VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: July 27, 2018


Contract Mediation With State Scheduled For August 7

At the request of the Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB), VSEA’s NMU, Corrections, and Supervisory Bargaining Teams recently agreed to contract mediation with the State on Tuesday, August 7, to determine if there is any room for compromise from either side on certain issues and if a revised deal of some kind is even possible. The VSEA Teams agreed to attempt mediation, with the understanding that the legal process will resume if mediation is unsuccessful.

VSEA members and retirees can watch and review the VLRB hearing that led to mediation on VSEA’s Facebook page and website.

If you have any questions in advance of mediation, please direct them to a member of your VSEA Bargaining Team. Find Team members’ contact info here.

Note: Until mediation and a possible return trip to the VLRB are complete, the State’s last best offer is still the contract in place right now. Wage increases and certain healthcare co-pay increases do not kick in until
January 1, 2019.

March Tomorrow With VSEA In The Barre Heritage Festival Parade

VSEA members and retirees are invited to march with your colleagues in tomorrow’s 2018 Barre Heritage Festival Parade.

Here’s the information:

Parade: Saturday, July 28

VSEA Members Begin Gathering: 11:30 a.m.

VSEA Members GatheringAt: Barre Auditorium, 16 Auditorium Hill, Barre

Parade Start Time: 1:00 p.m.

Details: March in solidarity with VSEA in the 2018 Barre Heritage Festival Parade!!! Marchers each get a VSEA t-shirt to wear during the parade, and you can help hand out candy, balloons and stickers to the crowd. Member’s and retiree’s family and friends are welcome to join in the fun!

Please RSVP—or direct any questions—to VSEA Barre Chapter President Sue LaFleche by email to suzanne.lafleche@vermont.gov.

Lamoille Valley Chapter Conducting Annual
“School Supply Challenge”

Three years ago, VSEA’s Lamoille Valley Chapter launched a successful effort to get Chapter members to donate school supplies to help children in need. This year, the Chapter is hoping to build on the success of the first three years events.

The Chapter is distributing collection boxes to Lamoille worksites, and the goal is to collect as many items as possible by Friday, August 10.

All supplies collected will be given to children currently in the custody of DCF Morrisville Family Services.

All types of supplies are needed, including: backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, folders, rulers, scissors and markers, to name a few.

Questions? Please contact Lamoille Chapter President Aimee Towne at aimee.towne@vermont.gov or Chapter Clerk & Treasurer Peggy Burbank at Margaret.burbank@vermont.gov.

Quote Of The Week!

"I also want to remind you, if you’re not at the table, you’re what’s
for dinner!”

VSEA ESD member Sue LaFleche, in a short video message released this week, talking directly to VSEA members and non-members about why she’s sticking with her union.

VSEA Posts Second In Short Video Series, Titled “I’m Sticking With
My Union”

At the direction of the Board of Trustees, VSEA’s Communications Department is providing a new visual education piece for members and retirees to share with anyone who is on the fence about their union, post Janus ruling. The second of three (soon to be four!) short “Why I’m Sticking With My Union” video clips posted to VSEA’s Facebook page on July 26, and it features ESD Reach-Up Case Manager Sue Lafleche, sharing why she is sticking with her union. Additional clips will post soon.

Watch Here: I’m Sticking With My Union – Sue LaFleche

Any VSEA member interested in appearing in a future video can send an email to vsea@vsea.org and write “I’m Sticking With My Union” in the subject line. And if you decide you want to sit down for a few minutes to share your thoughts with your union brothers and sisters, VSEA thanks you in advance.




VSEA Elections, Rules & Nominating Committee Reminds Members To Vote In Four Board Of Trustees’ Elections


Deadline to vote is August 1!

Members of VSEA’s ERN Committee asked WIA to re-share this letter:

As many of you know, there are four elections going on right now for seats on the VSEA Board of Trustees (NMU, Judicial, District 3 and District 6). This is a reminder that ballots for these elections were issued Friday, June 15, at 8:00 a.m. All members who are eligible to vote in one or more of these elections should have received an electronic ballot(s) from “Simply Voting” in your primary email (a.k.a. home email, unless VSEA does not have a home email for you, then we use your work email). All email providers filter mail differently, so if you did not see the ballot in your primary mail box please do a keyword search of “all mail boxes” for “Simply Voting” or “elector” and this should bring up your e-ballot. If you are unable to locate your ballot, VSEA can have Simply Voting re-issue the ballot. Your unique ID ensures you can only vote once per election.

To request a new ballot, or have your ballot sent to a new email address, please email Ray Stout at VSEA at Rstout@vsea.org. Voting in any of these elections closes on August 1, 2018, and, until then, members will be receiving weekly reminders to vote, including a voting link.

In the past few years, VSEA and the ERN Committee decided to make the switch to electronic balloting, and, to date, it’s been successful, evidenced by a member-participation rate that has nearly doubled.

Members, of course, have the option to opt-out of electronic balloting and receive a standard paper ballot via US Mail. You can request a paper ballot be sent in future elections by emailing vsea@vsea.org with the subject “paper ballot.”

In solidarity:
The VSEA ERN Committee

Submit Your 2018 VSEA Annual Meeting Award Nominations Online Today!

2017 VSEA Chapter Of The Year – Brattleboro Chapter! Presented by VSEA Awards and Scholarship Committee member Ed Thomas.

It’s time again to submit your nominations for a 2018 VSEA Outstanding Performance Award in the categories below. Click the buttons to make nominations online:


Outstanding VSEA Chapter:

Chapter Of The Year

Outstanding VSEA Steward:

Steward Of The Year

Outstanding Service to VSEA:

Frank A. Mazza Memorial Award

Outstanding Public Service:

Terence D. Macaig Award

Outstanding VSEA Staff Member:

Linda Coan Memorial Award

Learn more about the VSEA Annual Meeting Awards here. The deadline to submit nominations is Wednesday, August 8.

VSEA’s Awards and Scholarships Committee is urging members to give some thought to each of these awards and if you know of a deserving state employee—or a deserving Chapter—then please don’t hesitate to submit your nomination(s).

Winners will be announced at VSEA’s Annual Meeting in September.

VSEA’s Awards And Scholarship Committee Needs You!​

VSEA’s Awards And Scholarships Committee meets twice a year to administer your union’s award and scholarship programs, which primarily involves reviewing applications to determine winners of scholarships and winners of VSEA Annual Meeting awards.

VSEA members interested in becoming a member of your union’s Awards And Scholarships Committee should email the committee’s staff liaison, VSEA Communications Specialist 
Kris Lizzari at klizzari@vsea.org

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)


VSEA Meetings/ Trainings/ Events:



Book the date!
VSEA 2018 Annual Meeting
Saturday, September 8
Capitol Plaza Hotel, Montpelier

All VSEA Members Welcome!
For more information call VSEA HQ at 802-223-5247 or email vsea@vsea.org

VSEA 2017 Annual Meeting



Upcoming Chapter Annual Meeting

  • NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter
    Thursday, August 2
    5:00 p.m.
    ANR District Office
    374 Emerson Falls Road, Suite 4
    St. Johnsbury

    Questions: Contact NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter President
    Ellen Hinman at ellen.hinman@yahoo.com

Upcoming Chapter Meetings

  • VPCH Chapter Meeting
    Monday, August 6
    3:15 p.m.
    350 Fisher Road

    Questions: Contact VPCH Chapter President Jason Rushlow at JDaBear@yahoo.com

  • Brattleboro Chapter Meeting
    Tuesday, August 7
    12:00 p.m.
    State Office Building
    232 Main Street

    Questions: Contact Brattleboro Chapter President Robin Rieske at robin.rieske@vermont.gov

  • Franklin / Grand Isle Chapter
    Friday, August 10
    5:00 p.m.
    St. Albans Bay
    596 Lake Road
    St. Albans

    Questions: Contact Franklin / Garand Isle Chapter President Janine Cary at janine.cary@vermont.gov

  • Newport / Island Pond Chapter
    Wednesday, August 15
    5:00 p.m.
    Kingdom Brewery
    353 Coburn Hill Road

    Questions: Contact Newport / Island Pond Chapter Officer Karen Marchant at kmarch9060@yahoo.com

Upcoming Organizer’s Worksite Meeting

  • Middlebury
    Friday, August 3
    12:00 p.m.
    State Office Building
    First-Floor Large Conference Room
    156 South Village Green

    Questions: Contact VSEA Organizer Carmen Scoles at cscoles@vsea.org

Upcoming VSEA Member Appreciation Day Event(s)

  • NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter
    Thursday, August 9
    11:00 a.m.
    St. Johnsbury DCF & Parole & Probation Office
    1016 U.S. Route 5
    St. Johnsbury

    Questions: Contact VSEA NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter President Ellen Hinman at ellen.hinman@yahoo.com.

Bus Is Full For VSEA 2018 “Day At Fenway” On August 17, But Waiting List Being Built

The bus to attend “VSEA Day 2018 at Fenway” on Friday night, August 17, sold out this week, but a waiting list is being built for any member or retiree who wants to be added to it.

The Red Sox are battling the Tampa Bay Rays, starting at 7:10 p.m., and the cost is $80 per person, which includes a bus ride to and from the park, as well as a ticket to the game. The bus is making stops in Waterbury (2:00 p.m.) and White River Junction (3:00 p.m.). ETA at Fenway is 5:30 p.m.

If you and your family would be interested in placing your name(s) on a waiting list for the August 17 game, please 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.org or by phone at 223-5247.

Payment must be received before tickets are released. 

No refunds on purchased tickets. 

Upcoming Steward Training

The next Steward training is
September 18 at VSEA HQ in Montpelier.

Training begins at 8:30 a.m.

To register, please email Gretchen Naylor: gnaylor@vsea.org


Points of Interest:


DOC Told To Review VT Prisons’ Private Health-Care System Costs

Photo: VPR

VSEA was pleased to learn this week that the Joint Fiscal Office will soon be conducting a “complete evaluation” of the state prison’s privatized health-care system. It’s something VSEA’s DOC members wanted to happen years ago, especially because state employees once delivered the service. The workers’ hope the review will help clarify which delivery system is the most cost-effective.

According to a July 23 VPR story, “A report last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that Vermont had the second-highest per-inmate prison health care costs in the country. Vermont spent $13,747 per inmate in 2015, according to the report; the median amount spent among the 49 states that provided data was $5,720 per inmate.”

“We certainly want to provide the best possible care to the people in our custody,” [DOC Commissioner Lisa] Menard tells VPR. “But we also want to do it with the best possible value for taxpayers.”

VSEA’s DOC members look forward to seeing the full review, which is due to be delivered in January 2019.

UVM Nurses Return To Negotiating Table

Photo: VTDigger

On the heels of their recent two-day labor strike, nurses working at the University of Vermont Medical Center returned to the bargaining table with management this week and have two more sessions scheduled for August 1 and August 11.

According to a VTDigger story on the July 24 bargaining session, the two sides made a little headway on two issues related to pay but both stood firm on their wage-increase proposals, which continues to be the major sticking point to reaching a final agreement. The UVM nurses are also working hard in negotiations to ensure safe staffing levels for the sake of the nurses and the patients in their care.

Following this week’s bargaining, a union spokesman tells VTDigger the nurses were pleased to come to an agreement on the two, pay-related issues, but they were disappointed hospital management did not offer a new wage proposal.

Consolidated Communications’ Workers Vote
To Strike

Some 1,000 Consolidated Communications’ workers spread across three northeastern states, including Vermont, voted this week to authorize a strike against their parent company if a new contract agreement cannot be reached by August 4, 2018, when the workers’ current contract expires. These same workers, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), struck Fairpoint Communications for 131 days in 2014. Consolidated purchased Fairpoint in 2017.

Peter McLaughlin, co-chair of the IBEW bargaining team, tells WCAX on July 25 that the two sides are still far from an agreement, despite having been in negotiations since April. He says the union has real concerns about how the company’s outsourcing of union work is hurting workers and communities.

Big Vote In Missouri Next Week On

Missourians go to the polls on August 7 to decide whether or not to officially make the state right-to-work, but labor supporters are cautiously optimistic the ballot measure will be defeated. A July 27 Kansas City Business Journal story confirms that labor is outspending corporate America to defeat the measure, and recent polls point to the measure being defeated, but polls have been shown to be wrong in the past. Fingers crossed for Missouri to strongly defeat this anti-union ballot measure.



This Week:

Contract Mediation With State Scheduled For August 7

March Tomorrow With VSEA In The Barre Heritage Festival Parade

Lamoille Valley Chapter Conducting Annual “School Supply Challenge”

VSEA Posts Second In Short Video Series, Titled “I’m Sticking With My Union”

VSEA Elections, Rules & Nominating Committee Reminds Members To Vote In Four Board Of Trustees’ Elections

Submit Your 2018 VSEA Annual Meeting Award Nominations Online Today!


VSEA Meetings/ Trainings/ Events:

Book the date!
VSEA 2018 Annual Meeting: Saturday, September 8
Capitol Plaza Hotel, Montpelier

Upcoming Chapter Annual Meeting:

Upcoming Chapter Meetings:

Upcoming Organizer’s Worksite Meeting:

Upcoming VSEA Member Appreciation Day Event(s)​:

Bus Is Full For VSEA 2018 “Day At Fenway” On August 17, But Waiting List Being Built​

Upcoming Steward Training


Points of Interest:

DOC Told To Review VT Prisons’ Private Health-Care System Costs

UVM Nurses Return To Negotiating Table

Consolidated Communications’ Workers Vote To Strike

Big Vote In Missouri Next Week On Right-To-Work


VSEA Reminders:

With Mediation Pending, New Contract Printing & Posting
On Hold​

Labor Relations Director’s Contract Summary Available Online

Friendly Reminder: What Has Our Union Done For Us Lately? 

Show Your Facebook Friends You’re VSEA Strong With VSEA Facebook Profile Picture Frame!​

VSEA Elections, Rules & Nominating Committee Reminds Members To Vote In Four Board Of Trustees’ Elections Deadline to vote is August 1!

What You Should Know About The Anti-Worker Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

VSEA Insurance Benefits Enrollment

What Is The VSEA Advantage Program?



VSEA Calendar:

July 28
VSEA Marching In Barre Heritage Festival Parade

August 1
Deadline To Vote In BOT Elections
4:30 p.m.

August 2
NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter Annual Meeting
ANR District Office
374 Emerson Falls Road
Suite 4
St. Johnsbury
5:00 p.m.

August 3
Organizer’s Worksite Meeting: Middlebury
State Office Complex
156 South Village Green
First-Floor, Large Conference Room
11:30 a.m.


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


With Mediation Pending, New Contract Printing & Posting On Hold

VSEA members continue to inquire to headquarters about the status of the new NMU, Supervisory and Corrections’ contracts and where they can find them online to review and understand.

To date, the contract the VLRB ruled in favor of has not been printed or posted because, as many VSEA members and retirees know, the VLRB ordered VSEA and the State last week to enter into mediation to see if there is any room for compromise. If so, it may open a door to preventing the State’s last-best-contract-offer from being imposed in its entirety.

In the interim, members with specific questions about the new contract should contact a Steward or a Union Representative.


Labor Relations Director’s Contract Summary Available Online

VSEA Labor Relations Director Gary Hoadley’s comprehensive summary of the contract recently imposed on VSEA members belonging to the Non-Management, Corrections and Supervisory Bargaining Units is available online by clicking here.


Friendly Reminder: What Has Our Union Done For Us Lately? 

Just in case. Here is a reminder of just some of what VSEA has been able to accomplish for state employees (guided by rank-and-file leaders and activists) since its inception in 1944:

Yearly wage increases totaling more than 45% in cost-of-living and step increases since 1990;

Improved health benefits, comprehensive dental insurance including benefits for domestic partners;

A 30-year/no-penalty retirement plan with five-year vesting;

Enhanced mental health benefits;

Double-your-salary life insurance;

Time-and-a-half overtime benefits for over 4,600 employees;

Guaranteed maternity/paternity and adoption leave;

A strong grievance procedure to guarantee your rights;

Layoff (RIF) rights; 

An effective lobbying and political program that defends your rights in the legislature;

A Communications Department that provides timely news and analysis of developments affective you and your job;

Member benefits including discount programs; and

Access to stewards, Union Representatives and lawyers to answer questions and address workplace issues.


Show Your Facebook Friends You’re VSEA Strong With VSEA Facebook Profile Picture Frame!

In light of the Janus Supreme Court decision, consider using VSEA’s newly created “I’m Sticking With The Union” profile picture frame to send a message that you are VSEA strong and you’re sticking with your union.

You can set the frame to your profile picture here or you can following these directions:

  1. On a desktop, go to your Facebook profile.
  2. Hover over your Facebook profile picture and click, “Update Profile Picture”
  3. In the next menu, select, “Add Frame”
  4. Search for "VSEA" and select the color frame you would like to use, set the duration, and click “Use as Profile Picture”

Note: The following colors are available: Green, Gold, Black, White, and Green/Gold.


What You Should Know About The Anti-Worker Janus v. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

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.

Thanks in advance for visiting VSEA’s Janus webpage to ensure you are an informed union member. 


VSEA Insurance Benefits Enrollment

WIA was asked by VSEA Insurance 
Benefits Administrator, Joanne Woodcock, to include the following announcement:

  • Disability
  • Accident
  • Cancer
  • Hospital
  • Specified Health Event
  • Life Insurance
  • Payroll deducted

GREAT NEWS!  We’ve been working hard to make it easier for VSEA members to sign up for our insurance benefits.

You can now enroll anytime just by making an appointment.

The sign up is done remotely using your computer and speaking to me over the phone.
For more information email Joanne Woodcock here.


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


VSEA Members: If You Are In The Market To Purchase Or Lease A Vehicle – Get The Big Deal At Springfield Auto Mark

Exclusively for VSEA members, until the end of July, you can get great lease deals on a 2018 GMC Terrain or 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 – see links below for more information:

If you are considering making a new or used car purchase, VSEA Members will receive the following:

  • Purchasing New: $1000 off the listed internet price or 1st payment made on new vehicle advertised lease
  • Used Cars: $500 off the listed internet price
  • Purchasing Tires: 10% off (mounting and balancing included)
  • Tire Rotation: Free
  • Oil Changes: 3 years free with any vehicle purchase
  • 172 point-multipoint inspection: Free


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

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.

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