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/

Showing posts with label federal mileage rate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label federal mileage rate. Show all posts

Friday, September 5, 2008

Read this post or Union Thugs will get you!

Brothers and Sisters,

I take pride in the MSEA-SEIU and the position our union holds in the labor movement in Maine. A new contract is coming our way and it will come with or without your involvement as only those interested enough to raise their voices and become involved will be heard. I was honored when four years ago and again two years ago you voted me to be one of your Pro-Tech representative on the negotiations team.

Our negotiations team must be about more than SEIU staff and your elected team members. In order to work for the best contract for all of our Union it must be about the members not just a team that forms and then breaks up again in a few months.

Over the past two years the gap between wages and inflation has become ever plainer. How many of you are looking at the coming heating season and trying to figure out what you will have to cut in order to keep oil in your tank? How much does it hurt when you fill your tank?

Labor leaders must place the needs of our members first and not just try to settle their own pet issues. But what is your team supposed to do if they don’t hear from the members? If the members say “Let the Union do it” then your representatives will have to make the best call they can when they are at the table with management. Without your input they will be working in the dark. Your teams need your help, your ideas, your information on working conditions and problems especially in tough times with a State short on money and long on right wing talk shows and editorials.

“Democracy dies in the darkness.” Your dues will not hire professional contractors to build you a contract; they have built you a strong Union structure, but you must be involved if you want it to work. If you’re not there to provide information and support our chances for a good contract could” die in the darkness”.

  • Silence before bargaining weakens us as we are try to gather the information needed to enter negotiations for 10,000 employees, threatening the Executive branch contract threatens all the smaller units that rely on us to be strong and lead the way.
  • Silence during bargaining will leave you with no input in the negotiations with our employers, will leave your team and your staff on their own to try to guess what is most important to 10,000 employees.
  • What can happen? Maybe your team will settle for far less than what the State may have been willing to offer. Maybe they will have to give up items at the table because the State will be able to rightly say there is no real show of interest in a particular proposal. Maybe your proposal will never be made in the first place.
  • When the final deal is struck you can be sure that your team members will have done everything they knew how to do but they will be able to do more with your support.

This is your Union and when it is at its best it stands for the principle of one member, one vote and the belief that members must have a seat at the bargaining table and the right to vote on all agreements that affect them. To function in bargaining a Union must involve members at all levels providing rank-and-file workers with the information they need to choose a direction and win good contracts.

Let me be clear. I am running for a place on the Pro-Tech team again this year and I will do everything I know to win a good contract. If called on to make a decision I will make that decision and stand by it.

My determination is not enough, and the experience and skills of all the negotiations team members will not be enough without you. Union members have fought bled and earned a voice in their working conditions and their pay. That voice is the most precious right we have earned. When was the last time a Wal-Mart worker got a chance to vote on working conditions? That voice is the real power of our union.

You can still contact the Union and sign up for the bargaining committee which might take a half dozen Saturdays between now and 2009. You can run for the negotiations team which will take time and effort enough to wear you down, but whatever level of involvement you reach team member or calls to the legislature when this next contract is done you will have tried your best to help your family and your friends.

Please get involved. CALL 1-800-452-8794 and ask how.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

I.F.&W Proposals for 2009 Contract

The important thing is to get the proposals in. We all know that not every proposal can make it to the table or we would have two or thee form each of ten thousand employees.

These came in From I.F.&W. From Mike. I am not using Mike's last name because I forgot to get his permission to put it up. Mike if it is O.K. to use your name, send me an email. Your co workers should know you are working for them.

Hi Tom
count me in I will send you a couple IF&W Hatchery Protech proposals.
(1) All FishCulture Assistant Supervisors be placed in the Supervisory Unit like the Game Keeper Assistant Supervisor More or less same title.
(2) More pay!!!!!!!!!
(3) More help at the hatcheries since we have increased our workload by 25% over the last 10 years and lost a couple positions.
(4) Weekend stipends for Hatchery staff.
These are a few I can think of for at least the hatchery employees and all state workers.
If I think of anymore or hear of any from my fellow employees I will send them on to you.

Thanks Mike. We can't study the proposals unless we have them.

E.T.I. 2009

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Apathy or a lack of information?

This poster was put out during WW I showing how business and the Government had partnered to destroy the evils of Unionism. Look in the back at the greedy Union boss sneaking out with the money belonging to business and the Public. Listen to any right wing talk show, listen to the K.J. and you will hear the same talk.

Lack of member participation, interest, lack of concern and understanding about their own union and the Labor Movement in general, are reaching critical levels. Until 1/20/2009 the G. Bush labor department will be trying to disassemble a hundred years of labor gains. In Maine a portion of the legislature is preparing a devastating attack on wages and benefits under the guise of saving the public from the rapacious Unions. We will no longer be able to afford both the Mercedes and the Bentley. Some of us may have to fire one of the maids. The lack of concern for learning how to affect their future and the future of their families is a hugely frustrating problem for me. The MSEA has an outstanding monthly newsletter, staff and a website. The chapters have regular meetings; stewards are active and helping members every day. I publish this Blog and still the uphill fight to motivate members to act in their own interest is nothing but uphill over twenty miles of bad road.

Regardless of the web, and the efforts of the active members, we are not getting the level of support that will be needed. I realize that people are busy with jobs, children, and just trying to have a life and they can't be bothered with one more thing.

We know the signs, the hype has started. State employees will be painted as the devils with the gold plated everything, stealing from the public. I can understand not being interested in the troubles of transit workers in France but I find it amazing that so many Union members seem to have given up the fight before it has started.

If Members are so apathetic, why bother?

I am publishing UnionMaine because I think our members need and want several things that they have not had or not known about.

1. The members need a place where they can freely speak out about what is on their mind. I also invite non-members because they say no one listens. If all it takes is someone to listen to bring them in, I will listen.

2. Members need to know that they can not use the remote to watch their unions and benefits crumble. There is no Tivo for wages and benefits.

3. I don’t know what it will take to get members active but they must learn that they are not alone and there is power in numbers. They need to know that other members share the same concerns. Wages, Health care, retirement and more. Talking to members is the core of the answer, find out what they want, and find out what they will do to help themselves. Most of all they need to know they can make a difference, there is truly strength in numbers.

The State will say “it is bad all around” and we have to take another cut in pay and benefits. State employees could understand a temporary sacrifice to help everyone in the State. With one exception, no cut is ever temporary, no benefits are ever given back The one exception was furlough days. When the State had to get along without State employees they soon realized how much we do to enable the business of government. We regained our lost wages and regained lost respect. Apathetic workers believe that the legislature will do what they will do regardless. They forget that the legislators don’t want to read in the newspapers about employees qualifying for food stamps and they want votes! A highly active Union in Maine could sway fifty to a hundred thousand votes. We have real power; we need to let Augusta know that we will use it.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When do we start Bargaining?


Tonight I sent out over one hundred emails to stewards. I will enclose the body of the letter in this post. If you know a steward that did not get an email it was because either there was no email listed, a bad email was listed, or the only address was a Maine.Gov address and I won't abuse the system the same way some of the decert people abused the email in 2007. This is not just my idea, the last negotiations team unanimously endorsed early bargaining. A Union official said publicly that bargaining would start early. Bargaining before all the money is gone. Bargaining with time to collect all the bargaining proposals and do the research. Time to answer members questions about proposals. We need time. If you know anyone that was P.O.ed about their proposal not being included in the last contract or someone that wants to know what we can do to try to head off the attempt to make MSEA-SEIU members pay for the budget deficit with no raises and cuts in benefits tell them to start asking when the bargaining teams will be elected. Unless we start NOW we will be in the same boat again.

Here is what I sent out. Pass it on.

I am sending this email to as many stewards as possible. If you know anyone, steward or member that might be interested please pass this on.

My name is Thomas Maher, a steward from Bangor. I am a member of the Pro-Tech unit. I have been involved in contract negotiations for the MSEA-SEIU for several contracts as both a negotiations team member and as a bargaining committee member. Most members don’t know that the negotiations team last year voted unanimously to start bargaining as early as possible this time around. The reason is that the State always puts us up against the wall saying that time is short and if we don’t have a contract members will go without step raises, we could see shut down days, and more scare tactics of that type. I am trying to contact as many stewards as possible to get involved and to get bargaining going early before the legislature has taken all the cash and we are reduced to collective begging in place of collective bargaining. Another effect of this would be for all members to get their proposals in early so every proposal has a chance to be read and studied if research is necessary.

I will be putting up articles about early bargaining on my website, address included and I have already collected a number of bargaining proposals. Please drop by if you have a minute. My site is not Union sponsored or supported. I am doing this on my own. If do not want me to email you again just reply with “Do not Email” in the subject line and I will not email you again.

In Solidarity,

Thomas Maher

E.T.I. 2009
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Grinchmas Contract to be signed 1-4-08

The 2007 -2009 contract for State Employees will be signed on January 4, 2008. I don't know how you feel about this contract, wages and benefits but unless you think it was the best thing since free beer and pretzels just wait. Too many State Employees think that "the union" will bargain the contract and that there is nothing that can be done. We can make a difference, we are the Union and if we are not interested enough to take care of our own issues no one will do it for us.

When contracts are bargained, both the Union and the legislature start looking at neighboring States to make economic comparisons. The legislature only looks for cuts while your Union is looking at the whole picture. If another State pays less do they have better benefits? If their benefits took a hit did they get a better raise? Here is what New Hampshire got hit with at their last contract. They did get an 11% raise in two years, nearly twice what we got. They pay almost all of their employees overtime and standby regardless of being "salaried". Our legislature will be looking for cuts and the only way we will get anything is to look ahead and plan.

The Union has promised to start bargaining early, when? Read this summary of New Hampshire and see if you would settle for a contract that guts your health care and that makes a joke of all the promises you were given when you came to work last year or or twenty five years or more ago. You kept your word, you worked for less for the promise of a health plan.

Cutting your pre paid health care would be like Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler sending tow trucks to your house to take your car back even a paid off car. They could just say that it was too expensive to honor the warranty they promised, too expensive too keep making spare parts so you will need to give up your car to help them.

Will you settle for a contract like this?
If you say yes, you would settle we have not seen 11% in two years since Dick Cheney ran his last marathon for charity. It is likely that the legislature is going to try for another zero and zero with benefit cuts. Contact your legislator now and ask them if they will fight for you.


What would it take for you to accept the rest of this agreement? New Hampshire Employees settled for about 11%. After you take out what they are going to be paying they got about 6%, the same as Maine employees.

Healthcare, the Agreement

  • Provides $200 in "health reimbursement" funds to employees who complete an on-line "Health Risk Assessment" questionnaire (this money can be used for office visit and prescription co-pays);
  • Cap maximum out-of-pocket expenses for office visits at $500 per individual and $1,000 per family;
  • Cap maximum out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs at $500 per individual and $1,000 per family;
  • Employee pays $25 per pay period health care fee for employees who subscribe to the state’s health insurance system (a total of $650 a year in pre-tax dollars); the fee would increase to $30 per pay period ($780) on January 1, 2010;
  • Office co-pays will also increase effective January 1, 2010; primary care visits will increase to $20; most specialists' visits will increase to $40, but some will remain at $30);
  • Prescription drug co-pays remain at current rates;
  • Increase maximum dental benefit 20%
  • Add adult orthodontia benefits
While you are working these amounts don't look like they would destroy your budget. They would prevent you from going to the doctor, they will prevent you from affording care for your kids, which is the whole idea. If you can't use your health care the costs will definitely go down. The State is looking to balance the budget on your backs and on your family's health. If you are near to retirement it will make the health care you worked a lifetime to earn a joke. "Thank you for thirty years, get out!"

Happy New Year.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mileage Rates Why can't Maine and the Union pay Federal Rates?

E.T.I. 2009
The State and the MSEA-SEIU have one small thing in common. They don't think anyone needs to be paid a fair rate for mileage. The Union says it is because the members are sacrificing to build the Union. You can just write off the difference on your taxes. The State says they can't afford to pay the mileage, but you can. You can just write off the difference on your taxes.

The Union needs to realize that the Federal Mileage rate is way below what it costs to actually run a vehicle, so with Federal mileage rate there is still plenty of suffering to go around. The State has to stop the hypocrisy, they charge daily for each vehicle whether it moves or not and when they lease vehicles the agency pays 100% of the gas.

The Union must take the lead and show the way. We can not ask the State to pay a fair rate if the Union is setting the example of unfair reimbursement.

Check this excerpt from Oregon

Mileage Rate Changes

State.or.us Wednesday January 31 2007

From the State Controllers Division Travel Coordinators: The General

Services Administration (GSA) has announced that the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate will be 48.5 cents per mile, effective February 1, 2007 for Federal agencies. Our intent in State Travel Policy is to mirror those federal rates. This change was published in the Federal Register on January 30, 2007

...... "Effective 2/1/07, vehicle mileage is 48.5 cents per mile. State mileage rates mirror the federal rate and change automatically when the Federal rates change." The HRSD Labor Relations Unit...notified employee union representatives that the rates may go up on January 1, 2007 and that the union would receive notice if the anticipated increase in the rate occurs. ...Union representatives (AEE, IAFF, KFAFFA and SEIU) about the rate change and effective date.

The SEIU is starting to take the lead. In NH and in Maine this year the Union voted to study increases in the mileage rate paid to volunteers, committee members, and witnesses.

Here is NH
On November 17th the 67th SEA Convention completed its business.

The Convention also approved an increase in mileage reimbursements to members who serve on Committees.

E.T.I. 2009

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