November 23, 2022
VSEA President Aimee Towne shared the following Thanksgiving message with members and retirees this morning:
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 like ours have survived years of demonization and are now finally becoming more and more popular with younger Americans, and, just as important, young Vermonters. 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:
- Protected our defined-benefit pension plan from sure financial doom by successfully defeating a proposal to place new hires in a 401k pension plan;
- Successfully ratified new contracts for all VSEA Bargaining Units without having any major fights;
- Ensured the Pay Act, which funds our salaries and benefits, was fully funded;
- Helped 92% of VTPAC-endorsed candidates to win on election night 2022, meaning there is now a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate;
- Created VSEA’s first-ever Veterans Council;
- Welcomed State’s Attorney’s Office employees to our VSEA family and helped the workers secure their first-ever contract;
- Won bargaining rights for Vermont Deputy Sheriff’s employees;
- Mobilized and educated the membership and retirees to prepare for a potential fight about State’s desire to dump retired state employees in a privatized Medicare Advantage Plan.
With your continued help, we hope to add these items to the thankful list next year:
- Successfully killed any and all proposals concerning retiree health care;
- Launched a successful campaign to finally cause state and lawmakers to seriously address chronic and sometimes dangerous understaffing in state worksites across Vermont;
- Ensured health and safety protections with some teeth are implemented in state worksites across Vermont;
- Helped facilitate the opening of a new state facility to care for Vermont’s at-risk youth; and
- Worked with State officials and lawmakers to open the first of hopefully many on-site, State-run child care centers.
Something VSEA is not thankful for:
- Anti-union, anti-worker, out-of-state organizations sending 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.