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Mills administration seeks a mediator to resolve contract dispute with state workers

The Mills Administration has filed a request for mediation in its contract negotiations with state workers.

The state has been in talks with MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 for several months. The union rallied earlier this month and called for wage increases, saying that low compensation has resulted in staffing shortages and high workloads.

The Department of Administrative and Financial Services says that the two sides remain hundreds of millions of dollars apart.

The agency says it's filed for mediation through the Maine Labor Relations Board to help advance the talks.

A 2020 study found that state employees were paid up to 15% less than those in comparable private sector positions. The state notes that pay has gone up by close to 14% since Gov. Mills took office.