September 9, 2015
VSEA first Vice President Michelle Salvador and member-leader John Howe initiated a meeting last week with House Speaker Shap Smith, House Appropriations Chair Mitzi Johnson, House Appropriations committee member Mary Hooper, House Government Operations Chair Donna Sweaney and House Government Operations Committee member Maida Townshend. Also in attendance were Corrections Unit Chair Dave Bellini and Non-Management Unit Chair Bob Stone.
“We scheduled the meeting to address the Legislature’s recent interference in topics of collective bargaining and to establish VSEA member relations with powerful committees to foster ongoing discussions around matters of funding government,” explains Salvador.
The meeting was initiated after members John Howe and Retirees’ Chapter President Joanie Maclay collected 80 signatures on a petition at the Democratic Party’s Curtis Awards event earlier this year to oppose legislative interference in collective bargaining. The petition denounces a letter from two powerful House Committee Chairs to the State, where they suggest several draconian changes to state employees’ contracts.
“This is how member-run unions work” adds Salvador. “Members openly challenge the actions of lawmakers, even if the legislators are often our friends. Building these relationship opens the dialogue and advances our cause. The meeting was very productive and we are looking forward to furthering our conversations with these representatives.”
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