Bargaining News


February 13, 2024

Every time we lose a qualified employee, we also lose the knowledge, skills and abilities they bring to Maine State Government

MSEA-SEIU Member and Public Health Nurse Jodi Philippon testifies in support of LD 2121, An Act to Address Chronic Understaffing of State Government Positions, Sponsored by Representative Drew Gattine

Senator Nangle, Representative Stover, members of the Committee on State and Local Government, I’m Jodi Philippon. I am here in my own time to speak in support of LD 2121 and to implore you to please take heed of the testimony you are hearing today.

Over the past several months, I have listened to my fellow state employees relay a myriad of examples of chronic under-staffing, vacancies that remain unfilled, and qualified staff leaving state government with the root cause being a need for higher wages. The need for higher wages does not stem from greed or in any way take advantage of Maine’s citizens, but rather, to pay essential costs of living to include rent, mortgage, childcare, and utilities to name a few. These departments include the Office of Children and Family Services, Ferry Services, and the CDC to name a few. In the five years I have worked at the Maine CDC, the medical secretary position in my office has been vacated 6 times.

I tried to recruit my best friend to apply for a Public Health Nurse position. She told me that she could not apply as the wages were far too low. Again, another qualified, capable person was lost.

Every time we lose a qualified employee, we also lose the knowledge, skills, and abilities that they bring to Maine State Government. We need to do better. The citizens of Maine deserve better. They need knowledgeable long-term employees, programs that are fully staffed, along with timely responses.

When Maine’s citizens apply for much needed benefits and there is a staffing shortage, their need goes unanswered. People are made to wait excess time that they do not have to find out whether they might receive assistance. Children are put at risk as there are not enough child protective workers to manage the already overflowing caseloads. Others are forced to work mandatory overtime as there are so many unfilled positions.

Closing the pay gap will improve all the latter mentioned. I urge you to please support LD2121. Thank you for your time and attention.

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