UPDATE: Maine SEIU & their Forced Unionism on state workers and countless others

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Sonny Laymatina
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BiddlefordSteve, Sounds to me

BiddlefordSteve,

Sounds to me like MSEA violated their statutory duty of fair representation to you and your Chapter.

You may all want to consider filing a complaint with the State Labor Relations Board in Augusta and or the National Labor Relations Board in Boston.

Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Sonny Laymatina
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I talked to a lawyer I know

I talked to a lawyer I know about what if anything MSEA could do on behalf of their members in this worst ever Executive Branch bargaining by MSEA Management.

She said MSEA ought to explore with all the other affected labor unions possibly sueing the State in Federal District Court via class actions.

For instance, since loss of longevity affects mostly senior employees, MSEA could maybe file a class action for Age discrimination (i.e. Civil Rights).

And she said any other loss of benifits is arguably a loss of property rights and so that may be a 14th amendement basis for a class action too.

I also asked her about possibly going the NLRB route, but she didn't think States fell under the NLRB's jurisdiction.

Bottom line is if MSEA Management can hire labor law firms to rescue them then why can't they hire these same law firms to rescue us?

johnw
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""She said MSEA ought to

""She said MSEA ought to explore with all the other affected labor unions possibly sueing the State in Federal District Court via class actions."

Great Sonny ,that's what the Maine taxpayer needs, spending more tax dollars defending themslves on a lawsuit filed by the MSEA....... that must be part of the value added package that comes with all of it. I can see the headline now.....

"Taxpayers of Maine Sue Taxpayers of Maine'
Subtitle :LAWYERS WIN AGAIN!!!

BiddefordSteve
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I understand what you are

I understand what you are saying however, we pay dues to have them represent us to the best of our interest. Simple oas that. If MSEA does not act, they are not representing the members best interest.

Sonny Laymatina
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I hear you John W., but

I hear you John W., but MSEA-SEIU doesn't (or isn't supposed to) represent the Taxpayers of Maine anymore than the Teamsters represent the Shareholders of Corporations they're up against. The Governor and the State Legislature represent the Taxpayers (or at least they're supposed to) just like a CEO and Board of Directors are supposed to represent their Shareholders. Therefore, as I have pointed out eariier on this thread, MSEA-SEIU's political co-option by the Democratic Party of Maine has been a cost savings boon for the Taxpayers of Maine but an absolute rat bastard counter-insurgency scandal for the MSEA membership that have been sold out by their very own MSEA Management.

Sonny Laymatina
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Narbars says on the

Narbars says on the unionmaine website: "10% health care cut, the loss of longevity, loss of merit steps and the loss of the right to bargain have added to the harm done with no negotiations."

I agree.

The MSEA Management team of Belcher, DeAraujo and Hiltz have really blown it for the MSEA Membership.

Now do you all see how having "...a highly evolved relationship with the State" has translated into this bad deal?

Hate to say I told you so, but Tim Belcher assigning Rod Hiltz to head the Executive Branch bargaining was a train wreck waiting to happen given his limited experience and his and MSEA Management's political relationship with the Governor and the Democrats in the Legislature. And no way Belcher & DeAraujo will file lawsuits against the State to bail us all out given their "...highly evolved relationship".

Always remember that it was these two guys, along with Roberta DeAurjo, who openly boasted about this "...highly evolved relationship" and accused their former Field Rep Owen Sullivan of not appreciating "...the unique relationship between MSEA and the State."

All of which are self-deluding buzz words for management union.

And management unions are only nominally unions or no union at all hence this lousy deal.

Which may explain why we don't see Unionman or Narsbars on this thread defending MSEA-SEIU Local 1989.

They know the cat is out of the bag and the jig is up...and it's about time.

Sonny Laymatina
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Hey, how about this as a

Hey, how about this as a march and protest idea?

All of those MSEA members (and any others that want to) should take their march and tent city protest at the State Capitol building over to MSEA-SEIU Local 1989's Headquarters at 65 State Street in Augusta and camp out in the vacant lot next door while marching around their (that's right it is their) building demanding major changes and reforms at MSEA such as ousting the current crop of Moe, Curley and Larry rat bastards that have infested the place with their mis-management and scumbaggery. Imagine the embaressing mass media potential of union members protesting their own union because it sucks so bad as an agency of the State. I suggest forming platooning strike teams that have two to four hour overlapping shifts of Members walking in strike formation around the front of MSEA with signs shouting various slogans like "This would be a nice place to have a union!" and or "Moe, Curley, Larry, Out, Out, Out!" and or "Managment Unions are not Unions!" and or "Belcher & Baldacci are strange Bedfellows". LOL!

BiddefordSteve
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lol, sad but so true sonny.

lol, sad but so true sonny.

Moving Forward
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Sonny, that is a great idea,

Sonny, that is a great idea, especially since MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 has now announced/posted another INCREASE for the dues & fees they charge.
The 2009 Hudson Notice is now posted at: http://www.mseaseiu.org/forms/09-Hudson.pdf

It's interesting this important document includes "Date: June 8, 2009" on the title page, but only seems to have been posted within the past few days...Hmmmm, I wonder why that is?

As written on the cover, this dues/fees increase will hurt more than just State of Maine workers:

"Please note — this notice applies to MSEA-represented
employees of the following employers:
American Red Cross in Bangor
City of Lewiston
Home Care for Maine
Maine Community College System
Maine Maritime Academy
Maine Military Authority
Maine Turnpike Authority
State of Maine Executive Branch
State of Maine Judicial Branch
Treats Falls House
York County"

Page 7 of http://www.mseaseiu.org/forms/09-Hudson.pdf
has some VERY important details for the victims of this increase:
Procedures for Challenging the Amount of the Service Fee
Nonmember employees who are obligated to pay a fee to MSEA-SEIU may challenge the
amount of that fee, as initially determined by MSEA-SEIU. Your challenge to the amount of the fee must be in writing, must be signed, and must include your name, your address, and the name of your employer. You do not need to include any other information when submitting your challenge. Your challenge must be mailed or hand-delivered to MSEA-SEIU at 65 State Street, Augusta, ME 04332. To be timely and applicable for this service fee period, your written challenge must be received at the offices of MSEA-SEIU on or before August 1, 2009, by mail or by hand delivery. (If you are a new employee and receive this notice too late to meet the August 1 deadline, you may submit your written challenge on or before the thirtieth day after you receive this notice.)”…

In light of how this union/PAC calculates their dues and so-called "fair share fees" for the people they 'represent' at all of the above-referenced organizations, I strong encourage all parties involved to submit a Written Challenge on this union/PAC. The membership deserves to know the truth!

BiddefordSteve
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They want a dues increase at

They want a dues increase at a time when we are losing longevity pay, bargained healthcare and more yet MSEA's response of fighting such bargained in good faith with Baldacci & Company is civil protests. They have to be kidding and if the delagates vote for this nonsense that we deserve what we get.

Sonny Laymatina
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MSEA Management wants a dues

MSEA Management wants a dues increase to off set the losses they're experiencing with more and more disgusted members converting to fair share.

That way MSEA Management can keep things as they are at MSEA without having to make any changes to accomodate the disgusted members.

Or at least that's what they think, however this action will only infuriate members and fair share payers even more because no one likes to pay more to get less.

Therefore, MSEA members can & should oppose this dues increase and fair share payers can & should challenge it as Mark Turek outlines above.

And like a failing government that continues to raise taxes, MSEA Management will get less and less money because there'll be fewer people willing and able to pay.

So rather than raise dues in the face of declining revenue, MSEA Managment should be cutting costs instead.

One big cost savings would be the $1.8 million dollars a year MSEA pays SEIU for an affiliation agreement which is no more than the right to wear purple tee-shirts and hats.

Also, MSEA is a management top heavy organization with 8 managers for 30 staff. Clearly some of these management positions could be eliminated.

For instance: there is no need for a Field Services Supervisor (Rod Hiltz) and a Director of Field Organizing (Mike Sylvester). These two positions can be merged into one as they are with a lot of other labor unions where the field staff are both Representatives & Organizers. Moreover, there is no need for an Executive Director (Tim Belcher) since MSEA's President (Bruce Hodsdon) is full-time.

The current situation there of Belcher & Hodsdon working full-time there is like a City Government being run by a full-time Mayor and a full-time City Manager which is an inefficient duplication of management services.

Also, given MSEA's so called Legal Department's long history of avoiding and delaying litigation on (ahem) behalf of members, it would be cheaper and better to simply lay off their General Counsel (Roberta DeAraujo) and contract out legal services to any of the several labor and employment law firms in the State who could competively bid on the contract every year.

Finally note that after MSEA formally disaffiliates with SEIU saving $1.8 million dollars a year, Maine AFSCME should be invited back into MSEA's building as a paying and cost sharing tenant that they used to be.

And we can all pay for our own hats and tee-shirts. It'll be much cheaper. LOL!

Sonny Laymatina
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Something is up at MSEA-SEIU

Something is up at MSEA-SEIU Local 1989!

My very reliable sources tell me that there was a very critical outside Auditor's report that was given to the MSEA Board of Directors last Friday and then Staff were told at their regular Monday morning staff meeting that MSEA's Business Manager would be away from her work at MSEA for the time being which is probably code for administrative leave while Belcher and company "investigate" her. So it all looks like Belcher is now driving his knife into his key team players like Hitler in the bunker lashing out against anyone and everyone because he is so arrogantly incapable of seeing himself as the major source of MSEA's problems.

johnw
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Sonny you are very well

Sonny you are very well informed about the MSEA and its inner workings benefits etc....... Would you answer this for me .
Do retired members pension checks remain at the same amount no matter what happens to the balance in the retirement fund??

BiddefordSteve
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johnw, from my understanding

johnw,

from my understanding there is a formula of which they compute what you get. its based on your three highest wage years.

Moving Forward
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It looks like more trouble is

It looks like more trouble is brewing within the Baldacci/MSEA-SEIU friendship, as that union/PAC has posted a new “MSEA-SEIU Contracting Out Survey” at www.mseaseiu.org. This could get juicy!
If you would like to see the multi-page survey, just [url=https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=0gH1ETqOB2AfR75K4Zkcyw_3d_3d]Click Here[/url].

As for the above-mentioned “very critical outside Auditor's report,” wouldn’t it be great if it happened to appear here on AMG? OK, who’s got the popcorn? :-)

Sonny Laymatina
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Johnw, I am not as well

Johnw,

I am not as well informed as I would like to be as in the way people are well-informed in a transparent democracy with open meetings and freedom of information.

Belcher & Company run a pretty opague operation at MSEA so whatever information I get on our union is oftentimes second hand or in puzzled parts.

And sorry, I can't answer your pension check question. Suggest you call MSEA's Rep of the Day any day this week and ask him or her.

Sonny Laymatina
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Mark Turek, Not only would it

Mark Turek,

Not only would it be great for that outside Auditor's report to appear here, it should be required to be here and publicly posted any where else MSEA-SEIU members are likely to see it such as on the MSEA-SEIU website, after all --- it's our money!

What's so hard about any Executive Director of a labor union publicly telling all the members: "Look we got this critical Auditor's report, here it is for your reference and review, and rest assured we are currently working to get in compliance with what this Auditor wants and I will report back to you as soon as we are"?

Instead, we get Tim "Nixon" Belcher playing "I gotta secret" with our money. Nuts!

BiddefordSteve
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"Oh what a tangled web we

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive" Sir Walter Scott

If true, this report should be posted on MSEA's web site. Its our money, we should have a right to know whats going on.

Franco-Republican
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JohnW I am a little familiar

JohnW I am a little familiar with your question. The legislature just passed a law that will not reduce the amount of retirement. The Cost of Living increase is based on the Consumer Price Index and because it could go down for the first time Legislature and the retirement board were concerned so they passed emergency legislation. The new legislation will keep benefits stable without increasing overall costs to the retirement system. The new law changes the Cost of Living Adjustment for both the year in which the CPI is negative and the following year. In other words they are going to average the negative year and the next year which makes the benefit more stable. This is detailed at "Mainepers.org.

Bruce Libby
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johnw The answer to your

johnw
The answer to your question is.
A retirees benefit is determined by a formula which takes the highest three years average pay
X years of service divided by a fraction that I believe is 1/50th!

Upon retiring the benefit is paid first from the contributions that the retiree paid in then from the investments of the fund.

Hope that clarifies it for you and is the answer you are looking for. As above the only adjustments is
the COLA. The above metion of legisaltion came about due to the fact that there had never been a year where the COLA hadn't been paid and staue did not reflectthat eventuality as I understand it!

Al Greenlaw
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Do retired members pension

Do retired members pension checks remain at the same amount no matter what happens to the balance in the retirement fund??

I'm not sure exactly what you are asking so let me expand on what others have said above. The retirement fund receives income from three sources, direct payments from the employee, and matching payments from the employer. This is similar to social security deductions. The third source is the income from investments made by the pension managers. Obviously the first two sources come from the taxpayers which does include the employees themselves. The thrid source comes from the private investments made by the fund. I don't have a breakdown, but I assume that the information is available somewhere.

There was a tendancy in the past for administrations to "borrow" from the pension fund. This was eliminated via an amendment to the State Constitution. There exists an unfunded liability created mostly when the teachers were added to the pension fund many years ago. The legislature did not provide funds for them initially. The legislature is now required to pay that unfunded liability by 2028 (I think).

The fund remains one of the best funded in the country by all accounts and anticipates being so well into the future. Some employees who were hired after a certain date - sorry I don't recall the date - have an increased retirement age and greater penalties for early retirement. This was done to help keep the fund viable.

I believe that the pension will remain stable well into the future, but should it eventually run out of money, future legislatures will have to address that problem and determine what would happen to current and future retirees at that time.

Currently pensions are adjusted annually based on the CPI. This year there could be a negative CPI, so legislation was enacted to prevent a decrease in pension payments. If the CPI is 4% next year, but was -1% this year, there would be a 3% increase nexr year, not a 4%. At least that is how I understand the new law.

Hope that helps.

Al

Sonny Laymatina
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I think I know now why

I think I know now why Narsbars has avoided this thread.

It's nothing but opinions and according to him opinions have no place in debate.

Sad I know, but this is what happens when you swallow SEIU's Stalinist juice. You lose all ability to think for yourself.

Moving Forward
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Hey Sonny, since MSEA doesn't

Hey Sonny, since MSEA doesn't seem to have a Business Manager listed on their current staff directory (website), did they fire another person over there?

Sonny Laymatina
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Mark, Although their

Mark,

Although their "Business Manager" is still listed there as the "Director of Finance and Administration", she is also the one who is apparently now on administrative leave following that critical outside auditor's report that was presented to the MSEA Board of Directors last Friday.

Sonny Laymatina
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I have been checking out

I have been checking out MSEA's website for the past couple of days and even today it reads like the Soviet Union's Pravda reporting nothing but good news while ignoring any mention or hint of bad news such as why Belcher and the MSEA Board put their Director of Finance & Administration on administrative leave following that critical Auditor's report. All that I have been able to learn from my limited contacts at MSEA is that this woman was a very nice and honest person but overwhelmed by the job which of course begs the question why did Belcher hire her? Answer: insecure bad people like Belcher are insecure bad managers and so they tend to surround themselves with lesser lights (like Hiltz & de Araujo) who they don't think will be competition for them. But like all insecure bad managers who play this game, we find that with small people no great things can really be accomplished. All of which is another reason for Belcher's horrible performance record at MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. Can you imagine coaching a basketball team this way! How long would any coach last if he or she intentionally recruited and played players because they couldn't play as well as the coach?

Sonny Laymatina
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More news from the front:

More news from the front: MSEA is suffering financially from more and more State workers converting to fair share status (that always gets their attention); lot of talk about dues increases to cover the loss (that'll really get our attention); Tim Belcher is the recipient of a lot of hate mail from disgusted state workers (shocker that); Bruce Hodsdon wants to run for another term as MSEA President (he already has Baldacci's vote); lot of chapters talking and debating decertification vs. real reforms (choose the latter but only if you really mean it); lots of people thinking outloud about what their not getting from SEIU for $1.8 million a year (a fool and his money...); inquriing minds want to know more about this "...highly evolved relationship" that MSEA has with the State (yeah, like how this round of MSEA Executive Branch "bargaining" and lack of legal options seemed to be very well choreographed with the Legislature's budget); more and more people are reading this website (Tally ho!), etc...

Moving Forward
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Sonny, That's good to hear.

Sonny, That's good to hear. In case you've missed the other new thread I started [url=http://www.asmainegoes.com/content/dear-business-owner-or-manager](Click Here for it)[/url], there seems to be a growing issue between union/PAC bosses at MSEA-SEIu and the Baldacci Administration, or is this just another part of the games they're playing with Maine taxpayers and all of the honest/good state workers?

Sonny Laymatina
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Mark, this is just more game

Mark, this is just more game playing by MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. MSEA Management wants the membership to think they're doing something for them when in fact (management union that it is) they're doing very little for them. In short, it's a psych-op for stupid people and proof once again that MSEA Management will not directly take on their fair haired boy Baldacci either politically or legally.

Sonny Laymatina
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CHECK THIS OUT FROM

CHECK THIS OUT FROM UNIONMAINE:

This came in late last night. One party in the legislature could not stop eating once they had stolen our lunch. The ability to bypass bargaining and pass laws to punish went to their heads. Our Union leadership spent every minute at the legislature and the very worst was avoided. Please Give Credit to Ginette Rivard MSEASEIU Vice President and Tim Belcher, Executive Director for making sure we found out the facts instead of rumors as soon as possible and for the endless hours she has spent working for us.

http://unionmaine.blogspot.com/2009_05_01_archive.html

HOLY BOXER THE HORSE FROM ANIMAL FARM, BATMAN!

THIS IS LIKE YOUR KID SAYING AT LEAST HIS/HER F GRADE WASN’T AN F- MINUS.

BACK IN THE DAY, REAL TRADE UNIONISTS CALLED THIS THE MATADOR DEFENSE.

WAVE THE CAPE TO LET THE BULL THROUGH.

BAGGINS
So this morning I read, pph,

So this morning I read, pph, that union members are going to be going around giving cards to business about how sorry they are about being given the day off without pay, and how that will hurt their buying power.

How juvenile.

If I were running this union dog and pony show, I might try a different direction. I would have my members dress neatly, not in purple shirts, and meet with my rep and/or senator. I would introduce myself and give them a short personal message about my displeasure with the actions of the legislators. That I will work to have the people responsible for the current state of affairs in the budgets and taxes of the State of Maine not re-elected. That I vote and so do members of my family. Nothing more, shake hands and leave. It does not have to be done all at once, but everyone needs to do it at least once before the next election and session.

I think the impact of this from, what do they say - 18,000 state employees, give or take, plus family members, would have a more profound impact.

My next thing would be to work to get rid of the MSEA-SEIU as the state employees major barginning union. At least get rid of the fair share requirement. Which to someone on the outside, appears to have been negotiated with the current administration as a "Mr Governor, you give us this, and we will not stand in the way of what you want to do with budget issues." The grounds for getting rid of the union would be related to changing the Union Contract without a vote by the rank and file. As an example, is the suspension of the longevity pay. A contract item.

I suppose you can say that the contract expired July 01, 2009; however, past practice and an established proceedure is that the past contract stands until the new one is negotiate.

The union has also allowed some employees represented (Court people, etc) to not be effected, while allowing others to be effected. This is selective in nature.

Of course the executive and legislature cannot tell the judiciary what to do, but the union could have pressed the legislature to only fund the judiciary at an equvilent cut given to other state employees, and then the judiciary could have done what is right - whatever that might be.

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