The Maine Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing in 2013 over the state employees union's amended complaint that accuses Gov. Paul LePage of violating terms of its labor contract.
After the contract expired in September 2011, certain jobs performed by unionized state employees were restructured or subcontracted without prior bargaining, which the union contests is a violation of its previously held contract.
No date has been set for that hearing, but Marc Ayotte, executive director of the MLRB, told Mainebiz it definitely wouldn't occur until after the new year.
A pre-hearing conference was held at the MLRB office last week, in which the state's attorney, Julie Armstrong, and her counterpart representing the MSEA, Timothy Belcher, agreed on which allegations, evidence and witnesses would be presented at the hearing, which is expected to last three days.
In her response to the MSEA's amended complaint, Armstrong reiterated the state's position that LePage is within his rights under a "status quo" proviso of the expired contract to contract out, or restructure, work performed by unionized state employees. In all instances, she concluded near the end of a 13-page response, "the state has acted in accordance with language in the expired collective bargaining agreements and established practices."
In the amended complaint, filed a day before an Aug. 28 deadline, the MSEA asserts the "contracting out article" expired with the labor agreement on Sept. 30, 2011, and asks the MLRB to order the state to "commence bargaining in good faith" on jobs that might be restructured or subcontracted out while negotiations continue over the expired labor agreement.