February 10, 2022
September 2022 Representational Services Roundup
ACLU of Maine: In March, our bargaining team and management at the ACLU of Maine reached their first collective bargaining agreement representing ACLU employees in the state. Both MSEA and the ACLU agree that the contract embodies the ACL’s values, recognizing that fair wages and labor equity are linked to the fight for justice – especially gender and race equity – in our communities and across the country. The contract guarantees a $60,000 minimum salary for all staff, regardless of their job position or years of work experience, guarantees raises to union staff over the duration of the contract, implements a leave policy that recognizes the demands of advocacy work, and increases employer contributions to family health care coverage.
“Economic justice is intrinsically linked to all of our work and to our identities as people. The injustices and inequities that we face in our community do not abandon us when we work for the ACLU. As a legal organization that seeks to root out these injustices, our workplace must reflect that mission in its wages, benefits, and culture,” said the bargaining unit in a joint statement. “Workers in non-profits are often in challenging roles; providing necessary services to the public and we deserve a wage that offers dignity and opportunities for the future. We hope that this contract empowers the working-class people of Maine to continue to fight for fair wages. We stand in solidarity with you.”
“In unprecedented times you never lost your focus to win an extraordinary first contract! You all have ensured that a contract can be fair and equitable,” said Dean Staffieri, President of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. “You have shown that non-profits, such as the ACLU of Maine, are critical to the workforce and that you are deserving of a wage that offers dignity and opportunities for your future and for future employees. Thank you for all that you do for the people of Maine and for your leadership in the labor movement.”
The ACLU of Maine voluntarily recognized the union in February 2021 and began negotiations in May 2021.
“Union staff have been fierce advocates for fair wages and an equitable workplace,” said Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “Through the bargaining process, the unit staff reminded us that too often, a person’s compensation is rooted in systemic inequities that have excluded BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color), women and queer people from workforce advancement and economic security. Unit staff’s dedication and advocacy to advance a minimum salary helped the organization practice its values.”
Auburn: MSEA-SEIU members in our City of Auburn bargaining unit and management reached agreement on a one-year contract that includes: a 2% cost of living adjustment retroactive to 7/1/2022; a 1% performance increase retroactive to 7/1/2022; a $1,500 one-time inflation offset bonus on 12/1/2022; and childbearing/adoption leave of up to two weeks matching salary. Our bargaining team: Anna Brown (Police, Court Officer); Heath Crocker (Recreation); Weston Woodward (Arena, Ice Arena Maintenance); and Lindsay Harford-Walker (Financial Services, Appraiser).
Child Development Services: In June, members of Child Development Services ratified a new contract that makes gains in wages, paid parental leave, paid time off and flex time. The workers had been working without a contract since December of 2021. The raises at CDS over the contract term total 9 percent for Professional Staff workers and 11.5 percent for Support Staff workers as follows:
CDS Professional Staff raises: Effective July 1, 2022, a 1% increase to all steps on pay scale; 3.5% step increase (move up one step on the pay scale); and add a new step (3.5%) to pay scale (this ensures a step increase even for folks at the current top step). Effective July 1, 2023: a 1% increase to all steps; a 3.5% step increase (move up one step on the pay scale); and add an additional 3.5% step to pay scale (this ensures a step increase even for folks at the current top step).\
CDS Support Staff raises: Effective July 1st 2022, a 2% Increase to all steps on pay scale; 3.5% Step Increase (move up one step on the pay scale); add new step (3.5%) to pay scale (Ensures a step increase even for folks at the current top step). Effective July 1st 2023, a 2.5 % increase to all steps on pay scale; a 3.5% step increase (move up one step on the pay scale); and add new step (3.5%) to pay scale (this ensures a step increase even for folks at the current top step).
The new CDS contract also includes two weeks of paid parental leave. Our team has fought for paid parental leave for the past decade.
Because CDS members work with a lot of children with developmental disabilities, some with life-threatening issues, the contract adds wellness and grief counseling for incidents such as the death of a child in the care of CDS.
The contract provides for “Academic Year” employees to use their first 40 hours of paid time off for any reason and includes two additional days for Academic folks to cover school holidays.
Also, previously flex time for professional staff could only be used for direct client needs. Under the new contract, they can use flex time for direct client needs or to meet work related deadlines, or for medical appointments with pre-approval. Plus the contract adds contractual language relating to union business, including meetings on property, and general access to investigate grievances and discuss bargaining issues during breaks or before or after work. Bargaining team members Laurie Brown, Diane Rowe, Jackie Nadeau, Brittany Deschaine and Erin Leaman-Farley negotiated both the Professional and Support contracts in coalition.
Executive Branch contract campaign: Our union contract expires June 30, 2023. We’re preparing now to negotiate the best possible contract that will lift up our State, our families and our communities. We’re not waiting. State employees deserve the best. In order to win the best, we need as many of our coworkers to be involved and engaged as possible.
As always, we prepare for bargaining with our eyes wide open. We know we’ll face a tough bargaining environment, but we’re confident we’ll be successful when MSEA-SEIU members unite behind a well-considered bargaining strategy and militant member-led field program to hold the State accountable to your needs.
Executive Branch workers: Please take a few moments to fill out this bargaining survey and let us know your highest priorities for bargaining. For the first time, we included a section on additional issues impacting our families like child care, elder care and communities such as the impact of staffing on services because our futures are tied together. You’ll also have the opportunity to nominate yourself or other coworkers to the negotiating team as well as other ways to get involved in building a strong contract campaign.
Our goal is to reach an overwhelming majority of State employees with this survey. We are only as strong as our membership is engaged and united. In order to win the best possible contract, we need as many coworkers involved in fighting for better wages, benefits and working conditions. This survey is the first step as we build a strong contract campaign!
Independence Advocates of Maine (formerly Treats Falls House and Green Valley Association): Independence Advocates of Maine (IAM), the company that runs Treats Falls House, took over the former Green Valley Association group homes in late 2021. Management then refused to recognize the union and attempted to push out longtime workers. However, the workers held strong and signed cards to force the employer to recognize them and their union in February of 2022. Since then, the combined union of former Green Valley and Treats Falls members has stayed strong in their determination to secure a fair contract.
On Aug. 12, members of our bargaining team at IAM secured a tentative agreement on a new, two-year contract retroactive to July 24, 2022, and members overwhelmingly ratified it Aug. 26. The agreement provides substantial pay raises and other gains our bargaining team demanded. For the first time, the workers secured in the agreement a pay scale that includes 15 steps with each step providing a 1% annual pay raise. On Jan. 1, 2023, all workers also will get a 25-cents-an-hour pay raise with all steps adjusted accordingly to prevent wage compression. Then on Jan. 1, 2024, all workers on the pay scale will get a 50-cents-an-hour pay raises, again with all steps adjusted accordingly to prevent wage compression. For longtime workers whose pay currently exceeds the new pay scale, they will get wages increases of 1% initially (in addition to the temporary wage increase of 50 cents they had received on July 24) and 25 cents per hour on Jan. 1, 2023, and again on Jan. 1, 2024, under the terms of the agreement. Under the new pay scale, everyone will earn at least $15 an hour retroactive to July 24, 2022. In addition, the agreement provides seniority for the former workers at Green Valley Association. The agreement provides for employees’ base schedules to allow for two consecutive days off, and it provides for time-and-a-half pay for those working on Labor Day. Plus it provides strong work-hour and schedule protections for the workers. Members of our bargaining team at IAM are Amanda Anderson, Wealthy Brooks and Jeanne Nadeau LaBrasseur.
City of Lewiston: MSEA-SEIU members in our City of Lewiston bargaining unit received a contractual raise of 2.5% effective July 1, 2022. On July 20, 2022, MSEA and the City of Lewiston also reached a side agreement an additional 1% raise retroactive to July 1, 2022. City of Lewiston employees also will receive a contract raise of 0.5% effective Jan. 1, 2023. The July 20, 2022, side agreement also includes an additional 0.5% raise effective Jan. 1, 2023. The current contract expires June 30, 2023.
Lewiston Schools: Our members who work for the Lewiston Schools fought for and won a stipend ahead of their full negotiations, which kick off this fall.
Maine Maritime Academy Faculty Unit: Members of our Faculty Unit at Maine Maritime Academy have ratified their tentative contractual agreement. It closes the pay gap for faculty at the lower end of the pay scale, including Instructors, Assistant Professors and those receiving cruise pay. Additionally, the agreement formalizes research incentives and merit steps. It also establishes an important cross-bargaining unit committee dedicated to addressing diversity, respect and culture on campus.
Preble Street: After the agency ended hazard pay, workers across the agency mobilized to put pressure on Preble Street to improve wages, address racial equity and address safety at work. In a hard-fought, three-month campaign, workers at Preble Street turned out in numbers to join the bargaining team at the negotiations table, did visibility days, refused to take on extra duties and held strong to their demands. They won a contract with huge economic gains (average 19-22% wage increases), eight added steps for longevity to create a real wage scale, and bilingual pay for multi-lingual staff. The workers at Preble Street also secured tremendous gains in: a voice on all racial-equity committee work in the organization; improved language protecting workers’ right to work without harassment, threats and violence; work from home language; and improved training language.
Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM): Staff at Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM) have organized a union with ours. The Brunswick-based nonprofit — which supports and advocates for people affected by sexual violence and works to prevent it — took the step to voluntarily recognize the staff union instead of forcing a drawn-out and expensive election with the National Labor Relations Board. In statements, SASSMM employees said using their collective voices will help them better advocate to improve their working conditions and the critical services they provide to their communities.
“We are thrilled to have received voluntary recognition from SASSMM. Our agency already holds many progressive workplace values and practices that we would like to solidify and expand upon through this process,” said Sam Saucier, a SASSMM education program co-coordinator. “Consent is a core value of our work and unionizing is a way to embed more consensual labor practices into the structure of our organization.”
Kendra Finnegan, a SASSMM education program co-coordinator, said forming a union will help staff establish more transparency in pay scales, firing and other policies as well as codify workplace practices that benefit staff and create a dialogue for ones that may not. “Historically, sexual assault advocates have faced burnout, high turnover rates and vicarious trauma within their roles,” Kendra Finnegan said. “Rather than accepting this as the norm, we’d like to unionize in order to create systematic sustainability for this crucial work.”
Amy Green, a Family Advocate with the Midcoast Children’s Advocacy Center, a program of SASSMM, added, “At SASSMM, we are pro-empowerment and anti-exploitation. Unionizing is a sensible step that aligns with the internal values of our agency.”
Speak About It: Speak About It workers formed their union in May, winning voluntary recognition from their employer. Speak About It workers are educators who perform at schools all across the country educating about consent and sexual assault awareness. They have been in negotiations since and reached a tentative agreement in August that includes job security and layoff rights language, a voice at work and wage-stabilizing language that provides cancellation pay. They also won the right to strike as the final step of their grievance procedure.BESO1MSEA-SEIU members and family in our Auburn bargaining unit attended the Auburn Council meeting Aug. 1 to demand pay raises that reflect their work