July 19, 2023
MSEA-SEIU Representational Services Roundup
After rallying at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland in support of fair wages, adjunct professors at the Maine Community College System on July 14 reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract providing for 4.5% pay raises each year plus a longevity stipend.
Welcome to our union, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM)
On May 30, the board of directors at Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) agreed to voluntarily recognize the workers’ union with ours after staff announced that 100% of employees had signed union authorization cards. Based in York and Cumberland counties, SARSSM provides sexual assault prevention programs, survivor support, advocacy services, and offers a 24-hour free helpline.
SARSSM staff also see organizing a union together as a way to ensure organizational stability in the long run. “Over the last few years, SARSSM has been approaching a really beautiful opportunity for growth, with pro-survivor legislation moving forward, stronger relationships with community partners, and powerful new programs,” said Aly Young, forensic interviewer with the York and Cumberland Children’s Advocacy Centers. “Us staff want to continue on this path towards a stronger organization and services. Our union will be a means of support for each other and will be our way to reestablish a strong foundation and path forward for this organization.
Workers at SARSSM join a growing trend of organizing among non-profit and social service workers, including workers at the Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM), Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and Preble Street.
City of Auburn
Members of our City of Auburn bargaining unit on July 6 ratified their tentative agreement on a new three-year contract. Under the terms of the agreement, members will receive pay raises as follows:
- First year: $1-per-hour, across-the-board pay raise for all positions plus a 2% performance bonus on anniversary of hire date;
- Second year: 2.5% across-the-board pay raise and a 2.5% performance bonus on anniversary of hire date;
- Third year: 2.5% across-the-board pay raise and a 2% performance bonus on anniversary of hire date.
The agreement also raises the clothing allowance and makes improvements to language relating to the Severe Weather Policy, Lactation Policy; Funeral/Bereavement Leave; and Holiday Pay/Schedule.
Executive Branch of Maine State Government
The State has finally presented a few counter-proposals but made no substantial movement. They opened July 18’s session, as they did the prior week, by proposing a series of minor “housekeeping” changes that simply clean up old language in the contract that they deem unnecessary. The administration’s bargaining team continues to fail to address the core needs of workers. The behaviors exhibited by the administration’s negotiation team in the bargaining sessions thus far have been both disrespectful and flat-out embarrassing. They have refused to acknowledge or address the substance of the proposals that could provide immediate relief to the struggles that state workers are facing.
State workers in attendance and the bargaining team expressed their anger and feelings of being deeply disrespected, pleading yet again for the State to address the pay gap. The dire staffing levels across the state, the unmanageable workloads and the economic hardships caused by wages that lag behind 2019 standards and fall miles short of the cost of living in 2023 must be addressed. While the State offered counters to our vacation proposal and our child care benefit proposal, the movement on each issue was minimal, and there has still been no response on our large compensation, health and safety, telework, scheduling and fairness at work proposals. We hear every day from you, the workers across the state, that major improvements must be made to retain staff, respect our work and support us in the work we do for the people of Maine.
It seems clear that the administration’s negotiation team is happy with the status quo, and has no interest in bringing real change to the table. The administration’s negotiation team has continued to play games during bargaining sessions, and seems content with not only allowing state workers to suffer, but they also seem content with subsequently allowing services delivered to the citizens of Maine to suffer as well. The “hardball tactics” that the administration’s negotiation team continue to attempt to display are not only cancerous to the Executive Branch’s work culture, but they are also dangerous and detrimental to the well-being of the entire State. Enough is enough. It is time for Executive Branch workers to come together and take action to demand a fair contract.
“If there is no struggle there is no progress. . . Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass
We have asked for additional bargaining dates and confirmed Tuesdays through August 18th. We are waiting to hear back from the administration’s bargaining team if they will also add Thursday dates.
Judicial Branch of Maine State Government
Members in our Judicial Branch bargaining units on July 14 ratified their tentative agreement on a new, two-year contract. It provides a wage increase of 8% in the first year and 3% in the second year. It strengthens the childcare and eldercare reimbursement by raising it from $500 to $1,000 per employee and making it available to all Judicial Branch bargaining unit members. The agreement also provides four weeks of paid parental leave, a $1.50 mentor stipend, overtime for employees forced to work through lunch who are not able to leave early, and nursing-room contractual language.
City of Lewiston
Members of our City of Lewiston bargaining unit have ratified a three-year contract running from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2026. Contract highlights on wages:
- First year: drop/add a step across all pay ranges (3%) plus a contract raise of 3%, for an effective salary increase on July 1, 2023, of 6%;
- Second year: 4% salary increase effective July 1, 2024;
- Third year: 4% salary increase effective July 1, 2025.
Members in the Lewiston Schools bargaining unit have ratified a new three-year contract. Economic highlights:
- First year: Maintained the existing $1-per-hour increase and secured a 4% pay raise;
- Second year: 4% pay raise; also, anyone on pay grade G8 receives a step will receive their step and move to G9. For example: A person at pay grade G8 step 1-3 due to move to step 4-5 would be moved to pay Grade 9 step 4-5.
- Third year: 4% pay raise.
The new contract adds a 15-year step and the bargaining team also won back the 20-year step. It also adds Juneteenth, Eid al-Fitr and Eid ad-Adha as new holidays.
MECDHH/Governor Baxter School for the Deaf
Our negotiating teams representing the Professional & Supervisory Services Unit and the Support Services Unit at Governor Baxter School for the Deaf remain in negotiations with management for new contracts.
Maine Community College System Adjunct Faculty
Our bargaining team and management on July 14 reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract that runs from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2024. It provides for a 4.5% pay raise each year as well as a longevity stipend and the establishment of a labor-management committee for adjuncts.
Maine Public Employees Retirement System
Members of our bargaining team at MainePERS on June 30 ratified their tentative agreement with management on a wage reopener providing a series of pay raises to workers in our MainePERS Administrative Services, Professional-Technical Services and Supervisory Services bargaining units Under the terms of the agreement relating to the contracts expiring Oct. 31, 2024, workers in the three units will receive raises as follows:
- A 2% pay raise effective July 1, 2023;
- On July 1, 2023, everyone also moves up one step, which is a 4% pay raise;
- A 2% pay raise effective Jan. 1, 2024;
- Recruitment and Retention pay raises: Employees in range 12 through 15 who are below step 3 as of July 1, 2023, will be moved to step 3. Also, employees in the Information Technology & Operations, Security and Systems Development shall receive a premium of 5% of base compensation.
Maine Turnpike Authority
Members of our negotiating teams at the Maine Turnpike Authority held their first meeting July 19 as they prepare for negotiations with management.
Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM)
Workers at Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine have ratified their first contract.
York County Government
Members of York County Government Local 1297 have ratified a one-year contract extension with pay raises. The pay rates on Pay Scale A that were to become effective July 1, 2023, contained a 3% increase; the county will now increase those pay rates on Pay Scale A by an additional 3% effective July 1, 2023, the result being that Pay Scale A is now increased by a total of 6% effective July 1, 2023. Pay Scale B will also be modified effective July 1, 2023, to create higher pay rates at each step level. Additionally, the county will increase the pay rates on Pay Scales A and B by 4 percent on July 1, 2024. The contract extensions is good through June 30, 2025.