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Community College Support Service Staff (MSEA SEIU) Picket Monthly Board Meeting

Andy O’Brien
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PHOTO: MCCS support staff picket at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor

Maine Community College Support service staff with the Maine Service Employees Association (MSEA-SEIU 1989) picketed the monthly meeting of the MCCS Board of Trustees at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor on Tuesday to demand fair wages and restoration of the merit-pay increases frozen since 2009.

Support and supervisory workers throughout the Maine Community College System (MCCS) are approaching their tenth month of working under expired contracts. The workers are demanding in their contract negotiations that the MCCS reach a competitive, living-wage agreement with them. The workers are calling on MCCS to unfreeze, for two years, annual merit-pay increases that typically provided them with annual 3 percent pay increases during their first eight years of service – in recognition of their work experience. The MCCS froze merit-pay increases for support and supervisory workers during the Great Recession in 2009 and has refused to unfreeze them in the ensuing 15 years.

In a petition they delivered earlier this month to MCCS President David Daigler, the workers wrote:

“MCCS is actively losing workers because it is not competitive with the private sector. Wages at MCCS are significantly lower than other similar positions throughout the state. The years of frozen merit increases have resulted in the degradation of the quality of work we can perform. New hires cost quite a bit to train and it takes time for them to acclimate to the job. By hiring staff at the same or higher wages than existing or longstanding staff, the MCCS is telling us that our loyalty is not valued, and that the knowledge and experience gained over the years is not valued by the colleges that we serve. Running the Free College Program off the backs of underpaid workers is a sinking ship. The quality of education for students suffers when workers are not paid a living wage that recognizes and rewards longevity and dedication to the Maine Community College System. The college system is unable to hire the professionals needed to properly serve our student community.”

The workers are calling on the MCCS to agree to new contracts that include merit-step increases, a significant cost of living increase, and retroactive pay.