Bargaining News

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March 6, 2023

There’s a real problem with recruiting and retaining MaineDOT workers


MSEA-SEIU Member Dave Boudreau talks with the press about the need to end the state employee pay gap as a way to address recruitment and retention problems at MaineDOT.

 

March 2, 2023

To the Members of the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, and the Committee on Transportation:

I’m Dave Boudreau of Holden. I’m writing to you as a private citizen on my own time and as a member of my union, the Maine Service Employees Association.

I work as a Transportation Worker II for the MaineDOT, a job I’ve held since November of 2019. I’m writing to tell you there’s a real problem with recruiting and retaining MaineDOT workers, and it’s mostly because of the State’s low pay. Study after study have shown that the State pays us far below what other workers throughout New England are paid for the same work. The fact is, the State just can’t get the people to come in or stay at these jobs because of the low wages. This problem is getting worse, not better.

Don’t take my word for it on the State’s low wages. Please read the 2020 State of Maine Market Study Report. It shows that state workers on average are underpaid by 15% and that maintenance mechanics for the State of Maine are actually underpaid by 31 percent. An earlier study that the State commissioned back in 2009 reached similar conclusions.

I recently was interviewed by WCSH6 TV after work one day about the recruitment and retention problem at MaineDOT. You can watch that story here.

There’s been a lot of talk in the Maine Legislature about the need for more funding for infrastructure like roads and bridges, and it’s great to see funding for more infrastructure in the proposed State Budget. However, how is the State going to get all that work done without a qualified and experienced MaineDOT workforce? MaineDOT keeps losing workers to better-paying employers both in the private sector and at cities and towns statewide. If MaineDOT wants to have the workforce it needs to maintain our network of roads and bridges, and to carry out all the infrastructure projects in the works, then the State must end the State Employee Pay Gap. There are two things I’m asking you to do to help make that happen: Please provide, in the proposed two-year State Budget, the funding necessary to end the State Employee Pay Gap. Please also provide the funding necessary for the Executive Branch of Maine State Government to complete and implement the ongoing review of the State compensation and classification systems.

Thank you.


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