|March 3, 2023
Dear State of Maine Co-workers,
Today we filed charges of labor law violations over management’s continued refusal to come to the table and bargain. After the State’s chief bargainer, Breena Bissell, initially agreed to meet on Jan. 19th and Feb. 2nd, she then canceled both dates. We offered two more dates, which she also refused. While we made clear we would meet yesterday and communicated twice to attempt to set up logistics, Ms. Bissell made clear her demand that she and her team would not meet unless she was able to restrict the size of our negotiations team and exclude observers, including stating “I will pick your team for you”. This behavior is unlawful and unacceptable. Bargaining is about both sides sitting down as equals to meet, discuss proposals and reach agreement that both can agree to. We’re appalled by the behavior of the State’s chief negotiator and today filed charges of labor law violations for their failure to bargain in good faith.
While the State team did not meet with us last night, we did meet and we feel it is important to share with you all the proposals management missed out on hearing. We have emailed you a tool to help all of you follow the progress of our proposals. We have heard you that we must stand strong behind our core demands, that we must close the pay gap and ensure that there is sufficient staffing for the services we provide, that we must address telework and flexibility, that we are not done until we improve health and safety. We know that state jobs need to be the kind of jobs that recruit and retain the workforce that can meet the needs of the entire state and we are committed to standing up for all of us at the negotiations table.
We aren’t waiting. Over the next month, together with coworkers across the state we will be taking our core demands to the Maine Legislature and raising them in our departments!
While the management bargaining team’s refusal to sit with us and hear our proposals may be frustrating, we are clear that we are not waiting for them in order to raise our concerns. Many of you have contributed testimony to the Legislature as a first step to making sure each member of the Legislature understands that it is vital that they budget to fund closing the pay gap and to complete the work to fix the broken classification system. We’ll be teaming up with the Maine AFL-CIO on March 30th for Labor Lobby Day. It’s your opportunity to make your voice heard and advocate for all of us. Anyone who can arrange to join in Labor Lobby Day and have direct conversations with legislators will make an impact. The more people who are present, the more we show that we are serious and committed to addressing the pay gap. Sign up today for Labor Lobby Day.
As always, you are also invited to join us next Thursday March 9th, 6:30pm to discuss and work on our remaining proposals. Check your email for the registration link.
You Executive Branch Bargaining Team:
Dean Staffieri, President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989
OMS: David Boudreau (DOT), Andy Lane (DOT), Jason Hall (Ferry Service) and Joseph St. Pierre (DOT)
ADMIN: Tracy Bonnevie (DOT), Cassey Tompson (Corrections) and Vanessa White (DHHS)
SUPERVISORY: Erik Gordon (CDC), Patrick Lockhart (Corrections), Derryen Plante (MRS), Cynthia Sargeant (DHHS), Victor Tardiff (DOL) and Jon Woodard (DEP)
PRO-TECH: Kathy Anderson (DHHS), Mark Brunton (DHHS), Paul Carignan (Corrections), Candise Colfer (DAFS), Morgan Dunton (DOE), Catherine Figliolini (DOL), Tim Hebert (DOT), Luc Nya (DHHS), Brendan Parker (Public Safety), Kevin Staples (Marine Resources), Kevin Russell (DHHS) and Ramona Welton (BMV)