State Requests Mediation to Advance Contract Negotiations with MSEA-SEIU

State Requests Mediation to Advance Contract Negotiations with MSEA-SEIU

Mills Administration has increased State employee pay by nearly 14 percent & remains committed to further pay increases


AUGUSTA, Maine – The Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) announced today that it has filed a request for mediation to help advance contract negotiations with the Maine Service Employee Association – Service Employees International Union 1989 (MSEA-SEIU).

Under Maine’s collective bargaining laws, mediation is the process by which a neutral third party is invited to help negotiating parties reach agreement on a contract. The request through the Maine Labor Relations Board for mediation follows three months of contract negotiations between the State and MSEA-SEIU. During these negotiations, the State has never walked away from the negotiating table.

The Governor and Legislature have allocated up to $99 million for the State to negotiate with during collective bargaining, the largest amount ever proposed for bargaining, which represents an acknowledgement of the State’s commitment to fairly compensate employees for their work while ensuring that the State will be able to sustainably maintain that level of compensation in future budgets. Despite this, the State and the union remain hundreds of millions of dollars apart.

“We deeply value State employees, and we see mediation as a productive next step to secure higher pay for them,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “We are striving to become Maine’s employer of choice, and we know that involves competitive compensation and an attractive benefit package. That’s why, over the past several years, we have made substantial strides in closing the wage gap and improving benefits. We strongly want to continue to make progress within our budgetary constraints. It is our hope that an impartial perspective can help both sides realize a final agreement that works for all parties involved.”

The 2020 Compensation and Classification Study indicated that salaries for those employed by the State of Maine were on average 11-15 percent below market for similar positions.

As a result, the State has raised pay for its employees. Under Governor Mills, the State has increased wages by nearly 14 percent. This increase over four years amounts to 40 percent more than the increases provided over the entire decade before Governor Mills assumed office. This includes raising pay for employees by three percent in September 2019, four percent in January 2021, two percent in December 2021, and an additional four percent in July 2022. To see a complete schedule of raises provided through contract negotiations under the past three governors, click HERE.

In addition to these pay increases, the Mills Administration has:

  • Established paid parental leave during the 2019-2021 negotiations and then doubled that leave from two weeks to four weeks in the 2021-2023 negotiations for the birth or adoption of a child;


  • Increased base pay to $15 per hour, which increased pay for 382 employees, representing an average pay increase of 9 percent for the lowest paid positions in the State workforce, and an increase of more than 21 percent for those who had previously been earning the minimum wage;


  • Issued a one-time $2,000 payment to employees in December 2021 (payment was prorated for seasonal, part-time, and/or intermittent employees and was issued March 2022 for law enforcement positions);


  • Improved longevity pay for workers with over ten years of service.


Collective bargaining is the process by which the State, as the employer, negotiates with State employees, through their unions, to determine terms of employment including pay and benefits. Collective bargaining typically results in contract agreements that are then ratified through a vote of the union membership. The process typically occurs every two years. The State notified the MSEA-SEIU 1989 today of its decision to request mediation.

In addition to the two-year contract being negotiated now, a separate round of collective bargaining will take place after the results of the ongoing classification and compensation study are presented to the Legislature by January 31, 2024. Terms of those negotiations, which are separate and distinct from the current negotiations, will be subject to the availability of funding.