Newly elected VSEA President Aimee Towne gaveled in her first VSEA Annual Meeting last Saturday, and it was successful, even though this was VSEA’s first-ever Annual Meeting to be conducted via Zoom. The new format came with some technological issues, which presented some small challenges, but, in the end, the union’s business was accomplished and its priorities for the fall, winter, and into 2021, clarified.
State Treasurer Beth Pearce opened the meeting with a warning about VSEA’s pension plan (see September 18, 2020, WIA story) and she was followed by President Towne and outgoing President Dave Bellini, who each voiced a call to action not only to protect pensions but also to fight privatization, ensure proper PPE is being provided to workers, vote for worker-friendly candidates in upcoming state and federal elections, stop union infighting and promote unity, and, most importantly, get active in VSEA.
VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard also addressed meeting attendees, echoing a lot of what Towne and Bellini said, but also talking in detail about the legislative process and urging members and retirees to be actively engaged in the process this year, particularly given the number of fights that could be on the horizon, especially concerning the state budget.
After hearing from Howard, VSEA Treasurer, Jackie Hickerson, presented a draft operating budget for FY2021, and it was passed. Next up were proposed bylaw changes.
The following bylaw amendments were debated and approved at this year’s Annual Meeting (Read the proposed bylaw amendments in the 2020 Annual Meeting Warn, login required.):
- Bylaw A – Creation and allocation of designated funds, financed by budget surplus – PASSED*;
- Bylaw B – Amended language governing VSEA committees & official reps – FAILED;
- Bylaw C – Clarifying parliamentary authority – NO ACTION;
- Bylaw D – Removal of gendered pronouns from VSEA bylaws – PASSED; and
- Bylaw E – Addition of retirees to VSEA committees – PASSED.
* Recommended against adoption by the VSEA Council
VSEA’s State Colleges Unit also passed a bylaw change, concerning Unit elections, moving forward.
New Dues Structure Passed
Implements In July 2021
Last year, VSEA reconstituted its Dues Study Committee, appointing Board member Dr. Leslie Matthews to chair the committee. After much deliberation and debate in the past months, committee members came to Annual Meeting with a sliding-scale dues proposal, and Annual Meeting attendees voted to adopt it.
The new dues structure will start with workers’ first full paychecks in July 2021. Dues will be based on 0.83% of an employee’s pay, with a minimum of $16 and a maximum of $19.
More to come on this, as more details are fleshed out. Dr. Matthews did create a visual presentation to explain the change, and WIA will be sharing it with members soon.
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