The Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) Board of Trustees met in special session on June 23 and voted to name Steve Howard to be the union’s new Executive Director. Howard currently serves as VSEA’s Legislative Director; a position he has held since January 2013.
“I am very excited to assume this new role with the VSEA, and I look forward now to using my years of campaign, advocacy and union work to help advance the goals and mission of this great organization and its members,” said Howard. “Mark Mitchell did a great job helping VSEA leaders lay the groundwork to grow our membership and mobilize members at the worksite, and I want to continue to build on what Mark, President Martin and the Board have worked so hard to establish. Board members made it clear during the interview process that they really like the direction VSEA is going and they did not want it to change. I assured them that I don’t either.”
As examples of VSEA’s positive direction, Howard pointed to increased grassroots legislative and political action, stepped-up internal organizing and first-ever external organizing, improved efforts to empower frontline workers, enhanced steward training and the recent successful introduction of the “open bargaining” concept with the union’s State Colleges’ and Judiciary Units.
Prior to accepting the new VSEA position, Howard worked as a victims’ advocate in the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s office. In addition, he served at the State House as a Rutland House Representative from 1993 to 1999 and then again from 2005 to 2010. Howard also served as Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party from 1995-1997, and he ran for lieutenant governor in 2010.