VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: December 15, 2017

VSEA Members From The Morrisville Health Department Showing Support For Their Bargaining Teams Today! See More Photos Here!

Happy Holidays!

WIA On Break Until 2018

VSEA’s Communications team will be taking some time off in the coming weeks, so WIA will not be publishing again until January 2018. That said, please know that if there are urgent developments with bargaining, the upcoming legislative session, a worksite emergency, weather closures or anything else of importance, you can always check the VSEA website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for more information. VSEA will also send email alerts directly to members, when warranted.

The VSEA Communications team wishes every VSEA member a happy and safe holiday season and a great 2018. Looking forward to sharing nothing but good news with all of you in 2018. Hey, we can all dream and
hope, right?  

Three VSEA Bargaining Teams At Fact Finding Today & Possibly Monday

Members Across The State Wearing Green In Support

VSEA Labor Relations Director Gary Hoadley and VSEA members belonging to the Non-Management, Corrections and Supervisory Bargaining Teams have been crunching numbers, analyzing proposals and preparing a comprehensive report to present and begin discussing today with a mutually agreed to Fact Finder. At the end of today, the Teams will decide whether to end fact finding and move on to the Vermont Labor Relations Board for a final decision (exactly the process that had to invoked in the last round of negotiations with the State) or spend another day in fact finding on Monday. VSEA’s website and Facebook page will hopefully be posting a quick update by day’s end.

VSEA Bargaining Team members from all three Units.

Proudly Wearing Green!

Across Vermont, VSEA members are responding in droves to the call to wear green to work today in a show of solidarity for all the VSEA Bargaining Teams, including the Judiciary Unit, whose Team is also engaged right now in negotiations with the Court Administrator.

Here are just some of the photos from worksites across Vermont that were emailed today to headquarters. VSEA thanks each and every member who wore green and for your support, engagement and activism as the process moves forward.

View The "Wear Green" Facebook Photo Album Here!

Quote Of The Week!

“[This week]’s decision to gut net neutrality is a disaster for consumers and an early Christmas present to big broadband companies who can now pick and choose who gets access to the internet and at what speed."

Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, commenting in a Burlington Free Press story about the federal FCC’s decision this week to end net neutrality rules. Vermont has joined a lawsuit to combat the ruling.

VSEA Council Begins Preparing For Potential Fights Ahead

VSEA Council Members At Tuesday’s Meeting
View/Download Larger Image Here.

VSEA Council members braved the weather and roads on Tuesday to meet at the Old Labor Hall in Barre, where they received updates on a host of serious issues and were able to openly strategize about how best to confront what lies ahead, including:

  • The status of current bargaining with the State of Vermont on a successor agreement to cover a majority of VSEA members. Teams are heading to fact finding on Friday, December 15 and possibly again on December 18. If an agreement cannot be hammered out after fact finding then both VSEA and the State are headed to the Vermont Labor Relations Board, just like the last round of negotiations;An overview of the FY2019 budget and how big a deficit hole there is going to be this time around, especially with yet-unknown federal budget cuts looming large;
  • A review of the VSEA Legislative Committee’s “legislative agenda” for the upcoming session and a renewed call for members to consider testifying at the State House, if needed;
  • An education around how to talk with co-workers about VSEA and the importance of a union in their working life, as well as a primer on how to talk with members about right-to-work;
  • A synopsis of the challenges of working with today’s Vermont press corps and a sharing of a document listing all the Auditors Office’s recent audits and their current status. There is a lot of money associated with some of the audits, and it’s needed funding that could help prevent service or position cuts in the upcoming session;
  • Reports from VSEA’s President, Executive Director and newly elected Treasurer; and
  • An opportunity to openly discuss Council business with one another and introduce motions for consideration and a vote by the body.

See Council Presentations Here
(You will need to be logged into your VSEA.org account to open this link.)

Throughout the meeting, VSEA Council members gave several shout-outs to their AOT brothers and sisters, who could not be at the meeting because they were out plowing, salting and sanding. And, as a show of solidarity with VSEA Bargaining Teams, Council members made sure to take a group photo of them all wearing green in advance of today’s “Wear Green Day, which coincides with the first day of fact finding.

Union Is Power!


Belonging To A Union Gives Working People Like Us The Power To Make Positive Change!

“Having an equal voice at the table when decisions are being made about our  workplace, our livelihood, our health, and well being is the way we build better stronger communities for our families and  future generations.”

Margaret Crowley
Chair, VSEA Judiciary Unit Executive Committee

View/ Download/ Share This Educational Document With Your Colleagues


Vermont’s Probation and Parole 
Reparative Program Needs (And Deserves) Your Vote 

Program Is One Of Five National Finalists!

DOC Community Corrections Specialist II Herb Sinkinson and his colleagues who administer the Vermont Probation and Parole (P&P) Department’s statewide “Reparative Program” were recently notified that their “reparative and restorative justice” program is one of five finalists in a national contest to recognize “innovators in community supervision who are championing innovative programs and empowering clients,” as well as victims and community members.

The contest is sponsored by cFive Solutions; a company that provides software solutions for Community Supervision and Probation agencies. Sinkinson and the Reparative Program are up against programs located in Ohio, Nevada and two in Kansas. 

Let’s help these deserving VSEA members make sure Vermont wins! 

Click here and cast your vote today for Herb Sinkinson, Burlington Probation and Parole and the Vermont Reparative Program!

Deadline to vote in the “Being The Change” contest is TODAY,
December 15.

Help Spread The Word!
Print & Post Week In Action!

Please help spread the word about VSEA news in your worksite by printing and posting a condensed version of Week In Action.

Thank You!

View/ Print A Condensed Version Of This Week’s Issue Here!
(Opens/ downloads a PDF)

Trial’s Beginning Is A Reminder About VSEA Courthouse Workers’ Safety Concerns—
Then & Now

The trial of a man who sexually assaulted a woman in a Costello Courthouse bathroom on October 15, 2015, began this week in Lamoille County Superior Court. WIA readers might remember that, at the time of the incident, VSEA members working at the Costello Courthouse in Burlington were extremely upset about the incident and the fact that management did not disclose the assault to workers until nearly a week after it occurred.

From a December 4 Morrisville News & Citizen story about the trial:

“After the woman reported the sexual assault, supervisors never told some state employees, including court staff members. Union members filed complaints with the Vermont State Employees Association after they learned about the incident from news reports.”

And VSEA issued this press release on October 27, 2015, in response to the assault and workers’ concerns:

“VSEA members who work in Vermont courthouses statewide have been working with their union for years to sound the alarm about potential security issues inside our state’s courthouses. Their concerns were validated in January 2015, when Judiciary Chief of Finance and Administration Matt Riven delivered a report to the legislature that was prepared by “national court security experts” and identified ‘significant unmet security needs in the four courthouses in the study sample,’ one of which was the Costello Courthouse in Burlington. To date, the Judiciary has not acted on many of the report’s recommendations, primarily; VSEA members are told, because there is no money.

‘The excuse that there is no money to provide better security at the Costello Courthouse and other courthouses, or to put measures in place to better protect frontline social workers while at work, is not acceptable to VSEA members or, frankly, to the public,’ explains VSEA President Dave Bellini. 

‘The incident last week at the Costello Courthouse that we all only just learned about is further evidence that courthouse security upgrades are needed, and VSEA hopes the Judiciary will join with frontline workers in the upcoming months to lobby for the additional funds needed to ensure worker and public safety,’ says  VSEA Judiciary Unit Chair Margaret Crowley. ‘VSEA members agree with Matt Riven, who wrote in his January summary to the legislature that, ‘It is no longer acceptable—if it ever was—to assume that violent incidents such as have occurred elsewhere in the United States could never happen in Vermont.’ Now, seven months later, there’s the tragic killing of [Lara Sobel] and a brutal rape at the Costello Courthouse. Mr. Riven is right. These kinds of incidents are no longer acceptable. The time to act is now.’”

Update: Unfortunately, according to Judiciary employees WIA spoke with recently, not much has been done to date to address many of the safety issues that existed in 2015 and still exist in 2017. Tick tock management…

Vermont NEA Argues At Supreme Court Against Blanket Open-Bargaining Mandate

Vermont National Education Association (VtNEA) Counsel Rebecca McBroom was at the Vermont Supreme Court on December 12 to argue against a blanket policy that would allow the general public to openly view contract negotiations between teachers and school boards. As a story about the hearing in the Citizen Tribune reports, McBroom argued that the NEA’s position is supported by a Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) ruling earlier this year that reads, in part, “meetings of public school board negotiations councils are not public meetings and are therefore outside the boundaries of the Vermont Open Meeting Law.”

McBroom also argued strongly that having negotiations meetings in open session would give the employer, meaning the school boards, more power, and that school boards would control when executive sessions would be permitted.

Working In Vermont’s Private Sector Is More Dangerous Than In
Most States

The Billings Gazette published a story this week about an alarmingly high number of private-sector workplace injuries occurring in the state. Not good, but worse is the fact that, according to the story, Vermont’s private-sector workers are being injured at an even higher rate than their Montana counterparts.

From the story:

“In 2016, 4.2 injuries were reported for every 100 full-time workers in Montana — a slight improvement over the rate of 4.3 reported in 2015, and the fourth straight year in which that number has decreased, according to a report released by the Department of Labor and Industry in November. 2016’s rate places Montana behind only Washington, Vermont and Maine — although the national rankings omit a handful of states that don’t report those data.

Note: It sounds like Vermont’s private-sector workers could use a union.

2018 VSEA Bus Trip To Foxwoods Casino Announced!


The VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee has hosted some very successful trips since launching the member-engagement effort more than a year ago, including ones to NASCAR races, Red Sox games and even a trip to see Disney on Ice. But the most popular trip to date has been to the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, and the Committee is pleased to announce a new casino trip in 2018 with a two-night stay.

March 23 to 25, 2018

Bus Cost:
$70 per person

Bus will depart from Waterbury at 12:00 p.m. and White River Junction at 1:00 p.m.

Lodging (Two Nights/Two Trees Inn):
$248/single occupancy
$138 per person/double occupancy
$122 per person/triple occupancy

Included Bonuses:

  • Baggage handling;
  • (2) $10 food credit or full Festival Buffet;
  • $5 food credit or full Breakfast Buffet;
  • $20 slot play;
  • 20% discount at any Foxwoods gift shop with a purchase of $25 up to $1,000; and
  • A Foxwoods souvenir

To register or for more information, please contact VSEA Union Rep Bob South (bsouth@vsea.org) or Administrative Assistant Sue DeVoid (sdevoid@vsea.org). Each can be reached by phone at 802-223-5247.

Important Information!

Payment must be received within one week of registering or you will lose your spot. Cash, check and credit card payments accepted. To pay, please contact VSEA Union Representative Bob South by email (bsouth@vsea.org) or phone 802-223-5247. Thank You!

Bennington & Rutland Members:
Did You Receive Your Ballot This Week To Vote In District 5 VSEA Trustee Election?

All eligible VSEA members (except those who request a paper ballot) should have received an email on December 15 from vote@simplyvoting.com containing your electronic ballot to vote in the VSEA District 5 Trustees’ election. “Eligible” member refers to whether or not the member belongs to one of the Units where a seat is being contested or belongs to a Chapter in a region where a vote is being conducted (i.e. District 5 seat represents Bennington and Rutland region, so VSEA members belonging to the Bennington and Rutland Chapters should receive a ballot).

Very Important! Your electronic ballot is being sent to both the home and work email address that VSEA currently has on file for you. If you did not receive an email from vote@simplyvoting.com on December 15, please look in your “Other” or “Spam” folders before contacting headquarters to request that your ballot be reissued.

Reminder: VSEA sends ballots to members’ home or work email address, provided the union has your correct home and work email address. This is a big reason why WIA is constantly soliciting members to contact VSEA with your updated email address. 

You can update your contact information here anytime.

Congress’ Spending Bill To Prevent Gov’t Shutdown Contains Short-Term Relief For The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

WIA has been reporting recently about Congress allowing funding to expire for a program created to provide health care to the children of the nation’s “working poor.” Vermont, which depends heavily on congressional funding of the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), is projected to run out of money for the program in January 2018, along with a handful of other states.

A story posted this week to Governing.com reports that the spending bill signed last week in Washington D.C. to avert a government shutdown provides short-term relief to states worried about CHIP funding by instructing “the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to reallocate any unused federal funds to the states most at risk of running out of CHIP money by the end of the month.” Five states have already received the “redistribution funds,” but one state, Minnesota, had to recently begin dipping into state funds to keep the program running, and Oregon is facing a similar choice.

Sadly, as the story reports, CHIP’s future remains uncertain.

Note: Vermont stands to lose $30 million-plus if Congress does not act to reauthorize CHIP funding soon.

Wisconsin Workers Talk About Life With So-Called "Right-To-Work" Laws–And It’s
Not Good

The online outlet Milwaukee Biz News posted a story this morning that summarizes the impact of "right-to-work" laws on Wisconsin workers.

Here’s an excerpt:

"When he asked the man which company he was talking about, [Ross] Winklbauer, a sub-district director with the United Steelworkers, recognized it. The USW had represented about five employees out of 70 there up until a few years ago. ‘We ended up having to unfortunately walk away,’ Winklbauer said.

The caller, it turned out, had worked at the company for about a decade but was never a union member because he didn’t see the need.

“It was too many people like you that thought, ‘Why do I need a union? This company will treat me right,’” Winklbauer told the man, adding he would need to have at least 90 percent of the employees on board before they could talk."

Read The Full Story Here

Note: This story is worth a read, especially with the Janus Supreme Court ruling hanging out there.




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 that was entered by a VSEA staff person but later overwritten or deleted during a State data dump.  

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 will be working hard in the coming months to collect members’ emails on its own and begin to build contact lists that cannot be altered by a State download.  

You can help us get started 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.

We Want To Know What You Think of VSEA’s Week In Action


This Week:

Three VSEA Bargaining Teams At Fact Finding Today & Possibly Monday. Members Across The State Wearing Green
In Support.

VSEA Council Begins Preparing For Potential Fights Ahead

FINAL DAY TO VOTE! Vermont’s Probation and Parole Reparative Program Needs (And Deserves) Your Vote

Trial’s Beginning Is A Reminder About VSEA Courthouse Workers’ Safety Concerns— Then & Now

Vermont NEA Argues At Supreme Court Against Blanket Open-Bargaining Mandate

Working In Vermont’s Private Sector Is More Dangerous Than In Most States

2018 VSEA Bus Trip To Foxwoods Casino Announced!

Bennington & Rutland Members: Did You Receive Your Ballot This Week To Vote In District 5 VSEA Trustee Election?

Congress’ Spending Bill To Prevent Gov’t Shutdown Contains Short-Term Relief For The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Wisconsin Workers Talk About Life With So-Called "Right-To-Work" Laws–And It’s Not Good




Week In Action Reminders:

What Is Collective Bargaining?

Time Running Out To Donate Some Time To The NMU’s Sick
Leave Bank!

What’s VSEA Done For Vermont State Employees? See
For Yourself

Union Rep Schedules Vet’s Home Meeting

VSEA Insurance Benefits Montpelier Enrollment: December 20 and 21

If Searching For Child Care, Don’t Forget This Important Resource For State Employees

President Bellini Wants Your Cost-Savings Idea(s)!

Seats Still Remain For VSEA Boston Bruins Bus Trip!

What is the VSEA Advantage Program?


VSEA Calendar:

December 16
VSEA’s Children’s Holiday Gathering!
155 State Street
1:00 p.m. to
4:00 p.m.

December 18
Fact-Finding: Session 2 (If Needed)
VSEA NMU, Supervisory and Corrections Bargaining Teams

December 20
Benefits Advisory Committee Meeting
155 State Street
9:30 a.m.

December 21
Lamoille Valley Chapter Meeting
State Office Building
63 Professional Drive
12:00 p.m.

December 28
Organizer’s Worksite Meeting -WRJ
State Office Building
118 Prospect Street
White River Junction
12:00 p.m.

January 4
Board of Trustees Meeting
155 State Street
9:30 a.m.


Read Contracts Online At VSEA.org

VSEA members can click here to view your contract.

All contracts expire on June 30, 2018.


Contact Your Union

Communication between Union members and Union leaders is important for a strong organization. Click the links below to find VSEA contact information for each category:

Board of Trustees

VSEA Council

Chapter Presidents

Find A Steward


What is Collective Bargaining?

Collective bargaining is the process by which unionized employees negotiate with their employer over mandatory subjects of bargaining, including wages, benefits like health insurance, working conditions and a grievance procedure to enforce the contract.

Learn More Here


Tis The Season!

Time Running Out To Donate Some Time To The NMU Sick Leave Bank!

Deadline For Donations Is December 31, 2017

VSEA member Dawn Carrillo staffs the Non-Management Unit Sick Leave Bank, and she is again asking WIA to sound the alarm that the bank really needs your donated hours. NMU members can donate a few hours to your Unit’s sick leave bank from now until December 31, 2017.

VSEA members interested in donating some much-needed time to the NMU, Corrections and Supervisory Sick Leave Banks can find a donation form here.

“I want to thank every member for considering a donation to your Unit sick leave bank,” says VSEA President Dave Bellini. “Even if you only donate one hour to the bank, these one-hour donations add up. It’s so worthwhile because your donation is going to help a fellow state employee who is battling a serious illness.”


What’s VSEA Done For Vermont State Employees? See For Yourself

A lot has happened since the VSEA was officially recognized in 1944 as the voice for Vermont’s state employee workforce, and VSEA’s Communications Department has compiled many of your union’s notable victories and achievements in an online chronological history of the VSEA.

View VSEA’s online history timeline at VSEA.org


Union Rep Schedules Vet’s Home Meeting

VSEA Union Representative Rachael Fields has scheduled a meeting to talk with Vet’s Home employees about their issues and concerns.

If you work at the Vet’s Home, please mark the date and time down to stop by and talk with Rachael:

  • December 27
    (Crispe Room)

Available Times: 6:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.


VSEA Insurance Benefits Montpelier Enrollment: December 20 and 21

VSEA Insurance Representative Joanne Woodcock will be at the following location to talk with interested VSEA members about member-only insurance benefits.

Receive information on disability coverage, family life insurance, family accident, cancer and hospital coverage. You must be a member paying full dues to be eligible for this VSEA benefit. If you are an agency-fee payer, Joanne can provide you information about signing up for full membership.

National Life
4th Floor – Room 414
11:00 to 4:30

December 20 and 21

Email Joanne Woodcock for an appointment: Joanne@vseainsurance.com

Please provide your age, hourly wage and job description so I can send a quote BEFORE
we meet.

For additional information, see attached brochure here.


If Searching For Child Care, Don’t Forget This Important Resource For State Employees

Longtime VSEA member, now retiree, Dave Clark has served on VSEA’s Child and Elder Care Committee for many years, and he recently asked WIA to remind state employees about an important child-care resource that is currently available to them.

“The Committee has noticed a recent decline in employees’ usage of the valuable child-care resources available to them, so we asked WIA to help us remind VSEA members about what is available,” explains Clark.

VSEA members can click here to learn more about the Committee’s “Child-Care Referral Service”and other child-care resources for state employees, including possible child-care reimbursement to qualifying employees.


President Bellini Wants Your Cost-Savings Idea(s)!

In past deficit years, VSEA members have been asked to voluntarily submit cost-savings ideas to headquarters, in hopes that some of your ideas could be adopted and implemented, eventually generating the funds needed to save a service or jobs. In 2010, the Vermont Legislature followed VSEA’s lead, passing legislation to provide cash awards to state employees whose ideas were vetted by a special committee and found to generate savings. Unfortunately, this legislation sunset in 2012, and lawmakers have not resurrected it–yet.

For this reason—and in advance of the 2018 legislative session—VSEA President Dave Bellini is again asking frontline state employees with “department- or agency-specific cost-savings ideas” to please submit them to VSEA as soon as possible. Again, President Bellini is looking for department or agency-specific ideas, and nothing "philosophical," he politely requests. 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this very important request.

Submit Your Cost-Saving(s) Idea(s) Here


Seats Still Remain For VSEA Boston Bruins Bus Trip!

Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Saturday, February 3, 2018
7:00 p.m. 
TD Garden (Section: Balcony 321)

$170 Per Person – Includes a bus ride to and from the park, as well as a ticket to the game.
To reserve a seat(s) on the bus, contact VSEA Union Representative Bob South. You can reach Bob by email at bsouth@vsea.org or by phone at 223-5247.

Important! VSEA will be taking the names down of those interested, as members contact VSEA, but you will not be officially on the bus until full payment is received at headquarters. Please make checks
payable to VSEA.


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!


  1. Go to  VSEA.org  and login to your VSEA account. Don’t have an account? VSEA Members can sign up for a free account here!
  2. Once you have logged in, locate and click the yellow "Advantage Program" button on the lower left column of VSEA.org. You can also click here to be redirected to this page.
  3. At the top of the Advantage Program page, click the link that says "Click Here To Log Into The New VSEA Advantage Program". This will redirect you to the new Advantage Program website. Please note this link will not work unless you are logged into your VSEA.org account first.
  4. Select a category and start saving!

Present your VSEA union card, mobile device or printed coupons and offers at participating businesses and receive immediate discounts.

Don’t see what you are looking for?
Request a merchant by filling out the Vendor Information form here. Please note submissions are subject to approval.

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