VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: May 18, 2018

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Rally To Support Vermont Public Schools & Teachers!

Across the nation, public school teachers are taking to the streets to demand improved working conditions (for both themselves and their students), dignity and respect while at work and fair compensation for the valuable service they provide daily to America’s school-age children. On Saturday, VSEA members are invited to attend a rally to support our state’s public schools, teachers and support staff.
We Love Our Public Schools Rally
Saturday, May 12, 2018
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Montpelier High School Auditorium
5 High School Dr.

From the Vermont NEA’s Rally Facebook:

Have you been watching as your peers in Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia have taken to state capitols by the tens of thousands to stand up for their schools? They have demanded an end to shortchanging their schools and students, as well as stand up for fair pay and decent working conditions.

If you thought that what they are facing can’t happen here, look no further than the governor’s education plan, which would make massive cuts in programs that our kids depend on while slashing more than 2,000 of your jobs.

Join your colleagues and others for a rally to show how much we love Vermont’s public schools – and to let the governor and lawmakers know we won’t stand for this attack on our schools, educators,
and students.

VSEA Members Included In Castleton University Layoffs

Citing a need to align Castleton University’s budget with its “enrollment realities,” Dean of Advancement Jeff Weld told the Rutland Herald on May 17 that 10 support staff employees had been laid off, five of whom were VSEA members. Seventeen employees retired, including five VSEA members.

From the story:

CU President Karen Scolforo said she was proud(?) of the work done to put Castleton “on a positive trajectory for the future.”

“While we are saddened that some our staffing levels are affected by this process, we have maintained our focus on our students first and foremost throughout this process,” she said, “and ultimately we feel strongly that the number of positions affected was minimized through strong collaboration.”

Note: VSEA staff has visited the Castleton campus on several occasions, since learning the administration was discussing employee layoffs and retirements, advising VSEA members about their rights, helping guide them through the process and answering
any questions.   ​

Get Involved! Seats Up For Election To The VSEA Board Of Trustees. June 1 Deadline To File Your Petition!



VSEA’s Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee is reminding that June 1 is the deadline for interested members to submit a petition to run for a seat on the VSEA Board
of Trustees.

As set forth in VSEA Bylaws, the following seats on the VSEA Board of Trustees are up for petition and election:

  1. Non-Management Unit Trustee
  2. Judicial Unit Trustee
  3. District 3 Trustee (Newport/ Island Pond, Lamoille, Northeast Kingdom, St. Johnsbury)
  4. District 6 Trustee (Brattleboro, Springfield, White River Junction)

Trustees elected in the above Districts must reside or have an assigned workstation, and continue to reside or have an assigned workstation, in the respective District. Trustees that represent units must stay a classified employee in that unit during the duration of their term.

If you are interested in placing your name into nomination to run for election for a seat on the VSEA Board of Trustees, please complete the attached petition and return it to VSEA headquarters by the deadline date of 4:00 p.m., June 1, 2018. To be eligible for candidacy for this position, you must be an active member of VSEA. In order for your petition to be accepted, it must have the signatures of at least 25 VSEA members. Please note that “agency-fee payers” are not full-fledged members and their signatures are not valid for inclusion on your petition. Therefore it is suggested that you obtain more than 25 signatures.

Role of a Trustee:
The VSEA Board of Trustees manages the internal affairs of the union and ensures that the policies of VSEA are followed. It reviews and approves the union’s budget for submission to the membership, and it reviews committee reports and recommends action by the Council and members. The Board also sets policy for VSEA.

The Board meets monthly and Trustees are expected to attend all the meetings as well as all quarterly Council meetings and the VSEA Annual Meeting. Release time from work is authorized under the unit collective bargaining contract. Each Trustee is also assigned to at least one VSEA Chapter to attend meetings and provide any necessary assistance.

If you have questions regarding your petition to fill a VSEA Trustee seat, please email the ERN committee (vsea@vsea.org). The deadline to submit petition to fill one of the three VSEA Trustee seats is 4:00 p.m., Friday, June 1, 2018."

> Click here to download a petition.*

Send your petition to:
ERN Committee
155 State Street
Montpelier, VT. 05602

No faxes /or scanned documents will be accepted.

*If you are unable to access a petition online, please contact VSEA headquarters at 223-5247 to request to have a hard copy petition mailed to your home. Petitions are also available on the VSEA website in the Members Only Documents.

VSEA Judiciary Unit Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New Two-Year Agreement With Courts

Just weeks after reaching tentative agreement on a new two-year contract with the Judiciary, VSEA members belonging to the Unit voted overwhelmingly by electronic ballot to ratify the agreement.

The Judiciary Unit’s new contract includes first-time hourly pay of 60 cents for "Relief from Abuse" stand-by assignment (starting in year two) and improvements to overtime and to the Unit’s designated education and development fund. The Unit’s contract mirrors the wage and benefit package just imposed on the VSEA Executive Branch Bargaining Teams.

VSEA State Colleges’ Unit Members Upcoming Raise To Match CPI

VSEA Vermont State Colleges’ Unit Chairperson Sandra Noyes sent an email to Unit members this week, reminding about an upcoming negotiated raise, which kicks in on July 1, 2018.

From Noyes’ email:

According to Article 28 [Wages, paragraph 1 c)] of our current VSCSF bargaining agreement:

"Effective July 1, 2018, each bargaining unit member will receive an increase of 2.0% or CPI, whichever is higher, to his or her annual base salary."

Because the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is currently running at 2.5%, all VSCSF members employees covered under our contract will be receiving a 2.5% cost-of-living adjustment on July 1, 2018.

Additionally, as contained in Article 13 [Evaluations, paragraph 8], Unit members with satisfactory evaluations are eligible for an additional 1.5% salary increase, raising your total increase on July 1, 2018, to 4.0%.

Fire Claims House Where VSEA State Colleges’ Member & Her Daughter Were Tenants

They Are Okay, But, Tragically, Their Pets & All Belongings Were Lost

Just a week after posting about a VSEA Corrections Officer losing his home and pet in a tragic fire, VSEA was saddened to learn that, this past Sunday, longtime State Colleges’ member and activist Monique Prive lost her pets and all her belongings when a house where she was a tenant burned to the ground in West Burke. Monique’s daughter Tiffany also lost all her belongings.

Caledonian Record Story

VSEA State Colleges’ Unit Chair Sandra Noyes has been in contact with Monique and she says she is grateful for any help VSEA members and retirees can offer.

  • Monique wears size 12-14 pants and medium to large shirts.
  • Tiffany wears size 7-9 pants and medium shirts.

For anyone wanting to send a donation and/or a card, the address is:

Monique Prive
312 Depot Street
West Burke, VT 05871

Monique’s mail will be held at the post office where she will pick it up.

Quote Of The Week!

“If you don’t want the benefits of the union, go work for a
non-union employer.
Simple fix.”

VSEA DOL member Judy Bourbeau, commenting on a VSEA Facebook post this week, providing advice to union members who don’t want to pay dues but who do want to enjoy the benefits of union representation.

VSEA Meetings/ Trainings/ Events:

Upcoming Steward Training Dates

VSEA Field Services Director Gretchen Naylor asked WIA to announce a revised series of Steward training dates in the
coming months.

Trainings begin at 8:30 a.m.

The dates are:

  • June 8: Holiday Inn, Rutland; and
  • September 18: VSEA HQ, Montpelier

To register, please email Gretchen Naylor 

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)

Points of Interest:

UVM Nurses Rally In Advance Of June Contract Negotiations

Photo: Erin Green

Several Vermont media outlets reported this week on a Saturday rally by hundreds of UVM Medical Center nurses to raise awareness about their contract issues in advance of formal negotiations with the boss. The primary bargaining issues for the group are working conditions, pay and staffing levels. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a speech and his support to the nurses in their upcoming
contract fight.

"What we’re fighting for is giving our nurses a voice in how hospital executives allocate resources," Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals Local 5221 President Julie MacMillen tells the Free Press. "We’ve seen a lot of investment in properties expanding our network and in electronic health records, but unfortunately nurses’ wages have been stagnant for about a decade."

She adds that “UVM Medical Center has a ‘huge vacancy rate’ for nurses, with 180 open positions. She says the hospital is having a hard time retaining nurses because of relatively low pay and difficult working conditions.

CCV Faculty & Supporters Picket Chancellor’s Office

Photo: Matthew Polk

It was pouring down rain on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop Community College of Vermont faculty and supporters from conducting a spirited picket outside the Chancellor’s office in Montpelier. According to a May 16 VTDigger story, members of the CCV faculty’s newly formed union are “seeking a new contract for part-time adjunct faculty.”

“The contract would be a first for the 538 educators who work at CCV’s 12 campuses. Part-time faculty members are asking for higher wages and job security. Workers at the lowest end of the pay scale earn about 2 percent less than their full-time colleagues; faculty at the highest end earn 43 percent less, according to data from the union.”

Co-Worker Schools
Mark Janus About How His Union Helps Him

Unionized workers across America are right now nervously waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a decision on a lawsuit, titled Janus vs. Illinois. If the Court rules as expected, public-sector unions will be harmed
the most.

The man who brought the anti-union lawsuit is named Mark Janus, who claims, in part, that his union dues are spent promoting an agenda that he doesn’t support.

Recently, a co-worker of Mark Janus, who works in the same building, penned a commentary in Labor Notes that spells out exactly how Janus’ union’s agenda is helping him.

  • Without our union, Mr. Janus’s job would probably have been outsourced by now;
  • Mr. Janus has received $17,000 in union-negotiated raises.
  • The public—including the parents and kids Mr. Janus serves—has access to resources like childcare that our union has fought to defend.
  • Our union blocked the employer from doubling the cost of Mr. Janus’s health benefits.
  • We make sure Mr. Janus’s office is warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Thanks to our union, Mr. Janus will retire with a pension.
  • Mr. Janus can get sick and still have a job when he comes back; and
  • Our union ensured that Mr. Janus could be fairly hired, regardless of his politics.

VSEA is sure members sometimes encounter state employees like Mr. Janus, who constantly grouse about the union and ask aloud what it does for me. It’s important for VSEA members to respond with a list of examples like the ones Mark Janus’ co-worker writes about in his commentary. 

Here are some of the examples VSEA promotes on its website:

  • 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; and
  • Protection from polygraph exams and drug testing.

Wisconsin Corrections’ OT Costs Rise Exponentially After Elimination Of Collective Bargaining Causes Hiring To Drop Off

The Journal Sentinel reports on May 18 that Wisconsin is currently grappling with how to fill 920 vacant Corrections positions, or 12.5% of the state’s entire Corrections workforce.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) tells the paper that the problem was caused by Act 10, the 2011 law championed by Governor Scott Walker that all but eliminated collective bargaining for correctional officers—and most other employees—and required them to pay more for their benefits. Workers have not wanted to take or stay in prison jobs when the pay is low and they can’t negotiate over safety conditions, he says.

“The whole idea of Act 10 worked as far as Walker was concerned because it busted unions, but it’s costing taxpayers more in the long run because you can’t hire workers,” Erpenbach says.

West Virginia Lawmaker Who Mocked Striking Teachers Not Re-Elected—Thanks To Teachers

West Virginia Teachers Strike, February 27, 2018

The RawStory reported recently that a West Virginia state lawmaker who was openly mocking state teachers for going on strike has lost his re-election bid, mostly thanks to teachers turning out to vote.

When the WV teachers first decided to go out on strike, the lawmaker belittled the effort, saying, “I can’t say that it will have zero effect, but I don’t think it’ll have any significant effect…” How wrong he was.

“Teachers showed up and they were voting in their ‘55 united, 55 strong shirts,’” one teacher says in the story. “Once the results started rolling in, it was phenomenal. Teachers were really empowered to say, if we stick together we can make a difference.”

Note: Teachers are mobilizing, and across the nation they are leading get-out-the-vote efforts like this one in West Virginia in advance of mid-term elections and other important state and local races as they are contested. Looks like their efforts are already paying dividends.

This Week:

Rally To Support Vermont Public Schools & Teachers!

VSEA Members Included In Castleton University Layoffs

Get Involved! Seats Up For Election To The VSEA Board Of Trustees. June 1 Deadline To File Your Petition!

VSEA Judiciary Unit Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New Two-Year Agreement With Courts

VSEA State Colleges’ Unit Members Upcoming Raise To Match CPI

Fire Claims House Where VSEA State Colleges’ Member & Her Daughter
Were Tenants


VSEA Meetings/ Trainings/ Events:

Upcoming Steward Training Dates


Points of Interest:

UVM Nurses Rally In Advance Of June Contract Negotiations

CCV Faculty & Supporters Picket Chancellor’s Office

Co-Worker Schools Anti-Union Mark Janus About How His Union Helps Him

Wisconsin Corrections’ OT Costs Rise Exponentially After Elimination Of Collective Bargaining Causes Hiring To
Drop Off

West Virginia Lawmaker Who Mocked Striking Teachers Not Re-Elected—Thanks
To Teachers


VSEA Reminders:

Help Spread The Word! Download
VSEA Flyers

VSEA Legislative Team Weekly Updates

VSEA Member Food Drive!

Time Running Out For VSEA Members To Apply For A 2018 Vermont State Colleges Staff Federation Scholarship

Labor Relations Director’s Contract Summary Available Online

It’s Time! Please Donate Today To Your Unit Sick Leave Bank

VSEA Insurance Benefits Enrollment

What is the VSEA Advantage Program?



VSEA Calendar:

May 21
Awards & Scholarships Committee Meeting
155 State Street
9:30 a.m.

May 25
Policy Committee Meeting
155 State Street
9:00 a.m.

May 28
Memorial Day Holiday
VSEA & Most State Offices Closed


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


Help Spread The Word! Download VSEA Flyers

VSEA Springfield Chapter President, Joey Holmes, showing off his worksite bulletin board.

VSEA members looking to become more active in their union can help by posting or distributing these flyers in your worksites. 

Thanks for the help!

View More Flyers In The VSEA Flyer Hub

You can find this page on VSEA.org by navigating to "Forms, Documents & Downloads" in the main menu and then clicking, "Download VSEA Flyers"


VSEA Legislative Team Weekly Updates

VSEA’s legislative team at the State House is now publishing a short, information-packed, weekly recap of what’s happening in Montpelier that VSEA members need to know about.

Latest Report: 
May 14

You can find the reports at your convenience here.

Please note: VSEA members will need to first log into their VSEA.org account to view the reports.

Need a VSEA.org account? Sign up for a free account here.


VSEA Member Food Drive!

Here’s how to participate:

  2. FILL IT! (with non-perishable food)
  3. DONATE FOOD! (and keep the reusable bag!)

Accepted items include:

  • Non-Perishable Food
  • Pet Food & Supplies
  • Paper Products
  • Non-Perishable Beverages
  • Toiletries
  • Supermarket Cash Cards, etc.

Reusable Donation Bags Available From Your Chapter President

Food Donation Bins Located At State Offices

Questions? Email vsea@vsea.org, call 802-223-5247 or contact your VSEA Chapter President here.

Help Spread The Word!
Download and distribute this flyer in your worksite.
Thank you!


Time Running Out For VSEA Members To Apply For A 2018 Vermont State Colleges Staff Federation Scholarship

Note: This is not affiliated with VSEA’s Scholarship Program!

If you are a VSEA member—or a member’s spouse, dependent or domestic partner—you are eligible to receive a 2018 Vermont State Colleges Staff Federation (VSCSF) scholarship award!

The fund is intended help VSEA members and their spouses, dependents or domestic partners who are seeking financial assistance to pursue post-secondary educational goals at one of the following:

  • Castleton University;
  • Lyndon State College;
  • Johnson State College (soon to be Northern VT University) or
  • Vermont Technical College.

The Scholarship Committee will base its decision for the scholarship eligibility on the following criteria:

  • Career goals;
  • Financial need;
  • Abilities and initiative;
  • Life experiences; and
  • College attending

The scholarship application must be completed in full and one $500 scholarship will be awarded. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2018.

Application Here!

VSCSF scholarship applications and essays should be sent to:

Samuel Read Hall Library
c/o Monique Prive
P.O. Box 919
Lyndonville, VT 05851‐0919

If you have any questions, please contact Scholarship Committee Chair Denise Doyon by phone at 802‐626-6350 or by e‐mail at mailto:denise.doyon@northernvermont.edu

Note: VSCSF scholarships are not to be confused with VSEA’s annual scholarships. Eligibility does not require attendance at one of the VSCSF’s four designated colleges or universities.


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 now available online by clicking here.


It’s Time! Please Donate Today To Your Unit Sick Leave Bank
Donations Being Accepted
April 1 To June 30

VSEA member Dawn Carrillo staffs the Non-Management Unit Sick Leave Bank, and she is once again asking WIA to help her solicit time donations to the bank from VSEA members. Carillo is also announcing that the donation period is April 1 to June 30, 2018, and she reminds that donations to the Corrections and Supervisory Unit Banks are also needed.

“Just donating an hour of your time can mean the world to a fellow employee,” reads a DHR flyer. It also informs state employees that they can donate any amount of annual- or personal-leave time to their respective Unit sick leave bank. “Know that you are performing a wonderful service by helping your friends and fellow employees, who, along with their families, are struggling due to serious health issues,” the flyer concludes.

VSEA members interested in donating some much-needed time to the NMU, Corrections and Supervisory Sick Leave Banks can find a donation form here.

“I want to thank every member for considering a donation to your Unit sick leave bank,” says VSEA President Dave Bellini. “Even if you only donate one hour to the bank, these one-hour donations add up. It’s so worthwhile because your donation is going to help a fellow state employee who is battling a serious illness.”


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


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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