Paul LePage Scores Victory Against Big Labor In Maine

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Maine’s two largest public sector labor unions agreed to let employees opt out of paying union dues, something Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage has been pushing for over a year.

LePage scored the legislative victory after the Maine State Employees Association (MSEA) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) agreed to eliminate the requirement that all employees pay union fees whether or not they are actually members of the union.

The unions agreed to the elimination of agency fees in exchange for higher pay raises, according to the Bangor Daily News. The two unions negotiated a 6 percent pay raise over the next two years for its employees.

The governor first won over the MSEA, whose negotiators agreed to the proposal Aug. 14. AFSCME originally rejected a proposal that gave its members a one percent pay raise over two years, instead of the two 3 percent raises in exchange for the elimination of agency fees.

The MSEA represents nearly 9,000 executive branch employees and AFSCME represents about 800 corrections officers and mental health employees.

“We’re very pleased that the burden of service fees is no longer hanging over the heads of our nonmember employees,” David Heidrich, a spokesperson for the Department of Administrative Financial Services, said Thursday.

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