VSEA Historical Timeline

William Henry Wills 275x200

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1940

1944: Republican Governor William Wills (right) helps create the VSEA, writing, “I am heartily in favor of the formation of a Vermont State Employees’ Association.”

 

1946: VSEA fights for pay increases and it results in a “classification and compensation” study that results in an average 10% wage increase for state employees.

 

1947: Governor Ernest Gibson establishes and implements the first Personnel Rules & Regulations and names a Personnel Director.

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1950

1952: VSEA publishes its first “Bulletin” to communicate with membership.

 

1953: VSEA forms 14 new local “Chapters,” introduces 23 bills at the State House for the first time ever and wins a group insurance plan and a “coffee break.”

 

1954: Social security is integrated into the state employees’ retirement system.

 

1955: Major medical benefits become available to all employees, but required 75% sign-up not achieved.

 

1956: VSEA adopts new “Articles of Association and Bylaws.

 

1957: VSEA members successfully lobby to reduce work hours from 60 a week to 40, with no reduction in pay.

 

1959: VSEA requests and wins payroll dues deductions.

 

1959: VSEA members adopt strong resolution that calls on Governor to tighten controls on hiring of temporary workers.

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1960

1961: Bylaw adopted to allow election of officers to be conducted by mail-in ballot.

 

1963: VSEA initiates a health insurance study, which provides the basis for the addition of Major Medical coverage to an employee’s base coverage. State pays one half of employee’s premium.

 

1965: Improved widow benefits for VSEA members with 22 years of service or more.

 

1966: VSEA Retirees’ Chapter is formed.

 

1967: An incentive pay plan with salary increases based on performance evaluations is instituted.

 

1968: VSEA Council convenes special meeting to talk about the possibility of collective bargaining with the State, Seven other states did adopt collective bargaining and 20 others are exploring the concept.

 

1969: VSEA and State fight over components of a desired “Labor Relations Act,” with VSEA claiming the State’s version “cannot serve the employee’s interest, is discriminatory and management oriented.” After the dust settles, Governor Davis agrees to adopt VSEA version, which contains a “no strike” clause.

 

1969: New State Labor Relations Board is established. One of its first orders of business is to establish a single Bargaining Unit for all state employees and to recognize and certify VSEA as the employees’ exclusive bargaining agent.

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1970

1970: VSEA members procure a 14% wage increase through the legislature. Members vote to increase dues in order to expand headquarters’ staff.

 

1972: VSEA members ratify their first-ever collective bargaining agreement, which includes leave and “Reduction in Force” benefits and a speedier grievance process.

 

1973: VSEA members begin to consider hiring full-time legal counsel.

 

1974: VSEA prompts the State to recognize employees who retire with large amounts of accumulated sick leave by applying half the total towards retirement benefits.

 

1976: VSEA launches its Steward program.

 

1977: Lawmakers enact a bill (the “State Employees’ Labor Relations Act” or SELRA) to permit VSEA to negotiate wages and benefits at the bargaining table with the State, wresting control over these areas from legislators.

 

1977: VSEA elects first woman President. She promises to fight for deferred compensation plan, VSEA scholarship program and creation of a “building fund” with an eye on purchasing an official VSEA headquarters.

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1980

1980: Legislation passes mandating one-year bargaining agreements.

 

1980: Vermont Labor Relations Board rules that the burden of proof in dismissal cases lies with the employer.

 

1981: Managers and confidential employees are removed from the VSEA Bargaining Unit.

 

1981: VEPAC is created to permit VSEA to endorse statewide candidates. Would later become VTPAC in 1996.

 

1981: VLRB requires supervisors to warn employees about performance deficiencies, which later appear on performance evaluations.

 

1982: VSEA staff is moved to new headquarters in Montpelier.

 

1983: Health Department employees successfully defeat privatization effort.

 

1983: State budget deficit launches calls for reduced workforce and services or reduced salaries.

 

1984: State and VSEA declare impasse at bargaining table. Mediation fails and a fact finder is demanded. Ratification finally achieved.

 

1984: VSEA Corrections Unit is formed.

 

1985: State launches state employee blood pressure screening program.

 

1985: U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirms that public employees have a right to due process in advance of termination action.

 

1985: Lawmakers demand exhaustive review of State ‘s use of temporary workers.

 

1985: VSEA Advisory Committee recommends state employee retirement funds divest from South Africa.

 

1985: VSEA supports national Equal Rights Amendment effort with contribution.

 

1986: After very tough contract fight, VSEA members vote to ratify new, two-year agreement.

 

1986: Governor Kunin signs S. 1; a bill which allows Game Wardens to retire at age 55.

 

1987: A new employee classification system, based on recommendations made by Willis Associates, is adopted in Vermont.

 

1987: VSEA is able to negotiate a process that the State can use to grant market-factor adjustments to certain job classifications.

 

1987: VSEA creates committee to develop proposed changes to state employees’ retirement plans.

 

1988: VSEA and State create committees to study smoking policies.

 

1988: VSEA successfully stops worst of an AOT reorganization plan.

 

1988: VSEA and State jointly open the first on-site child-care center for the children of state employees. Located at the Brandon Training School.

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1990

1990: VSEA effort to pass “Collective Bargaining Fee Bill” (a.k.a. Agency Fee) at State House is defeated.

 

1990: Creation of the State Employee Wellness Program.

 

1990: Early retirement incentive offered to 250+ state workers.

 

1990: Air quality in state office buildings becomes an issue.

 

1990: VSEA presses for an ergonomic standard, based on concern voiced about new video display terminals.

 

1990: VSEA moves childcare needs to its list of member priorities.

 

1990: VSEA raises concerns about members doing solo home visits, citing safety concerns.

 

1990: VSEA conducts meetings to address issues with State’s new employee evaluation system.

 

1991: VSEA and State meet to bargain impact of new CDL requirement on AOT employees.

 

1991: Contract language establishes the Statewide Health & Safety Maintenance Committee.

 

1991: VSEA files ULP against Governor for “actions to layoff state employees prior to finalization of the budget, in violation of the law.”

 

1991: VSEA negotiates for state employees serving in the Persian Gulf to be able to receive health and dental benefits for at least six months.

 

1991: VSEA Council’s effort to remove “no strike” language from contract is defeated.

 

1991: VSEA goes to bat for Social Worker members, filing a grievance that the State is violating the contract by forcing “standby” restrictions and conditions on “available” status, so the State doesn’t have to pay workers.

 

1992: VSEA and State head to fact finding over contract impasse. Goes to Labor Board. Board sides with VSEA.

 

1992: State employees lend flood relief in Montpelier.

 

1992: VSEA members join the debate about America’s desire to adopt “universal health care.” Leads to formal discussions.

 

1992: VSEA challenges the State on Health Care Management, claims employees being overcharged.

 

1992: VSEA members mourn the death of Trooper Gary Gaboury, who is killed attempting to rescue the body of a drowned swimmer at Huntington Gorge.

 

1993: VSEA assists members with tackling an asbestos problem in several state office buildings.

 

1993: VSEA members’ push for improved safety at work leads to creation of a Loss Prevention Coordinator in Risk Management.

 

1993: VSEA helps pass H. 508; a bill to prohibit the hiring of temporary workers for anything other than the statutory definition of seasonal, emergency or bona-fide fill-ins, and effectively end the use of temps to circumvent the classified service.

 

1993: VSEA members’ dissatisfaction with CHP’s administration of the Choice Plus health plan leads to switch to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

 

1993: Vermont State Colleges’ staff petition for VSEA representation. Begin bargaining first contract in January 1994.

 

1994: Lawmakers pass “Fair Share” legislation, granting VSEA the right to charge an “agency fee” to non-members.

 

1994: VSEA files ULP against Corrections for use of “volunteers.”

 

1994: State Housing Authority employees vote to join VSEA.

 

01-13-171994: VSEA Annual Meeting celebrates union’s 50-year anniversary.

 

1995: VSEA revisits the issue of indoor air quality and best practices to address.

 

1995: VSEA stresses importance of empowering employees in any “performance restructuring project.” Project intended to rethink  the way government delivers services.

 

1995: VSEA helps State Hospital food workers successfully fend off privatization effort.

 

1995: VSEA requests safety measures to protect employees from workplace violence.

 

1995: VSEA celebrates opening of new fire station for its members working at the Vermont National Guard Base in Burlington.

 

1995: VSEA opposes Governor’s plan to underfund state employees’ retirement system.

 

1995: VSEA recommends needed changes to the State’s new payroll system, which has problems.

 

1995: VSEA demands employees be removed from the “sick” Chittenden Bank Building in Montpelier.

 

1995: VSEA fights to protect 450 positions that are targeted to be cut.

 

1995: VSEA begins to consider creation of an activist training program.

 

1995: VSEA joins Corrections members to fight against privatizing nursing services inside prisons.

 

1996: Talks begin to merge the Departments of Labor and Industry with the Department of Employment and Training. VSEA there to monitor impact to employees.

 

1996: VSEA enters the electronic age, as the President sends the union’s first email to members.

 

1998: VSEA joins the fight for pay equity for women.

 

1999: Parking for employees in downtown Montpelier becomes an issue for VSEA.

 

1999: VSEA tries to introduce a bill to make threatening a state employee a crime.

 

1999: VSEA members overwhelmingly (93%) reject proposal to swap employees in to a defined contribution plan from a defined benefit plan.

 

1999: VSEA works with State College’ members to prevent layoffs at Lyndon State College.

 

1999: VSEA is again forced to lobby hard for controls on personal service contracts and privatization.  Results in a bill (H. 204) being passed.

 

1999: The Defender General’s Office clerical/support staff joins VSEA.

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2000

2000: VSEA joins the statewide “Livable Wage” campaign being conducted by the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign.

 

2000: VSEA members join with IBEW members at the State House to rally for new contracts. Both unions were locked in a tough contract fight.

 

2000: Affiliation with the national Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) is officially on the table.

 

2000: State employees’ health care system undergoes changes in plan design and administration.

 

2001: VSEA protests possible service and position cuts with a “Fight Back” rally at the State House.

 

2001: VSEA members mourn with rest of nation, following the tragic events of September 11. Members pitch in to collect donations.

 

2001: In response to the September 11 attack, more than 170 state employees are called up for active military duty. For most, their VSEA contract ensures they and their families are taken care of while they are deployed.

 

2002: Fight Back campaign continues against backdrop of rumored cuts.

 

2002: VSEA successfully campaigns to keep the Woodstock Prison open.

 

2002: CIGNA takes over the administration of state employee health plans.

 

2002: VSEA enters the political season by inoculating members with the message “Politics is Union Business.” Also “We’re Affected By Who’s Elected.”

 

2002: After rumblings about state employees’ pension costs, VSEA is forced to clarify the difference to members between defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

 

2002: At Annual Meeting, VSEA Corrections members conduct a “no confidence” vote in current commissioner. The vote is unanimous.

 

2003: In an effort to combat budget austerity measures, VSEA facilitates a one-day conference titled “Conference for a Fair and Stable Vermont Economy,” inviting interests across the board to participate. 

 

2003: VSEA begins to look seriously at creating a grievance data base to log incidents and results.

 

2003: VSEA Field Staff is directed to work with frontline Stewards to build their confidence and build the union at the same time.

 

2003: On behalf of the national Human Rights Commission, VSEA surveys its members on the issue of personal and sick leave usage.

 

2003: Proposal for “dues equity” is floated to the membership at large.

 

2003: VSEA strongly objects to Governor’s plan to stack a council created to review state government for efficiencies with business executives.

 

2003: AHS announces an extensive reorganization plan. VSEA is there to protect members’ interests.

 

2003: VSEA Game Wardens participate in a celebration of 100 years of service to Vermonters.

 

2003: Southern State Correctional Facility opens in Sprigfield, employing 135 VSEA members.

 

2003: VSEA Corrections members begin to sound the alarm about prison overcrowding and its impact on frontline workers.

 

2003: VSEA Board introduces two new resolutions, urging the State to take action against Express Scripts for “possible illegal activity.”

 

2004: VSEA launches a worksite organizing initiative, to be led by Chapter officers.

 

2004: Debate about the future of the old Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury heats up on rumors of a closure.

 

2004: VSEA forms a “Get Out The Vote” Committee to increase voter registration and energize the membership.

 

2004: VSEA announces it has procured “member-only” long-term disability insurance coverage for members.

 

2004: VSEA launches renewed effort to recruit new worksite Stewards.

 

2004: VSEA announces a renovation to headquarters. Adds 600-foot addition.

 

2004: VSEA protests staff cuts at the Vermont Technical College.

 

2004: State Auditor Elizabeth Ready pens column for VSEA publication, questioning the high costs of outsourcing.

 

2004: VSEA joins national campaign to “tell President Bush to back off his threat to veto overtime pay protection.

 

2005: VSEA is active participant in “Coalition 21”—a group formed to study health care reform.
 

2005: VSEA is active in campaign to prevent the federal government’s privatization of Social Security, which would adversely impact members’ retirement funds.

 

2005: VSEA Board adopts formal “Steward policy” to spur more recruitment in worksites. 

 

2005: VSEA goes to bat for members suffering chemical dependencies, including things like new carpet off gassing. 

 

2005: VSEA partners with other groups to form “The Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security.”

 

2005: VSEA and the State Benefits Division warn Medicare-eligible retirees against Medicare Part D.

 

2005: Agency of Natural Resources employees mobilize to combat agency reorganization.

 

2005: Well-attended “Steward Day” is held at the Von Trapp Lodge in Stowe.

 

2005: VSEA requests that Governor ask for State Hospital to be recertified.

 

2005: VSEA members asked by lawmakers to weigh in on State’s fleet program.

 

2006: VSEA publicly challenges State’s new communication policies, which the union contends are designed to silence workers’ voices.

 

2006: VSEA blasts report from State Auditor Randy Brock, where he makes a pitch to privatize the Veterans’ Home in Bennington.

 

2006: VSEA Corrections members cheer passage of legislation intended to help prevent inmates from “gassing” workers, or dousing them with urine and feces.

 

2006: VSEA launches fuel-buying program for members, but program’s success causes VSECU to purchase the program outright and make it their own.

 

2006: VSEA members participate in a joint union Leadership Academy Program, which brings together union activists from Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

 

2006: VSEA negotiates a side letter to allow the children of VSEA members who must take medically necessary leave from college or other types of training school to remain on their parent’s health care plan as a dependent for one year.

 

2006: For the first time, identity theft becomes a VSEA issue, following the theft of a manager’s laptop computer that contained confidential employee information.

 

2006: VSEA members and their union sound the alarm in Bennington after several employees working at the State Office Building contract the rare respiratory disease, sarcoidosis. After contracted battle, State agrees to relocate employees. 

 

2006: VSEA Corrections members hold an “issues summit” in Montpelier.

 

2006: VSEA members participate on a retirement study committee with the Treasurer’s Office.

 

2007: VSEA members denounce the downsizing of the Department of Labor.

 

2007: VSEA thanks AOT members for exemplary service during Valentine’s Day blizzard.

 

2007: Governor officially closes the old Bennington State Office Building, after workers there become ill.

 

2007: VSEA successfully lobbies for workers to be moved from 1193 North Avenue in Burlington because their building is sick.

 

2007: VSEA’s fight to save the old Vermont State Hospital intensifies.

 

2007: Bomb threat at 133 State Street leads BGS to create a “bomb threat protocol.”

 

2007: Near year’s end, Douglas Administration proposes to cut 400 positions, prompting VSEA to send letter to all members, promising to fight back.

 

2007: VSEA members and retirees protest at VSECU, blasting a decision to terminate a life insurance benefit for VSECU members.

 

2007: VSEA campaigns for a cost-of-living adjustment for members in the “Group F” retirement plan. Proposal gets finalized in 2008.

 

2007: Ladd Hall in Waterbury is added to the list of sick office buildings where VSEA members have concerns.

 

2007: VSEA blasts proposal to privatize the Vermont Lottery.

 

2007: VSEA warns members about State’s increased monitoring of employee’s computer usage. Union fights use of spying software.

 

2007: VSEA member Janet Suker leads campaign to convince State to provide state employees with time (30 days paid) to donate organs. Suker got notoriety for donating an organ to a fellow state employee she did not even know.

 

2007: VSEA voices concern about DOC members having to care for the mentally ill in prison, without proper training.

 

2008: VSEA members conduct a spirited “Speak Out” at the State House to denounce proposed position cuts.

 

2008: VSEA convenes meeting of DCF workers with the commissioner to voice their universal opposition to planned reorganization—which happens anyway (with most of the workers’ predicted outcomes).

 

2008: VSEA Corrections members voice opposition to plan to swap inmate populations between prisons—which happens anyway.

 

2008: Judge rules in favor of VSEA in a public records lawsuit, which was brought by the union when the State failed to provide requested documents in the allotted time period.

 

2008: VSEA raises concerns after Vermont is found to be nation’s worst state for protecting whistleblowers.

 

2008: At VSEA’s request, the State issues a bulletin on “Parking Lot Safety.”

 

2008: Legislature votes to create new “Government Oversight” Committee to monitor State’s position cuts.

 

2008: VSEA asked to weigh in on debate at the State House about going to a four-day workweek to save money. VSEA reminds of 24/7 operations.

 

2008: VSEA blasts decision by BGS to abandon the original mission of newly created “Quality Assurance Teams,” which was to investigate 50 state office buildings determined by employees to be the worst, in terms of safety and health. After six investigations, BGS learns the true costs and ditches project.

 

2009: VSEA launches a “You Matter, And That’s Why We’re Here” television and radio ad campaign to push back against cuts.

 

2009: Faced with an administration hell bent on cuts, cuts and more cuts, VSEA members are urged to submit any and all cost-savings ideas to headquarters. VSEA continues to lobby for the State and lawmakers to tap into the “Rainy Day Fund”—to no avail.

 

2009: VSEA conducts a series of well-attended meetings across Vermont to educate members about their Reduction-In-Force (RIF) rights. 

 

2009: VSEA denounces State’s decision to outsource annual flu clinics to private, New Hampshire vendor.

 

2009: Vermont transitions to paperless paychecks. VSEA asked for clarification every step of the way.

 

2009: VSEA creates “VSEAid” to help place members in community, state and national volunteer efforts.

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2010

2010: VSEA testifies in support of legislation to ban mandatory overtime for health care employees.

 

2010: Administration introduces “Challenges for Change,” and legislators sign it into law, against VSEA’s advice. One legislator labels it “empty legislation,” which, in the end, it proves to be. By July, It’s determined that the plan is $10 million short of stated goal.

 

2010: VSEA members learn that lawmakers are asking them to help address Vermont’s budget deficit take a 3% cut in pay. VSEA is not happy and conducts a series of meetings statewide to gauge how members feel about the proposal. Members reluctantly agree to take the “deal,” which was less than what the Administration was prepared to extract.

 

2010: VSEA lobbies hard to protect members who are going to retire in the near future from having the 3% pay cut impact their average final compensation (AFC).

 

2010: Private attorney solicits more than 30 VSEA members working in Pay Grade 23 jobs or above to join a class-action, overtime lawsuit.

 

2010: VSEA seeks members to serve on a “State Employee Incentive Review” committee to vet cost-savings ideas submitted by frontline workers.

 

2010: VSEA celebrates the DEC Lab in Waterbury’s 20-year anniversary.

 

2010: VSEA wins for its military members when the Vermont Labor Relations Board issues a ruling that the State wrongfully directed a DOC employee to use his entire 15 days of contractual paid military leave “up front,” rather than spread throughout the year, as has been past practice. 

 

2010: VSEA is forced again to file lawsuits to try and access certain “public” records.

 

2010: VSEA issues concerns about the huge fall the State’s 3Squares food program has taken since cuts.

 

2010: Workers displaced from the sick Bennington State Office Building learn they will move into brand new space in April 2012.

 

2010: VSEA spreads the word about a new federal Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act provision that extends health insurance coverage for dependents up to age 26 who do not have the offer of health insurance through an employer.

 

2010: DCF is called out for failed computer modernization project. Problems are never-ending.

 

2011: New Administration enters office and asks state employees to find $12 million in savings. VSEA schedules and conducts member meetings statewide.

 

 2011: VSEA wins major public records lawsuit against State. Judge awards union attorney’s fees.

 

2011: VSEA lobbies for passage of a bill to tax plastic bags. Study finds it could generate $10 million in new revenue.

 

2011: VSEA members agree to increase retirement contribution by 1.3% for five years, with a sunset clause.

 

2011: VSEA members are at the State House to participate in a solidarity rally to support Wisconsin state employees, who were just beginning to feel the full wrath of Scott Walker.

 

2011: New study finds that 4 out of 5 Vermonters support a tax increase for the state’s wealthiest.

 

2011: VSEA State Hospital members push back against mandated overtime.

 

2011: VSEA sends a delegation of members to Concord, NH, to show solidarity for that state’s public employees, who were facing draconian cuts.

 

2011: Vermont Senate passes resolution supporting collective bargaining rights for all Vermonters.

 

2011: VSEA commissions a poll and learns that Vermonters strongly support public employees and their right to have a union. Vermonters also come in strong against private companies and for taxing the state’s wealthiest.

 

2011: VSEA begins collecting stories about privatization from state employees who are working side by side with VABIR employees.

 

2011: Vermont Workers’ Center launches its “People’s Budget” campaign, which VSEA supports.

 

2011: Corrections Unit Chair Dave Bellini sends a letter to the editor, advocating for health care benefits for DOC temps.

 

2011: VSEA Board votes to publish Bylaws and Board minutes on VSEA website.

 

2011: Hurricane Irene devastates Vermont, and VSEA members perform heroically across the state. A number of workplace issues arise, as a result, including the loss of the State Hospital, increased travel expenses and interim siting for displaced workers.

 

2012: VSEA members ratify a new contract that restores the 3% pay cut suffered during the recession and grants members an additional 2% wage increase.

 

2012: VSEA NMU and Supervisory Unit members negotiate a “teleworking” policy with the State.

 

2012: Still trying to figure out what to do with Vermont’s mental health system, post Irene, displaced VSEA members are assigned to a newly opened but temporary mental health facility in Morrisville.

 

2012: VSEA blasts State’s decision to RIF 80 State Hospital workers who were displaced following Irene. Calls the move short-sighted and ill-advised. 

 

2012: Probate Registers vote to join VSEA’s Judiciary Unit.  

 

2012: VSEA surveys members displaced by Irene to see how they are doing in their temporary workplaces. 

 

2012: VSEA members participate in grand opening ceremonies for the newly constructed Bennington State Office Building. The old building was leveled after six workers in it contracted a rare respiratory disease.

 

2012: Surpassing the 200-member threshold, the Judiciary is awarded a seat on the VSEA Board of Trustees.

 

2012: At the regional “America’s Transportation Awards” (ATA), Vermont’s AOT receives an “Ahead of Schedule” award in the “large project” division for its Hurricane Irene response.

 

2012: VSEA reaches an agreement with DAIL about future VABIR contracts. DAIL agrees, in effect, to follow the requirements of the State’s privatization statute when entering into all future VABIR grants. This means DAIL will now obtain certification from the Attorney General’s Office to ensure that it meets the statutory criteria for all VABIR grants. No RIFs will occur and then be replaced with VABIR employees without advance notice to VSEA and an opportunity to propose alternatives, consistent with the statute. 

 

2012: VSEA members and supporters pack a meeting room at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bennington to participate in a public forum on patient care issues at the Vermont Veterans Home.

 

2012: VSEA member and resident complaints spark extensive mold remediation project at Veterans’ Home. VSEA protests workers being asked to scrub mold from walls.

 

2012: State begins review of Middlessex site for new, temporary mental health facility.

 

2012: VSEA members working at the Veterans’ Home cheer news that federal funding is safe after facility passes a critical and final inspection.

 

2012: VSEA members working for the State’s 3Squares Program complain that position cuts are driving up error rates, which costs the state money.

 

2012: VSEA Retirees’ Chapter sponsors a well-attended spaghetti dinner to benefit the Chapter’s Relief Fund.

 

2012: In advance of the 2013 legislative session, VSEA President pens a column in several papers, warning against more cuts to services and positions.

 

2013: VSEA lobbies for passage of a “Fair Share” bill to ensure all state employees are treated equitably when it comes to union dues.

 

2013: State breaks ground on new State Hospital in Berlin.

 

2013: VSEA Strategic Analyst Adam Norton issues report showing a marked increase in the number of temps being used throughout state government.

 

2013: VSEA members conduct a “Parking Town Hall” to voice concerns about a lack of employee parking in downtown Montpelier.

 

2013: VSEA celebrates the Roxbury Fish Hatchery coming back on line after being decimated by Hurricane Irene.

 

2013: Veterans’ Home members forced to mobilize to stop talk about privatization in Montpelier. 

 

2014: VSEA members successfully lobby legislators to conduct a study about the pros and cons of allowing VSEA members to pursue independent grievance arbitration.

 

2014: VSEA leader speaks at a rally in favor of raising Vermont’s minimum wage to $10.50 by 2018.

 

2014: With VSEA’s full support. Legislature passes a bill to provide an extra layer of protection (read: anonymity) to frontline employee whistleblowers.

 

2014: At VSEA’s request, lawmakers vote to reduce the number of hours a temporary employee can work from 1520 to 1280 hours per calendar year.

 

2014: VSEA launches a “We Are All John Howe” campaign to support employee’s fight to end retaliation against whistleblowers. 

 

2014: VSEA launches campaign to organize staff at the University of Vermont. By an extremely close margin, workers reject VSEA.

 

2014: VSEA issues take center stage at May Day Rally at the State House.

 

2014: After much debate, VSEA leadership votes to move VSEA Medicare-eligible retirees into EGWP Prescription Drug Plan.

 

2014: BGS custodians’ efforts rewarded with new mold removal protocol. 

 

2014: VSEA creates “Scapy” the scapegoat to represent ESD and DCF workers who say they are being scapegoated for poor management practices that lead to poor results.

 

2014: VSEA launches campaign to organize District States Attorneys’ employees.

 

2014: Veterans’ Home workers lobby successfully for a worker seat on the facility’s Board.

 

2014: New Green Mountain Psychiatric Care Hospital officially opens in Berlin.

 

2014: State announces improvements to employees’ dental plan.

 

2014: With VSEA’s blessing, legislature approves a new “Position Pilot Program” which allows managers with AOT, DCF, DEC, and BGS to bypass legislative approval to add new positions as needed, within existing budgets. It proves successful.

 

2014: State announces that employee health care premiums will rise by nearly 18% due to State’s decision to offer ill-advised premium holidays instead of banking money.

 

2014: Lawmakers ask VSEA members in certain job categories to complete a “stressful jobs” survey to gauge how on-the-job stress is impacting workers.

 

2014: VSEA launches new App as another communication and education tool for members to use.

 

2014: VSEA Veterans’ Home members protest decision to cut the number of beds in the facility.

 

2015: VSEA applauds VSEA member Ingrid Jonas being the first woman promoted to captain in the Vermont State Police.

 

2015: VSEA members conduct a “Fight Back” campaign to combat proposed cuts to services and positions. VSEA 911 dispatchers lead the fight. Throughout the year, members are asked to sign a contract “Respect and Dignity” petition.

 

2015: VSEA is joined by several other organizations for a press conference to provide lawmakers with numerous revenue-generating ideas.

 

2015: VSEA holds a rally at the State House to push back against proposed cuts to services and jobs.

 

2015: State offers longtime employees an early retirement incentive.

 

2015: Advocates for mentally ill Vermonters begin to publicly question the State’s reorganization of the system, post Irene. Say it’s not working.

 

2015: VSEA Social Worker Lara Sobel is tragically killed by a client while leaving work. Hundreds turn out for a special VSEA-organized event to mourn Sobel. Death sparks new and needed debate about safety improvements for frontline DCF workers, or any state employee for that matter. VSEA also establishes a special fund that raises more than $45,000 for Sobel’s two daughters.

 

2015: New Health Department Lab opens in Colchester.

 

2015: The State fails to show for the first official bargaining session between it and VSEA, angering many AOT members who attended. They march to the Pavilion Building to voice their anger.

 

2015: VSEA issues a press release, calling on the Judiciary to improve courthouse safety for workers.

 

2015: VSEA members conduct a “worker safety” rally outside the Pavilion Building to raise awareness about union’s campaign to enhance employee safety while at work.

 

2015: VSEA prints hundreds of lawn signs to support state employees and distributes them in Vermont communities.

 

2015: VSEA members in the State’s Risk Management Division begin to mobilize against privatization, with VSEA’s support.

 

2015: VSEA’s big three Bargaining Teams end the year locked at impasse with the State, with both sides preparing to head to fact finding in the new year.

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