December 18, 2015
If you asked one of the nine VSEA members left working in the State’s Risk Management Division what the odds are the State is actively trying to privatize their service, they would tell you 100 percent. That’s because the workers were recently able to verify that the State had drafted a formal proposal to privatize Risk Management and was actively shopping it.
“It appears the State wants to privatize this important service and, in the process, throw away more than 100 years of combined and very specialized knowledge,” one Risk Management worker who wished to remain nameless tells VSEA’s Week In Action. “We are Vermonters serving Vermonters, and we know the people we serve. We also know state worksites and the nature of state employee work, across the board. And we know the system’s challenges. Most important, we are the ones helping state employees get back to work after suffering a work illness or injury. Privatizing our service is, quite frankly, a risky move by the State, in my opinion.”
VSEA’s Risk Management members add that they have worked hard recently to streamline the claims process and “smooth out the bumps.” They also stress that when state employees contact their office, they are talking with a fellow state employee and not some person representing a private company that may not even be based in Vermont.
“VSEA is providing staff resources to the workers’ fight to stop privatization, and we will be bringing members from Risk Management to the State House early in the session to make their very strong case to lawmakers to retain this important division of state government,” VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard tells Week In Action.
VSEA’s Week In Action will keep readers updated on how you can help the Risk Management workers protect their service. Subscribe to Week In Action here!
DII Service Also Being Threatened With Privatization
Through a freedom of information request filed recently, VSEA was able to confirm a rumor this week that DII is actively soliciting private vendors to provide bids to administer the State’s mainframe, which is currently maintained by a dozen or so state employees. VSEA received a report, titled “A Mainframe Outsourcing: Financial Impact Analysis For the State of Vermont,” which outlines four different scenarios, two that retain existing employees and two that do not. In the two scenarios that do not include retaining state employees, nearly every frontline worker is replaced.
VSEA’s Week In Action will keep readers updated on any developments with this privatization effort. Subscribe to Week In Action here!