Steward Training: VSC Bargaining Unit
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
AOT Members’ Motorcycle Fun Run
All VSEA Members Invited!
State House Lawn
9:00 a.m. (Meet)
10:00 a.m. (Ride Begins)
Quote of The Week!
"As Americans see what [privatizing services] will cost in the long run, we might see a shift back to publicly run services and infrastructure."
Elizabeth Shermer, an assistant professor of history at Loyola University Chicago, commenting in an article this week that questions why cities and states are relying on privatization to solve budget deficits.
“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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your updated information. If emailing, please write “Retired Member Update” in the subject line.
Discounted 2016 Great Escape / Splashwater Kingdom Day Tickets Available Online & At VSEA!
Please note that there is a service charge for purchasing online.
VSEA also has tickets available for members to pick up at headquarters, and there is no service charge attached.
Questions? Feel free to contact Laurie Hassett by emailing email@example.com or calling 802-223-5247
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!
State Employees Invited To Agency Of Agriculture’s Summer “Buy Local” Market
The Agency of Agriculture asked WIA to let VSEA members throughout central Vermont know that its popular summer “Buy Local” market is returning to the State House lawn on Wednesday, August 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Agency bills the market as “an exceptional opportunity for Montpelier residents, visitors and daytime employees to support Vermont suppliers of local food and agricultural products.” The market coincides with the USDA’s National Farmer’s Market Week. Featured items include fresh and prepared local foods and agricultural products, such as produce and meats, wood products, yarn and other handmade goods, as well as prepared lunch offerings and ice cream.
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.
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.”
VSEA Sends Urgent Letter To State, Demanding Action On Safety & Security
VSEA members have been waiting for months for word of how the State is going to respond to DCF and other workers’ complaints about safety and security in the workplace and in the field. In a letter sent today to the Administration by VSEA President Dave Bellini, he reminds that August 7 marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic killing of DCF Social Worker Lara Sobel, and he urges State action above and beyond what AHS Secretary Hal Cohen outlines in a memo he sent today to AHS
Here are some excerpts from Bellini’s letter:
“The danger of physical attack and bodily harm exists every day at [employees’]- worksites. The Legislature has appropriated more funding for safety investments; unfortunately, on-the-ground state employees have seen little change in actual safety measures. Taking a full year to address a serious safety crisis is not acceptable.
Our frontline workers are the best judges of the threats that face office personnel and the public visiting state offices. Their suggestions have gone unanswered. We are reiterating our demand that the State of Vermont meet the safety needs of state workers and the Vermonters they serve. The following three priorities should be acted upon immediately with specific goals and timetables:
All state parking lots should be secured, have restricted entry and be monitored;
Trained law enforcement officers should be regularly present in state office buildings, as well as all DCF and Probation and Parole offices, which require a secure point of entry that at a minimum includes walk through metal detectors, baggage scanners and enough personnel to staff entry ways; and
An independent "Safety Czar" should be created by mutual agreement of the Agency of Administration and the VSEA to coordinate safety efforts across state government and to brief the Administration, the VSEA and the General Assembly on safety and security measures. This position should receive every threat made against state employees and/or their families. This position should have independent authority to make recommendations and seek necessary funding for improvements from the Legislature and the Administration.
Please respond to the demands of your frontline workers no later than August 7, 2016.”
WIA will update readers on the State’s response, if there is one.
Lamoille Valley Chapter’s Annual Meeting Is Tomorrow, Saturday, July 23!
Lamoille Valley Chapter President Aimee Towne is reminding that the Chapter’s Annual Meeting is Saturday, July 23, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Elmore State Park in Elmore. There will be free admission for the first 50 VSEA members and family members to arrive!
Light refreshments will be available, and members will have all-day access to the Park and its Beach House.
Waterbury Chapter Hosts Well-Attended Member Appreciation Day Event
VSEA’s Waterbury Chapter hosted an impressive Member Appreciation Day Event on July 20 inside the atrium in the new Waterbury State Office complex. The place was packed, and the Chapter provided a free lunch, VSEA giveaway items and chances to win special door prizes throughout the event. In all, 36 VSEA members were awarded prizes and some 160 entered for a chance. Waterbury Chapter President Tracey Harrington called the event a “huge success” and thanked everyone who came.
State employees just started moving back to Waterbury in January 2016, so the event provided a great venue for VSEA members to come together as one since returning.
Waterbury Chapter President Tracey Harrington presents several Chapter members with their door prize. In all, 36 members won prizes!
Time To Ride! “AOT Union (Motorcycle) Ride” Is July 30!
All VSEA Members Invited!
A group of VSEA AOT members will be hopping on their motorcycles on July 30 to participate in a ride to celebrate recent gains they made in the new contract and also 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 1:00 p.m.
VSEA members interested in participating in the run can RSVP to Union Representative Dave Van Deusen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vermont State Colleges’ (VSC) Chancellor Jeb Spaulding announced this week that the VSC’s Board has preliminarily approved the merger of Johnson State and Lyndon State. Formal approval is expected at the Board’s September 29 meeting, where Spaulding will present the full details. When asked about the merger by VTDigger, VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson tells the reporter “We are going to be watching the process closely in the next few months to see who is impacted.”
VSEA Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee Chair Rubin Jennings sent an email to VSEA Corrections members on July 14, explaining that the current Corrections Unit Trustee has been promoted out of the bargaining unit and this has created a vacancy in this important position.
Interested candidates must send back a petition with the names of 25 DOC members by 4:00 p.m., Friday August 5, 2016. To be eligible for candidacy for this position, you must be an active member of VSEA. No faxed or scanned petitions will be accepted.
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 email@example.com, 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!
VSEA Labor Educator Reminds Members of Summer Trainings – Three 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 three trainings open to all members, please invite folks who may be interested:
Article Examines The Adverse Impact Privatization Of Cities & States
According to an article that posted online this week, “hindsight is 20/20” is the phrase many city leaders across the nation are repeating a lot these days. That’s because after being sold a line about how privatization will save the money, the savings are nowhere to be found. In some cases, costs are rising with privatization.
From the story:
“We know by now that many of the grand promises that pro-privatization advocates have made over the past few decades—the piles of cash for broke cities, the efficiencies the private sector would to bring to public service delivery—haven’t panned out. After a roughly 30-year experiment in selling off traditionally public municipal functions—from garbage collection to toll-road operation to nursing home care—many cities around the country have been left with shoddier services, lower general fund balances, and poorer citizens.
But to this day, there is little discussion of the ways in which municipal privatization also erodes democracy itself. Privatization contracts are usually backroom agreements approved with little public say in the matter. They contain so-called “non-compete” and compensation clauses that prevent cities from implementing policies that impinge on firms’ profits, even if the policies are necessary to protect the public interest. And contract lengths are typically extraordinarily long—Chicago’s parking garage deal will last 99 years—preventing generations of voters from having a say in policy around that service.
As the Chicago case shows, as privatization undermines the very purpose and nature of a city, it also undermines the people’s connection to the city, and their desire to invest in and contribute to it.”
Today, the privatization trend is beginning to flag a bit, as the consequences become increasingly apparent and a new pro-public movement blooms. Some cities have “insourced” services again after realizing they could perform the work as efficiently as private companies.
Between 2007 and 2012, about ten percent of all municipal services delivered in the U.S. were newly “insourced,” according to research by Warner surveying 500 local governments (with roughly the same amount newly outsourced).
“There’s a pushback right now against privatization,” says Elizabeth Shermer, an assistant professor of history at Loyola University Chicago who focuses on business, labor, and urbanization. “As Americans see what it will cost in the long run, we might see a shift back to publicly run services and infrastructure.”
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.