Independence Day Holiday
Most State Offices & VSEA Closed
Steward Training: Protecting The Contract & Building The Union
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Quote of The Week!
"VSEA has objected in the strongest terms to their effort to silence your elected leaders."
Line from alert sent this week to all VSEA Judiciary Unit members by members of the Unit’s Bargaining Team, concerning a recent request by Judiciary Branch bosses to end fact finding before workers can testify.
Deadline To Submit Board Of Trustees’ District Seat Ballots Is August 1!
Ballots have been mailed to VSEA members eligible to vote for candidates running for one of three VSEA District Board seats:
District 1 – Barre & Central Vermont
District 2 – Waterbury & Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital
District 5 – Rutland & Bennington
The deadline to return your ballot is 4:30 p.m., Monday, August 1, 2016!
VSEA AOT Members Holding “AOT Union (Motorcycle) Ride” On
All VSEA Members Invited To Ride!
A group of VSEA AOT members are planning a motorcycle run on July 30 to celebrate recent gains they made in the new contract and to demonstrate solidarity with all Vermont workers. While the ride is being coordinated by AOT members, all VSEA members with a motorcycle are invited to join.
Riders are meeting on the State House lawn in Montpelier, beginning at 9:00 a.m., and the run will commence at 10:00 a.m. After touring through Morrisville, West Danville, Groton and Barre, riders will end back in Montpelier on Main Street at roughly 1:00p.m.
VSEA members interested in participating in the run can RSVP to Union Representative Dave Van Deusen by email at email@example.com.
Winners announced at Annual Meeting on September 10.
VSEA Surveying Members About Forming Legal Defense Fund
VSEA sent a survey to members this week to solicit opinions on developing a program to provide legal defense to members who face criminal charges or other civil or administrative challenges arising from actions taken in the course of their employment. The survey email explained that VSEA is reviewing several options, including one that would cover the unlimited costs to defend you in the event of a criminal prosecution or some civil prosecutions arising in the course of your work. The benefit would cost you an additional $4.70 per month, on top of your regular dues.
If you might be interested in such a program, please complete the following survey, which can be found here. Your answers will help VSEA design a program to best meet VSEA members’ needs.
VSEA Policies Available Online
Wondering about a VSEA policy and want to look it up online? Now you can.
VSEA’s website now has a page listing your union’s governing policies, and members with “member-only” website access can review any or all of them by clicking here.
Again, note that in order to view the policies on www.vsea.org, you must first be a registered user of the union’s website, which will then grant you “member-only” status. If you are not a registered user of VSEA’s website, you can click here to sign up today. If you are not a registered user, you will receive an “Access Denied” message when trying to view the updates.
Threatened While On The Job? VSEA Wants To Know.
VSEA President Dave Bellini is asking all state employees who are threatened while performing your job duties to provide an account of the threat not only to your supervisor or the State, but also to VSEA.
“VSEA wants to begin to compile its own record of threats against frontline state employees, no matter your occupation,” explains Bellini. “I’m asking all employees who are threatened, especially those working in AHS, to take a few minutes to fill out an online form VSEA made to collect your report. The information will help us provide a firsthand account of the number of threats being made and where they are being made, in addition to some other things.”
New Contracts For NMU, Corrections & Supervisory In Final Review. View New Pay Chart Now
VSEA and the State are in the process of conducting final proofreads of the newly negotiated Non-Management, Corrections, and Supervisory Bargaining Unit contracts, which are effective July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2018. Employees’ 2% pay increase is effective the first full pay period, which is July 10, 2016.
This Is Justice? Judiciary Bosses Attempt To Shut Down Fact-Finding Process
VSEA’s Judiciary Unit Bargaining Team and staff negotiators have been embroiled in difficult negotiations with the Judiciary Branch for months now. Hitting a wall, both sides agreed weeks ago to go before a fact finder, who has already heard three days of testimony, but who scheduled a fourth day in early August, so he could hear directly from frontline workers. This week, however, in a highly unusual move, negotiators for the Judiciary Branch asked the fact finder to cancel the fourth day, telling him it “is not worthy of the additional expense and time.” VSEA’s Judiciary Unit Bargaining Team wasted no time voicing its strong objection to the request, telling Unit members in an email about the request that they will fight “their effort to silence your elected leaders."
VSEA Judiciary members tell WIA that they intend to send a clear message in the coming days that “we are worthy!”
Read the VSEA Judiciary Unit Bargaining Team’s response to the fact finder, concerning the bosses’ request to suspend fact finding, here.
Docket Clerk Voices
As part of VSEA’s campaign with Judiciary workers to increase pay for nearly 100 Vermont Docket Clerks, VSEA posted a meme to its Facebook page on June 29 that uses a current Docket Clerk’s own voice to illustrate how low their pay truly is. The meme includes a link to a page where VSEA members and the public can learn more about the Docket Clerks’ campaign for wage fairness.
VSEA will be posting more Docket Clerk voice memes throughout your union’s ongoing campaign to ensure this group of workers receives fair compensation, and that they have access to a fair classification review system.
In the weeks and months leading up to the Vermont’s August 9 primary election—and then to the November 8 general election—VSEA Legislative Committee members and HQ staff will be asking members to volunteer some time to assist candidates who have received VSEA’s endorsement and who deserve our support. A reminder that, this year, there are five VSEA members running for office, and each could use your help.
There are many ways for you to participate in VSEA’s Campaign 2016 activities, including:
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored phone bank;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored honk-and-wave;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored door-to-door canvassing effort;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored candidate(s) rally;
Educate your family, friends and colleagues about the candidate and his/her positions on issues important to VSEA members;
March with a candidate in a parade;
Volunteer to help at a candidate’s headquarters (if applicable) with things like answering phones, filing, assembling educational packets/mailings, etc.;
Put a yard sign in your yard, or help the candidate distribute signs in your area;
Host a candidate house party;
Drive voters to the polls on Election Day;
Pen a letter to the editor in support of VSEA-endorsed candidate(s); and
Make a monetary contribution to a candidate(s).
If you would be interested in volunteering some time to help your union’s campaign 2016 efforts, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 223-5247.
Important Note: It is imperative that VSEA have your current home email address, so you can receive political material. This is because some messages could be labeled partisan, and therefore they are not permissible to send to work emails. When contacting Vinnie with interest, please be sure to let him know your current home email. Thanks!
After WIA published last week, VSEA’s Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee members completed counting of all the ballots cast recently for or against ratification of a new, four-year contract.
“I am pleased to inform you that the members of VSEA’s State Colleges’ Unit have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract,” ERN Committee Chair Rubin Jennings wrote to VSC members, shortly after completing the count.
This was another very difficult bargaining session for this group, especially since the Chancellor and others have been talking openly in recent months about the State College system’s lack of funding and its adverse impact on not only workers, but also on students and faculty. For years, VSEA and its State Colleges’ members have been lobbying for increased funding, but their calls, like the Chancellor’s, seemingly continue to be placed on the back burner. VSEA members remain committed to helping the Vermont State Colleges’ system succeed.
“I invite VSEA retirees to join us to help plan the future of our Chapter,” says Maclay. “We need you to help energize the Chapter and assist your leaders in steering it ahead in a positive and productive way.”
Maclay adds that all of the Chapter’s officer seats are up for election this year, and that nominations will be made from the floor at the August 18 meeting, with voting by attendees to follow. There will also be a presentation on health care by Chapter member Kathy Callaghan,
More Chapter Annual Meeting information will be sent to retirees in early July. To ensure you receive this information, the Chapter must have your current home email address and your correct home mailing address. If you have changed either of these in the past year, please email VSEA (email@example.com) with your updated information. If emailing, please write “Retired Member Update” in the subject line.
VSEA Insurance Representative In Chittenden County Next Week
VSEA Insurance Representative Joanne Woodcock will be Chittenden County next week to talk with interested VSEA members about member-only insurance benefits.
July 5 and 6
12:00 to 4:00
312 Hurricane Lane
Back Conference Room
Woodside Juvenile Rehab Center
July 7 – Front Conf. Rm.
12:00 to 4:00
108 Cherry Street
July 11 – Conf. Rm. 1A
July 12 – Conf. Rm. 3A
12:00 to 4:00
1000 River Road
July 20 – 21- 22
Health Access Eligibility Unit
Bromley Conf. Rm. #958
1st Floor – 12:00 to 4:00
Receive information on disability coverage, family life insurance, family accident and cancer 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.
SCOTUS Officially Declines To Rehear Case Challenging Public-Sector Unions
On June 28, the United States Supreme Court issued a on-line order, officially declining to rehear a case (Friedrich’s vs. California Teachers’ Association) that could have resulted in serious harm to America’s unionized public-sector workers and to their workplace rights and representation and their hard-won wages and retirement benefits.
By seeking rehearing, the challenges were hoping the court would take up the issue again next term after a ninth justice was confirmed. But the Supreme Court almost never grants requests to hear a case again.
VSEA Labor Educator Announces Summer Trainings – Four Open To All
VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch asked WIA to announce a new round of trainings he has scheduled throughout the summer 2016. If you are interested in registering to attend one or more trainings, you can do so by clicking here. Please direct your training questions to Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are four trainings open to all members, please invite folks who may be interested:
One of the items being prepared for members attending this year’s VSEA Annual Meeting in Killington is a reprint of a 1984 document titled “A Brief Chronology of the VSEA 1944 – 1984,” which was created in 1984 by the VSEA History Committee. In the coming weeks, WIA will be sharing snippets from the book with members.
Here’s the entry in the booklet from 1972:
“At a special membership meeting in June, annual dues are increased to $31.20. The Annual Meeting in September moves to Burlington and incorporates the first bargaining unit meetings. The Management and Non-Management Units. Members ratify VSEA’s first collective bargaining Agreement. The Agreement contains a speedier grievance procedure and no longer must time spent processing grievances be charged to annual leave. Newly negotiated “Personnel Policies & Procedures” form the basis of leave and RIF benefits. The budget approved at Annual Meeting fortells an increase in staff: the statistical analyst position has become “Assistant Executive Director.” Two Field Representatives and two secretarial positions are also indicated.”