UnionMaine

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Read this post or Union Thugs will get you!



Brothers and Sisters,

I take pride in the MSEA-SEIU and the position our union holds in the labor movement in Maine. A new contract is coming our way and it will come with or without your involvement as only those interested enough to raise their voices and become involved will be heard. I was honored when four years ago and again two years ago you voted me to be one of your Pro-Tech representative on the negotiations team.

Our negotiations team must be about more than SEIU staff and your elected team members. In order to work for the best contract for all of our Union it must be about the members not just a team that forms and then breaks up again in a few months.

Over the past two years the gap between wages and inflation has become ever plainer. How many of you are looking at the coming heating season and trying to figure out what you will have to cut in order to keep oil in your tank? How much does it hurt when you fill your tank?

Labor leaders must place the needs of our members first and not just try to settle their own pet issues. But what is your team supposed to do if they don’t hear from the members? If the members say “Let the Union do it” then your representatives will have to make the best call they can when they are at the table with management. Without your input they will be working in the dark. Your teams need your help, your ideas, your information on working conditions and problems especially in tough times with a State short on money and long on right wing talk shows and editorials.

“Democracy dies in the darkness.” Your dues will not hire professional contractors to build you a contract; they have built you a strong Union structure, but you must be involved if you want it to work. If you’re not there to provide information and support our chances for a good contract could” die in the darkness”.

  • Silence before bargaining weakens us as we are try to gather the information needed to enter negotiations for 10,000 employees, threatening the Executive branch contract threatens all the smaller units that rely on us to be strong and lead the way.
  • Silence during bargaining will leave you with no input in the negotiations with our employers, will leave your team and your staff on their own to try to guess what is most important to 10,000 employees.
  • What can happen? Maybe your team will settle for far less than what the State may have been willing to offer. Maybe they will have to give up items at the table because the State will be able to rightly say there is no real show of interest in a particular proposal. Maybe your proposal will never be made in the first place.
  • When the final deal is struck you can be sure that your team members will have done everything they knew how to do but they will be able to do more with your support.

This is your Union and when it is at its best it stands for the principle of one member, one vote and the belief that members must have a seat at the bargaining table and the right to vote on all agreements that affect them. To function in bargaining a Union must involve members at all levels providing rank-and-file workers with the information they need to choose a direction and win good contracts.

Let me be clear. I am running for a place on the Pro-Tech team again this year and I will do everything I know to win a good contract. If called on to make a decision I will make that decision and stand by it.

My determination is not enough, and the experience and skills of all the negotiations team members will not be enough without you. Union members have fought bled and earned a voice in their working conditions and their pay. That voice is the most precious right we have earned. When was the last time a Wal-Mart worker got a chance to vote on working conditions? That voice is the real power of our union.

You can still contact the Union and sign up for the bargaining committee which might take a half dozen Saturdays between now and 2009. You can run for the negotiations team which will take time and effort enough to wear you down, but whatever level of involvement you reach team member or calls to the legislature when this next contract is done you will have tried your best to help your family and your friends.

Please get involved. CALL 1-800-452-8794 and ask how.

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September 5th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA contract, Maine State Employees, federal mileage rate | no comments

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