He made the trains run on time and controlled the Unions

image - October 23, 2003

Fascism is recognized to have first been officially developed by Benito Mussolini, who came to power in Italy in 1922. To sum up fascism in one word would be to say "anti-liberalism".

...............Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century."

Image Source Page: http://marxistleninist.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/glenn-beck-champions-u-s-pro-nazi-text/

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

George Bush has a Plan to help the minorities.

E.T.I. 2009

Octtober 31, 2007

President Bush links SCHIP and health coverage to tax cuts for the rich.

WASHINGTON — President Bush yesterday warned that if his plan to lower taxes for the upper income brackets is rejected, he will not fund any amount of money for SCHIP or any “free riders” on the economy. Instead he will increase taxes on the middle class, raise college tuition, decrease spending on school construction and shrink health care coverage.

Mr. Bush is proposing using revenue saved from SCHIP expansion and funds saved by not prosecuting any civil rights violations, added to tax increases for the middle class to close the Federal budget shortfall and fund additional tax cuts for those making over $1,000,000.00 per year.

While President Bush has been the butt of many jokes, his speech making abilities were never in doubt as he made fiery speech describing the pain failure to pass this bill would have on an unrepresented minority. A minority so small even the IRS does not collect taxes from them.

Mr. Bush made an impassioned speech describing the agony of losing millions of dollars of income due to so called fair taxation. His story of a man no longer able to give a Lexus and an undocumented maid to every guest at his daughters wedding brought tears to some eyes.

He described the proposed tax cut as one of several relief measures to soften the impact of a souring economy. If even the “little people” have to cut down on McDonalds and beer you must ask yourself to picture the fear that at some point you might earn so little that you might be forced to pay taxes.

For too long have the wealthy been asked to support the so called working man with demands for wages, health care, retirement, and safe working conditions!

Employers have had enough of these unreasonable demands. Why should those who only work share the wealth of those who create wealth? His tax cut is described as trying to reach out to help a minority, only the top 1% of income earners in the country. The tax cut would only return an estimated $177 Billion to this small group, but as Mr. Bush said “At least it is a gesture of caring”.

Anyone that has been here before will realize this story has taken some license with reality. To put it another way, I made it all up. Hope you enjoyed "The news".

E.T.I. 2009

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Our D.O.T. planning better roads

E.T.I. 2009

While some members of the public may think that the roads have always been there needing only a thin layer of topsoil to be removed to find a new road most people know better.

The next time you are driving smoothly along a highway give credit to the engineers that have planned and studied to bring you the best roads possible.

E.T.I. 2009

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Monday, October 29, 2007

State of Maine OIT Help Desk Adventures

I thought maybe a short turn to the lighter side might be a good idea. I have had Union members and Non Union members and my family tell me to lighten up some times.
Here is a slightly less than serious look at the State help desk.

Some times the users going to the State help desk get the wrong impression. The first cartoon is sometimes how a help desk tech is seen by the callers. This is all in humor as they always find a way to help. They take pride in solving problems.

Then there are times when just maybe a tech has had a verrrrry long day and wants to add a little amusement to the users day.

Then again, you really should read the manual before calling with questions.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

MSEA-SEIU Elects a new President and Vice President

E.T.I. 2009

We have a new President and a new V.P.!

The poll on this site picked the V.P. winner!

Not much story on the race for president. Bruce Hodson ran unopposed. My own opinion is that he ran unopposed because his reputation has spread and all of the delegates and potential candidates knew he was the best person for the job.
Good luck Bruce, and thank you Dana Graham.

Originally the V.P. race had 4 candidates. One candidate dropped out but the three remaining candidates made for a great campaign. We had choices and that is what we needed.

All of the candidates ran a great campaign and the members made their choice. I said you can not vote without information and all of the candidates came forward and let us decide on who is to be the MSEA-SEIU candidate for the next two years.

This is part of Ginette's statement and she stuck with this theme during her campaign. No flip flops and no trying to buy votes with promises to any groups. Ginette Rivard, next Vice President of MSEA-SEIU now has two years of missing birthdays, holidays and late night calls to look forward to. I know she wants to do a great job for the membership and not for herself.

I thank Ginette for her kind words about this site.

This website has provided a forum for excellent discussions on various topics of interest. I offer a few thoughts of my own.

  • Imagine every chapter identifying a member who would be willing to serve on the next Bargaining Committee.
  • Imagine work sites having brown bag discussions on various topics for future contracts.
  • Imagine members engaging in problem solving solutions to present to their Bargaining Teams.
  • Imagine all members having a working knowledge of the process.
  • Imagine the next round of bargaining in every unit starting out with solid proposals that have been developed by the members.

One cannot talk of Bargaining these days without being reminded of our brothers and sisters at the Community College system. Workers at these institutions continue to work without a contract. While enrollment has dramatically increased over the last few years, staffing has remained at the same level. They need to be valued for the work they do. I urge all who read this to show their support for these workers by signing a petition being circulated, attending rallies, etc.

Editor: I have been on bargaining teams and I agree that we need to start earlier, develop stronger proposals supported by thorough research. I intend to be following up with Ginette to see what she is going to do to help make this happen.

This site is collecting proposals and they are out there for everyone to see and to comment on.

Do you think we will start sooner? Will the Union follow through on the promises to get going earlier? Over to you, Ginette.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Universal Health Care, The other Side.

E.T.I. 2009

The debate about Universal Health care has proponents and opponents. Since I am a firm believer in Universal Health Care I felt that I should go out and listen to the reasons given by the opposition. I have collected the most common reasons and it is only fair to listen to the other side.

I have listed the most common below.

1: With Universal Health Care people would live longer and the money would just be wasted on old people.

2: If you knew you could go to the doctor for yourself or your kids you would go for every minor broken bone and the Government might even end up paying for inoculations to prevent disease. Why pay for something that has not happened?

3: Universal Health Care would stop Americans from paying more and getting less than other counties and that could harm the economy.

4: Single payer countries are run by dictators in lands with no choice, like Canada, and Holland.

5: The people that oppose a single payer system can afford health care and it would be an unfair burden on the rich.

6: Paying insurance companies for poor care is more American than paying taxes and receiving good care.

7: The U.S.A. which has one of the highest infant mortality rates of all the civilized countries would become overcrowded if we let all those babies live.

8: Clients have become fond of their HMO providers and would miss dealing with them.

9: Regardless of how much good would be done, if good is done by government then it must really be bad.

10. It’s fun to see how long you can get one prescription to last by skipping days, and cutting doses. The mental activity helps prevent Alzheimer’s.

Since I write so much about State employees who (for now) still have health care you may ask yourself what this has to do with you.

I listened some more. The other side says we are the worst criminals. By having health care and good wages we are almost single handedly driving out all of the business in Maine. I have listened to the arguments and they sum up to a demand that we give up at least a third of our pay, all of our benefits, and stop being a part of a Union. There are also other demands that want all poorly performing State employees fired immediately. This demand leads right back to the "get rid of the Union" argument, so government can be efficient.

Some how this will then lead all of the businesses to flock to Maine for the low wages. At that time anyone in Maine that wants to work for minimum wage in ugly working conditions (Wal-Mart) will have the opportunity. Did I miss the point? We suffer, business does great, and that is good?

Let me know if I missed the point.

E.T.I. 2009

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Liberal is not a Dirty Word

E.T.I. 2009

Oil hits $86 for the first time

Crude prices reach record high on worries about declining oil inventories.

Everywhere you look you will find an excuse to attack labor. Oil prices will be used to cut benefits, deny raises, and provide breaks to the corporations in the name of jobs. It won't matter if you need to work four eight hour jobs a day just to make your old wages, never mind benefits.

What can we do about it? We can vote for a Liberal in Maine and in Washington. I am only concerned that the liberals have forgotten that they "should dance with the one that brung em".

What has happened to Liberal America and the Democratic Party? It seems like they have forgotten what this is about. Forgetting what they are supposed to do if elected and who they should support if elected.

Democrats used to be proud to say that government exists to do good for the people. It stands on the side of the poor to even the odds against power and money that are used to push the advantage to the few, the rich, and the arrogant. Democrats are supposed to stand for one person, one vote and to be proud of free speech even when the speech is unpopular.

What have Liberals done for this country? Look at Public buildings built during the New Deal, schools, roads, homes and utilities paid for by government grants, loans, and subsidies, national parks, all built by Liberal America. One of the greatest Liberal improvements ever in this country was the Freeway system rammed through by that great Liberal Dwight Eisenhower. Liberals have produced the 40 hour week, OSHA, fair pay for women and minorities and integration. Look for the benefits of Liberalism in government programs, from college loans to unemployment, from the minimum wage and collective bargaining to safe medicines, and clean water.

When the Constitution was written, it was written to allow the government to help even the odds for all. That is why we have the Bill of Rights. Ever since the revolution we have built a stronger force of law to keep the powerful from destroying the poor. One of the greatest successes of Liberal America came at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s when the Robber Barons were broken, leaving only poor millionaires no longer emperors of all they surveyed.

One of the most frightening topics affects both the American Political scene and in particular the American Union scene. The loss of voting participation. The Republicans led by the far right of their party have been attacking any help given to the needy as and attack on the independent American spirit as if to help another human were a crime against the one you help. Ronald Reagan won the White House with only 51.5% of eligible voters going to the polls and then he acted as if he had been given a free pass by God to do what he decided was right. He was elected by only 28% of the eligible voters.

The current president lost the popular election in his first term. As little as a few thousand votes would have given us a different president and perhaps no war. In Maine the Union took a ONE MILLION DOLLAR CUT, in health care last contract and we considered ourselves lucky. With almost no one calling the legislature, rallies that look like two bit car washes, and members wanting the Union to do it for them, we are headed for disaster.

Our legislature would just as soon anyone wearing purple stay away from the polls. The Union still votes two or three to one compared to the general public and we have families. They need to hear from us. We still have what we have not through the generosity of the legislature. We have what we have because they want to keep their jobs!

Blogs are not going to save America or the Unions, only an involved and educated membership and citizenry can accomplish anything worthwhile.

We will make it! America and the Unions will not be sold to pay for someone’s third Lexus. Unions and Liberal America will make it. I don’t know why non voters don’t vote, but the last several years have created fear in America and in Union ranks. The fears is worse than anything since the Great Depression, a fear that is causing this country to remember who it belongs to. I hope this fear brings the voters out before we lose any more of what makes this a great country.

In our Union and in the presidential race the same thing will make a difference for a candidate. Both Union members and Americans are looking for change and hope. Democrats can get by for a little while just by not being George Bush, but if one candidate starts talking about principles they will win. Our candidates must tell us what they believe in, not chase votes.

If we cannot get voters involved then more voters will stay home and the politicians in Augusta and in Washington will sell your jobs and sell your country to the lowest bidder. They will listen to those they represent, but they will not be representing the public. No one will hold them responsible.

How far have we actually changed? I include the following fact to show how far we have gone down the wrong road and the direction some want us to travel.

The Unite States “does not torture” according to George Bush. George says we practice “enhanced interrogation”. Do you know where the term came from? “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the term created by the Gestapo for what was known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”

E.T.I. 2009

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Saturday, October 13, 2007


E.T.I. 2009

What have Unions done for us? When the successes of Unions are listed and this is far from a complete list, the argument is often made that we have those things now so we don't need Unions any longer. You don't get to keep what you won't fight for. If you are a State employee you are under attack. They want you to focus on any error the Union makes. They want you to pity them for having to pay Fair Share. Tell them this is what the Union has done for State employees, Fair Share payers included. This is what their out of State right to work employee hating supporters want you to lose.

An eight hour day.

A five day work week.

Health Insurance

Good Pensions

Paid Sick Leave


Safe work places


Paid Vacations

Family and Medical Leave

Higher wages for men, women, people of color.

Why are Unions under attack? Many reasons, but the main reason is because good Union jobs set the standard for fair treatment and respect for the employees. As long as there are good jobs employees for other companies will think they could improve themselves with a Union.

E.T.I. 2009

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bush, Bush, and Regan against America

E.T.I. 2009
Don't forget to got to click on this link HTTP://UnionMaine.Informe.com everyone is invited to a wide open discussion of all types of topics. You want your blood to boil, listen to what some people are calling you. You want to be proud, listen to and participate in the debate as a proud Union member.

I still bet America wins. One Regan and two Bushes is not a poker hand I would bet on.

I won’t use fancy economics. Clinton’s economy had Surplus money and balanced budgets. Bush and Regan gave us monster deficits.

Between 1979 and 2003 the average income of the richest Americans more than doubled in real dollars, while that of middle-class Americans increased by only around 15 percent. By some measures actual wages have been going backwards for six years.

In thirty years mortgage foreclosures have increased five hundred percent.

It not “just” 49,000,000 Americans without health care, in the next two years at least 80 million adults and children, 85 percent of them working or the kids of working parents will go for some time without any protection against ruinous health costs that insurance offers.

Defined-benefit pensions that provided a predetermined monthly benefit for the remainder of a worker's life used to be the norm, a reward for a lifetime of loyalty. The old reliable pension has been nearly destroyed by a mix of corporate greed and paid for politicians, destroyed with the willing help of Regan, and two Bushes. Corporations were released from pension obligations while paying top executives hundreds of millions in bonuses.

Our government and our largest corporations have partnered to increase costs to American families. This has all been done in the name of “Personal Responsibility”.

They say we have to cut costs to compete.

The average factory wage in much of China is thirty one cents an hour. Wal-Mart in China pays thirteen cents and hour. Do we need to work for 31 cents an hour to compete? Do we need to cut our pay to 12 cents an hour to compete with Chinese Wal-Mart factories?

The Republicans are selling their take aways as personal responsibility.

So what is wrong with Personal Responsibility?

Your employer will be more profitable and competitive if they don’t have to pay your health care. They will pay you more because their profits will be greater. Akk, Kaff, Wheeze, (Forgive me, I am choking on that statement). You will be careful it is your money. You will be careful not to send your kids to the doctor too often because it is your responsibility. Make sure little Sally really needs an emergency room after that fall off her bike. If you go broke, you should have worked harder, saved more. Anyway, your Sally might still live, even without that expensive treatment.

The lie about personal savings to cover health care and retirement is that the corporations want to get rid of the benefits but not raise wages to make the savings possible. If it is too expensive for them to provide the benefits, it is too expensive for them to pay you enough to pay for them. You won't have any personal savings.

The Republicans proudly admit they want to get rid of the New Deal programs. What is still here from the New Deal of so many years ago? Social Security, which G. Bush tried to dismantle and give to the stock market to play with. Thank the voting geezers and the Unions for saving that. They vote. I vote too. We still have Medicare and Medicaid, which Republicans think both just waste money on the poor. George and friends still want to take Social security, company pensions, medical care, and children’s medical care and put it all on the individual with no safety net for unemployment or catastrophic health problems.

The number of employers offering health coverage to their workers keeps falling. The cost to the employees in real dollars and as a percentage of costs continues to go up and up. The number of employers paying full coverage is rapidly disappearing regardless of the profitability of the company. The Bush propaganda machine has spent years painting any employee receiving benefits as lazy, greedy or even worse a Union member. Talk shows talk about Union thugs and forgive millionaire drug addicts like Rush Limbaugh.

How long can government and Union employees hold on? Ask the UAW. We must build our political strength with politicians if we want to keep our benefits and our retirement. They are going to come after us with the argument that private sector employees are taking on more and more of their own costs and we need to share the costs.

As Union members, we must reach out to non union Americans and tell them who we are and what we want them to have. We must take the focus off the Republican attack. They are painting us as the devil so that no one will look at the $200,000.00 a year mercenaries in Iraq, Don’t look at private contractors feeding our troops and overcharging. Blame the Unions. Let us try to get the word out that we want all Americans to have security, health care, and a good retirement. The Republicans that don’t care how many people lose their benefits, they don’t ask that the benefits be restored, no, they look at government and Union employee benefits and demand that you have less.

On a note of hope. The Republicans wouldn't bother hating us so much unless they were afraid. We vote. We vote in the highest percentages of any group. As a Union member your vote and your families votes frighten them.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both" -Benjamin Franklin

E.T.I. 2009

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

More ideas for 2009

E.T.I. 2009

Would something like this work if you had a choice?

  • Eight hours of vacation per month after six months of service.
  • Employees receive increased vacation for increased years of state service:
    - seven hours of vacation per month for up to three years of service;
    - 8 hours per month for up to 10 years;
    - 12 hours per month for up to 15 years;
    - 14 hours per month for up to 20 years;
    - 16 hours per month for 20 + years.

  • Employees may opt for annual leave, in lieu of separate vacation and sick leave, and can opt to enroll in or leave the program each July.

  • Employees enrolled in annual leave receive combined vacation/sick leave of:
    - 12 hours per month for up to 10 years of service;
    - 16 hours per month for over10 years, to 15 years.
    - 18 hours per month for over 15 years up to 20years;
    - - 20 hours per month for 20+ years.

  • Nine hundred twenty (920) hours of vacation or annual leave can be carried into the next calendar year.

  • Employees must be paid for unused vacation or annual leave upon leaving state service.
  • Could make a great going away day and help make up for the cliff. What do you think? Should we go for something like this? Find the comments link under this post and leave your ideas.

    E.T.I. 2009
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    Monday, October 8, 2007

    Did we get Scrooged?



    The sections in BOLD ITALICS are what I think are the best ideas.

    The AGENCY shall allow the President of the Chapter to attend all AGENCY board meetings without loss of pay or benefits.

    Some of the ideas were brought up at the last negotiations and the teams were told they were crazy. The State couldn’t do it, but these are still great ideas. The bold italics are the important point in each paragraph. If you would like some of these, go to the comments at the bottom of the post and leave your comment.

    2) Leave with pay for negotiations:

    The AGENCY shall, when applicable, grant administrative leave with pay to the incumbent Chapter President and to five (5) additional AGENCY employees designated by MSEA as bargaining team members to participate in collective bargaining sessions or impasse proceedings with AGENCY representatives; such administrative leave shall be considered as time worked for the purpose of computing overtime.

    AGENCY employees designated by MSEA as stewards may investigate and process grievances within their designated areas of AGENCY during work hours to a maximum extent of one hundred sixty (160) hours of compensation annually for ten (10) stewards collectively, and such hours shall be considered as time worked for the purpose of computing overtime.

    The AGENCY shall grant administrative leave if needed to Stewards for the purposes of attending two (2) steward training sessions per year conducted by MSEA, and such administrative leave will be considered as time worked for the purpose of computing overtime.


    Twelve and a half Percent raise in three years!!

    1) General Salary:

    Effective December 25, 2005, the basic wage or salary of each employee covered by this agreement shall be increased by three and three quarter’s percent (3.75%) per hour.

    Effective December 31, 2006 the basic wage or salary of each employee covered by this agreement shall be increased by three and one-half percent (3.5%) per hour.

    c) Effective December 30, 2007, the basic wage or salary of each employee covered by this agreement shall be increased by five and one-quarter percent (5.25%) per hour.

    4) Call out:

    a) An employee who is called out before or after his/her regular working hours or on a scheduled day off other than a holiday, shall earn a minimum of four (4) hours time which shall be paid on the basis of straight time if he/she is not in overtime status and on the basis of overtime if he/she is in overtime status.

    5) Overtime:

    All employees shall be paid at the rate of one and one half (1 1/2) times the hourly rate of pay for time worked in excess of forty (40) hours in any week.

    c) All employees shall be paid at the rate of one and one half (1 1/2) times the hourly rate of pay for time worked in excess of eight (8) hours in any one work day.

    7) Holiday Work:

    An employee performing work on a holiday on a straight time basis (having at the time of such performance not worked forty (40) hours in the work week) will be paid at the rate of his/her regular hourly pay times two (2) for each hour of work on a holiday.

    An employee performing work on a holiday who is in overtime status (having at the time of such performance worked forty (40) hours during the workweek) will be paid at the rate of his/her regular hourly pay times two and one half (2-1/2) for each hour of work on the holiday.

    An employee called out to perform work shall earn a minimum of four (4) hours of time which, together with time actually worked in excess of four (4) hours on such holiday, shall be paid, if he/she is on straight time basis, at the rate his/her regular hourly pay times two (2) for each hour, and if on overtime basis, at the rate of his/her regular hourly pay times two and one half (2 1/2) for each hour.

    e) The foregoing compensation shall be in addition to regular holiday pay.

    8) Shift Differentials:

    A shift employee working any hours between 4:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight shall be paid a differential of fifty cents ($.50) per hour in addition to the straight time or overtime hourly rate.

    Effective December 30, 2007, this differential shall be increased to sixty cents ($.60) per hour.

    A shift employee working any hours between 12:00 midnight and 8:00 a.m. shall be paid a differential of seventy cents ($.70) per hour in addition to the straight time or overtime hourly rate.

    Effective December 30, 2007, this differential shall be increased to ninety ($.90) per hour.

    Telephone Expenses

    The AGENCY shall pay ten dollars ($10.00) monthly towards the basic monthly telephone bill for all employees covered by this agreement who are subject to call-out, except those whom the AGENCY has issued cellular phones at AGENCY expense.


    10) Unused Sick Leave:

    The AGENCY will compensate employees for the surrender of certain unused sick leave, at the employee’s request, under the following conditions:

    The employee must have at least ninety-six (96) hours of unused sick leave accrued as of November 30, after which date the employee may surrender any unused sick hours in excess of ninety-six (96).

    The AGENCY shall compensate the employee with a payment equal to seventy-five percent (75%) of the employee’s regular, hourly wage for those hours surrendered, which payment shall be made by December 15.

    11) Unused Vacation Leave:

    An employee may surrender unused vacation hours and receive regular hourly wages for those hours surrendered.


    For employees who became full-time employees prior to December 25, 2005, the AGENCY shall pay the full premium for employees and dependents health insurance coverage.

    Employees who become full-time employees on or after December 25, 2005:

    Will contribute fifteen (15%) percent of the difference between the total insurance premium for health insurance coverage for the full-time employee and his/her dependents

    and the premium for employee-only coverage, if the employee enrolls his/her dependents in the health insurance program.

    The AGENCY shall pay the full premium for employee-only coverage and eighty-five (85%) percent of the cost of the dependent portion of coverage.

    Effective December 30, 2007, all full-time employees will contribute fifteen (15) percent of the difference between the total insurance premium for health insurance coverage for the full-time employee and his/her dependents and the premium for employee-only coverage, if the full-time employee enrolls his/her dependents in the health insurance program.

    Any employee with dependents eligible for coverage who elects to waive health insurance coverage for all or some eligible dependents, shall receive an annual payment equal to the amount of three (3) months of the difference between the health insurance premiums paid by the AGENCY for such coverage and the amount paid by the AGENCY for the lesser coverage elected by the employee.


    Effective December 30, 2007, the AGENCY will reimburse deductibles that are paid pursuant to the provisions of STATE-provided health insurance coverage for calendar year 2008 by employees who are enrolled in dependent plan coverage as of December 30, 2007, provided that the total amount of such reimbursements by the AGENCY shall not exceed Sixty Thousand ($60,000.00) Dollars, and provided further that no such reimbursements shall be made to employees who have funds available for payment of such deductibles in any flexible spending account or under other health insurance coverage.


    It is understood that an employee may, upon the exhaustion of his/her accumulated sick leave, attach his/her accumulated vacation time thereto on a consecutive daily basis.

    Vacation, almost the Same, but better!

    Any hours in excess of these limits will be paid out to the employee by the last payroll period of any calendar year. We would not have to use it or lose it!

    7) Bereavement Leave

    Each employee covered by this Agreement, shall be allowed up to:

    Five (5) days of leave with full pay for the death of the employee’s spouse or significant other, as defined in Section 3, Sick Leave, children, parents, stepparents and stepchildren.

    Three (3) days of leave with full pay for the death of the employee’s brothers, stepbrothers, sisters, stepsisters, guardian, grandparents, grandchildren, wards, parents of the spouse, grandparents of the spouse, brothers and sisters of the spouse.

    In addition to the above, one (1) day of leave with pay shall be allowed for the death of the employee’s aunt or uncle.

    In addition to the foregoing, up to three (3) days of sick leave may be used for travel or funeral arrangements.

    If they would only pay for licences!

    12) The AGENCY shall reimburse employees for the cost of their required licenses: Oil/gas burner’s license, Electrician’s license, and State of Maine vehicle inspection license and other classes where a specific license is required.


    Professional and technical employees shall be reimbursed by the AGENCY for tuition paid for advanced courses in their field taken while in the employ of the AGENCY provided that prior approval to take such course shall have been obtained from the AGENCY and provided that the employee shall have met the requirements of the agency offering the course for satisfactory completion thereof.

    Wellness Program anyone?

    The AGENCY will reimburse an employee up to One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars per year,

    subject to required Federal and State tax withholdings, upon the submittal of a Wellness

    Benefit Request form accompanied with a paid invoice to the Human Resources Department

    for approved Wellness Programs.

    These programs will be run by outside organizations

    No, I was not smoking anything to want these benefits in our contracts. I just want these benefits that were in the last Turnpike Authority Contract. These are all excerpts from the last MTA contract.



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    Saturday, October 6, 2007

    A light at the end of the tunnel.

    E.T.I. 2009
    2009 looks a long way away right now. We just finished a contract last July. Remember while you are looking down that long dark tunnel and if you think you see light at the end, it may be a train heading right at you.

    It is October and getting time for scary stories. Tell me if any of this article sounds like it could be happening in the legislature now.

    I hope this article is just an exercise in creative writing, as I am trying to picture what twisted ideas will be floated by parts of the legislature to balance the budget at the expense of the employees that support the public. My fear is that too much of it is already happening for real.

    1. 2008 Secure Retirement Attacks - The Legislature proposes a constitutional amendment to outlaw public employees' defined benefit pensions and permit only a defined contribution plan.

    2. 2008 State Budget Revenues - A deficit is projected for the next biennium and the legislature is proposes cuts to education, employee benefits, aid to local governments, human services and health programs.

    3. Outsourcing (school, local government, state) - It is anticipated, given some of the proposals that we will have to wage a defensive effort against privatization.

    4. 2008 Outsourcing of DHHS Eligibility Services. The Governor's plan would transfer eligibility processing from the State by contracting out. This could cut hundreds of jobs in DHHS.

    5. 2009 Social Workers, Eligibility workers, Staffing Child Welfare Caseloads, - The social worker caseload ratios are more than four times what they should be in providing services to at-risk children. SEIU members have tried for 25 years to get the standards changed. The government answer will be outsourcing.

    6. 2009 PUBLIC/STATE
    State Employee Budget Cuts - The Governor's budget proposes to increase employees' contribution to retirement and allow employees to opt out of the current retirement system exchange for cash and prohibit the state from offering the current secure retirement plan to new employees. On health care benefits, the Legislature is developing a budget that would eliminate the state's contribution to health care for new employees until they have passed probation and freeze the state's contribution to health care for all employees regardless of the cost. Other cuts include furlough days, reduction of overtime, and elimination of two holidays.

    7. 2007 There is talk about continued restructuring of State Services and restructuring state government into a few "mega-agencies". The Governor's Office would replace the current structure of the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Employee relations DHHS,the Turnpike Authority and Human resources. A performance review proposal to eliminate merit salary adjustments and institute "pay for performance" is already a rumor going around.

    9. 2009 A proposal to do away with all health care and put the burden on the members and the Union following the model of the UAW talks is being floated. The following year the legislature, starts crying poor, and cancels it's promise and refuses to fund the plan.

    . At least the UAW will be able to sue if the contracts are not met.

    E.T.I. 2009

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    Monday, October 1, 2007

    Welcome 771 In Maine the Union is growing!

    E.T.I. 2009
    This is dedicated to a number of new Union members.
    I just met some members of Local 771 at the Union Caucus. They were new and they wanted to find out what was going on. They want to know, now they are in the Union what can we do to help them?
    I told them some of the following:
    You have taken the first step, a great step. You have joined together. The first question that usually shows up is "what now"? Your Union reps will start having meetings with you and start to help you find out what rights you have as Union members. That is right, you now have some rights and you have some people to help you. Please remember the first people to help you will be your fellow members in 771. You will have to talk to each other, talk to your officers, but above all you have to talk to each other you are not alone.
    There are always bumps in the road and there are always second thoughts. Union members have the same worries as non union workers, but they have someone to share with, someone to help build with.
    Now that you can speak with one voice, you will have a place at the table. While not everything will happen all at once, there will be progress. As members of a National Union we all know that by helping you, we help ourselves.
    You are now members of the fastest growing Union in the country and we all care about each other. When you need help, we are there, you are not alone.

    Welcome to all of you. In Solidarity
    E.T.I. 2009
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