Dear Governor Mills, 

You have expressed a sincere desire to see Maine state government thrive as a force to help Maine prosper and weather the difficult times. We share this vision, and we’re proud of the work we do but we also know that serious issues need to be addressed.

Everyone in state government has sacrificed over the last 10 years and system-wide solutions are needed. We’ve endured furlough days, a state shutdown, seen dramatically increased costs to our health insurance and cuts to our retirement, fallen further behind compared to private and public sector compensation and benefits, and lost our buying power due to insufficient COLAs. All while the state has given $864 million in tax cuts, mostly to the wealthiest, who need them least.

In addition, just within the last year we have raised substantial public safety concerns about staffing at 911 dispatch centers, turnover levels and morale in child and adult protective services, and the State’s ability to keep our roads clear and safe and perform other critical services for Mainers. It’s time that we recognize that this is more than a problem in one or two departments and is endemic throughout state government.

We must recruit new workers, value and retain experienced workers and make state service the kind of work that allows state workers families to thrive not just survive.

            Make public service attractive: 

The state must be prepared for aggressive recruitment efforts to replenish the state workforce, and to be successful we must offer competitive wages and welcoming, respectful work environment that values public services.

            End publicly funded low-wage work:

State Government shouldn’t be in the business of lowering wages or labor standards. Maintenance, construction, and administrative workers must share in the prosperity that their labor creates. We ask that you create a wage floor of $15 an hour so no state worker will have to rely on SNAP to care for their families, work a second job to pay for their housing and health care. As a large employer, the state has a responsibility to help all workers by creating standards that help alleviate poverty.

            Respect and reward career service:
We need to make sure that in addition to recruiting new staff, we are not losing highly-trained and experienced workers to private and public employers who offer higher wages.

Our negotiating team has put forward a framework that addresses each of these fundamental needs and are signing here to let you know we stand behind our negotiating team as we seek a fair contract.  

We ask that you stand with us in support of state workers.

The undersigned employees of the State of Maine.

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* 1. Sign your name!

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* 2. Are you a state employee?