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BREAKING: State union cooperating with LePage on partial federal shutdown

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AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage and representatives from the Maine State Employees Association are working together – yes, together – to minimize the detrimental impact of the partial federal shutdown on Maine’s federally-funded state workforce.

LePage Press secretary Adrienne Bennett delivered the shocking news in a press statement late Friday:

“It’s true. The Governor had a productive meeting with the Maine State Employees Association this morning. The meeting was called by the Governor to inform MSEA of the developments regarding federally funded state employees with regard to the federal shutdown. The Administration is working to identify the number of employees who are federally funded, how much money we now have for those positions, and when that money will run out should this shutdown continue. The Administration expects to have more information on Monday.”

“This is an issue that is deeply concerning to the Governor and he continues to urge Congress to find a resolution to the shutdown,” said Bennett.

The governor’s administration attached to their press statement the following letter from MSEA President Ginette Rivard to state union members:

Protecting Public Services and Maine Jobs During the Federal Shutdown:

Dear MSEA-SEIU member,

Many MSEA-SEIU members whose jobs are federally funded are rightfully concerned about how the federal government shutdown might affect their jobs. While the shutdown appears to be going into the weekend, we are pleased that this morning, Gov. LePage personally reached out to us to discuss this evolving crisis. 

During a meeting with us in his Cabinet Room, Gov. LePage shared with us his stated interest and genuine concern in minimizing the impact of the shutdown on public workers and services in Maine. We told the Governor we share that interest and appreciate his cooperative approach. We also told him we will work with him in the spirit of cooperation through this difficult and fluid federal situation.

The federal shutdown crisis has the real potential to disrupt both public services and the jobs of State of Maine employees whose positions are all or partially federally funded. The potential for harm increases the longer the shutdown continues. Some federally funded state workers in the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management received layoff notices this week due to the federal shutdown, as have some federal workers in Maine. We urge any of our bargaining unit members who receive a layoff notice to file for unemployment insurance immediately upon receiving notice. File for unemployment online at http://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment/claims.html

We also urge all bargaining unit members whose positions are all or partially federally funded to notify us of any official messages that you receive from your employer or funding sources relating to your job status. Send such official communications to MSEA-SEIU Political and Legislative Director Mary Anne Turowski at Maryanne.turowski@mseaseiu.org

Our union and our international union, SEIU, are working closely with our congressional delegation and their staff to monitor the federal shutdown and to push for a swift resolution so that everyone can get back to work.

Again, we will continue to work with the Governor’s office to minimize any impacts on workers and services. We will follow up with any new developments.

In Solidarity,

Ginette Rivard
President, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989

S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter
serobinson@themainewire.com

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