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In a new contract, state workers secure $15 minimum wage and additional parental leave

Maine Service Employees Association members voted to ratify a new two year labor contract Thursday night. The union representing state workers has been trying for months to hammer out a deal with the Mills administration. Among the key provisions in the contract is a 6% total pay raise, a base pay increase to $15 an hour, and parental leave that was doubled from two to four weeks. MSEA President Dean Staffieri says the membership came out in large numbers to vote because they believed the administration put in a good faith effort to meet their demands.

"We were very pleased that the administration was willing to address the whole employee pay gap issue. It wasn't addressed as well as we would have liked but the state assured us it would put a plan together," Staffieri says.

Staffieri says that plan will be brought to the legislature next March as a starting point for future discussions with state workers. Employees will also receive a $2,000 dollar bonus in December and the potential to remain working in a remote capacity in the future. The contract approval follows the ratification of a similar agreement by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Together, the contracts will cover more than 9,000 state employees in Maine.