The recent election of Aimee Towne to be VSEA’s new President left a vacancy in the First Vice President position, but, yesterday, the VSEA Board voted to appoint longtime activist and former VSEA Judiciary Unit Chair Margaret Crowley to the post.
“Margaret is a great addition to the VSEA leadership team, and I know she’ll work hard for VSEA members, just like she has for Judiciary members for so many years,” says VSEA President Aimee Towne. “I welcome Margaret’s knowledge and expertise, and I look forward to helping her transition into her new role as First Vice President.”
Towne says that this Friday, Crowley will hit the ground running, chairing her first VSEA Council meeting; a duty assigned to the VSEA First Vice President.
Last week, VSEA Corrections Unit members sent a fourth batch of personal worker appeals to the Governor; a continuation of a weeks-long VSEA Corrections Unit members’ campaign for hazard pay. Each week’s batch of campaign testimonials focuses on a different organic theme, derived from hundreds of member testimonials submitted to VSEA to educate the Scott Administration on how its decision to end hazard pay is causing harm to Corrections employees.
This week’s fifth batch of testimonials is to personally let the Governor know how far hazard pay could go to help lessen the employee burnout being caused by the additional job stress created by the COVID pandemic. This week’s testimonials reinforce why these workers deserve hazard pay for their stress and sacrifice.
“Everyone is burned out, employees and inmates alike, and there’s no end in sight to the extra duties and restrictions. Staffing is critically short, and the facility is barely running in a safe manner. Exhausted staff, unsafe working conditions and staff quitting in droves. Morale is in the basement, with no acknowledgment from anyone in the chain of command about our extra efforts. And no hazard pay. This while Central Office staff work from home with no masks, comfy as could be, just dumping and piling extra work on the facilities.”
VSEA invites members and retirees to help VSEA’s COs get their hazard pay reinstated by sharing these worker stories with your colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors. You can also call the Governor’s Office and lobby our local lawmakers to step up.
Normally, the department has 1.2 to 1.3 operators per truck, a total of about 350 drivers spread among garages across the state. That ratio means there’s not a lot of wiggle room for drivers to be out sick, [AOT Maintenance Director Todd] Law said.
The agency has been hunting up people with commercial driver’s licenses from other departments and garages to fill gaps if needed, Law said. He said the agency is working to get more drivers CDL-certified and to find smaller trucks that fill-in drivers could handle without the special license.
“Even with that, with the absences we’re anticipating, we may not be able to fill all our trucks,” he said.