VSEA Files Formal ULP Against State For Implementing Policy Without First Negotiating Impact With Union
On February 20, VSEA President Dave Bellini sent a letter to the State, requesting it suspend its recently implemented infants-at-work policy because it failed to negotiate beforehand with VSEA about its impact on workplaces and employees. A few weeks later, and no one from the State has replied to Bellini, so VSEA filed a formal unfair labor practice Thursday morning with the Vermont Labor Relations Board. VSEA’s ULP contends that the State’s actions illegally undermine the union by offering changes in benefits or rights without negotiating with the union.
Remember that VSEA has fought for its members’ right to childcare, parental leave, and other ways to adapt the state workplace to the needs of state employees and their families. If the State had met its legal obligation to negotiate before implementing its proposal, VSEA is confident an agreement would have been reached and that the end result would have actually been improved with the collective input from the VSEA membership.
On April 12, 107 employees working in 14 State’s Attorney’s Office’s (SAO) across Vermont will learn the result of an upcoming election to join VSEA.
Mail ballots are being sent to SAO employees on March 21 and must be returned by April 6. The workers filed with the Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) in December 2018 for an election to be represented by VSEA. The 107 employees who will be voting are Deputy State’s Attorneys, Secretary IV’s and Administrative Secretary’s.
VSEA NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter Conducting Food Drive
Throughout the month of March, VSEA’s NEK / St Johnsbury Chapter of VSEA will be reaching out to area members and retirees to solicit donations to local food shelves in Lyndonville and St. Johnsbury.
If you will be collecting at your office and want to arrange a donation(s) pickup, or if you have questions, please contact Ellen Hinman (Chapter President 751-0123), Dianne Rivers (Chapter Vice President 626-6497) or Monique Prive (Chapter Secretary/Treasurer 626-6364 )
Donations are being accepted until April 12, 2019.
Thank you in advance for donating to this worthy cause!
"Basket Raffle" To Help Family Of Employee Who Died In
We are hosting a basket raffle to help the Wiktorski family with some unforeseen expenses. Our own Lee Wiktorski lost his life in an unfortunate ice-fishing accident. We are asking for any donation that you can give, no donation is too small. Here is what we need:
BASKETS!! Themed baskets in a plastic wrapping. We are shooting for 100 baskets. (Gift certificates count as a basket and do not need a “basket”)
Large raffle donations; such as furniture, electronics, large gift certificate
Refreshments – baked goods, soups, sandwiches, chips, drinks, paper goods
Donations can be dropped off at the Castleton University library.
The Basket Party begins at 11:00 a.m. on April 6 and the raffle starts at 1:00 p.m. VSEA members, retirees or Chapters can send a donation / basket to Billie Langlois, Castleton University, 178 Alumni Drive, Castleton, Vt., 05735.
VSEA is congratulating longtime VSEA member/activists Harry "Jaime" Percey Jr. and Bob Stone on being elected to their town select boards on Tuesday. Percey Jr. was elected to the Pownal Select Board and Stone to the Underhill Select Board.
Percey is a 30-year state employee, currently working as a Maintenance Mechanic II at the Vermont Veterans’ Home in Bennington. When asked what his winning election strategy was, Percey responded, "Stick to the facts and be respectful." Bennington Banner Story
Stone, a 13-year state employee, is an Assistant State Fire Marshal with the Department of Public Safety in Williston. He is also the newly elected chairperson of VSEA’s Non-Management Unit.
Good turnout for the last VSEA legislator dinner meeting to discuss issues important to members and retirees.
VSEA’s Legislative Committee is hosting its final dinner meeting on March 13 and interested VSEA members and retirees are invited to come and talk with lawmakers in attendance about (or learn more about):
The Future of Woodside Wednesday, March 13, 5:30 p.m.
* Certain face amounts may not be available. Underwriting requirements apply. ** Subject to certain conditions and payment of claims is subject to all policy limitations and exclusions and pre-existing conditions.
This is a brief product overview for illustrative purposes only. Beneﬁts and/or premiums may vary based on the state and beneﬁt option selected. Riders may be available for an additional premium. Policies described herein have limitations and exclusions that may affect beneﬁts payable. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact your Aﬂac insurance agent/producer. Individual coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.
WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road, Columbus, GA 31999 | aﬂac.com
“Ultimately, companies don’t expand because of incentives. They expand when the demand for their products or services exceeds their capacity.”
Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer in a commentary he penned this week, re-articulating his argument against throwing money at the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive (VEGI) because Vermont taxpayers cannot account for what bang they are getting for their bucks. Given how precious taxpayer dollars in this day and age, there really should be some kind of accountability.
In a vote that concluded Thursday, about 92 percent of voting members OK’d the three-year deal. It includes wage increases ranging from 10 to 25 percent, but it does not include a controversial provision that would have required some union members to travel to various work sites.
The deletion of that “mandatory floating” provision was key to successful contract talks, said Chris Gonyeau, a respiratory therapist who helped lead negotiations with the hospital.
“That was huge,” Gonyeau said. “On the patient safety aspect, it was very concerning, because it was putting people an hour and a half away from their home base.”
Congratulations to the UVM professional technicals on their new deal!
Oakland Teachers’ Strike Ends With Another Victory For Teachers
ABC News Radio reported March 2 on the end to a seven-day strike by teachers in Oakland, California. Teachers settled on an 11 percent raise and a halt on new charter schools.
“This is a historic contract with a win in every major proposal we made, that moves us toward a win for the schools Oakland students deserve!” the teachers’ union wrote in a statement announcing the deal. “We FORCED Oakland Unified School District to invest in keeping teachers in Oakland – which will give our kids experienced teachers in their classrooms.”
GE Workers’ Strike Brings Management Back To Table
The March 7 Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that nearly 2,000 General Electric (GE) employees in northwestern Pennsylvania are returning to work after striking for nearly two weeks; a move that brought Wabtec management back to the bargaining table.
From the story:
More than 1,700 workers at a locomotive manufacturing plant in Erie have agreed to head back to work on Monday, ending what will be a nearly two-week strike that garnered national attention right as Wabtec Corp. celebrated an historic merger with GE Transportation.
The Wilmerding-based transportation company and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 506 and Local 618 announced the deal in a joint statement on Thursday after meeting with a federal mediator. The two sides agreed to a 90-day contract that allows for more negotiations toward a long-term deal.
“While negotiations will continue between the company and union over the next 90 days, both parties are optimistic that a mutually beneficial collective bargaining agreement can be reached to position the Erie facility for future growth, stability and success,” the statement read.
The labor strike, once a common tactic for labor unions before a sharp decline in the 1980s, was called on Feb. 26, hours after Wabtec closed on its $11 billion deal to acquire General Electric’s locomotive-building unit. GE Transportation operated the Erie plant — and negotiated labor contracts with the union — for decades.
Important: Once you land on the eAlert page, you will see an entry labeled “threat” in the menu provided. Click on it and you land on a page with written instructions and fields to complete.
In November 2017, the current Secretary of the Administration sent the State’s “Workplace Safety and Security” policy to state employees, and VSEA members are encouraged to read through the different policies, examples and responses, prior to an actual event occurring.
2019 VSEA Scholarship Application Available Now!
Each spring, the VSEA Awards & Scholarship Committee solicits scholarship applications from VSEA members and their spouses, dependents and domestic partners. The application process is easy, requiring the applicant to write a couple of short essays as well as provide a grade history, employment history, personal references and a few other things.
All applications received before May 8, 2019, will be reviewed by Committee members, who will then decide from among all this year’s eligible candidates who is awarded a 2019 VSEA scholarship.
Winners will be announced at the VSEA Council’s June 2019 meeting.
Between January 1, 2019, and September 1, 2019, VSEA is calling on all members to become active recruiters—and you might be rewarded for your efforts. Here’s how:
Members who recruit two members will receive a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card;
Members who recruit five new members will receive a VSEA insulated coffee mug; and
Members who recruit ten new members will receive a $50 Visa gift card.
Every time you recruit a new member during the designated period*, your name is entered into a drawing to be conducted at VSEA’s 2019 Annual Meeting. Four names will be pulled at random and winners will receive a check for $300!
* Please be sure the new members you recruit add your name to the "Recruited By" line on their union card or membership application.
If you have any questions, or want a list of non-members in your area, please contact VSEA Director of Operations and Organizing Ray Stout by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Protect Your Pension" Meeting Now
Prior to the legislative 2019 session kicking off, VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard was conducting an education tour around the state, talking with VSEA members and retirees about an expected attack on your pension, who is behind it and how to help prevent it from happening.
If you weren’t able to attend a presentation in your area, VSEA is pleased to now share this link to Steve’s December 2018 St. Albans presentation.
This video is for VSEA members only. To view it you must be logged into your VSEA.org user account. If you do not have a VSEA.org account, please sign up for a free account here.
It is important that every VSEA member knows his or her rights when it comes to union representation in investigatory meetings. Union representation at these meetings is a cornerstone of the labor movement. Your right to representation—as outlined in your contract and, in some cases, labor law—can be complicated.
Please take a few minutes on a break to watch the video, and know that the information being relayed could very well save your job someday. Remember, as a VSEA member, you are entitled to no-cost representation in investigatory meetings that may lead to discipline. Non-members, however, must now pay a rate of $250 to $350 per-hour for the same level of representation!
Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!
Long-time VSEA activist and leader Terry Lefebvre asked Council members getting ready to retire to join the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter to continue to be an active and engaged union member, even in retirement. Lefebvre also appealed to Council members to talk up the Chapter to co-workers they know who might be preparing to retire.
With a possible fight looming on retirement security, Lefebvre stressed the importance to build the Chapter to be able to mobilize large numbers of past state workers to protect and defend the benefits they bargained to win over decades.
If you already belong to the Retired Members’ Chapter, a big thanks to 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.
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 is working hard to collect members’ contact information.
You can help us 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.