Bargaining News

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December 23, 2023

State workers in Executive Branch of Maine State Government vote to ratify new, two-year contracts


Members of the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union (MSEA-SEIU Local 1989), voted today to ratify new, two-year contracts with the Mills administration. The new contracts cover over 9,000 workers in the union’s four Executive Branch bargaining units: Operations, Maintenance and Support Services; Administrative Services; Professional-Technical Services; and Supervisory Services.

“The votes have been counted. The new contracts now reflect all the tentative agreements and the State’s last, best final offer that members voted on,” said Dean Staffieri, president of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. “We were encouraged that the contracts include a written agreement with the Mills administration to complete, negotiate and implement a new classification and compensation plan in 2024. As these contracts go into effect, we also will begin negotiations with the administration next month on how to implement a new compensation and classification system and address the state employee pay gap per the written agreement from the Mills administration to complete, negotiate AND implement the compensation and classification study in 2024. Those negotiations must start by Jan. 31, 2024.”

Studies in 2020 and 2009 show that state workers have been underpaid by 15%, on average, compared to their public and private sector counterparts in Maine and New England. For some classifications such as civil engineers, the pay gap is even worse.

MSEA-SEIU members who work in the Executive Branch of Maine State Government began the ratification vote on Dec. 14, a day after the union negotiations team for the workers called for a membership vote on the tentative agreements reached so far and the State’s last, best final offer. The union negotiations team decided to hold the ratification vote this month because the Maine Legislature’s funding authorization for the new contracts would have expired Dec. 31, 2023.

The ratified contracts provide for a 6% across-the-board increase in the paycheck nearest Jan. 1, 2024; a 3% across-the-board-increase in the paycheck nearest July 1, 2024; a Step 9 added July 1, 2024, for an additional 4% (workers on Step 8 will advance to Step 9 upon satisfactory completion of one year of service on their next scheduled anniversary date); and a $800 lump-sum payment in lieu of retroactive pay. Additionally, the new contracts include a commitment from the Mills administration to complete and implement the 2020 compensation and classification study in 2024, with negotiations over implementation to start in January 2024.

In addition to wage increases, the new  contracts also include improvements relating to mileage reimbursement, meal allowance, ferry service per diem, state vehicles, tools, winter allowance, longevity, uniforms, reimbursement for courses and education, differentials and stipends, vacation, bereavement, parental leave, childcare benefit, student loan/debt program, employee organization leave, flex scheduling, health and safety, workplace trauma, facilities, seniority, nondiscrimination as well as memoranda of understanding (MOUs) relating to the Educational Unorganized Territories and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

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The Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union, represents over 13,000 Maine workers and retired workers, including workers in the Executive Branch of Maine State Government.


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