VSEA Judiciary Workers’ Years-Long Campaign For Wage Fairness Ends In Victory

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March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017




VSEA issued the following press release this morning:

Members of the Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) Judiciary Unit are celebrating a binding decision by a neutral consultant to raise the wages of Docket Clerks and Court Officers by two pay grades (PG15 to PG17) and also Courtroom Operators by two pay grades (PG16 to PG18).

The review was prompted by a fact-finder’s report released early in December 2016 that supported the VSEA members’ position to use a mutually selected neutral party to evaluate the Judiciary workers’ wages. The parties adopted that report in a final agreement reached between the Judiciary Unit employees and Court Administrator shortly after the report’s release. Today, the Judiciary workers learned that the years of hard work that led to the review and other contract improvements was worth it.

“This is a really great win for this Unit and for VSEA,” says VSEA President Dave Bellini. “The whole group stuck together and supported each other during what was a tough fight. I admire the way all the Judiciary workers, with the support of the broader legal community—including judges and lawyers—rallied around the Docket Clerks and others in this Unit to make sure something was done about their low wages. To their credit, these employees really embraced the labor concept of ‘a wrong to one is a wrong to all’ and, in the end, they won.”

“This is fantastic news,” exclaims VSEA Judiciary Unit Chairperson Margaret Crowley. “I know the wage increase will help some of these workers finally be able to get off public assistance or possibly let go of that second or third job. I’m very proud of my colleagues and the way they stepped up and all contributed something to this win. A lot of smiles in Vermont’s courthouses this week, I imagine.”

Now that the review is complete, VSEA will be lobbying with the Judiciary at the State House to secure the money needed to fund the Judiciary workers’ wage increase. In a March 13 memo to Judiciary staff, Court Administrator Patricia Gabel writes, “The fiscal impact of these reclassifications is estimated to be $584,235 in total annually as applied prospectively beginning in FY 2018, and an additional $323,828 if applied retroactively to the December 15, 2016 agreement date as provided in the agreement. The Judiciary and the VSEA will be working together to advocate in support of this funding request.”

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