The House Speaker and Senate Pro Tem banged their gavels on January 3, officially opening the 2018 legislative session. Governor Scott then delivered the annual “State of the State” Address on January 4.
Here is some of the local press this week on the session opening:
Note: As always, VSEA members will have to be on constant guard against any proposed service and position cuts throughout the session. Lawmakers will also have to respond to whatever new contract terms and conditions result from either a fact finder or the Vermont Labor Relations Board. And then there’s the potential
VSEA Members’ Chance To Meet Face-To-Face With Key Decision Makers Outside
You are invited to participate in one or more upcoming VSEA-sponsored informal dinner receptions, where you can talk face to face with lawmakers about the issues important to you. The following issue dinner receptions are in response to legislators wanting to hear directly from frontline workers:
January 11: Privatization
Prioritize state employee positions over contractual services.
January 18: Safety & Security
Create a safe and secure workplace environment for all state employees.
January 25: Retirement
Advocate to protect and defend state employees’ defined benefit pension system.
Each dinner reception is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m at VSEA H.Q. (155 State Street, Montpelier)
“I pledged to work with the Legislature to create better opportunities and outcomes for our children and families, to reform state government by listening to frontline employees – using their ideas to more efficiently meet the needs of those we serve.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott in the annual “State of the State” Address, which he delivered on January 4. VSEA members await details of the reforms these frontline workers proposed, which will hopefully be explained in detail in Scott’s upcoming Budget Address, later this month.
Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments In Anti-Union Janus vs.
A few years ago, WIA readers might remember seeing articles pop up about a court case named Friedrichs vs. California Teachers’ Association; a case public-sector unions feared could strip away their hard-won right to represent “non-members,” or in VSEA’s case, “agency-fee” payers. The case collapsed after the untimely death of Justice Scalia, who almost certainly would have voted against labor unions’ right to represent “non-members.” The Court’s 4-4 vote deadlock could not be broken, but now that a new Justice has been appointed, it can. For a new vote to occur, all that was required was for a new case about union dues to come before the Court, and it recently did, in the form of a case named Janus vs. Illinois.
VSEA Organizers are following the case closely and have already been out talking with VSEA members statewide about what this case means and what members can do to help, as well as remind members about how their working lives could change in a potential right-to-work scenario.
VSEA members are urged to continuing educating yourself about the Janus case and what it might mean for Vermont state employees and all of America’s unionized public-sector workers—and eventually our nation’s unionized private-sector workers
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.”
Chair, VSEA Judiciary Unit Executive Committee
VSEA Members Elect New District 5 Board Of Trustees’ Representative
Congratulations to VSEA member Victoria Thorpe on being elected to be the District 5 representative on the VSEA Board of Trustees. Victoria will be serving as the voice of members working in Rutland and Bennington. She works for the Judiciary as a Family Case Manager in Bennington.
Bennington Chapter is meeting January 9, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Vermont Veterans’ Home in Bennington; and
Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital Chapter is meeting January 10 at the facility, and there will be two meetings conducted to coincide with each shift change, one beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the other at 3:00 p.m.
Central Vermont Chapter Sending Survey On Monday To Chapter Members
VSEA’s Central Vermont Chapter is sending an email to all Chapter members on Monday, January 8, that includes a link to a survey to learn how members want the Chapter to address the issue of racism, if at all.
The deadline to complete the Chapter’s survey is Friday, January 19.
The VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee is pleased to announce a 2018 casino trip with a two-night stay.
Dates: March 23 to March 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.
(Two Nights/ Two Trees Inn): $248 / single occupancy
$138 per person / double occupancy
$122 per person / triple occupancy
(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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Administrative Assistant Sue DeVoid (email@example.com). Each can be reached by phone at 802-223-5247.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone 802-223-5247. Thank You!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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