This is in response to the article on state officials requesting help from a mediator in contract negotiations for state employees (“Mills administration seeks mediator to resolve contract dispute with state workers,” Sept. 11).

I am a retired state employee. When I started work in the 1980s as a public health nurse I took a large pay cut to do so. With three small children and a husband who was also a nurse, one of us needed a job that offered a regular work schedule. At the time it was concerning that many state workers, including myself, were not being paid the equivalent of non-state workers. This problem only worsened as the decades went by.

I enjoyed my job and felt like I made a difference in the lives of the people of the state of Maine. I met many state employees that were dedicated and hard working. Some were even eligible for state programs because of low pay. I worked part time on weekends when my children entered college age because the pay we received as state employees fell more and more behind comparable jobs.

Maintaining adequate staffing across the board was difficult because of the pay issue. It was especially bad under under certain administrations, like Paul LePage. State workers left or retired at very high numbers. I saw firsthand how this effected the citizens of the state of Maine. The institutional knowledge that was lost was heartbreaking. People qualified for benefits struggled in accessing them.

Sadly, for those of us in retirement from state government won’t see the benefits ourselves of this contract negotiation that is attempting to make the pay more equitable. But this is long overdue and we will all rejoice when workers are being paid more fairly.

Cindy Look


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