VSEA’s Jeff Briggs Lends Union’s Support To H. 549

Legislation would ensure Vermont contracts only with companies that pay their employees a fair and livable wage. This is defined by companies whose CEO earns no more than eight times what the company’s lowest paid employee earns.

Vermont State Employees’ Association Joins Coalition Supporting H. 549


            Today, the Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) joined at the State House with other groups to support H. 549; legislation drafted to foster increased economic and social justice across Vermont by mandating that corporations doing business in—or with–Vermont must maintain a highest paid employee/lowest paid employee ratio no greater than eight to one.

               “In an age where the average compensation for an American CEO is sometimes 300 times what that CEO’s lowest paid employee earns, something is terribly wrong,” said VSEA Second Vice President Jeff Briggs. “That’s why VSEA supports this legislation. We believe Vermont can once again lead the nation by ensuring our state is contracting with socially responsible entities that pay their employees a fair and livable wage.”    

Briggs explained that the salaries of a majority of the positions in state government are routinely scrutinized, but, in the private sector, there are often no checks and balances, which has helped create the incredible compensation imbalance between a company’s top- and low-level employees.

               “Look at a company like Corrections Corporation of America, which is alive and well and operating right here in Vermont,” said Briggs. “CCA’s CEO earned more than $3 million in total compensation in 2010. I’m going to guess the average CCA correctional office didn’t even come close to making eight times less than that. These are the kinds of companies—and the kind of mentality—that are destroying America’s middle class. Vermont can do better—and should do better.”