May 12, 2016
VSEA Issued The Following Press Release This Morning:
Union Says Employee Safety Remains A Top Priority.
"Mixed in with dozens of other teams running in tonight’s Corporate Cup in Montpelier will be several teams of state employees, representing Department for Children and Families’ Family Services Division offices across Vermont, including one from the Barre DCF office, where Social Worker Lara Sobel was based and where she was tragically killed by a client in August 2015. All the teams will be wearing purple (Sobel’s favorite color) t-shirts, reading “Lara Sobel Strong” and “In Memory Of Lara Sobel. We Will Never Forget.”
‘The employees came up with this idea, and I think it’s a great tribute to Lara Sobel and to the service that she and all these DCF workers provide to Vermont’s children every day,’ said VSEA President Dave Bellini, who adds that many of the VSEA DCF members running tonight were also at the State House this past session, helping VSEA get legislation (S. 154) passed to better protect frontline DCF workers while on the job. ‘Getting this bill passed was good news, but there is still a lot of work to be done. VSEA members throughout state government have made it clear to me and to the VSEA Board of Trustees that employee safety and security must continue to be a top priority for our union. I say continue because this is an issue that VSEA members have been talking and testifying about for years, but, unfortunately, it took the death of a state employee to really begin a serious discussion in Vermont about how to address employee safety and security issues and concerns. Safety and security is a priority not only for frontline state workers but also for the Vermonters who use public services every day, which is a lot of us.’
Bellini reminded that Lara Sobel’s parents recently dedicated a bench in Montpelier to their daughter’s memory. A plate on the bench reads: ‘Dedicated In Loving Memory To Our Daughter, Lara Kim Sobel, A Committed Advocate For The Children Of Vermont.’ The bench is located on State Street."
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