1 – Historic Pay Increases
MEA and its local unions negotiated some historic pay increases this school year for both preK-12 members and higher education members. Among the successes: community college support staff received 16% increases in salary in the first year of their contract. Additionally, ESP members in several locals received double digit increases, including a 16% increase for some support staff in Bangor. Additionally, teacher pay increased with the statewide average salary bumped by as much as $4,700+ for those with a Masters’ at the top of the scale.
2 – Educators Fight for Student Safety in Oxford Hills
Members in Oxford Hills EA worked together to raise major concerns about the superintendent’s leadership in the district. The local association presented many issues to the school board, including accusations the superintendent improperly restrained a student, and created a culture of fear and intimidation in the district. Members also reported the superintendent’s actions to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which then began its own investigation into the superintendent’s actions. The school board is also investigating and has since placed the superintendent on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The members worked to put pressure on the school board and create an understanding in the public about what was happening in their schools under the existing leadership. The membership is awaiting the results of the DHHS investigation, and in the meantime are working hard to continue to support and educate their students.
3 – Push for Increase to Pensions
MEA worked hard to advocate for what the State pays for retirees health insurance. MEA understands that retirees are on a fixed income and continues to work to improve their financial standing in retirement, as inflation continues to increase. To that end, MEA secured, through its advocacy work, a 10% increase in the amount the State pays toward health insurance, bumping the State contribution from 45% to 55%. MEA also continues to work to make improvements to the COLA to further support those who devoted their careers to Maine students.
4 – New MEA Staff and Managers
MEA is pleased to welcome several new employees over the last year who are working to help members in various ways. Please join us in welcoming three new UniServ Directors, Tim Schick, UniServ District 6, Allison Lytton, UniServ District 7 and Sarah Nichols who transitioned from UniServ assistant to Director for District 8. In addition, Nate Williams joined MEA as its Director of Collective Bargaining and Research over this last year. Supporting the MEA’s UniServ Directors and staff are two new assistants, Katie Zema in District 3 and 4 and Ellen McGuire in the business office. On the management team now is Alexandra Smith who is an Executive Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director and Erin Noyes transitioned into the position of Executive Coordinator for Governance and Management.