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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

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