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April 11, 2022

Preble Street union members OK new contract with wage increases up to 21%

middle-aged man standing in industrial kitchen Photo / Tim Greenway Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street, is shown in the production kitchen at the nonprofit's Food Security Hub in South Portland.

The union representing 150 workers at Preble Street, a statewide social service nonprofit, has agreed to a new labor contract that will increase wages for members by an average of 17% to 21% over the next two years.

The collective bargaining agreement increased hourly wages immediately by $3.50 to $5.50, according to a news release from the Maine AFL-CIO, which includes Preble Street United (Maine Service Employees Association-Service Employees International Union Local 1989).

The new contract, ratified by Preble Street last week, also sets a minimum of $18 an hour for all staff and a minimum $40,000 per year salary for all full-time employees.

The agreement also includes earned paid-time off for part-time employees, additional COVID-related leave time, the option of telework for eligible employees, and measures to promote diversity, equity and inclusion — such as strict practices for dealing with hate speech.

Preble Street, which has over 300 employees, became unionized in June 2019.

“Having sat on the bargaining committee both this year and our very first one two years ago, I am proud of the strength of our solidarity and the gains we've collectively made this year in our contract,” said Dylan Monahan, a health services caseworker and member of the Preble Street United bargaining team.

“I am proud to report to my peers that we won movement on every proposal we brought to the table, from provisions around further developing our wage scale to provisions around equity and inclusion and more.”

Preble Street, founded in 1975, provides shelter, housing, hunger relief, advocacy and other help for people in poverty, including those experiencing homelessness. The agency is headquartered in Portland, and also operates branches in Bangor, Lewiston and South Portland and provides services throughout the state.

Last week, Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann was honored as a 2022 Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year.

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