April 23, 2018:
Before The O’Neill Appointment, The Scott Administration Denied VSEA & Other Unions The Right To Representation On The "Review Panel" To Fill VLRB Vacancies
This is just another huge reason to call or email your Senators today and urge their "no" vote on Karen O’Neill’s confirmation to the Vermont Labor Relations Board. Find your Senator(s) contact information here.
Another piece of the Scott Administration’s effort to stack the Labor Board took place at the start of the process, when they went around organized labor to fill labor’s seat on the Labor Board Review Panel. This is the panel that recruits candidates to fill board vacancies, and it submits potential appointees to the Governor. The Panel is required by law to include one person appointed by the DOL Commissioner “from names provided by labor organizations.” This one seat is the only input unions have to ensure that the Board can be fair and impartial. The other four seats on the panel are all aligned with management.
The labor seat was for years held by the President of the Troopers’ Association. In November of 2017, however, the Commissioner hand-picked a successor from a primarily private-sector union to fill the slot, Jeff Wimette from IBEW Local 300, which represents the employees at Green Mountain Power (where Karen O’Neill worked in Human Resources from 1985-1997). Wimette told VSEA that he was called out of the blue by the DOL Commissioner, and he was unaware of any union being consulted on his appointment. Nor did Commissioner Kurrle consult the VSEA, Working Vermont, the AFL-CIO, the NEA, the AFT or the Troopers’ Association. In short, none of the major public-sector labor unions were told that the position was open or invited to submit names.
Here are email responses from three Vermont union leaders, responding to the question of whether or not they were "solicited" for names:
"Not that I know of."
"I don’t recall being asked either."
"The **** wasn’t contacted either."
VSEA and its legal team are sending out freedom of information requests, conducting inquiries and exploring all available options to determine how the November 2017 nomination to the Review Panel’s "labor" seat was accomplished and what recourse VSEA might have for remedy.
This is just another huge reason to call or email your Senators today and urge their "no" vote on Karen O’Neill’s confirmation to the Vermont Labor Relations Board.
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