August 27, 2021
VTDigger posted a story this week about a letter from 91 Department of Health (VDOH) employees, requesting clearer and adequate COVID-19 prevention guidance from management.
“We are writing to express our deep concern at what we believe to be a lack of adequate COVID-19 prevention guidance from our Health Department to Vermonters at this unique state of the pandemic. It is our belief that our current public guidance, which encourages only unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask and makes no mention of the risk of COVID-19 among unmasked vaccinated individuals, is not based on our best understanding of the way the Delta variant is spreading.” Currently, four out of ten cases are among vaccinated people.
The workers’ lette urges leaders to “publicly and strongly” recommend universal masking indoors and testing and quarantine for anyone determined to be a close contact to a Covid-19 case — regardless of vaccination status. It also asks them to encourage Vermonters to get tested before and after large social gatherings, to avoid traveling to high-transmission areas, and to test before and after out-of-state travel.”
- Seven Days – Health Department Employees Criticize [State Officials] for COVID-19 Response;
- WCAX – Health Department Employees Urge [State] to Ramp Up Delta Response;
- Associated Press – Health Department Employees Urge More in Virus Surge Fight
VSEA VDOH Members Form Labor / Management Committee
Since the start of the pandemic, VDOH employees have been tirelessly and selflessly staffing the frontlines of Vermont’s COVID fight. As VSEA Senior Field Representative Rachael Fields recently wrote to VDOH members, “You have faced every single obstacle–with fierce—determination, to carry out the mission of your department and to fulfill the obligations of your job. We at VSEA know that this has not been without extreme sacrifice and oftentimes frustrations.”
Fields reminds members that VSEA has recently created a member-run Labor / Management team to address the employees’ workplace issues, pursuant to what current contracts provide.
The VSEA VDOH Labor Management team is:
- Gillian Morgan, Chair (Gillian.Morgan@vermont.gov)
- Lauren Prinzing, Vice-Chair (Lauren.Prinzig@vermont.gov)
- Kathleen O’Neill (Kathleen.ONeill@vermont.gov)
- Linda Bloschies (Linda.Bloschies@vermont.gov)
The team began meeting on June 11, 2021, and have agreed to meet every three weeks.