Maine Governor to Provide Hazard Pay to State Corrections and Mental Health Workers

As state and federal elected leaders consider legislative proposals aimed at providing additional compensation to public-sector workers on the front lines of the Covid-19 Crisis, one elected leader has stepped forward and agreed to provide immediate 'hazard pay' increases to AFSCME state workers.

Agreements were finalized this weekend with the administration of Maine Governor Janet Mills to provide temporary, hourly increases to approximately 810 Council 93 members working in state mental health and correctional facilities. The increases, which range from $3.00 to $5.00 per hour depending on a workers' responsibilities, are effective for the pay period beginning March 29.

AFSCME first began discussion on pay increases with state officials late last month and support expanded rapidly.

"We are extremely grateful to Governor Mills for taking this immediate action," said AFSCME Council 93 Executive Director Mark Bernard. "Most people in the country are safe at home but our mental health workers and corrections officers remain on the job every day and every night. They're putting themselves and their families at high risk but they remain courageously dedicated to their work. Of course, reducing the spread of the virus by ensuring our members are adequately protected in the workplace remains our priority. However, actions like this are deeply appreciated as they help boost morale and provide some economic relief to AFSCME families who are hurting from the layoffs of spouses and other family members."

Bernard also expressed his gratitude for the support of Randall Liberty, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections; Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of Health and Human Services; and many other management officials in corrections and mental health who strongly supported, and advocated for, the increases. He added that he hopes the actions of the Mills Administration "inspires other elected leaders to follow the governor's lead."

AFSCME Council 93 represents more than 45,000 state, county and municipal employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.