Bargaining News


June 27, 2024

MSEA-SEIU Representational Services Roundup

Earlier this year, workers in our Support Services bargaining unit at the Maine Community College System marched on the Augusta office of MCCS President David Daigler to deliver their petition demanding fair wages. Workers in both our Support Services and Supervisory Services units at MCCS have since ratified new contracts. Over the course of the contracts, wages for the Support Services workers will increase 9 to 12% depending on their longevity. Wages for the Supervisory Services workers will increase 9%. 

American Red Cross Blood Services Unit in Bangor: In coalition bargaining, nationwide negotiations are under way on the national contract for American Red Cross workers, including workers at the Red Cross’ Blood Services Unit in Bangor. The current national contract expires at year’s end. We are preparing for local contract negotiations as well.

Child Development Services: Members of our Professional Unit and Support Unit at Child Development Services, a state-funded agency under the direction of the Maine Department of Education, reached a tentative agreement with management June 13 on new, three-year contracts. The Support Unit’s tentative agreement includes annual raises of 6%, 6% and 5%. The Professional Unit’s tentative agreement includes annual raises of 4%, 4% and 5%. Both units secured the telework language they sought as well as a doubling of their parental leave. A ratification vote was under way at press time.

Maine Community College System Support Services and Supervisory Services Bargaining Units: Members of our Support Services and Supervisory Services bargaining units ratified new, two-year contracts following a highly engaged membership campaign. Over the course of the contracts, wages for the Support Services workers will increase 9 to 12% depending on their longevity. Wages for the Supervisory Services workers will increase 9%. While merit pay in both units remains frozen since the Great Recession of 2008, the ratified contracts allow bargaining unit workers to advocate for additional pay adjustments based on years of service, job duties, education and job performance.

Executive Branch Compensation and Classification Study Negotiations: Our compensation and classification negotiations team met with the Maine Bureau of Human Resources (BHR) June 20 to continue our efforts to move forward the compensation and classification studies ordered by the Maine Legislature.

Unfortunately, BHR refused to complete the comprehensive classification and compensation study required of them by law and our contracts. Now, BHR seems determined to design an entirely new, and extremely flawed, market pay study that ignores Maine’s biggest employers in an apparent attempt to justify whatever end it hopes to achieve.

The whole purpose of these negotiations and the broader comp-class study is to address a system in crisis. According to the State’s own data, approximately 1 in 5 MSEA positions are vacant. Further, according to the Segal study commissioned by the State in 2020, State employee compensation lags at least 15% behind the broader labor market. The data couldn’t be clearer, and it lines up with our lived experience: Maine state workers are understaffed and underpaid. Just ask any islanders and businesses that rely on the Maine State Ferry Service. Repeated ferry cancellations due to understaffing and low pay have left residents missing medical appointments and cancer treatments, and businesses scrambling to serve the island communities.

As you know, the Maine Legislature directed BHR to complete a comprehensive compensation and classification study by January 2024 and to bargain in good faith over the implementation of that study. In contract bargaining, BHR even agreed to identify a funding source for implementation of the completed study. However, BHR then turned around and claimed that they had no obligation to complete or bargain over the comprehensive study, and MSEA had to file a Prohibited Practice Complaint over their failure to follow the law.

Now, in its push to design a new market-pay study that will skew the data, BHR is arbitrarily limiting the private sector comparisons to only those employers located within a handful of Maine towns—and leaving out most of the largest employers in the state. BHR doesn’t want its new market-pay study to consider the wages of workers at Bath Iron Works, L.L. Bean, Idexx, Hannaford’s corporate offices, Cianbro, Jackson Labs, most of Maine’s colleges and universities, big-box employers like Walmart, Hannaford, Shaw’s, and Lowes, the Federal Government and scads of other Maine employers. In fact, according to the criteria detailed by BHR, they will only be looking at six of the 50 largest private sector employers in the State! Management’s decision to limit the vast majority of private sector employers in and around Maine threatens to undermine any credibility of this project.

We will meet again July 16 with management to keep the pressure on and determine whether any progress is being made. We also look forward to the August hearing on our Prohibited Practice Complaint.


Legislative Employees:  Members of our Legislative Employees bargaining unit on May 21 ratified a new contract running from Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2025. That ratified contract includes a new step (a 4% increase) for all bargaining unit members as soon as possible upon ratification, a 3% pay raise effective Sept. 29, 2024, and an $800 lump-sum payment. Members of our bargaining team are Nichols Tassinari, Rachel Carter, Mark Krawec and Judy St. Pierre.

Maine Maritime Academy: Members of our union negotiations teams for the Staff Support and Supervisory bargaining units at Maine Maritime Academy have reached tentative agreements with management for new two-year contracts with pay raises of 3 percent per  year. The tentative agreements include increases in reimbursements, a doubling of the daily rate that cruise workers get on ship, and improvements to parental leave. A ratification vote in the Supervisory Unit was under way at press time. Members of our Faculty Unit at on June 26 continued their contract negotiations with management via a mediator.

Maine People’s Alliance: Members at the Maine People’s Alliance have ratified a new contract that runs from March 18, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2026.  The new contract includes substantial increases in wages as well as a pilot shortened workweek.

Preble Street: Members at Preble Street on June 7 ratified a three-year contract with wage increases of 1 to 26% over the contract with lowest paid staff getting a 9% increase July 1, 2024. Highlights on wages:

  • $1.75 pay raise for  everyone July 1, 2024;
  • 3% raise July 1, 2025, and add a new step at 1 year everyone moved to new correct step  (each step .25)  Everyone currently a Preble will receive 1 Step, some will move 2 steps.  New workers will not need to wait a year to move one step;
  • 3% raise July 1, 2026, and add a new step at 1 year everyone moved to new correct step (each step .25)  Everyone at or above Step 2 will receive at least one step; some will receive 2 Steps.

The ratified contract for Preble Street workers also includes improvements relating to, but not limited to, bed bug reimbursement, personal days, increased cap on sick time bank, holiday pay, additional COVID/HEP outbreak sick time, Family Leave Law, limits on out of pocket health insurance expenses, inclement weather, job posting and hiring, health and safety, and bilingual differential.

Speak About It: Members at Speak About It have ratified a one-year agreement with wages reopened in the fall. The contract includes a rapid-resolution process for quickly raising and resolving concerns or contract violations. It provides for reimbursement at the federal rate for all miles driven by staff who are asked to use their personal vehicles. The contract adds new language concerning equity in assignments relating to sound checks, and additional pay when travel is booked with too few hours of rest. The contract also includes improved health and safety language concerning lodging when traveling.

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