Celebrating Wins, Unity, and Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Message from VSEA

November 22, 2023

Dear VSEA Members & Retirees:  

On behalf of the VSEA Board of Trustees, I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. We have a lot to be thankful for this year, beginning with the fact that labor unions nationwide are dominating the headlines these days with significant wins at the bargaining table and on the picket line. Because of your activism and support for each other, VSEA continues to raise the bar for state employees, both active and retired, while also protecting the wage, benefit, and working condition improvements we and those before us have won at the bargaining table. For this, the Board and I are thankful.       

Here are some other VSEA achievements we can all be thankful for this year:  

  • VSEA retirees and members successfully lobbied legislators to so far reject the Governor’s proposal to move retired state employees into so-called Medicare Advantage plans; 
  • Members successfully lobbied lawmakers to overturn the Governor’s budget veto; 
  • VSEA Bargaining Teams helped secure Family and Medical Leave Insurance benefit for all workers;
  • VSEA Board of Trustees voted for VSEA to affiliate with the Vermont AFL-CIO; 
  • Nine months after voting to join the VSEA, members of the State Deputies Unit voted to ratify a first-ever contract with the State; 
  • VSEA DOC members credited publicly for helping with retention and recruitment efforts; 
  • VSEA Executive Branch Unit members received a negotiated 2% wage increase in their July paycheck; 
  • VSEA members helped successfully lobby Vermont State Colleges’ President Mike Smith not to cut eight campus librarian positions or campus athletic programs. 
  • VSEA negotiated volunteer leave for members wanting to help with flood cleanup; 
  • VSEA DCF members have successfully sounded the alarm about the State’s handling of at-risk youth and continue to lobby hard for change.  

With your continued help, we hope to add these items to the thankful list next year:  

  • Successfully kill any and all Medicare Advantage proposals;  
  • Help ensure passage of the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act to restore the right of workers to freely and fairly form a union and bargain together for changes in the workplace; 
  • Seek completion of campaign to finally cause state and lawmakers to seriously address chronic and sometimes dangerous understaffing in state worksites across Vermont;  
  • Continue fighting to ensure health and safety protections with some teeth are implemented in state worksites across Vermont;
  • Help facilitate the opening of a new State-run facility to care for Vermont’s at-risk youth; and
  • Lobby State officials and lawmakers to open the first of hopefully many on-site, State-run childcare centers.  

Something VSEA is not thankful for:  

  • Anti-union, anti-worker, out-of-state organizations continue to send slick propaganda pieces to members with highly misleading titles like “A Bonus for Public Workers.” Trust me, losing your voice with your employer and your voice at the State House, as well as being on your own to negotiate wages, benefits, and working conditions is no bonus. 

The VSEA Board of Trustees is thankful for you and for the dedicated service you provide to Vermonters.  Again, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.  


Aimee Towne 
VSEA President