Salaries Below Industry Standard Contribute to Staff Shortage Across UMS
Lorne Smith, Business AgentEmail: [email protected] Phone: (207) 756-5722
(ORONO, ME) – Teamsters Local 340 members in the University of Maine System (UMS) Service & Maintenance Department staged an informational picket line at the Orono Campus to demand an end to substandard wages.
The workers are responsible for maintaining the University of Maine’s buildings, infrastructure and facilities across nine campuses. University of Maine workers in the skilled trades have been paid far below the standards of the private sector for years, with a median income around the 25th percentile for comparable blue collar positions.
UMS management will not acknowledge that the university has a wage and hiring problem, even as morale sinks to all-time lows and many positions remain unfilled. Recently, for example, a job was posted for a master electrician with hourly wages of only $16-$17 per hour, while the state average is above $24 per hour. Friday’s protest sought to publicize the university’s insistence on treating service & maintenance workers as second-class citizens with substandard wages.
The workers are currently in negotiations for a renewed collective bargaining agreement. Although the protest is being held in Orono, UMS Service & Maintenance employees also work on the following outer campuses experiencing the same issues: Augusta, Bangor, Farmington, Fort Kent, Lewiston, Machias, Portland, Gorham, and Presque Isle.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.