VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: April 12, 2019


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Office Of State’s Attorney’s Employees Vote To Join VSEA

VSEA’s Press Release This Morning: 

Employees working in Office of State’s Attorney’s (OSA) offices across Vermont have voted to join the Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA). The votes were tallied this morning by Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) officials, who announced that a large majority of the OSA employees participating in the election had voted for VSEA representation. 

“This is really great news for the OSA workers, and I applaud them for their decision to band together as a unit to work with VSEA to get the wages, benefits and working conditions they want and deserve,” says VSEA President Dave Bellini. “Now we begin the bargaining process to get these workers a fair and just first contract that addresses their key concerns but also other things like how to give the OSA workers more of a voice in their day-to-day workplace operations, especially when it comes to issues around caseloads, staffing and the allocation of resources.” No timeline has been established yet for formal bargaining between VSEA and the OSA. 

"I am looking forward to working with VSEA and my fellow prosecutors, victim advocates and support staff across Vermont to begin addressing the challenges we are all facing statewide,” says new VSEA member and Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney Ashley Hill.

The OSA workers who will now be represented by the VSEA include 110 Deputy State’s Attorneys, Secretary IV’s, Victim’s Advocates, and Administrative Secretary’s, working in 14 OSA offices across Vermont. VSEA had been talking and working with the OSA employees for a few years now, leading the VSEA Board of Trustees to vote in December 2018 to proceed with an election for the OSA workers.

VSEA 2019 Election Season Launches Soon

At the end of April, VSEA’s Elections, Rules & Nominating Committee will be sending a mailing to all eligible VSEA members, detailing this year’s important leadership elections and explaining the process to become a candidate, which includes submitting a petition that will be included with the mailing. 
The following union leadership posts are up for election in 2019:

  • VSEA President
  • VSEA First Vice President 
  • VSEA Second Vice President
  • VSEA Treasurer
  • VSEA Clerk
  • District 1 Board Seat (Central Vermont, Barre)
  • District 2 Board Seat (Waterbury, VPCH)
  • District 5 Board Seat (Rutland, Bennington)

Keep your eyes on VSEA’s website, Facebook page and future WIA’s for more information about the elections and the upcoming membership mailing.

The winners of each election will be announced at this year’s VSEA Annual Meeting in Okemo

Out-Of-State, Anti-Union Group Writes VT Senators To Oppose VSEA’s Arbitration Legislation

VSEA’s legislative team was made aware yesterday of a letter opposing VSEA’s arbitration bill that was recently sent to Vermont Senators by the National Right-To-Work Foundation; an anti-union, corporate-funded group based in Springfield, Virginia.

Obviously, this group has been led to believe that VSEA’s bill is a real threat to the current system, which they appear to favor. This should tell every VSEA member all they need to know about the current system and why VSEA is proposing to change it. 

Here’s background on VSEA’s bill. in case you run into a Senator or want to send of message to them, supporting VSEA’s bill.

VSEA’s bill would provide for binding arbitration of contract disputes for workers in the state, the state colleges, and municipal public safety. The bill would keep the current system of resolving contract disputes through the submission of last-best-offer proposals, but would replace the VLRB with a private arbitrator, selected by both parties. This would ensure that your contract is decided by truly neutral professional, rather than by a Board appointed by the governor. If passed, this legislation would resolve the problem VSEA member faced in 2018, when the State appointed a management lawyer to a neutral position on the Board on the day before the last-best-offer hearing.

Find Your VT Senator’s Contact Information

See Also:

May 1 Is The Deadline To Submit Bylaw Changes

The deadline to submit proposals for changes to VSEA’s Master Bylaws is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Proposals must be mailed to: Tim Belcher, General Counsel, c/o VSEA Headquarters, 155 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.

Proposals should reference the number, section, sub-section, etc. of the bylaw you would like to change. You should also include the language you want to add, delete or substitute. Also include the reason(s) you are making this proposal.  Example:  “Bylaw 0 A (1) (b) Change: Monday to Sunday. Reason: Makes it easier to work with the calendar.”

Please be sure the changes you are recommending include all Articles and/or Bylaws that may be affected by the proposed change.

If you have questions, please contact Tim by email at tbelcher@vsea.org.

This Was National Work Zone Awareness Week 

This week was "National Work Zone Awareness Week," and the theme is “Drive Like You Work Here.” While it’s still a little early for major road construction here in Vermont, our AOT crews are starting to pop up here and there on our states highways and byways, so please always remember to slow down and be patient. 

Since 2000, National Work Zone Awareness Week has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration.

NWZAW Photos Posted To VT AOT’s Facebook page

DOC Members Meet With Senate Judiciary Committee Chair

A group of VSEA members, working for the DOC in various capacities, met this week with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairperson Dick Sears (D-Bennington) to talk about issues of concern to probation and parole officers, corrections officers and other DOC staff. Pictured here (l to r) from the head of the table are Sen. Dick Sears, Ethan Bacon, Herb Sinkinson, Dave Bellini, Carl Davis, Leona Watt, Mike Arace and Steve Howard. Sears requested the meeting because he wanted to hear firsthand from frontline DOC personnel.  

Updates From The State House

VSEA Legislative Session Report:
April 11, 2019 

Read this report and all previous Legislative Session Reports here.

VPCH & MTCR Members To Hold Quarterly Meeting With Secretary

VSEA DMH members working at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin and the Middlesex Therapeutic Community Residence are being invited to attend an upcoming face-to-face meeting with AHS Secretary Al Gobeille. The meeting is also being joined by DMH’s General Counsel.

Tuesday. April 16
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
155 State Street

The meeting comes at a time when the future of the Middlesex facility is being debated at the State House, as well as the future of Vermont’s mental health care system as a whole.

VPCH and MTCR members who are able to attend are urged to participate in this important meeting.

Email Coming Next Week About Next Opportunity To Enroll In VSEA’s Popular Delta Dental Supplemental Plan Benefit 

An email is being sent next week to VSEA members, announcing a new, open-enrollment period to participate in your union’s very popular Delta Dental Supplemental Plan. The enrollment period is also when members already in the program can amend their number of dependents also using the program, if this number has changed in the past year. 
Once received in your inbox, all enrollment forms will be due back on May 17, 2019
Note: If you are already taking advantage of this benefit, and you have no changes this year to your coverage, you do not need to send back a new form, as you will be automatically renewed

Learn More About VSEA’s Insurance Benefits


Just Because They Say It, Doesn’t Make It True

In a commentary posted this week to VTDigger, the past vice-chair of the Vermont GOP once again makes the false claim that the number of Vermont state and local workers is double that in New Hampshire. It’s simply not true, and VSEA members are urged to call out politicians, think-tank wonks and others who continue to promote this myth.

Also, Vermont does not have the county government structure that New Hampshire does, meaning more of an onus on state workers to fill in the gaps.

Thanks in advance for helping VSEA dispel this myth and for helping to educate Vermonters with the truth.

Reserve Your Room Now For VSEA’s 2019 Annual Meeting At Okemo 

VSEA’s Annual Meeting is September 14, 2019, which is approaching quickly. The Special Events Committee is letting VSEA members know that you can reserve a room now through a special link created by Okemo.

VSEA members will need to use a special rate code for the event, which is:


Reserve Room Now Here! 

Room types available:

  • Inn Room (occupancy 2-4)
    1 to 2 nights = $159 per night
    3 nights = $144.54
  • Studio (occupancy 2-4)
    1 to 2 nights = $173 per night
    3 nights = $157.27
  • One-Bedroom (occupancy 2-6)
    1 to 2 nights = $195 per night
    3 nights = $177.63
  • Two-Bedroom (occupancy 4-6)
    1 to 2 nights = $235 per night
    3 nights = $213.63

The Committee is also sharing that there are two things members identified in the survey as important discussions to be conducted at Annual Meeting, including a review, discussion and vote on the union’s operating budget and a celebration of "surviving the Janus decision." 

The Committee is reminding members to keep an eye out in future WIAs for more 2019 Annual Meeting updates.

"Annual Meeting 2019" Facebook Event Page

Insurance Benefits!

WIA was asked by VSEA Benefits Administrator, Joanne Woodcock, to include the following in this week’s newsletter:

VSEA Insurance Benefits is now making the following Aflac insurance policies available to VSEA members!

View this full flyer ad! (PDF)

Set Up An Appointment Here!

* Certain face amounts may not be available. Underwriting requirements apply. ** Subject to certain conditions and payment of claims is subject to all policy limitations and exclusions and pre-existing conditions. 
This is a brief product overview for illustrative purposes only. Benefits and/or premiums may vary based on the state and benefit option selected. Riders may be available for an additional premium. Policies described herein have limitations and exclusions that may affect benefits payable. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact your Aflac insurance agent/producer. Individual coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.  
WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road, Columbus, GA 31999 | aflac.com

Learn more about VSEA Insurance benefits online!

Quote Of
The Week!


“We need elected officials and candidates at every level to get serious about speaking out for the trade union movement. This should not be an afterthought.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking this week to the International Association of Machinists at the union’s conference in Las Vegas, as reported by The Hill. Sanders called for a ban on right-to-work laws. 


Upcoming Meetings:


Know Your Rights Training

  • Springfield – State Office Bldg.
    Wednesday, April 17

    12:00 p.m.
    100 Mineral Street
    First Floor Conference Room

    Questions: Contact VSEA Organizer David Oppenheimer: doppenheimer@vsea.org



Talking Points:


Stop & Shop Workers In Three NE States Strike

“Stop & Shop You Can’t Hide, We Can See Your Greedy Side."

Numerous media outlets across New England reported yesterday on a decision by thousands of Stop & Shop workers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut to walk off the job in protest of the store’s “final” proposal offer. One of the unions representing the workers, UFCW Local 1445, maintains that the company is “demanding unreasonable wage and benefit cuts” and asking customers to do more of the work themselves.

“While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting worker benefits, [the parent-company’s] shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million,” a union press release read.

UFCW Local 1445’s President’s Message To Public About Strike 

These Jobs Are Disappearing Faster Than Any Others

Governing posted an article this week, listing the 10 jobs that are disappearing fastest across America. 

From the story:
“Rapid downsizing affects different parts of the country in different ways. To get a sense of the impact, Governing reviewed recently released Labor Department Occupational Employment Statistics data for all occupations, identifying which occupations declined the most over the 10-year period ending last May — and where these jobs remain.”
Here is the list:
Telemarketers (-52%)
File Clerks (-46%)

Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors and Machine Operators (-44%)
Bill and Account Collectors (-39%)
Data Entry Keyers (-36%)
Order Clerks (-36%)
Chief Executives (-35%)
Production Worker Helpers (-30%)
Installation, Maintenance and Repair Worker Helpers (-30%)
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers (-30%)

CA State Workers Confused By Elevator’s Newly Installed "RIOT" Button

The World Magazine reports this week that a new elevator button inside the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration has state workers there worried.

"In March, elevators in the Sacramento, Calif., building were retrofitted with a ‘RIOT’ button placed above the normal floor selection buttons. According to state employees who work in the building, no one in California’s government explained the meaning or purpose of the new fixture, leading workers to speculate about building security. According to a State Department of General Services spokesman, the buttons were installed to indicate to passengers the elevators would not be descending to the ground level. The spokesman said the button reflected a new security protocol designed to secure the building in the event of a riot."

This Week:

Office Of State’s Attorney’s Employees Vote To Join VSEA​

VSEA 2019 Election Season Launches Soon

Out-Of-State, Anti-Union Group Writes VT Senators To Oppose VSEA’s Arbitration Legislation

May 1 Is The Deadline To Submit Bylaw Changes

This Was National Work Zone Awareness Week 

DOC Members Meet With Senate Judiciary Committee Chair

Updates From The State House​

VPCH & MTCR Members To Hold Quarterly Meeting With Secretary

Email Coming Next Week About Next Opportunity To Enroll In VSEA’s Popular Delta Dental Supplemental Plan Benefit 

Just Because They Say It, Doesn’t Make It True

Reminder! VSEA Wants Your Input On Child Care

VSEA Schedules 2019 “Day At Fenway” Event For Saturday, June 8!

Reserve Your Room Now For VSEA’s 2019 Annual Meeting At Okemo

VSEA Insurance Benefits!




April 16
Board Of Trustees’ Meeting 
155 State Street
9:00 a.m. 

April 16
VPCH / MTCR Members’ Meeting w/ AHS Secretary
155 State Street
4:30 p.m.

April 17
Child & Elder Care Committee Meeting
155 State Street
9:00 a.m.

April 17
Know Your Rights Training – Springfield
State Office Building
100 Mineral Street
First Floor Conference Room
12:00 p.m.


Talking Points:


Stop & Shop Workers In Three NE States Strike

These Jobs Are Disappearing Faster Than Any Others

CA State Workers Confused By Elevator’s Newly Installed "RIOT" Button




VSEA Schedules 2019 “Day At Fenway” Event For Saturday, June 8!​

VSEA Wants Your Input On Child Care​

Negotiations Training Scheduled May 3 For VSEA Bargaining Team Members

Need To Contact A VSEA Staff Person Directly But Need The Number?​

2019 Legislative Session Online Hub

State Employees Who Are Threatened On The Job Should File "eAlert" Form

VSEA Scholarship Application Deadline Is May 8!​

VSEA Membership Drive 2019 Now Underway!

Told You’re Being Investigated?
Watch This Video!

"Protect Your Pension" Meeting Video

What You Should Know About The Anti-Worker Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!

What Is The VSEA Advantage Program?


VSEA Schedules 2019 “Day At Fenway” Event For Saturday, June 8!

“VSEA Day at Fenway” has been scheduled and the bus will be headed to Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon, June 8, to see the Red Sox battle the Tampa Bay Rays, starting at 1:00 p.m. The cost is $111 per person, which includes a bus ride to and from the park, as well as a ticket to the game. 
As in years past, the bus will make stops in Waterbury (State Office Complex, 7:00 a.m.) and White River Junction (I-91, Exit 12, 8:00 a.m.). 

New seat location this year is Section 89, Rows DD-HH (Right Field).

If you and your family would be interested in joining your union and fellow members at Fenway on June 8, 2019, contact VSEA Union Representative Bob South or VSEA Administrative Assistant Sue DeVoid. You can reach Bob by email at bsouth@vsea.org or by phone at 223-5247 You can reach Sue by email at sdevoid@vsea.org or by phone at 223-5247. 
Note: Payment must be received before tickets are released, and there is no refund on purchased tickets.

"VSEA Day At Fenway" Facebook Event Page

Reminder! VSEA Wants Your Input On Child Care

VSEA’s child-care survey started out of the gate strong but responses are waning, so another friendly reminder to please take a few minutes to complete your union’s short nine-question survey on this important topic. 


VSEA has filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) against the State for implementing an infants-at-work policy without first bargaining it with your union, VSEA leaders are seeking immediate input from members on issues and concerns with Vermont’s current child-care system, what improvements are needed and what child-care options the State should consider offering, i.e. on-site child-care facilities in state office buildings.  
To find out how members feel, a VSEA child-care survey has been created. VSEA leaders are asking any and all members to complete this important survey, so they can be as prepared and educated as possible, if the Labor Board rules for VSEA and we end up at the table, working with the State to craft a thoughtful policy with input from any and all state employees who will benefit.  
Take Child-Care Survey Here 
Thanks in advance!

Negotiations Training Scheduled May 3 For VSEA Bargaining Team Members

Seems like the last round of negotiations with the State just wrapped up, but it’s already time to begin the process all over again, which is why VSEA Labor Relations Director Gary Hoadley sent this notice this week to VSEA Unit Bargaining Team members.

VSEA Bargaining Teams’ Negotiating Training 

Friday, May 3, 2019
Registration 8:30 a.m.
Training 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Lunch provided!
Steak House Restaurant
1239 US Route 302
Barre-Montpelier Road
Barre, Vermont
To Register: Please confirm your attendance by Friday, April 19, 2019, by contacting VSEA Administrative Assistant Susan DeVoid at 802-223-5247 or by email at sdevoid@vsea.org.

Need To Contact A VSEA Staff Person Directly But Need The Number? 

VSEA HQ is reminding members and retirees of each staff person’s direct phone number, in the event you know who you need to talk with but you don’t know their direct phone number.

Here’s the staff direct line list

Note: For future reference, please save the direct numbers of staff pertinent to you. Thanks!

2019 Legislative Session Online Hub

A collection of resources, reports, and tools to help VSEA members navigate the Vermont Legislative Session.

Clicking on the hub’s main link, members and retirees are taken to a page that lists a number of options to click on, including:

The hub will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

State Employees Who Are Threatened On The Job Should File "eAlert" Form

We are reminding members that there is an online form to fill out if you are threatened while at work

Find The State’s “eAlert” Homepage Here
Important: Once you land on the eAlert page, you will see an entry labeled “threat” in the menu provided. Click on it and you land on a page with written instructions and fields to complete.
In November 2017, the current Secretary of the Administration sent the State’s “Workplace Safety and Security” policy to state employees, and VSEA members are encouraged to read through the different policies, examples and responses, prior to an actual event occurring.

VSEA Scholarship Application Deadline Is May 8!

Each spring, the VSEA Awards & Scholarship Committee solicits scholarship applications from VSEA members, retirees, and their spouses, dependents and domestic partners. The application process is easy, requiring the applicant to write a couple of short essays as well as provide a grade history, employment history, personal references and a few other things. 

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 8.

Download an application here (opens/ downloads a PDF)

VSEA Membership Drive 2019
Now Underway!

Strength In Numbers!

A reminder that your union’s 2019 membership-recruitment drive is underway. Rewards for recruiting new members between now and September 1!

  • 2 new members – Dunkin Donuts gift card;
  • 5 new members – VSEA insulated coffee mug; or
  • 10 new members – $50 VISA gift card!

Bonus! Recruit a new member and receive an entry in a drawing to win one of four $300 prizes to be awarded at VSEA’s 2019 Annual Meeting! Each new recruit earns you an additional entry! Just be sure to have your recruits add your name in the "Recruited By" line of the VSEA Membership Application.
More Membership Drive Information Here!

Need a quick reference to help with your recruiting? You can view an informational webpage with some recruitment tips and advice here.

If you have any questions, or want a list of non-members in your area, please contact VSEA Director of Operations and Organizing Amy Kinsell by email: akinsell@vsea.org

Told You’re Being Investigated? Watch This Video!

It is important that every VSEA member knows his or her rights when it comes to union representation in investigatory meetings. Union representation at these meetings is a cornerstone of the labor movement. Your right to representation—as outlined in your contract and, in some cases, labor law—can be complicated.

Please take a few minutes on a break to watch the video, and know that the information being relayed could very well save your job someday. Remember, as a VSEA member, you are entitled to no-cost representation in investigatory meetings that may lead to discipline. Non-members, however, must now pay a rate of $250 to $350 per-hour for the same level of representation!

More: Know Your Union Rights

Not currently a VSEA member?
You can sign up online.

"Protect Your Pension" Meeting Video

This video is for VSEA members only. To view it you must be logged into your VSEA.org user account. If you do not have a VSEA.org account, please sign up for a free account here.

Watch the presentation online

What You Should Know About The Anti-Worker Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

If you haven’t already, begin educating yourself today about what the Janus decision means—or supplement what you know already. Please also inform your co-workers about this Janus page and talk with them about what you learned and remind them of the importance of a union in their everyday life. You could make a difference. Every study shows that nothing is more effective than member-to-member communication.​

Learn More On VSEA.org

Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!

Long-time VSEA activist and leader Terry Lefebvre asked Council members getting ready to retire to join the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter to continue to be an active and engaged union member, even in retirement. Lefebvre also appealed to Council members to talk up the Chapter to co-workers they know who might be preparing to retire. 
With a possible fight looming on retirement security, Lefebvre stressed the importance to build the Chapter to be able to mobilize large numbers of past state workers to protect and defend the benefits they bargained to win over decades.

If you already belong to the Retired Members’ Chapter, a big thanks to you.
Learn More Here About The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter

What is the VSEA Advantage Program?

Did you know?
The average VSEA member can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking advantage of some of the Members Only benefits offered through their union!


It’s free, just for being a Vermont State Employees’ Association PerksConnect member!

Learn More!

Questions? Feel free to email vsea@ vsea.org


Need To Update Your Contact Information
With VSEA? 
Don’t Have
Union Card? 

Request A Green VSEA Union Card

Have You Been Threatened
At Work? 

Send A Threat Report To VSEA

Are You A
Council Member?

Join the VSEA Council Facebook group here!

Are You A
Chapter President?

Join the VSEA Chapter Presidents 
group here!

Are You A

Join the VSEA Steward Facebook
group here!

Subscribe To VSEA Today!

VSEA’s Communications Department is happy to disseminate any and all communications the leadership, Chapters, Units, and others request, however, the lists the Department currently pull from are provided to the union by the State of Vermont. VSEA’s Communications Department has found the lists to be dated, incomplete and sometimes lacking key information.

To help VSEA more effectively reach active members—and really all those members who want to know what’s going on in their union—VSEA is working hard to collect members’ contact information.

You can help us by clicking here and signing up for the VSEA communications you are interested in receiving.

Thank you in advance for subscribing. Please urge your colleagues to do the same.

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