Mark Brunton, left, president-elect of the Maine Service Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989, and Kevin Russell, right, vice president-elect,  join current MSEA-SEIU President Dean Staffieri at the podium during the union’s 80th annual meeting Nov. 4 at the Augusta Civic Center. Submitted photo

Elected delegates of the Maine Service Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union, on Nov. 4 elected Mark Brunton as their next president, effective Jan. 1. Brunton will succeed MSEA-SEIU President Dean Staffieri, who is termed out after four years.

“Today’s service sector workers need unions. They need collective bargaining. They need representation when they are called into the boss’ office,” Brunton said, according to a news release from MSEA-SEIU Local 1989. “And many of them want collective bargaining. They believe in the power of unions to equalize the power imbalance in the workplace between management and labor. I’m honored to lead this organization where it must go. Together, we will write another chapter in the long history of the labor movement in Maine.”

Brunton, of China, works as a comprehensive health planner for the Office of Aging and Disability Services within the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. In the union, he currently serves as an Area 2 director and on the Maine Public Employees Retirement System board of trustees.

Delegates also elected Kevin Russell of West Gardiner as the union’s next vice president, also effective Jan. 1. Russell, who works as an eligibility specialist for Maine DHHS, succeeds Cal Paquet as vice president.

“Congratulations to Mark and Kevin on their election,” Staffieri said. “I had the pleasure of working closely with both of them over the years and am thrilled they are stepping up to lead the union. I look forward to working with them in the transition.”

The elections were held Nov. 4 at the Augusta Civic Center during the union’s 80th annual meeting. At the annual meeting, the delegates also elected members to the board of directors and other union committees.

The union’s 80th annual meeting comes as state workers in the executive branch of Maine government are in their fifth month of working without a contract, according to the union.

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