the term created by the Gestapo for what was known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”

E.T.I. 2009

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Candidates for Union Vice President

E.T.I. 2009

This is a direct copy from the MSEA home page. These are public statements by candidates, so I am publishing them here for comment. If you like a candidate, if you know something they have done to help the members please let us know. I will be putting up a poll to see how the voting might go.

First is a Statement by Bruce Hodson, current VP, running for president. In respect for fairness I will say that I am endorsing Bruce for President. I have enclosed a statement to that effect.

Vice President Bruce Hodsdon Seeks MSEA-SEIU Presidency

Hi, my name is Bruce Hodsdon and I am running for the office of President of MSEA/SEIU Local 1989. Over the past 3 years I have had the honor of serving as your Vice-President. Thanks to the support I’ve received from your President Dana Graham, I have been able to visit many of your chapters and I have been involved in much of the decision making involved in running our Union. I feel that those 3 years combined with my 20 + years of service to MSEA/SEIU Local 1989 make me qualified for the job.

I believe that MSEA/SEIU Local 1989 is at a crossroads. We are at a time where we need to take an inward look at our Union and how it runs. The result of that inward look will determine if MSEA will continue to grow and be a potent force for all its members or whether it will become another Union hanging on to the old ways of doing things. Any organization that does not have some kind of plan to move forward and have some sort of vision or idea of where they want to go is doomed to failure. Our world is changing and we must continue to change with it in order to survive.

In order to accomplish that change, I have several things I would like to accomplish over the next few years. First is beginning the review of our organization. Our current organizational structure was developed in the 1970’s and we need to move into the 21st century. As part of that review we also to need look at upgrading our technology and the development of a database of our membership that fully addresses our needs is a priority. We need to know who our members are and where they work.

Next I would like to continue holding worksite meetings like we had during the decertification fight. These meetings would continue the conversations we need to have with all our members. I would propose the first round of those meetings address what kind of services members expect from MSEA and what are the best ways to deliver them. This could include everything from changing the current chapter structure, changing our Board of Director’s structure, and changing our staff structure. Inherent in all these discussions is the need for a forum where members can feel comfortable putting forward their views.

We will begin to put together our next round of contract bargaining in late 2008. I agree with the proposal put forward by the Bargaining Committee that a year round bargaining action team be formed. This team would be charged with collecting bargaining proposals year round and then doing research on those proposals. This team would also be charged with reviewing the 2006-2007 bargaining session and then recommending any changes or improvements to that process to the Board of Directors for their action.

One thing that seems to always come up during my visits to chapter meetings is the lack of attendance at meetings and the lack of communication with members. I believe that the creation of “informational stewards” could help in addressing some of those problems. These informational stewards would maintain bulletin boards (remember those?) and help chapter leadership pass along important information to our members. It’s important to recognize that the best way to communicate will vary from worksite to worksite. By leaving this job to the individual chapters and worksites we will identify and make use of the right way to get the word out.

We must also remember that in order to accomplish these goals we need the resources to do the best job possible. That includes not only dues increases but also an increase in member involvement and participation. Without adequate finances our ability to represent members, address Legislative and work place issues, and continue to grow our strength will slowly erode. Without the member’s involvement and participation we will become stagnant and irrelevant. If our Union is to continue to be strong it will require a commitment from all of us.

These are a few of my ideas about some things we might do over the next few years. I look forward to hearing from you and listening to your suggestions.

In closing I would ask that you give me the opportunity to continue the work begun by President Graham and elect me as the next President of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. Together we can make MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 the best possible Union it can be.

At this time there is only one candidate for President, Bruce Hodson. I have worked with Bruce and he listens to the members. In the past we had MSEASEIU employees that were not popular. They were not popular for a number of reasons, but most of them boiled down to attitude. They thought they knew better than members, they gave the impression of cutting deals on the side. Bruce Hodson will listen to members, he knows who he is representing and he will put up with no X&$^) or BS from any employee of the Union. He will do his best to do what the members want and to shape the Union in the way the members decide.
I fully support his candidacy and I hope he is our next president.

We must think ahead, one of the candidates listed below will likely be our next president. Think ahead and weigh carefully. I firmly believe that all of the candidates want to do a great job as VP and they will all try their best. It is up to the members to decide who is best qualified.

Candidates for MSEA-SEIU Vice President

Editor’s Note: Candidates for MSEA-SEIU elected office had the option of submitting candidate statements and photos for publication in the Stater. The following statements were received from candidates running for Vice President.

Kathryn J. Latulippe

Dear Members:

I guess it is time that I tell you about myself, something that I rarely do. I want the voting Delegates and members to have a better grasp of who I am while they consider me for the position of Vice President of our union.

My Dad had a career in the Army. He was born here in Chelsea and graduated from Cony. Upon retirement form the military he worked and retired from DOT (member of MSEA). Everyone in our family of five was born in different state with me being the middle child and a Libra to boot. While growing up we traveled and lived in different states and in Germany. Dad first retired when I was 9 and I have lived in the greater Augusta area ever since. My Mother (a member of MSEA) also worked for the state at the AMHI complex and for DHHS before her retirement.

I find that by the nature of birth I have always been a mediator / negotiator with the need to keep balance in my life. I have the empathic ability to pick up on strong emotions. I am a Past Matron of O.E.S. My daughter, who works for DAFS in Augusta, is involved in union activities and my son joined the Army after high school and then the Maine National Guard and works at Camp Keys in Augusta. They have given me two wonderful grandsons and granddaughters.

I have worked in DHHS, Agriculture, DOT, Workers’ Compensation, DEP and now PFR. When I was in my twenties I drove and helped repair dump trucks for my first husband.

I keep stepping into union activities using the traits I learned and was born with. In addition to having been a Director for the last 6 years I have also been on the Executive Branch Bargaining Committee and Team for the last 4 contracts. I have held the title of President in the Gardiner Chapter for 2, 3 year terms. I am the Chair of our departmental Labor/Management Team and at one time was on the Health & Safety Team. I chaired the state wide Labor/Management Committee for Alternative Work Schedules. I am a steward and have been on the Finance, Representational, Organizational and Political Sub-Committees as a Director. Currently, I am also on the Vision for the Future Committee. I have enjoyed everything I have done to help the members and our union. I am committed to continue doing the best I can for you, our members, and our union, MSEA/SEIU Local 1989. That is why I am running for Vice President. You have several candidates to choose from as your Vice President and I am asking you to vote for me.

Thank you.

Kathryn J. Latulippe

Ginette Rivard

Brothers and Sisters,

Proud to be union! Proud to be MSEA SEIU Local 1989! I learned respect for public servants growing up in a family of Transportation workers. I learned the value of a union job living in a union household my entire adult life; first as an IBEW family member, and since 1991, through my own membership in our Union.

Prior to membership in MSEA, I served my community in numerous ways: Girl Scout Leader, Chair of a local Zoning Board of Appeals, Child Abuse & Neglect Council Member, and Church Youth Group Advisor to name a few. Since membership in MSEA, I’ve served as Director, Steward, PASER member, Deferred Compensation Advisory Council Member, AFL-CIO Executive Board Director and on numerous standing committees. President Graham appointed me as a Labor Rep to the DHS/BDS merger committee in 2003 and the Managed Care Stakeholder Group in 2006, so that the interests of our affected members were protected in these deliberations.

Along with my union activism, I bring a range of professional experience stemming from my years as a public servant working with Children’s Behavioral Health Services at DHHS. I have been involved in a number of initiatives, including the coordination of a statewide family conference for 6 consecutive years. This past year, I have led three separate initiatives involving other state agencies, social services providers and community members. This work has culminated in the successful merger of these three initiatives into one group, focused on improving the lives of children and families in our communities. The skills needed in these types of activities will be valuable in service to the members of our union from every community, every worksite in our great state.

Many of you associate me with political activities. Everything I know about politics I learned from my dad. He taught me that you had to fight for what you believed in. He taught me that it was more about knocking on doors, making those phone calls and getting people to the polls than it was about having your picture taken or going to the fancy parties. And he taught me that we had to hold our elected officials accountable once we had helped get them elected.

So it stands to reason that you will find me talking to Legislators on both sides of the aisle about why they can’t change our health insurance plan, why the budget can’t be balanced with our insurance premiums, why the cliff is bad public policy and Social Security offset harmful to our retirees and why they cannot cut our jobs. The attacks on our jobs and benefits are far from over and I welcome the opportunity to work with even more members throughout the state to make our voice heard in every worksite, community, and with every Legislator. We have every reason to be proud of the work we’ve accomplished to date. As we look to the future we must continue to fight for the rights of working men and women. In the process, we must continue to expand our role to be even more inclusive of all worksites we represent, no matter how small the Bargaining Unit.

As your next Vice President, I will continue to devote the same commitment, energy and integrity to the job that you have come to expect from me. Thank you for your support.

Rebecca Snowden

My name is Rebecca Snowden and I am running for the seat of Vice-President of MSEA. These are a few things you should know about me. I’ve been a dedicated hard worker for the Department of Transportation since 1993. Currently I work in the Contracts Unit as an Engineering Technician. I am an MSEA Steward and Chief Steward. I am a member of the MDOT/MSEA Labor/Management Committee and the L/M Health and Safety Committee. I work very hard for our members as a Steward and Chief Steward. Recently I have won overtime status and back pay for several employees and I have many more irons in the fire. As MSEA’s Vice President, I believe I would provide strong leadership and if I am elected I will work to create positive changes and will work hard for employees.

Penny Whitney-Asdourian

Hello to all my union brothers and sisters!

I am Penny Whitney-Asdourian of Scarborough and I work for the Judicial Branch. Most of you know me as a director from Area III or the quilter who loves to donate quilts to PASER. My goal is for you to come to know my passion and commitment to MSEA and the labor movement.

I have been a member of MSEA for 25 years. It certainly doesn’t seem that long ago when I sought out the help of the union to gain collective bargaining rights for Judicial Branch employees. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Since that time I have been active in various roles. I have been a member of every bargaining team that has negotiated a Judicial Branch contract, held each of the various chapter offices, and have sat on a variety of committees and labor/management teams. I have also been a steward since my initial involvement, and a chief steward for the past 12 years. I am a political organizer, a member organizer, and have served on MSEA’s Board of Directors for more than three years now.

I have grown up in this union, and doing so has helped to foster within me a true sense of belonging and a deep commitment. A commitment to the legacy of our founding members and retirees who laid the foundation upon which MSEA has been built and who continue to serve as an inspiration to those members and leaders who have mentored me over the years and who continue to be positive role models and trusted advisors, and to each and every one of you, the members, activists and future leaders of MSEA.

For several years now, I have diligently and intentionally worked toward the goal of taking on a much more active role within the leadership of this great organization, believing when the time was right, I would be able to present myself to the membership as a well-rounded candidate for Vice-President. Now is that time.

While politics will never be my strong suit, I have gained great confidence by actively participating. I have been an active member of PASER for several years. In 2004 I took leave from my position with the Judicial Branch to work on MSEA’s Get Out the Vote campaign, helping to achieve the goal of getting members out to their town caucuses and getting them elected as delegates to the 2004 state convention. It was a great experience, and I was elected at the Portland caucus to attend the Maine Democratic Convention as a delegate, where I campaigned to be elected as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention. My continued active participation ensures further insight, growth and a greater level of a understanding and confidence.

Representational service is an area where I am well experienced and feel I excel. Negotiating contracts, actively participating in and chairing labor/management committees, being an active steward and mentoring other stewards in my role as a chief steward are exceptionally comfortable roles for me, while at the same time they offer new experiences and unique challenges.

One of the most rewarding aspects for me, to date, has been in organizing. I have worked on several organizing campaigns, starting with the Judicial Branch employees. In recent years I have actively participated in campaigns for Head Start, Alpha One, and Child Development Services. I have enjoyed the home visits and listening to the stories of these workers – stories of struggle and the desire for positive change. What always leaves the greatest impression with me is the selflessness and overwhelming commitment to the services they provide

I have seen a lot of changes and growth throughout my relationship and association with MSEA. Our foresight and vision have improved as we have moved toward approaching the future with more proactive planning. We stand strong in the face of adversity and it strengthens our resolve. I am proud to be a member of this union and equally proud of you, its members. I would be honored to serve as your Vice President and respectfully ask for your support and your vote. I look forward to seeing you at convention and serving you over the next four years.

In Solidarity,

Penny S. Whitney-Asdourian

E.T.I. 2009

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September 15th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE, VSEA | no comments

Dedicated to the SNOWFIGHTERS of the MDOT

On State roads you can feel safe. A State employee has been keeping the road clear while it snows.
I met a man called Greg and I learned why I can feel safe on a snowy State highway. He explained to me that these drivers are on call, all winter, ready to plow all winter season. No extra pay just part of the job. I figured, what the heck, they took a plowing job and they live in Maine. Then I heard about having more and more miles to plow every year, not enough drivers. The State has decided that they will just keep on plowing. These drivers can plow for eight, twelve, even thirty six hours. Once their day “ends” at midnight they are back on straight time until they finish another eight hour shift. If they worked 24 hours on Monday, on Tuesday at midnight they are back on straight time. The State says it is a NEW DAY, I bet it doesn’t feel like a new day to these drivers. They lose their overtime and the State knows that this will force them into staying when they should go home. The drivers can decide to go home after 15 hours and if you have the wrong supervisor they will call you back an hour later.
It is warm now, no snow, but next winter I will remember the drivers that are keeping me safe.
Thank you, and I hope you stay safe.

This cartoon is courtesy of a great Union friendly site, Carol Simpson Designworks. They do artwork, design work, and much more. Please drop in and take a look.

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June 12th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine DOT, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, Tom Allen, UNION CANDIDATES, UNIONMAINE, snow fighters | one comment