The Maine Service Employees Association (MSEA), a branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has negotiated for a significant pay-raise for its over 9,000 Maine state workers.
“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,” said the MSEA.
The new contracts are the result of union negotiations with Gov. Janet Mills’ administration, in which the union complained that pay raises for government workers rose more slowly than private sector wages.
The new contracts fall far short of what MSEA bosses proposed in April.
The union originally asked on April 5 for a $5.00 per house base pay increase for all workers plus an additional 22 percent increase, followed by a 15 percent salary increase in July 2024.
Instead, the roughly 9,000 executive branch workers will receive an initial six percent pay raise, starting January 1, an $800 lump sum, and a three percent raise in July.
The contract is less than one-third of the increase the MSEA sought.
The late-in-the-year finalization of the agreement closes out one of the most bitter chapters in labor relations between the MSEA and any Maine governor.
In March, the MSEA filed a complaint against the Mills Administration, accuses it of engaging in dishonest and illegal bargaining tactics.
Over the summer, union members on MSEA conference calls actively floated the prospect of engaging in illegal tactics of their own, such as work slowdowns, stoppages, or “sick outs.”
Employees who have worked for at least one full year will receive a further four percent raise on the next anniversary of their employment.
The contracts also provide a variety of smaller things, such as an undefined improvement to “nondiscrimination,” and a “memorandum of understanding” relating to the Educational Unorganized Territories.