VSEA members working for the Vermont Judiciary have been sharing an open letter with the public, which asks their boss, Court Administrator Patricia Gabel, to address a critical situation facing 100 Docket Clerks, mostly women, who keep the courts running but earn poverty wages.
The support has been terrific, but the Judiciary is really digging in its heels. Recently, the Judiciary bosses launched an effort to shut down the contract fact-finding process, wrongly advising the fact finder that employees’ testimony was "not worthy…of the time." It’s a weak move because the next scheduled fact-finding session in early August is to feature frontline workers’ voices. Not surprisngly, VSEA objected strongly to the Judiciary’s request.
Please continue to help VSEA Judiciary Unit members spread awareness of this situation by sharing the Docket Clerks’ open letter about their fight for economic justice far and wide. Within the letter below are links to other important information about this campaign by VSEA Docket Clerks.
You can easily share the letter found below here.
Patricia Gabel, Esq.
Vermont State Judiciary
111 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609
Dear Ms. Gabel,
As elected leaders of the VSEA Judiciary Unit, we are sounding the alarm about the extremely high number of Docket Clerks who have resigned or otherwise left their jobs just since the beginning of this fiscal year. According to records provided to us by the State of Vermont, 23 Docket Clerks out of approximately 100 have abandoned the position in this short time. This, we believe, constitutes a crisis, especially in light of the important role these employees play in the operations of our courts system.
We went right to the source to put a face to the crisis, reaching out to our members and to former Docket Clerks to ask them to explain how your decisions as Court Administrator affect their lives. We received an overwhelming response, in the form of affidavits, statements, and responses to online surveys. We have included a compilation of messages, written by Judiciary workers and current or former Docket Clerks in their own words. We urge you to read them carefully and hear what the writers are saying.
You will read testimonials by Docket Clerks who are turning to charity or various forms of public assistance to make ends meet, or who are working multiple jobs. You will read that Judiciary employees are proud of our work, but that the level of service to the public suffers from high turnover and low morale. Finally, you will see that employees who loved their jobs left the Judiciary because they could not afford to give up better paying options.
This is the courts system that you are administering Ms. Gabel. You heard about the problems of low morale and low pay when you first accepted your position, and you toured the courts talking to employees. We alerted you to the issue again last fall, but you refused to begin bargaining in time to address this issue before the Pay Act was finalized. You knew about this problem when your Human Resources Director rejected the “Request for Review” submitted by the Docket Clerks. That Request is included here. Moreover, we want to emphasize that the low pay for Judiciary Unit employees, including Docket Clerks, is fundamentally an issue of gender pay equity. We have included the report of Gerald Freidman, Ph.D, on that issue (Read the Freidman Report Here). One way or another, it is within your power to solve this crisis.
Judiciary employees want action now, and we are implementing action steps to end the Docket Clerk turnover crisis, like making the video you can find here. Like the workers featured in the video, we are urging you to do what is necessary to retain quality Docket Clerks.
Members of the VSEA Judicial Unit Executive Committee:
Margaret Crowley, Chair
Beth Aiken, Vice Chair
Nicole Burdick, Secretary Treasurer
- How Quickly VT Court Administrator Seems To Have Forgotten Why She Won An Award From A Woman’s Group In 2010
- Judiciary Tries To Shut Down Fact-Finding Process. Tells Judge Employees’ Testimony "Not Worthy"
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