AUGUSTA, Maine — A pair of unions has agreed to contract extensions but the largest group of unionized state employees in Maine was unable to reach an agreement before the contract expired on June 30.
Gov. Paul LePage said Friday the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union ratified a one-year extension for 1,000 employees. And the state police negotiating committee agreed to a two-year contract extension that will be voted
on in the coming week.
“I’m pleased that the leadership teams for AFSCME and the State Police allowed their members to vote on the contract extensions,” the governor said in a statement.
But the largest union, the Maine State Employees Association, has failed to reach an agreement.
Negotiations ended just before midnight with MSEA offering a two-year extension on the current terms and the state countering with a one-year extension under different terms. One of the outstanding issues is compensation for workers engaged in union activities.
The Maine Democratic Party on Friday released a statement critical of the LePage negotiating team.
“This is a classic example of Governor LePage’s ‘my way or the highway attitude,’” said Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant. “He didn’t think he was going to get what he wanted, so like a frustrated child he took his ball and went home — all the while he’s costing taxpayers more money. In one month we’ve paid his lawyers $50,000 — that’s more than most Maine workers make in a year.”
The LePage administration countered that the the state’s team did not walk away Thursday evening, negotiations had concluded for the day. State negotiators were ready to return to discussions immediately, according to LePage’s release.