Maine SEIU is now working on new labor contracts for state workers

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Sonny Laymatina
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Biddeford Steve, this MSEA

Biddeford Steve, this MSEA inaction is just another manifestation of co-optation. So unless things radically change at MSEA, expect more of same. Therefore, I suggest you start talking to other people in your bargaining unit who feel the same way you do and together start lobbying for attention. At least in the short run you may as a group be able to get some life like response from MSEA Managment (Belcher, DeAraujo & Hiltz) to attend to your wants and needs. And who knows, maybe in the long run you will all be the start of a new movement of MSEA members for a competent and effective independent union. Your rallying cry could be: "This would be a great place to have a union." LOL!

Sonny Laymatina
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Hey Towncrier, I was talking

Hey Towncrier,

I was talking to my MSEA Steward today and she told me that the current informal word from MSEA was that more and more people who were MSEA dues paying members are going the Fairshare route as you suggested they do and it's weakening MSEA's financial position. So my hat's off to your prescience. It's one thing for a Union to get Fairshare initially because that means getting money from people who weren't previously paying, but if the union sucks (like MSEA does) then the union tends to lose full paying dues members who simply convert to Fairshare status like East Germans escaping to West Germany thereby decreasing the union's overall revenue. Boy how I would love to be a fly on the wall at those monthly MSEA Board meetings as Tim Belcher makes excuses for MSEA's declining fortunes. I bet he blames his staff - like Nero blaming the Christians for Rome burning.

Bruce Libby
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Hey guys make sure all are

Hey guys make sure all are paying fairshare! A few weks ago I discovered that there wre still
nonpayers in AFSCME units! Finally Boston ffice sent out letters giving two weeks to sign up or attachment would begin and a % of back dues also would be taken.
Ask if everybody is paying fairshare and keep encouraging those who are full members
to join fairshare! Also hope that contract expires,no contract equals decert time! It is easier with no contract in place.

Sonny Laymatina
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And isn't it telling that

And isn't it telling that even still NO ONE is speaking up for MSEA Managment or even counseling against members escaping to Fairshare? Most curious because there are always at least a few die hard apologists everywhere willing to make excuses for Managment like present day Communists still defending Josef Stalin. So while this may be a bad and deserving sign for MSEA Managment that they don't even have a few die hard apologists willing to speak up for them, it's a good sign for MSEA members who switch to fairshare to pressure MSEA into radical internal reform and political reallignment. And the greater the number who switch, the more likely this needed reform and reallignment will come about. So God speed good people!

towncrier
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Well the GOING TO FAIRSHARE

Well the GOING TO FAIRSHARE wasn't my idea it belonged to a co-worker in my office who has been with this Assoc/Union longer than I have, been a Steward and has file his share of grievances too. I will let him know on Monday and I'm sure he'll be glad to hear that.

Now we have another reason, not that it's new by any stretch of the imagination. Last Monday tim Belcher gave testimony that was quoted in the news saying that the Vast Majority of members were for the SHUTDOWN DAYS instead of the 200 so call lay offs. PROBLEM: He never asked the MEMBERSHIP as far as I and a few others in my office could tell and we have written Mr. Belcher with our displeasure only to get his high and mighty "I KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR ALL" style of response. Here is one from Alan Blier questioning Mr. Belchers comments. I had permission to post this from Mr. Blier.
" Tim Belcher,

I would like to take major exception to your statement in the Bangor Daily News that a “vast majority” of members agree with your proposal to slash our wages by $4k to $8k in the next budget as opposed to eliminating positions. I personally was never asked and of the dozen or so people I have spoken to none of them was asked either. When I addressed my shop steward as to how you could make this statement just based on his views he admitted he was not asked either. Under your so-called leadership we have seen our retirement fund depleted, grievances languish for years without resolution, and now our salaries drastically cut because of ill-informed and greedy decisions.

We all do realize why you have chosen this course. As Judas gave up Jesus for a handful of coins, MSEA has given up its membership for the $104,000 in annual dues from these 200 jobs.

While you have the power to betray the membership I can tell what the “vast majority” of members has the right to do in response. I sense the potential for a response by simply switching from being a paying member for over 25 years to paying the fair share amount of dues. Everyone I have spoken to thinks this is a great idea. On each of those shutdown days we will take the difference in the dues of about $20.00 per month and go out to eat with the union picking up the tab. The mantra will be ‘Belcher Buys’. By my calculation even if only half the membership opts for fair share that would cost the union over $1 million annually. Sounds like a fair trade for the $104,000 sell out.

Bon Appetit!"

Blecher's response:

" I was misquoted. What I said is that most of the members we have heard
from tell they would prefer to take a hit in the form of shut down days
if it would save jobs. That is true. I also said that the number of shut
down days was excessive.

This is a tough time to lose a job, and I'm surprised that you think it
is unethical for a union to work to save jobs. We have heard from
hundreds of members, including some who contacted their legislators and
came to hearings to testify, and I have only heard two members argue
that they would prefer to see their co-workers lose their jobs than shoulder
some sacrifice to get through this crisis. You are entitled to your
opinion, but I also stand by testimony."

I have more if interested.

Towncrier

BiddefordSteve
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Recently, I sent anemail to

Recently, I sent anemail to my field rep asking them to look into the disparate treatment of promotions refering to job requirements. Some need them and others do not. Quite easy to prove if its looked into. I haven't heard anything back thus far however its only been a few days................

BiddefordSteve
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If I go to Fairshare, do they

If I go to Fairshare, do they still have to represent me in grievances and protection?

towncrier
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Don't hold your breath,

Don't hold your breath, you'll pass out first. LOL

Sonny Laymatina
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BiddefordSteve, Yes, the

BiddefordSteve,

Yes, the Union has to represent all workers in a bargaining unit covered by the collective bargaining agreement...even workers who aren't full dues paying members of the Union. Reference the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and its "right-to-work" provisions. That's why a lot of Unions, like MSEA, try and negotiate "fair share" into the cba to get some contribution for their efforts from non-dues paying members. So while the Union would still have to represent you as a fair share payor in the grievance procedure, you wouldn't have the right to vote yes or no on proposed negotiated contracts and you wouldn't have the right to vote for or run for any of the Union offices.

Sonny Laymatina
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Towncrier, After what Tim

Towncrier,

After what Tim Belcher did to Deb Roy and Owen Sullivan's jobs, he shouldn't be lecturing anyone else about labor union ethics or ethics period. Therefore, anything he says to anyone - even if true - is per se incredible unless independently verified by other more believable sources. This lack of credibility is just another mark of his poor leadership qualities. Don't get me wrong, if indeed he has heard from hundreds of members telling him they'd prefer taking shut down days to job loss, then fine...but where's the proof of this besides his word?

Bruce Libby
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I do not know specifically

I do not know specifically what MSEA does but in AFSCME the fairshare only gets step 1 repre. then it is billable! Vheck it out with the Bada Bing Club!

Sonny Laymatina
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Fairshare status is second

Fairshare status is second class citizenship in any labor union so it behooves anyone and everyone who is thinking about converting to fairshare status to weigh the advantages (less monthly dues paid) versus the disadvantages (less rights). So unless you have a religious or philosophical opposition to labor unionism, I would only recommend mass conversion to fair share status on a short-term basis, that is up and until the MSEA Board of Directors starts copping on and making radical reforms and changes in a good faith internal organizational effort to convert you back to full-membership. Because until recently the Governor's granting of fairshare status, and the lousy managment of MSEA, has allowed MSEA to rest on its laurels and pay little or no attention to providing quality services to its membership or internal organizing...which by the by is a common complaint many SEIU affiliated union members have after their union management has drunk Andrew Stern's purple juice on exalting external organizing and growth over internal organizing and servicing. Stern's business school growth-for-sake-of-growth marketing methods have reduced a lot of SEIU affiliated labor unions to looking and sounding like US Army recruiters with their long-on-promise-short-on-delivery advertising antics. And for this MSEA pays SEIU $1.8 milliion dollars a year. We pay more only to get less. Go figure! Therefore, IMHO, it's time we all started paying less because just think what a competant and effective managment team (if ever there was one) at MSEA could do with an extra $1.8 million a year...they could hire more Field Reps and Assistant Legal Counsels and actually have an adversarial service delivery system model of labor unionism. It's either that or keep paying SEIU the $1.8 million a year and think like Rod Hiltz that you have "evolved"....like a fool and his money. LOL!

Sonny Laymatina
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Newsflash: I was once again

Newsflash: I was once again talking to my Steward the other day about why it is no one is defending MSEA Management...not even MSEA Management themselves! And she told me that the quiet word from some of the long suffering MSEA Staff was that no one should be fanning the fires of enlightenment here. And that about says it all really. Hence for example Unionman's silence. Like theives caught with their hands in our cookie jar, all they can do is shut up and continue eating until we stop them.

towncrier
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Now that's a FUNNY ONE Sonny.

Now that's a FUNNY ONE Sonny. I can just invision the three Honchos with Chocolate stains from the chocolate chips in the corners of their mouths as they chew and we as Members turn on the light to expose them for what they are. Oh it's coming, they know it and in their true to fashion way say nothing in hopes it will just go away. These three Buzzards have not dealt with the likes of the folks I work with and by the time we're finished with them they may wish they never had. There is also OUTSIDE pressure too with one of their own or former own coming at them as well. Humm this could be a fun year.

Sonny Laymatina
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I hear you Towncrier! But

I hear you Towncrier! But it's so funny it hurts. While it would be great to see the people you work with run for positions on the MSEA Board of Directors, I think a good short term plan is to agitate with other like minded members to committ mass conversion to fairshare status to give the current MSEA Managment a lesson in how water flows down hill. Imagine how things would change if every month say just 50 MSEA members switched after presenting a Petition to the MSEA Board of Directors saying until the following things happened (such as firing Moe Belcher, Curley DeAraujo & Larry Hiltz, disaffiliating with SEIU and partisan politics, and adopting a traditional adversarial model of labor unionism) you will only get half of our dues. I mean it's bad enough that MSEA is politically coopted by the Democratic Party of Maine and the US (to all of our dues paying detriment), but the fact that MSEA screws its own employees means it's not a labor union at all... and so not worth the sh*t off our shoes let alone full dues.

Moving Forward
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Not to mention the terrible

Not to mention the terrible accounting practices they use...the dues paying members deserve a procedural audit on both MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 and the SEIU HQ.

Sonny Laymatina
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MSEA mismanagment manifests

MSEA mismanagment manifests manyfold.

Al Greenlaw
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To answer the question posed

To answer the question posed in the subject line; SEIU 1989. The affiliation with SEIU has been a disaster for an organization that at one time paid more attention to the needs of the members than to democrat talking points. Don't get me wrong much of the leadership then tended to be democrat, but the organization overall was much less partisan, and did not shut out opposing viewpoints like it does today.

I was involved as a delegate to several conventions. I was both a steward and a chief steward for many years. I attended most monthly meetings. That was prior to affiliation. Almost immediately I saw a change. Many of the old MSEA employees, from the executive director down, were ultimately forced out and replaced with individuals more in tune with the ideals and goals of big labor, rather than the needs of employees/members.

Fair share is the ultimate betrayal to members. No longer does SEIU 1989 have to spend time actually working for members. It can now concentrate, with money guaranteed to flow in, on the priorities of headquarters in D.C. SEIU 1989's contribution alone is 1.8 million dollars. Does anyone know what that money is used for? Whenever I asked, the canned response was that "much" of that came back to us, but no acknowledgment of just what form that took.

Perhaps you may have heard that California has a "small" budget problem. Well as part of the solution the state employees were asked to contribute - much like our employees here. According to reports I have seen, an official from SEIU in California called the White House and complained about those cuts. Consequently, the Obama administration has informed California that unless those "cuts" are restored the 7 billion in "stimulus" money will be withheld. Now one can certainly argue that that is advocacy for members, but isn't extortion illegal?

I think that pretty much explains what is wrong with (MSEA) SEIU 1989.

Al

Bruce Libby
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A example from past that I

A example from past that I believe still illustrates what is wrong....!
This is from my first MSEA membership and before AFSCME represented us.
A gathering of staff before shift began a maintenance man who would become a MSEA president
informed the gathered throng that he "had worked with unions for years in Conn. and he would tell us all we had to know"!
I immediately told him and showed him what I would do, that was tear up my membership card
and disassociate immediately!
It appears not much has changed in over thirty years!

LastMainerOut
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You know Mark, I never got an

You know Mark, I never got an answer why MSEA had a New Year's Eve Party in Portland paid for with dues that did not invite the members.

Bruce Libby
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The Bada Bing club was to

The Bada Bing club was to small to hold all democrats and it was closer
for Evil Ethan to attend and recieve thanks for fairshare and a few regrets that they couldn't get him more votes!!!!

LMO nice to see you back!!

Sonny Laymatina
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Al Greenlaw says in part:

Al Greenlaw says in part: "That was prior to affiliation. Almost immediately I saw a change. Many of the old MSEA employees, from the executive director down, were ultimately forced out and replaced with individuals more in tune with the ideals and goals of big labor, rather than the needs of employees/members."

So in a nutshell: the Bolsheviks beat the Mensheviks... once again. But you know, none of this could happen without the active support of a majority of MSEA Board Members who I suspect are Democratic Party counter-insurgents or wanabe counter-insurgents who see the Party and MSEA's wants and needs as one and the same. Call it a necessary delusion.

Al Greenlaw says in part: "According to reports I have seen, an official from SEIU in California called the White House and complained about those cuts. Consequently, the Obama administration has informed California that unless those "cuts" are restored the 7 billion in "stimulus" money will be withheld. Now one can certainly argue that that is advocacy for members, but isn't extortion illegal?"

No, it wouldn't be extortion per se just standard Federal vs. State relations but I suspect those reports you have seen are SEIU press plants to take credit for something they didn't do. One of the major features of this stimulus money to states like California was to back up their own budgets and investments and not just pay their bills as a savings to them. Remember the whole economic rationale put forth by the Obama-ites was for massive federal government spending (not cuts) to be counter-cyclical to the current recession we're experiencing. This is very much in keeping with Keynsian thinking on these sort of things which is why I suspect SEIU had little to do with getting the Obama administration to pressure the State Government of California. This is the same SEIU after all that can't even get Obama to pass the Card Check bill through Congress despite his earlier campaign promise to them to do so.

Sonny Laymatina
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LMO said: "You know Mark, I

LMO said: "You know Mark, I never got an answer why MSEA had a New Year's Eve Party in Portland paid for with dues that did not invite the members."

Unsurprising news to me! Exclusion, isolation and insulation are all hallmarks of organizational elitism. So not only is MSEA doing a poor job advocating on behalf of members (as a matter of policy), MSEA is also eating your lunch and not sharing it with you. Therefore, the only thing that surprises me is that they're not having more celebrations like this without any of you all there too.

towncrier
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Hey Sonny, I read your idea

Hey Sonny,

I read your idea and it's a goodin. Maybe we should firm things up on that petation and start getting this OUT TO ALL. You can PM me if we still have that function. If not I'm at towncrier1@yahoo.com.

TC

Sonny Laymatina
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Towncrier, I'll send you an

Towncrier,

I'll send you an email soon per your request.

And always remember...every 1,000 mile journey begins with a single step.

Sonny Laymatina
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delete

delete

Moving Forward
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Hmmmmm, when you look at the

Hmmmmm, when you look at the massive Political Contributions which have been made by both the local MSEA-SEIU and SEIU HQ, as illustrated at
www.followthemoney.org/database/advancedsearch.phtml,
the numbers are simply staggering...

Contributor
Industry Employer
Researcher Identifications
State
Year
Records
↓Total↓

SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2004 4 $115,530

SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2006 5 $265,000

SERVICE EMPLOYEES
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2008 1 $25,000

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOC/MSEA
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2000 67 $23,000

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOC/MSEA
Public Sector Unions VARIOUS SEIU ME 2002 45 $13,350

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOC/MSEA
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2003 1 $25,000

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOC
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2004 14 $14,425

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOC
Public Sector Unions

MAINE STATE EMPOYEES, MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES SEIU ME 2006 17 $95,050

MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOC
Public Sector Unions SEIU ME 2008 17 $64,900
-----------------------
CONTRIBUTIONS IN MAINE ALONE $ 641,255 (+ MORE)

Plus A LOT MORE in other states like this:

SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
Public Sector Unions SEIU MA 2006 52 $1,840,897

NEW YORKS HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2004 165 $1,319,250

NEW YORK STATE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2008 172 $1,133,600

NEW YORK STATE SERVICE EMPLOYEES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2006 84 $865,700

NEW YORKS HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2002 105 $812,021

NEW YORKS HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2006 116 $798,136

NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FEDERATION
Public Sector Unions AFSCME SEIU NY 2004 318 $632,279

NEW YORKS HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2005 2 $508,657

NEW YORKS HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES LOCAL 1199/SEIU
General Trade Unions SEIU NY 2000 45 $492,550

Hmmmmm, I wonder what's wrong with MSEA?

Sonny Laymatina
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What's wrong with MSEA? Well

What's wrong with MSEA? Well for one thing that's a whole lot of our money they spend just to have politicians occasionally return their phone calls. And just think about what else they could have done with that (our) money from hiring more staff to having a dues decrease. Ever notice when you try and have a conversation about this with any of the purple juice drinkers they say this money is well spent because it buys political influence. But when you ask for examples you either get smug silence or that politicians pay attention to them (translation: they occasionally return their phone calls). In the meantime what we get is lousy math: i.e. seven over-worked MSEA Field Reps trying to service 17,000 members. Such a deal...for the Democratic Governor anyway who gets our money and our Union's debilitation. It's like paying the school yard bully your lunch money so that he can stay strong to kick the crap out of you. Nuts!

Moving Forward
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Sonny, you nailed it with

Sonny, you nailed it with that one. "It's like paying the school yard bully your lunch money so that he can stay strong to kick the crap out of you. Nuts!"

Sonny Laymatina
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Thank you Mark! And if

Thank you Mark! And if Unionman or Narsbars or any of the other MSEA-SEIU Animal Farm defenders think my analogy here limps then they need to step up to the plate and explain to the rest of us their reasons why. Otherwise their continued silence says it all: what's wrong with MSEA is co-option, affiliation and mismanagment. Cooption by the Democratic Party, affiliation with SEIU and mismanagment by Moe Belcher, Curley DeAraujo and Larry Hiltz. And note that none of my criticisms here are anti-union or anti-labor. All I am calling for is a much stronger labor union that is independent and well run for the membership that's paying for it no matter who is in office be they Democrat or Republican or whatever.

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