June 8, 2018
June 8, 2018
VSEA issued the following press release this morning:
With the [State] now talking openly of using a state shutdown as leverage in budget negotiations, the Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) sent a letter today to Department of Human Resources (DHR) Labor Relations Director John Berard, requesting to negotiate with the State “over the impact of any potential shutdown of state government on the bargaining unit members we represent.”
“State workers know what it means to have our ability to earn a living wage used as leverage, and we strongly object to this Administration threatening our livelihoods and our services in order to force its opponents to cave to its rigid budget demands," explains VSEA President Dave Bellini. "Governor Scott is using state workers–and really every Vermonter who depends on state funds for a living–as pawns in a political game. VSEA strongly believes this budget dispute must be resolved through the normal democratic process, not by economic coercion.”
Here is the list of items VSEA is requesting to negotiate, prior to a shutdown:
- Compensation to be paid to employees after budgetary authority is restored, both for employees who are called to work and for those who are prevented from working;
- The designation of employees as essential, including the selection of which employees are selected to work where a worksite operates on a reduced workforce;
- Procedures for notifying employees of the commencement or conclusion of the shutdown;
- Whether any non-working time is treated as work time for benefits and other rights;
- What obligations employees may be under to be available for work during non-work days; and
- The treatment of pre-scheduled vacations, employees who are otherwise entitled to use sick leave, and compensation for the July 4 holiday.
In the letter to DHR, VSEA also requests the following to help better prepare for negotiations:
- Any and all instructions or other communications between or among the Governor or members of his administration and the various departments or agencies of state government concerning any potential shutdown of state government;
- Any contingency plans developed or being developed at the state-wide level or by the agencies and departments concerning the operations or closures of operations of state government in the event of a failure of budgetary authority; and
- Any instructions or information provided to contractors regarding the impact of any potential shut down on their operations or funding.
“As long as the threat of a shutdown remains on the table, we need to prepare for that possibility,” adds Bellini. “Our members want to know in advance how this is going to all go down, in the event, there is still a budget stalemate at the end of June. We remember the chaos and indecision about services and personnel after Hurricane Irene slammed us, and there’s no way anyone wants a repeat of that, which is why we are looking for concrete answers about a shutdown week in advance. VSEA remains hopeful a budget deal will be reached, and Vermont can continue to claim to be one of the few states to never suffer a government shutdown.”
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