UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

New Hampshire and Maine

E.T.I. 2009

First, I don’t know the whole story.

I don’t know what kind of fight our brothers and sisters had to fight. This article is not about what they did but about what our government will try to do to us very soon.

The average pay of a State worker is $35,000.00.

Many State employees could make more in private industry and raises have not kept pace with inflation.

Why work for less? State employees have always taken less money for the same jobs because of the trade off. State employees have a pension system and health insurance, along with benefits paid from their dues such as income protection unmatched by any employer funded plan.

We did not get huge raises, but we negotiated at the same time that Union members and SEIU staff were fighting a battle to protect State employee health care.

Compare N.H. and Maine. SEIU 1984 is voting on a contract that beats the raises in Maine hands down, or does it? SEIU 1984 members get 10-percent over two years, but SEIU 1984 members will now pay toward their health insurance premiums, rising to $30 a pay period (two weeks) in 2009.

State employees have traded lower pay and raises as a trade off to keep health care and a solid pension plan. This year the N.H. Union said the trade off wasn’t worth it anymore.

“It’s wonderful that everybody can go to the doctor when you’re sick, but if you can’t afford a house to live in, what good is it going to do you?” said Diana Lacey, chair of the State
Employees Association bargaining team.

As a member of the SEIU negotiating team for the last two contracts, I have told members that maybe some aspect of the contracts were not great but “it opened the door”. The legislators in Maine would love to have that door open, and it would be a trap door, with a noose around the neck of our health care.

The Union said “In order to make the wages more competitive, you’ve got to adjust the health care plan as well,” said the head of the N.H. team. We don’t know what kind of attacks they faced or how hard these decisions were to make, but we can be sure that they made the decisions that they felt were best for the membership. The trouble is that our legislators will see this as weakness and they will come after us. “Do you want some candy, Union member? “

In Maine we have given up raises or in some cases lost ground to protect our health and pensions. One two year contract is not worth it to sell away years of losses and promises.

To quote a N.H. State Worker “We don’t make that much money, it was always the benefits. And now that door’s open,” “They’re chipping away, chipping away.”

E.T.I. 2009

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July 3rd, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

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