Senate Committee on Economic Development: May 3, 2018.
Left to right: Senator Becca Balint, Senator Philip Baruth, Senator Michael Sirotkin (Chair), Senator Alison Clarkson (Vice Chair), Senator David Soucy
VSEA Executive Director’s Update On O’Neill Confirmation Status
Vote Now Next Week.
VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard Asked WIA To Include The Following Message:
Based on the comments of Senate Economic Development Committee Chair Michael Sirotkin at yesterday’s hearing, VSEA fully expected a vote today on Karen O’Neill’s nomination to the Vermont Labor Relations Board. The State, however, decided to prevent DOL Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle from providing the Committee with testimony in advance of its vote. The State is hiding behind an excuse that Kurrle cannot testify due to a completely unrelated VSEA lawsuit, which your union filed last week, along with a majority of our brothers and sisters in Vermont labor.
VSEA’s Legislative Team and myself have received assurances that the vote will take place next week.In the meantime, if you or your co-workers have not yet left a message for your Senator(s) at (802) 828-2228 to voice your opposition to Ms. O’Neill’s confirmation a neutral on the Board, it is more critical now than ever. The integrity of the Vermont Labor Relations Board is at stake.
In Advance Of Vote, Senate Committee Held Series Of Hearings This Week On
Karen O’Neill Confirmation
VSEA members and staff pack Room 11 for the May 2 hearing.
The Senate’s Economic Development Committee held two hearings this week on Karen O’Neill’s confirmation as a neutral to the Vermont Labor Relations Board, preceding this
On Wednesday, VSEA members and retirees packed Room 10 at the State House for the Committee’s first hearing. A host of labor representatives testified in opposition to O’Neill’s confirmation, including Michael O’Neill for the Vermont Trooper’s Association, Heather Reimer for the American Federation of Teachers, Jeff Fannon for the Vermont NEA, David Mickenberg for Working Vermont and Steve Howard for the VSEA.
The second hearing on Thursday was far shorter, and the Committee used the time to educate themselves more about the appointment and confirmation process, how labor got a seat on the Review Panel and how O’Neill was chosen from among 12 applicants. The Committee had wanted to question DOL Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle about her outreach to labor unions prior to selecting an IBEW representative to fill the labor seat on a VLRB appointee Review Panel. Ms. Kurrle cited VSEA’s litigation as her reason for not appearing in front of the Committee.
VSEA Members & Retirees Join May Day Rally At State House
VSEA is thanking all the members and retirees who rallied with other working Vermonters on May 1 (May Day) at the State House in Montpelier. VSEA Health Department member Michelle Salvador gave a rousing and well-received speech that took direct aim at the assault on Vermont workers’ rights, as well as at the State’s imposed contract and the way it resulted.
VSEA published some photos from the rally, which members and retirees can view here.
The deadline to submit proposals for changes to VSEA’s Master Bylaws is next Friday, May 11, 2018. Proposals must be mailed to: Cassandra Edson, Bylaws Committee Chair, c/o VSEA Headquarters, 155 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602.
Proposals should reference the number, section, sub-section, etc. of the bylaw you would like to change. You should also include the language you want to add, delete or substitute. Also include the reason(s) you are making this proposal. Example: “Bylaw 0 A (1) (b) Change: Monday to Sunday. Reason: Makes it easier to work with the calendar.”
Please be sure the changes you are recommending include all Articles and/or Bylaws that may be affected by the proposed change.
VSEA Judiciary Unit Members… Did You Get Your Electronic Contract Ratification Ballot?
All eligible VSEA Judiciary Unit members should have received an email on Monday, April 30, from firstname.lastname@example.org. The email contains your electronic ballot to vote on the Unit’s tentative contract agreement.
Very important! Your electronic ballot was sent to the primary email address that VSEA currently has on file for you. If you do not recall receiving an email from email@example.com on April 30, please look in your “Other” or “Spam” folders before contacting headquarters to request that your ballot be reissued.
Reminder: VSEA sent ballots to Judiciary Unit members’ primary email address, provided the union had your correct primary email address. This is a big reason why WIA is constantly soliciting members to contact VSEA with your updated email address. You can update your contact information here anytime.
VSEA Creates Timeline Of Bargaining-Related Webpage Posts Since November 2017
VSEA’s Communications Department has created a special webpage that includes all bargaining-related posts made to the union’s homepage since November 2017. It’s another handy tool for members and retirees to reference to brush up on VSEA’s 2018 contract fight. VSEA members can also steer your co-workers to the page, especially those who may not be following VSEA’s contract and confirmation campaigns closely, and who are looking for some historical perspective.
Labor Relations Director’s Contract Summary
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.
Back in late January, WIA and DOC Community Corrections Specialist II Herb Sinkinson and his colleagues asked VSEA members to cast a vote for their statewide “reparative and restorative justice” program, which was one of five finalists in a national contest to recognize “innovators in community supervision who are championing innovative programs and empowering clients,” as well as victims and community members.
Herb let WIA know this week that their program had won the contest sponsored by cFive Solutions; a company that provides software solutions for Community Supervision and Probation agencies. Sinkinson and the Reparative Program were up against programs located in Ohio, Nevada and two in Kansas.
“I think the fact that Herb and the Reparative Board program at Burlington Probation and Parole garnered the most votes speaks highly of his program, cFive Solutions representative Karrie Patterson told the Burlington Free Press on April 26.
“It is great that this national award recognizes the collaborative efforts of many staff and volunteers from Vermont Probation, other parts of the criminal justice system, and the community, which led to the development of a myriad of restorative justice services in Vermont.” Sinkinson tells the paper.”
Sinkinson and his colleagues are thanking VSEA members and retirees who voted.
“This was a nominee who was a partner in a firm that offered what are commonly known as union-busting services. I fail to see how anyone could make the connection and move this nomination forward to a neutral seat.”
Senate Economic Development Committee member, commenting during a May 3 Karen O’Neill confirmation hearing.
VSEA Brattleboro Chapter President Robin Rieske and other Chapter members will be staffing a Green-Up Day member-volunteer table tomorrow morning, May 5, at the corner of Elm and Elliot Streets in Brattleboro. VSEA members are welcome to stop by the table from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to pick up some collection bags and some VSEA giveaway items. Donuts served.
Global Labor Film Festival Comes To Barre On May 6
The Old Labor Hall in Barre is adding itself to the growing list of places and cities participating nationwide in the 2018 Global Labor Film Festival.
On Sunday night, May 6, there will be a special screening of Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning documentary Harlan County USA, which tells the story of the 1973 UMWA coal miners’ strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky.
The film begins at 6:00 p.m.
Admission us free and there will be light refreshments available. Donations are accepted and appreciated.
Brattleboro Employee Appreciation Day Event Is May 8!
VSEA’s Brattleboro Chapter will hold an Employee Appreciation Day event on Tuesday, May 8, at 11:30 a.m. in the State Office Building’s first-floor conference room, located at 232 Main Street in Brattleboro. Chinese food and beverages are being provided.
Please RSVP in advance—or direct any questions or comments—to VSEA Brattleboro Chapter President Robin Rieske via email at Robin.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter Meeting Is May 9!
VSEA’s NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter will hold its next Chapter meeting on Wednesday, May 9, at 12:00 p.m. at the St. J District Office, located at 1016 U.S. Route 5 in St. Johnsbury. Pizza and beverages being provided, or you can bring your own lunch. Lots on the agenda to cover.
Please RSVP in advance—or direct any questions or comments—to VSEA NEK / St. Johnsbury Chapter President Ellen Hinman via email at email@example.com.
Organizer’s Worksite Meeting On May 9 In Montpelier
VSEA Organizer Jen Larsen is holding a meeting on May 9 with VSEA members working in Montpelier. The meeting begins at 12:00 p.m. in second-floor conference room at 116 State Street in Montpelier. There will be pizza for members attending. A contract update will be provided.
Members with questions can contact Jen by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 802-223-5247.
Sign The Petition To Support CCV Faculty’s Fight For A Fair First Contract
More than 500 Community College of Vermont (CCV) faculty are negotiating a first-ever contract that will include job security language. Currently CCV Administration can fire faculty for any reason–and it doesn’t even have to tell the faculty member why s/he has not been reappointed.
VSEA members are urged to support CCV faculty members’ fight for a FAIR FIRST CONTRACT by signing the workers’ petition
New Republic Writes About “The Struggle
The New Republic published a story on April 26, titled “The Struggle To Stay Middle Class”, and it’s definitely worth a read to learn more about the multiple forces working to gut America’s middle class.
Here’s a short excerpt:
“[G]lobalization and automation aren’t the only forces responsible for the loss of those reliable paychecks,” a recent New York Times story reports. “So is the steady erosion of the public sector.” The Times notes that state and local employees are the smallest share of the American civilian workforce since 1967. Yet these forces are presented as if there were no humans behind them, as facts of nature rather than facets of a particular political ideology intent on reducing the power of labor. The destruction of the American middle class didn’t just happen. It was deliberately done."
Arizona Teachers’ Strike Leads To 20 Percent Raise
Arizona lawmakers worked through Wednesday night to pass a budget that raises teacher salaries 20 percent in four years. Teachers will receive a 9 percent raise in the fall and 5 percent in each of the coming two years. A 1 percent raise had already been approved.
Teachers, who were striking across the state, held watch at the state Capitol Wednesday, packing the House and Senate galleries as lawmakers debated and holding a candlelight vigil on the legislative courtyard.
Montana Lawmaker’s Column Asserts That No Public Contract Has Generated Greater Complaints & Controversy Than With CoreCivic
WIA recently shared an anti-CoreCivic commentary penned by a group of Montana American Indian lawmakers, and now a Senator is following suit, blasting the state’s deal with CoreCivic, which she labels a “private, for-profit, out-of-state prison corporation [that] has created ongoing problems in Montana, along with a dismal reputation across the country.”
The column concludes, “Montana can do better. Accepting a bad deal from CoreCivic is not an ethical path to meeting our responsibilities to provide human services to our most vulnerable Montanans, nor would it come remotely close to addressing the gaps in the human services budget, nor is it a long term solution to meet those critical, ongoing needs.”
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.
“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:
Specified Health Event
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.
A New VSEA Benefit – LifeLock Identity Theft Protection
VSEA members and retirees should have received a few week’s back announcing a new benefit to being a VSEA member. VSEA is pleased to announce best-in-class identity theft protection from lifelock!
From the email:
"We think your identity is worth protecting. LifeLock works to help protect your identity in a digitally-connected world. Protection from LifeLock helps safeguard your finances, credit and good name. Nowadays, that is more important than ever. Help protect your personal information by enrolling in LifeLock before April 30th to take advantage of special pricing being offered to VSEA employees."
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.
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.
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.