VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: April 5, 2019


Time Running Out! A reminder that the deadline to apply for a 2019 VSEA Scholarship application is fast approaching. 
All applications must be submitted to VSEA HQ by 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Learn more or download an application here.


Help Spread The Word!
View, Print, And Post A Condensed Version Of This Week’s Issue!
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Lawmakers Pass 2019 Budget Adjustment Bill, Which Funds Reclassifications & Woodside 

After being held up for weeks over a water-quality money issue, VSEA Policy Analyst Adam Norton reported from the State House late last Friday that lawmakers had passed the 2019 budget adjustment bill.

Norton said that there are three items included in the budget adjustment bill that are very important to VSEA DOC, DPS and Woodside members, which are:

1) Funding a one-grade-up reclassification of Corrections Officers 1 and 2, who recently prevailed in a class-action request for reclassification. Norton estimates the reclassifications to total approximately $2 million; 

2) Funding a one-grade-up reclassification for State Trooper sergeants, lieutenants and captains, who were also successful in a recent reclassification effort. Norton estimates their reclassification will total approximately $1.8 million; and

3) Adding an additional $2.7 million to the beleaguered Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center’s budget to keep the facility operating through June 2019.

Note: No timetable yet for when the reclassification funds will begin to be disbursed, but VSEA will be informing members as soon as it is determined.

Senate Committee Takes Testimony On VSEA Bill To Restore Fairness To The Process To Resolve Contract Disputes

A hearing was held on April 4 in the Senate Committee on Government Operations to take testimony on a bill submitted by VSEA to 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.   

Note: This is a very important bill for VSEA members across the board, and WIA will continue to update members about the bill’s progress. It’s especially important as many VSEA Bargaining Teams are now beginning to prep for a new round of negotiations, beginning this fall.  

VT House Passes Family Leave Bill

Numerous media outlets reported last evening on the Vermont House’s vote yesterday to pass a family and medical leave bill that would grant employees 12 weeks of family leave or eight weeks of medical leave per year. The House legislation is funded by a 0.55% payroll tax to be paid by workers, or by employers who volunteer to cover the cost. The payroll tax is estimated to generate $80 million annually to fund the program. 

From VTDigger 4/4 story:

Under current law, Vermont’s workers have scarce access to paid family leave programs: only 15 percent of employees are offered paid leave benefits by their employers.

“The focus of this legislation is to provide access to this benefit to those Vermonters who struggle the most,” Rep. Tom Stevens, D-Waterbury, told House lawmakers Thursday. “This program allows all working Vermonters to access a benefit that only a few lucky Vermonters have today.”

Note: The State is floating an alternate family and medical leave bill that calls for a joint effort with New Hampshire. VSEA is on record rejecting the State’s alternative. Many House members agreed with VSEA’s position and also rejected the State’s plan with their vote yesterday. This morning, New Hampshire press is reporting that the state’s Governor is already saying his state will move on without Vermont, given yesterday’s Vermont House vote.


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!

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.orgor 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

April 12 Is Final Day To Donate To VSEA NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter’s Food Drive 

Time is running out for VSEA NEK / St Johnsbury Chapter members to donate to your Chapter’s food drive, which will benefit local food shelves in Lyndonville and St. Johnsbury.

If you will are collecting at your office and want to arrange a donation(s) pickup, or if you have questions, please contact Ellen Hinman (Chapter President 751-0123), Dianne Rivers (Chapter Vice President 626-6497) or Monique Prive (Chapter Secretary/Treasurer 626-6364 )

Donations are being accepted until April 12, 2019.

Thank you in advance for donating to this worthy cause!

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

New Rates For VSEA Members Skiing & Riding At Bolton Valley!

Buy next year’s season pass now and:

  • Get the lowest price of the year; AND
  • Ski & Ride the rest of this season FREE!!! That’s right, if you buy next year’s pass now, you can ski/ride Bolton for the rest of this season on next season’s pass!

All VSEA members in good standing are eligible to purchase a pass or passes. You can purchase yours today by first contacting VSEA by email at vsea@vsea.org. VSEA will verify your membership status and provide you with VSEA’s code, which you will need to complete your online purchase.

Once you have the required code:

  • Click here;
  • Click “Buy Online”;
  • In the “Cart View,” click on “Add / Change Guest” to set the pass-holder’s name and information to each pass, then;
  • Click “Proceed to Checkout”;
  • Enter VSEA’s promotional code and click “Apply Code.” The cart should refresh and reflect your discount.


Hurry! Prices go up after April 9!

Pass Type: 
Pre-April 9 Price /
April 9 – Oct 31 Price

Adult (18+): 
$379 / $399

Youth w/Adult

$129 / $159

Youth (7-17): 
$175 / $199

Senior (65-74): 
$219 / $229

Child (6 and under): $29 / $29

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!


“That is a segment of the population that I’m not fretting about.”

Sen. Chris Pearson (P), commenting in a Seven Days story this week about renewed debate at the State House about a bill that would reduce the tax burden on wealthy Vermonters. 


Upcoming Meetings:


Know Your Rights Training

  • Rutland – Asa Bloomer Bldg.
    Thursday, April 11

    12:00 p.m.
    88 Merchants Row
    Fourth Floor Conference Room

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



Talking Points:


Coalition Of Vermont Unions Holds Press Conference To Highlight Card-Check-Recognition Bills

AFSCME Local 1343 President, Damion Gilbert educates the press about card-check recognition and its importance to unions

The group Rights & Democracy hosted a press conference on Wednesday at the State House for unions belonging to the Vermont AFL-CIO to make their case to lawmakers to pass H.428 & S.36; legislation that would grant card-check recognition to public-sector workers. Card check simply means when a majority of workers in a given public-sector workplace sign a union card, the union is immediately recognized and an exhaustive Vermont Labor Relations Board election process is avoided. 

Press conference participants shared that, despite Vermont labor’s united front on this issue–including the support of Working Vermont (which VSEA is a member of)–Senate and House lawmakers have yet to hold hearings on the bills, let alone move either out of committee.

New Study Finds Vermont Narrowing Its Gender Pay Gap Faster Than Any Other State

April 2 was "Equal Pay Day"; the nation’s annual reminder that men are still being paid more than women for doing the same work. However, on the plus side, a new study finds Vermont is narrowing the gap faster than any other state.

From a March 29 Vermont Biz posting about the study:

PayScale, a compensation data and software provider, just released new research into the gender pay issue called The 2019 State of the Gender Pay Gap Report. Overall, women in the US earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men; when comparing compensation for all women versus all men (what PayScale calls the uncontrolled pay gap). However, in Vermont, women earn more – 87 cents for every dollar earned by men. Additionally, when PayScale controlled for various factors such as experience and job title (ie comparing apples-to-apples regarding compensation) to determine how much a woman makes compared to a man doing the same job, Vermont came out on top again. Nationally, this ‘controlled’ pay gap shows that similarly qualified women earned 2% less than men who do the same job. But, in Vermont, the uncontrolled pay gap essentially disappeared and women and men in the same roles were paid the same amount.

Post-Janus, AFSCME Reports 8:1 Ratio Of New Sign Ups To Opt Outs

In These Times reported recently on how one of America’s largest public-sector unions, AFSCME, is doing in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 anti-worker, anti-union Janus decision. Like VSEA, AFSCME is reporting an actual uptick in sign ups after Janus, which is not making Mark Janus or the corporate entities who helped him bring his lawsuit forward–and fund it for him–very happy. Oh, boo hoo…

From the ITT story

Many predicted the [Janus] case, bankrolled by a network of conservative billionaires and think tanks, could put the nail in the coffin of public sector unions by encouraging workers to opt out of paying dues in favor of becoming “free riders.”

AFSCME’s numbers, part of its annual Department of Labor filing, show one of the largest public sector unions has managed to dodge a worst case scenario in the immediate wake of Janus, due in no small part to its preparation for the decision, which focused on retaining rank-and-file members.

Since unions braced for revenues from agency fee-payers to evaporate when the Janus decision came down, a 6 percent decline in membership—less than the total number of “fair share” workers AFSCME represented last year—was an anticipated loss.

However, AFSCME’s member sign-ups since the Janus decision outpace member opt-outs at a rate of 8 to 1.

On 51st Anniversary Of Dr. King’s Tragic Assassination, NH Labor & Faith Communities Join To Reflect On His Support For Economic Justice  

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks on behalf of striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., March 18, 1968.

April 4 was the 51st anniversary of the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and NH Labor News reports this week that members of the state’s faith and labor communities came together on April 4 to commemorate the event by "reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy of support for economic justice."

“That ‘all labor has dignity’ is one of Dr. King’s enduring messages,” said the Rev. Gail Kinney, Worker Justice Minister at the Meriden Congregational Church.  “Remembering that Dr. King was killed while he was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers, we will gather to lift up the importance of decent wages and dignified working conditions for all New Hampshire workers, including those who care for our most vulnerable neighbors and others in the lowest wage occupations.”

NH labor was represented at the event by Glen Brackett, president of the NH AFL-CIO and Rich Gulla, president of the NH State Employees Association/SEIU Local 1984

Maine Lawmaker’s "Buy American, Build Maine" Act Gets Public Hearing

Maine State Sen. Troy Jackson (D) is sponsoring a bill to require the state of Maine to support American manufacturing and the creation of jobs in Maine when it contracts for public works or services. It’s titled, "An Act To Establish the Maine Buy American and Build Maine Act." 

“I have always believed that if there is work to be done in Maine, it ought to be done by Maine workers,” said Jackson. “Where there is economic activity in our state, our businesses, workers and communities should benefit from it. Year after year, Maine spends hundreds of millions of dollars on procurements and contracts. This work is done with the support of Maine taxpayers — it’s only fair to ensure that it provides some benefits back to them.”

The Maine AFL-CIO is supporting the bill as it begins to move through the legislature. 

Read More

This Week:

Lawmakers Pass 2019 Budget Adjustment Bill, Which Funds Reclassifications & Woodside 

Senate Committee Takes Testimony On VSEA Bill To Restore Fairness To The Process To Resolve Contract Disputes

VT House Passes Family Leave Bill

Reminder! VSEA Wants Your Input On Child Care

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

April 12 Is Final Day To Donate To VSEA NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter’s Food Drive 

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

New Rates For VSEA Members Skiing & Riding At Bolton Valley!​

VSEA Insurance Benefits!




April 11
Judiciary Labor – Management Committee Meeting 
155 State Street
9:00 a.m. 

April 11
Know Your Rights Training – Rutland
Asa Bloomer State Office Building
88 Merchants Row
Fourth Floor Conference Room
12:00 p.m.

April 12
Board Of Trustees’ Meeting 
155 State Street
9:00 a.m.

April 12
Final Day To Donate To The St. Johnsbury / NEK Chapter’s Food Drive 


Talking Points:


Coalition Of Vermont Unions Holds Press Conference To Highlight Card-Check-Recognition Bills

New Study Finds Vermont Narrowing Its Gender Pay Gap Faster Than Any Other State

Post-Janus, AFSCME Reports 8:1 Ratio Of New Sign Ups To Opt Outs

On 51st Anniversary Of Dr. King’s Tragic Assassination, NH Labor & Faith Communities Join To Reflect On His Support For Economic Justice  

Maine Lawmaker’s "Buy American, Build Maine" Act Gets Public Hearing




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

2019 VSEA Scholarship Application Available Now!​

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?


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.


2019 VSEA Scholarship Application Available Now!

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. 
All applications received before May 8, 2019, will be reviewed by Committee members, who will then decide from among all this year’s eligible candidates who is awarded a 2019 VSEA scholarship. 
Winners will be announced at the VSEA Council’s June 2019 meeting.
Download a PDF application here 
(Opens/downloads 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

In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the anti-worker Janus v. AFSCME lawsuit, which was brought forward by a right-to-work advocate, aided by corporate lawyers and funded by the wealthy elite. These people want nothing more than to increase corporate profits at the expense of hard-working Americans, perpetuating a race to the bottom across our nation. The Court ruled that public-sector union fair-share fees violated the plaintiff’s First Amendment right to free speech; a decision that overturned a 1977 SCOTUS decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that had previously allowed such fees. The Court’s decision is dealing a massive economic blow to Vermont and all American unions, which was the plaintiff and his supporters desired outcome. Loss of revenue means loss of strength, and there’s no question that a weaker union will have an adverse effect on your livelihood and your quality of life. This is why it is so important for all union members to be educated–and be educators–about assaults on your union and your workplace rights, like the Janus decision.

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.​

Read 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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