Solidarity Sold At A Price: Apparently, Maine’s state workers would rather have raises than continue mandatory union fees.
This week, union members in Maine ratified two labor contracts with the state that eliminated mandatory union fees, according to the Bangor Daily News.
The Maine State Employees Association (a division of the SEIU), which represents more than 9,000 executive branch employees, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents roughly 800 state corrections officers and mental health workers ratified contracts that give workers three percent increases per year over the next two years.
However, both unions eliminated agency fees in exchange for higher raises than the state was offering otherwise.
As a result, both unions will now receive raises of 6 percent spread over the next two years, David Heidrich, a spokesman for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services told the Bangor Daily News.
MSEA negotiators had tentatively agreed to that deal but AFSCME negotiators had initially refused to budge on the agency fees elimination and had agreed to a total 1 percent raise. AFSCME’s members rejected that agreement last week but ratified the second deal Wednesday, Heidrich said in an email to the Bangor Daily News.
While the state, in general, is still not a Right-to-Work state, that the unions agreed to “open shop” status at all is still a huge win for Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage.