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The EFCA is Gainiing Support

San Diego Labor Council Cesar Chavez EFCA Marc...Image by aflcio2008 via Flickr

This article below is a cross post from the AFL-CIO. We are not alone, we have the votes. We will pass the EFCA.
I want to be the first person through the door into a Unionized Wal-Mart.

Nationally the Sierra Club has allied with labor to support working families in our fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. They have done so because the Sierra Club understands that if we are to rebuild our economy with green jobs, it will only be sustainable if those green jobs are also good jobs.

Sandy Amborn is a Field Organizer for the Maine Sierra Club. She spoke at the Southern Maine Labor Council’s workers’ rights forum that was held in Portland. Sandy explained that “workers are the frontline in protecting the environment.” What’s more, sandy explained how green jobs must also be sustainable, good jobs and that can only be ensured through the Employee Free Choice Act.

The relationship between the environment and workers’ right to organize is particularly important in Maine. This is because Maine through stimulus money, and other sources of investment may be in the vanguard of the clean energy industry. It won’t make a difference though if workers don’t have the ability to democratically negotiate for a fair wage and benefits.

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June 12th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | EFCA, Employee Free Choice Act, Labor rights, SEIU, UNIONMAINE, afl-cio | no comments

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unemployment Benefits Running Out

The State of Maine has a hiring freeze, wants to lay off employees and do away with longevity. There was no hiring freeze in the Dept. of Labor. The DOL had to hire recently due to the massive numbers of unemployed in Maine.

New Budget Gap: In the midst of contract negotiations for State employees, State budget writers predict a new budget gap but we won’t know how bad the news will be until May. The state is expected to lower revenue estimates. Further job losses mean the state will see declining sales tax and income tax revenue. Where are the “summer complaints”? I just realized how much I love tourists and traffic jams.

In the rest of the Nation: Hundreds of Thousands Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits A good friend of mine has been unemployed nearly two years now. He got an early start on the Bush depression. He sent hundreds of resumes, has made hundreds more phone calls and has called in every favor from everyone he knows. He is over 50 and the economy is down the tubes.

It’s ugly out there: Even the extended unemployment benefits are ending, and it is getting harder to find a job. California is moving to make benefits available up to 79 weeks. Letting people eat is a better stimulus than paying for a banker’s Bentley.

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/minusman/3370951415/

December 2008 S.C. Nearly 70,000 people will run out of extended unemployment benefits in South Carolina.

Schwarzenegger Opens California Fairgrounds to Homeless March 2009 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said a tent city for the homeless in the capital city of Sacramento will be shut down and its residents allowed to stay at the state fairgrounds.

California: State OKs legislation accepting $3 billion in federal stimulus money. Gov. Schwarzenegger will sign. The maximum period for benefits will increase to 79 weeks from 59.

March 2009 N.J. Unemployment claims force state to borrow to cover benefits. New Jersey unable to pay unemployment claims without borrowing from the federal government, said Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

March 2009 Schwarzenegger Opens California Fairgrounds to Homeless Camp California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said a tent city for the homeless in the capital city of Sacramento will be shut down and its residents allowed to stay at the state fairgrounds. “We cannot look away and pretend like this does not happen, because it is happening and we must take action,” Schwarzenegger said. “And that is why we are doing all we can to do right by the people who are living in these difficult circumstances in these difficult times.”

Unemployed? If not now, when? In the Bush years, when claimants ran out of benefits they were dropped from the total unemployment numbers. The reason Bush refused to add unemployment benefits for as long as possible was that losing your benefits under Bush meant you were not counted as unemployed, you were no longer a concern. 500,000 to 750,000 of your neighbors could lose their extended benefits by the second half of this year. Some will find jobs, but it looks like a depression out there, layoffs are continuing to double digits in some states and is at the best stable in some states. The National jobless rate is predicted to hit 10 percent by year’s end. 10% by year’s end may be the optimistic outlook.

Bleeding jobs: The U.S. lost 663,000 jobs in March, and the jobless rate is the highest it has been in twenty five years. Since December 2007 5.1 million jobs have gone and not been replaced. Many of the jobs that have been replaced have been replaced by lower paying jobs, with poor pay and little or no benefits.

Even CEOs being hit: The head of GM, Richard Wagoner was fired in March and received only a 23,000,000.00 dollar severance package, He has no prospects to lead another major car company.
The long term lack of jobs even more than the total unemployment rate highlights the scope and duration of the recession, which began in December 2007.
Damn that Bill Clinton! Damn that Obama! They took what Bush built and gave us this mess.

If these conditions last until May 2009, this will be the longest since the Great Depression. Every prediction for how bad this could get has been wrong. Every prediction of job losses and duration has been wrong. This is lasting longer and hurting more people than any politician or economist predicted.

The depression may get worse. The extended benefits that are running out now were based on very optimistic predictions of where we would be this year. It is far worse than predicted. Unless you work for AIG you are afraid to lose your job or you are afraid you will not even have a tent to live in. Even if the Wall St. indicators are right and are showing some type of weak recovery, historically jobs don’t return until six months to over a year from signs of life on “the street”.

History says Wall st. first, then Main st. later.
In the 1990-91 and 2001 recessions, the unemployment rate topped out more than a year after the recovery began. I am not alone believing that the recent uptick in the market may be a temporary thing, it man not be the sign of a recovering economy only the wealth sharing the TARP dollars before retiring behind the castle walls to keep out the hungry peasants. Even if Wall st. sees returning profits, most Americans will find that a Wall ST recovery won’t make any difference to them for up to two years.

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April 5th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, Maine State Employees, State lay offs, UNIONMAINE | no comments

Lighten Up!

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

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

“Teach me to booger sleaze”

From the blog, BadAttitudes

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

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

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

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

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

Airlines Favor profit over safety. The Employer Free Choice Act

Untrained Pilots of

the Future?

Pilot Sully says Pilot Pay Cuts Put Passengers in danger. The pilot of Flight 1459 says the industry is driving out experienced pilots. The hero pilot has seen his pay cut and his pension destroyed as a reward for years of dedicated service. When do you think we will hear about Sully getting his huge retention bonus?

The pilot who successfully saved a planeload of passengers using years of skills and training by safely landing in the Hudson River said that pay and benefit cuts are driving experienced pilots from the cockpit. The US Airways pilot told the aviation subcommittee he has seen a 40 percent cut in his pay at the same time his pension was terminated and handed to the Federal Pension Guaranty Corp where he will get a pension “worth pennies on the dollar” .

Trained Union Pilot on the

River

The cuts were forced after several airline bankruptcies. Many of the management teams that oversaw the destruction of pay and pensions received huge bonuses as a reward for performance.. The cuts have placed “pilots and their families in an untenable financial situation,” Sullenberger said. “I do not know a single, professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps.”

Copilot Jeffrey B. Skiles said without labor-management reforms “experienced crews in the cockpit will be a thing of the past.” Sullenberger said in his always controlled style that without experienced pilots “we will see negative consequences to the flying public.” Will the airlines report a 200 mile an hour landing in a pine forest as an “extended delay”.

Do you think temp agencies can send in pilots on an as needed basis? How about we take one of the executives that received bonuses for cutting Union pay and benefits and put them alone into the cockpit of a plane, take it off remotely and then kill the engines. If the executive lives then they can keep their life and consider it “pay for performance”. Due to training and skills only gained through years of training Sullenberger landed in the river and all 155 people survived. If only Sully’s pay and pension had been so lucky.

The Employer Free Choice Act

There has been a novel suggestion made to solve the problem of Unions that destroy the companies they work for. A program for the complete management of labor resources has been put forward by the National Right to Work for Less organization. A spokesperson said that after the idea was brought up everyone was amazed that it had taken them so long to arrive at this clearly obvious solution.

The new management initiative for complete management of labor resources for the parts of the American auto industry that have been hardest hit by the Union movement will be the first to see the effects of this new plan.


The program is based on a simple premise. Companies that have been hardest hit by Unions will be required to own their workers.


The spokesperson gave examples of how proper labor management has achieved greatness, the pyramids, and the entertainment industry in the days of the emperors, and the growth of the South into a burgeoning supplier for cotton in the early 1800’s. The “Complete Labor Management” program will allow commercial success to extend the free market principles to humans themselves.

Complete management of labor is the fastest, best, solution to investor losses and the pinnacle goal of free-market theory.

While is some ways the program could be mislabeled slavery, it is explained by the supporters as returning to their “roots”. In the past eight years labor relations have been taken in the direction of less conflict by allowing management to make the decisions unfettered by employees or long term commitments to pay benefits or pensions. We need to simply extend and polish these early improvements to labor relations. Much of the rest of the world including Iran has already taken the lead in these areas and now sees almost no Union conflict. America must not fall behind.

A management system where corporations make all the decisions is the only solution for falling dividends. Today, in American factories, employers must wend their way through a thicket of laws controlling wages, safety, and who they can hire. The only worries a corporation should have is if the employee is productive. Employers can not be saddled with the responsibility of an employee’s health or what they live on after their careers are done.

Rules must be set. If an employee is too sick to work, pregnant, or too old to be productive they should be out the door.

By encouraging employees to remain productive by not relying on an employer (or the government) we will be giving every employee true freedom of choice. They will decide their own destinies.

Further examples of the method at work were given, the late 1800’s success of Oil and Rail Roads. Chinese auto companies are rising stars. Chinese auto workers currently earn a dollar an hour. In each of these cases workers have been freed from labor worries, and management allowed to focus solely on the profitability without interference. In each case tremendous returns on investment have grown the corporations. There is a definite pattern and it can be proven that if it is Good for Unions, it is Bad for business. Bad for Unions, Good for business. The complete implementation of this plan is seen as the logical defense against the Employee Free Choice Act.

Some public sentiment still brands the word slavery with some negative connotations so we are re-branding the initiative as the Employer Free Choice Act. We can stress the benefits to the employee and the economy. The employee is freed from choices and conflicts with management. All their time is productive or the company is freed from the employee.The benefits to the economy have been obvious since the building of the pyramids.

This is what free choice is all about. The employee is freed when they only have to follow orders and management is freed when they can make any choice needed for the good of the corporation.

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February 25th, 2009 Posted by Tom Maher | MSEA, MSEA contract, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, State lay offs, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE, Union Success, msea maine, state employee lay offs | no comments

Buy a house? Do you want to use Visa or Mastercard?


If you have a Union job you are blamed for the collapse. The talk shows say the only way out is to “break the backs of the Unions”. Depressed yet? It gets worse.

Welcome to 2009. You’re out of work, maybe drinking or taking tranquilizers because you may be furloughed, laid off, or foreclosed on. You most likely know someone who is.


You can’t pay your mortgage and you are shamed to look for help. Asking for help will get you labeled a free loader by the right.

Unspoken during the arguments for and against the stimulus package is the fact that we may already be in worst financial collapse in history.

1929 may go down as the first, not the worst great depression.

Credit markets are frozen. The banks are spending our money on bonuses and shareholders. Wall St. has gotten billions to protect profits and they foam at the mouth when the subject of helping homeowners is brought up. “Let ‘em sink!” They made bad choices! The rant is “Why should I help someone that bought more house than they can afford?”


Instead we should ask, why we should help banks that bought more bad assets than they can afford. The right screams mortgage help to homeowners is socialism while they have their hand in our pockets. We keep them in limos and Mansions while losing our homes and our jobs. We pay their losses and we take the blame.


Bad borrower horror stories have made headlines for months, with examples of no income loans given to undocumented workers, and single mothers. The root causes are not discussed. Wall St. shipped our jobs overseas. Oil is at $35.00 a barrel and gas prices are going up. The combination of job loss, stagnant wages, retirement account losses, is killing the middle class, ad in falling home prices, and stir for a drink called toxic assets.


First the Bush Whitehouse helped corporations declare bankruptcy and make retirement funds disappear. They tried to prop up their Ponzi scheme with Social Security. Constant attacks on Unions has lowered the overall wage scale in the US and made employees afraid to speak up. Where is the middle class? They are still here, but their jobs are in China or India or even down the street. being done on an H1B visa. In Maine, State Employees are displaced by contractors costing more than the employee. Real estate tycoons grow rich while State buildings go empty.


So, you have a family of four and you bought a three bedroom with a mortgage you could afford? Wrong! You made a bad choice because you didn’t pay cash or you didn’t save two years of your income as a cushion. Deadbeat!


How bad is it getting? Huge chunks of this country are up for sale because there are no jobs. The pictures of some PA homes on the right speak for themselves. It only took a couple of minutes to find these examples and there are many more in every state. Two or three years ago, these houses would have been on “Flip this house”.The next time you see a lot of these there will be a bulldozer or a fire truck parked on an empty lot. The banks are still making the choice to foreclose and evict rather than deal. Even at these prices there are no buyers. Do these houses look like the McMansions talk shows claim the bad borrowers bought? In Florida you can buy nice homes because retirement incomes were stolen to pay an bonuses and dividends.


I don’t want to end on that note. Remember we elected a President with a slogan of “Yes we Can!” and Yes we can get through this. Don’t believe the right, most of this country has seen through the theft of tax cuts for the rich and wage cuts for the rest. The stimulus passed. Wait for the hypocrisy to show up. Follow the Republican Governors that are talking about turning down the stimulus money. Watching them grab for all they can get while the Republican members of congress give speeches about how much they did to bring home the package should brighten up some of our days to come.


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February 22nd, 2009 Posted by Tom Maher | EFCA, Great Depression, MSEA, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, UNIONMAINE, msea maine | no comments

Will you click for your Health Care?




Click On The Cartoon For A Full Size Version

Negotiations Update

Updated February 7

  • The 16 elected members of Local 1989’s Executive Branch negotiating team—representing four bargaining units—have been working long hours both on the clock and on their own time to bring a comprehensive package of proposals to the table.
  • Many obstacles could make reaching a settlement difficult:
  1. The rapidly deteriorating national economy, a current State deficit of nearly a billion dollars, political attacks on State Employees.
  2. The governor’s demands for cuts in employee health care and extensive layoffs, plus cuts in departmental funding.
  3. A Governor and Legislature unable to compromise over revenue increases and program cuts.

  • This is the storm swirling around your negotiators while they have held worksite meetings, polled members, and held discussions with Local 1989 leaders and activists from all parts of the state. They are using your input and matching it against the darkening picture of the State budget and the governor’s seeming willingness to sacrifice State employees in the name of good publicity and bad fiscal policy. Your negotiators are still developing comprehensive proposals. At this time there is an air of mutual respect at the table and both sides realize the seriousness of the times.

Will the State propose?

  • Furloughs?
  • Decreased protections against layoffs?
  • A loss of Union Protections?
  • Benefit Cuts?

We don’t know what they have in mind yet, and I can not publish what strategies or specific proposals your teams have agreed on. You don’t send your playbook to the other team before the game. Your teams are prepared and have read and discussed every single proposal, coalition and team specific. Every idea, every member has been heard, and now is the time when you can help.

Your Health Care, by law, can not be negotiated. Your Health Care is in the hands of the legislature.


Go to the MSEASEIU web site, read this story on the attacks on our healthcare or click on this link to send an email to the appropriations committee, and tell them that attacking State employee Health care is only a political move and breaks the State’s promise to all of it’s employees.


I have included part of my letter to the appropriations committee, possibly the most powerful decision makers in the State.

Dear Senator Diamond, Representative Cain, and members of the Appropriations Committee:

I have appeared before your committee in the past and offered savings to help the State budget. The suggestions have always fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps my ideas did not have merit, but from the ideas of thousands of State Employees there must be many excellent ideas. If you listen, we will “show you the money”.

As legislators you must judge your course by public input but I beg you not to feed the radical pundits who feel that all State problems could be solved by cutting State employee pay and benefits. Considering the committee you are on, you know better.

Please don’t allow a tax on only one small number of Maine citizens. State employees and their families are your constituents, not a handy distraction to throw the press. The last thing we need is higher health care costs. I am respectfully urging you to oppose the Governor’s proposal to shift more health insurance costs onto state workers.

There should be only one health plan for all state workers. That’s the Maine way. (If you would tax me, I ask you to share the pain and

We know that savings must be found wherever they are, but the State Employee Health Commission is the best body to decide how to cut if cuts are needed. Please have the State Employee Health Commission decide not the press.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this important matter.

Thomas Maher

.




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February 7th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, Rod Hiltz, SEIU 1989, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE, furlough days | no comments

Will you click for your Health Care?




Click On The Cartoon For A Full Size Version

Negotiations Update

Updated February 7

  • The 16 elected members of Local 1989’s Executive Branch negotiating team—representing four bargaining units—have been working long hours both on the clock and on their own time to bring a comprehensive package of proposals to the table.
  • Many obstacles could make reaching a settlement difficult:
  1. The rapidly deteriorating national economy, a current State deficit of nearly a billion dollars, political attacks on State Employees.
  2. The governor’s demands for cuts in employee health care and extensive layoffs, plus cuts in departmental funding.
  3. A Governor and Legislature unable to compromise over revenue increases and program cuts.

  • This is the storm swirling around your negotiators while they have held worksite meetings, polled members, and held discussions with Local 1989 leaders and activists from all parts of the state. They are using your input and matching it against the darkening picture of the State budget and the governor’s seeming willingness to sacrifice State employees in the name of good publicity and bad fiscal policy. Your negotiators are still developing comprehensive proposals. At this time there is an air of mutual respect at the table and both sides realize the seriousness of the times.

Will the State propose?

  • Furloughs?
  • Decreased protections against layoffs?
  • A loss of Union Protections?
  • Benefit Cuts?

We don’t know what they have in mind yet, and I can not publish what strategies or specific proposals your teams have agreed on. You don’t send your playbook to the other team before the game. Your teams are prepared and have read and discussed every single proposal, coalition and team specific. Every idea, every member has been heard, and now is the time when you can help.

Your Health Care, by law, can not be negotiated. Your Health Care is in the hands of the legislature.


Go to the MSEASEIU web site, read this story on the attacks on our healthcare or click on this link to send an email to the appropriations committee, and tell them that attacking State employee Health care is only a political move and breaks the State’s promise to all of it’s employees.


I have included part of my letter to the appropriations committee, possibly the most powerful decision makers in the State.

Dear Senator Diamond, Representative Cain, and members of the Appropriations Committee:

I have appeared before your committee in the past and offered savings to help the State budget. The suggestions have always fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps my ideas did not have merit, but from the ideas of thousands of State Employees there must be many excellent ideas. If you listen, we will “show you the money”.

As legislators you must judge your course by public input but I beg you not to feed the radical pundits who feel that all State problems could be solved by cutting State employee pay and benefits. Considering the committee you are on, you know better.

Please don’t allow a tax on only one small number of Maine citizens. State employees and their families are your constituents, not a handy distraction to throw the press. The last thing we need is higher health care costs. I am respectfully urging you to oppose the Governor’s proposal to shift more health insurance costs onto state workers.

There should be only one health plan for all state workers. That’s the Maine way. (If you would tax me, I ask you to share the pain and

We know that savings must be found wherever they are, but the State Employee Health Commission is the best body to decide how to cut if cuts are needed. Please have the State Employee Health Commission decide not the press.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this important matter.

Thomas Maher

.




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February 7th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, Rod Hiltz, SEIU 1989, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE, furlough days | no comments

Will you click for your Health Care?




Click On The Cartoon For A Full Size Version

Negotiations Update

Updated February 7

  • The 16 elected members of Local 1989’s Executive Branch negotiating team—representing four bargaining units—have been working long hours both on the clock and on their own time to bring a comprehensive package of proposals to the table.
  • Many obstacles could make reaching a settlement difficult:
  1. The rapidly deteriorating national economy, a current State deficit of nearly a billion dollars, political attacks on State Employees.
  2. The governor’s demands for cuts in employee health care and extensive layoffs, plus cuts in departmental funding.
  3. A Governor and Legislature unable to compromise over revenue increases and program cuts.

  • This is the storm swirling around your negotiators while they have held worksite meetings, polled members, and held discussions with Local 1989 leaders and activists from all parts of the state. They are using your input and matching it against the darkening picture of the State budget and the governor’s seeming willingness to sacrifice State employees in the name of good publicity and bad fiscal policy. Your negotiators are still developing comprehensive proposals. At this time there is an air of mutual respect at the table and both sides realize the seriousness of the times.

Will the State propose?

  • Furloughs?
  • Decreased protections against layoffs?
  • A loss of Union Protections?
  • Benefit Cuts?

We don’t know what they have in mind yet, and I can not publish what strategies or specific proposals your teams have agreed on. You don’t send your playbook to the other team before the game. Your teams are prepared and have read and discussed every single proposal, coalition and team specific. Every idea, every member has been heard, and now is the time when you can help.

Your Health Care, by law, can not be negotiated. Your Health Care is in the hands of the legislature.


Go to the MSEASEIU web site, read this story on the attacks on our healthcare or click on this link to send an email to the appropriations committee, and tell them that attacking State employee Health care is only a political move and breaks the State’s promise to all of it’s employees.


I have included part of my letter to the appropriations committee, possibly the most powerful decision makers in the State.

Dear Senator Diamond, Representative Cain, and members of the Appropriations Committee:

I have appeared before your committee in the past and offered savings to help the State budget. The suggestions have always fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps my ideas did not have merit, but from the ideas of thousands of State Employees there must be many excellent ideas. If you listen, we will “show you the money”.

As legislators you must judge your course by public input but I beg you not to feed the radical pundits who feel that all State problems could be solved by cutting State employee pay and benefits. Considering the committee you are on, you know better.

Please don’t allow a tax on only one small number of Maine citizens. State employees and their families are your constituents, not a handy distraction to throw the press. The last thing we need is higher health care costs. I am respectfully urging you to oppose the Governor’s proposal to shift more health insurance costs onto state workers.

There should be only one health plan for all state workers. That’s the Maine way. (If you would tax me, I ask you to share the pain and

We know that savings must be found wherever they are, but the State Employee Health Commission is the best body to decide how to cut if cuts are needed. Please have the State Employee Health Commission decide not the press.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this important matter.

Thomas Maher

.




Enter your Email to Get Updates When Published

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February 7th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, Rod Hiltz, SEIU 1989, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE, furlough days | no comments

Will you click for your Health Care?




Click On The Cartoon For A Full Size Version

Negotiations Update

Updated February 7

  • The 16 elected members of Local 1989’s Executive Branch negotiating team—representing four bargaining units—have been working long hours both on the clock and on their own time to bring a comprehensive package of proposals to the table.
  • Many obstacles could make reaching a settlement difficult:
  1. The rapidly deteriorating national economy, a current State deficit of nearly a billion dollars, political attacks on State Employees.
  2. The governor’s demands for cuts in employee health care and extensive layoffs, plus cuts in departmental funding.
  3. A Governor and Legislature unable to compromise over revenue increases and program cuts.

  • This is the storm swirling around your negotiators while they have held worksite meetings, polled members, and held discussions with Local 1989 leaders and activists from all parts of the state. They are using your input and matching it against the darkening picture of the State budget and the governor’s seeming willingness to sacrifice State employees in the name of good publicity and bad fiscal policy. Your negotiators are still developing comprehensive proposals. At this time there is an air of mutual respect at the table and both sides realize the seriousness of the times.

Will the State propose?

  • Furloughs?
  • Decreased protections against layoffs?
  • A loss of Union Protections?
  • Benefit Cuts?

We don’t know what they have in mind yet, and I can not publish what strategies or specific proposals your teams have agreed on. You don’t send your playbook to the other team before the game. Your teams are prepared and have read and discussed every single proposal, coalition and team specific. Every idea, every member has been heard, and now is the time when you can help.

Your Health Care, by law, can not be negotiated. Your Health Care is in the hands of the legislature.


Go to the MSEASEIU web site, read this story on the attacks on our healthcare or click on this link to send an email to the appropriations committee, and tell them that attacking State employee Health care is only a political move and breaks the State’s promise to all of it’s employees.


I have included part of my letter to the appropriations committee, possibly the most powerful decision makers in the State.

Dear Senator Diamond, Representative Cain, and members of the Appropriations Committee:

I have appeared before your committee in the past and offered savings to help the State budget. The suggestions have always fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps my ideas did not have merit, but from the ideas of thousands of State Employees there must be many excellent ideas. If you listen, we will “show you the money”.

As legislators you must judge your course by public input but I beg you not to feed the radical pundits who feel that all State problems could be solved by cutting State employee pay and benefits. Considering the committee you are on, you know better.

Please don’t allow a tax on only one small number of Maine citizens. State employees and their families are your constituents, not a handy distraction to throw the press. The last thing we need is higher health care costs. I am respectfully urging you to oppose the Governor’s proposal to shift more health insurance costs onto state workers.

There should be only one health plan for all state workers. That’s the Maine way. (If you would tax me, I ask you to share the pain and

We know that savings must be found wherever they are, but the State Employee Health Commission is the best body to decide how to cut if cuts are needed. Please have the State Employee Health Commission decide not the press.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this important matter.

Thomas Maher

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February 7th, 2009 Posted by narsbars | Executive Branch Bargaining, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine State Employees, Rod Hiltz, SEIU 1989, Thomas Maher, UNIONMAINE, furlough days | no comments