155 State Street
P.O. Box 518
Montpelier, VT 05601-0518
Phone: (802) 223-5247 or Toll-Free (800) 427-5427
Fax: (802) 223-4035
Meet The VSEA Staff
On this page, meet the 22 people who come to work every day at VSEA headquarters prepared to represent Vermont state employees on contract and legal matters and do whatever is necessary to ensure the protection and enhancement of VSEA members' wages, benefits, safety and health protections and other working conditions.
In addition, HQ staff is also busy every day keeping members' up to date, disseminating educational material(s) to the membership and helping ensure VSEA members are conducting effective campaigns around contract issues or working conditions.
Mark E. Mitchell
Rebecca McBroom – Field Services Supervisor
Gary Hoadley – Labor Relations Director – Newport/Island Pond
Kelly Burns – Chittenden
John Brabant – Franklin/Grand Isle, Lamoille Valley, St. Johnsbury/NEK, Vermont State Hospital
Gretchen Naylor – Brattleboro, Springfield, Waterbury, White River Junction
Bob South – Addison County, Bennington, Rutland
David Van Deusen – Barre, Central Vermont
Mark Mitchell serves you as VSEA's Executive Director. From lobbying for policy initiatives at the State House, to negotiating contracts across the bargaining table, to filing grievances when state employees' rights are violated, Mark oversees pretty much everything that the union does.
Mitchell takes his direction from the union's President, Board of Trustees and other member leaders, and he works hard to coordinate the staff in ways that best carry out the priorities and goals set by your elected leaders. Throughout it all, Mitchell ensures that the VSEA maintains the highest standards of integrity and competence, offering a bold vision for your union's future, working hard to fix problems as they come up and supporting state workers' participation at every level of the union.
While Mitchell is a newcomer to Vermont (he moved here to join VSEA in 2011), he is no rookie to union work. Since graduating with a B.S. from Georgetown University and honors from the University of Southern California Law Center in 1992, Mitchell has done practically every union job imaginable – executive, attorney, organizer, business agent, negotiator, strike coordinator, lobbyist, labor educator and international solidarity worker. He has held jobs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orlando and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in support of garment workers, nurses, government workers, school teachers, film and television writers, and opera and ballet artists.
But to Mitchell, the work has always been bigger than the job. He is dedicated to the labor movement, and he believes that beautiful things happen when working people come together to find their voice, stand up for themselves, and act collectively. He brings the experience and skills necessary to help VSEA evolve in that direction.
Mark lives in Barre City with his dog Henry and is always open to hearing ideas for new ways that VSEA can engage state employees in defending the important services you provide to Vermonters.
With 24 years of dedicated service, Aylâ Hudson has the distinction of being VSEA's most-tenured employee; a title she wears with pride.
"I have seen VSEA grow and go through many changes, and I feel like I have grown with VSEA," says Hudson, who is one of VSEA's three Administrative Assistants. "I am so proud to be a part of the VSEA family. It's a big part of who I am."
Believe it or not, Hudson hasn't always been a VSEA employee. Before coming to the union, she worked at a variety of different places, including Dartmouth College and the Dana Bio-Medical Library in Hanover, N.H. She's also been active in interactive television and her Art Education degree allowed her at one time to be a medical illustrator for cardio-vascular specialist.
Since joining VSEA, Hudson has had a role in just about every facet of the union's day-to-day business, including answering phones, preparing mailings, greeting members and other visitors, updating databases and lists, administering programs like the Supplemental Dental Plan, putting together material packets, arranging meetings and a whole host of other duties. The best part of the job to Hudson, however, is getting to interact every day with VSEA members and retirees, many of whom really are like family members to her.
"I really enjoy working with—and assisting—state employees," says Hudson. "I love the diversity of the membership and I support the union's mission."
Hudson is fluent in three languages, including English, French and, most important, her native Turkish.
VSEA members can contact Aylâ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the past nine years, many members and others visiting VSEA headquarters have been welcomed by Sylvie Rivard; one of VSEA's three Administrative Assistants.
Rivard, a native Vermonter who worked in the field of education for more than 20 years before joining VSEA, grew up in a union environment, surrounded by family and friends working in the granite industry and belonging to the Barre Granite Association.
"When I decided to leave the education field, I knew I wanted to work in a job where I could help working class, unionized Vermonters because I knew how the union helped my family," explains Rivard. "VSEA was a great fit, and I have really learned a lot in my time here." Rivard says that as far as VSEA's primary issues go, she is especially interested in helping members who are close to retirement—and those who have already retired—protect the benefits they worked hard to earn.
"In the past few years, I have seen and heard from more and more members who are really concerned about an increase in attacks on their retirement," says Rivard. "It really feels good to be able to help these members in whatever way I can." When not working for the union, Rivard enjoys volunteering, teaching English as a second language to recent immigrants from Poland, Bosnia, Greece, China, Korea and a host of other countries.
VSEA members can e-mail Sylvie at email@example.com.
Nikolas Stein joined VSEA's headquarters support staff in May, 2013. Before joining the labor movement, Nikolas was a criminal-defense investigator and senior litigation paralegal.
Nikolas is enthusiastic to work alongside Ayla Hudson and Sylvie Rivard in continuing to provide Union Members and Retirees with timely and thorough services, so that VSEA can keep building the Union and labor solidarity.
Nikolas and his partner raise rare and heritage-breed birds in East Montpelier.
Communications Coordinator Doug Gibson joined the VSEA staff in 2005, after having already worked nearly 20 years in the labor movement, first in a variety of jobs for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and then as Communications Director for the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
"I've spent more than half my life working in labor, and I was very happy when VSEA hired me because it gave me the opportunity to continue working in the labor movement in this beautiful state, while also getting to learn, understand and help educate all Vermonters about the important work being done every day issues by our state and public employees," says Gibson, adding, "It's pretty amazing how much change and evolution VSEA has experienced in just my eight short years here at VSEA. There have been some very tough battles, like the RIFs and sick buildings and bad contractors, but I really admire the way the membership has banded together when it mattered most and has collectively made sure members' voices were being heard loud and clear."
Gibson's primary responsibility at VSEA is to serve as the union's primary point person to the media and to ensure publication of the union's weekly e-mail news blast (Week in Action) and periodic publication of the recently resurrected VSEA Voice. He also serves as the administrator of the VSEA website, posting and developing content for the site, and he is the union's unofficial photographer and videographer. Gibson says he's pleased now to also be helping the union's Legislative and Organizing Departments develop flyers and informational brochures.
Explaining the roots of his interest in workers' issues, Gibson says, "My grandfather was a proud UMWA coal miner, and he taught me early on about the power of unions and the importance of solidarity. You can't grow up in western Pennsylvania and not know about the UMWA and its historic role in helping workers win rights and protections. It was in honor of those men and women—but most important my grandfather—that I went to work for the UMWA. Now I'm happy to be here in Vermont, putting some of what I have learned throughout my career to use helping VSEA members protect their wages, benefits and retirement security." Gibson says he's disappointed that, somewhere along the line, anti-worker forces were able to demonize unions in the minds of many Americans.
"A large responsibility for seasoned VSEA members—and really all VSEA members—is to educate our less informed co-workers about why this union was founded and about the gains and protections the membership has won," says Gibson. "For Vermont public employees, it's critically important to keep VSEA strong while continuing to grow the union. I am excited to be a part of this process, and I am extremely happy to be working at VSEA. I promise to continue doing my very best."