VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: November 22, 2019


Week In Action Not Publishing Next Week!

WIA is taking a short break next week and will publish next on December 6.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!

Contract Ratification Vote Result Being Certified Monday Morning

The deadline for VSEA members belonging to the Executive Branch Units (Non-Management, Supervisory and Corrections Units) to vote yay or nay on the tentative agreement is this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.

VSEA’s Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee will be at headquarters first thing Monday morning to certify the vote count, after which, VSEA will immediately post the results to the union’s:

VSEA Pension Fight Tour To Continue

VSEA pension and tentative agreement worksite meetings were held this week in Waterbury (top) and Brattleboro (bottom). 

Keep an eye on the VSEA web page calendar for upcoming VSEA pension fight worksite meetings that might be scheduled between now and when WIA publishes again on December 6. 

Learn More:

Protect Pensions! Share This Image!

VSEA is urging members and retirees to share the image below with your colleagues, family and friends. Let them know that even exempt state employees greatly prefer a defined benefit pension plan, and this is a fact that lawmakers and State officials cannot ignore. 

See Larger Version of This Image

VSEA Investigating Attack On Springfield CO

Another Example Of Why Improved DOC Safety & Security Is A Priority!

Photo: VTDigger

Just a week after a recent visit by lawmakers belonging to the Joint Legislative Justice Oversight Committee to the St. Albans prison to hear from frontline corrections officers about their issues and concerns, including safety and security, several news outlets reported this week on a vicious Tuesday attack on a corrections officer by inmates at the Springfield prison.

From a November 20 WCAX story

According to a police report, an inmate attacked an officer at the Southern State Correctional Facility with a blunt object. While that was happening, two more inmates attacked a third inmate. An officer user pepper spray to control the situation.

Since learning of the attack, VSEA has had staff at the facility, checking on the members there and working to gather all the facts to determine next steps, in consultation with VSEA Corrections Unit leaders. 

Here’s what VSEA told WCAX (we’ve changed from an association to a union, it appears):

The Vermont State Employees Union, which represents corrections officers, said it is extremely alarmed. Union staff are talking with DOC workers to determine from their perspective what exactly happened and if the DOC is being factual with the public about the severity of the attack.

"We’ll also be asking DOC about things like staffing levels and shakedown frequency. I would expect we’ll have more to say soon," said VSEU President Dave Bellini in a statement.

Safe Ratio? 

This is also an interesting pull from the story:

[DOC Commissioner Michael] Touchette says the incident happened in the close custody unit at the Springfield prison, where there is a higher level of security. "This has more staffing then the typical correctional units around the state," he said.

Two officers staff the unit, which can hold up to 50 inmates.

Note: 2 to 50 in a unit with higher security than most? Makes you wonder. 

Photo: VTDigger

Read the VSEA Corrections Unit Bargaining Team’s recent letter to lawmakers, which includes references to CO safety & security.

State Seeking Input On 2021 Budget 

Given the State’s charge this summer to department and agency heads to come up with a 20% reduction in spending by August 30 (VTDigger, June 2019: State Asks Agencies for Plan to Cut Growing Spending Gap by 20% ) to "help close the gap between the projected growth in spending and available revenues," VSEA members are urged to share any and all cost-savings ideas you have with the State.

The State’s is asking Vermonters with input to submit comments about state expenditures through an online forum and survey.  

Nearly 800 Have Signed VSEA’s Petition To Increase State College Funding. Have You Signed Yet?

Although Vermont is among the top five in the United States for K-12 education funding, Vermont is ranked 50th for state college funding.* VSEA members are standing strong in support of the Vermont State College staff and are demanding a solution to the many years of chronic underfunding.

To demonstrate how much our state colleges mean to Vermonters, VSEA is urging members, retirees, and the public to sign the union’s online petition, which calls on state officials and lawmakers to immediately increase VSC funding.

* Source: Inside Higher Ed.com – January 21, 2019


Sign The Petition Online!


Quote Of
The Week!


"What a shame that it takes today to get what our kids deserve"

Indiana State School Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, addressing thousands of Indiana teachers, who rallied Tuesday at the State House for increased school funding and teacher pay. From a November 19 TIME magazine story.  


Upcoming Meetings:


Chapter Meetings:

  • Waterbury
    Monday, December 2
    State Office Complex 
    280 State Drive
    Oak Conference Room
    12:00 p.m.


Talking Points:


JFK’s Words Still Ring True Today, 56 Years After His Tragic Assassination

In remembrance of the tragic November 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy, WIA is sharing this 1960 Kennedy quote about labor unions. His words still ring true today. 

Those who would destroy or further limit the rights of organized labor–those who would cripple collective bargaining or prevent organization of the unorganized–do a disservice to the cause of democracy.

Fifty years or so ago the American Labor Movement was little more than a group of dreamers, and look at it now. From coast to coast, in factories, stores, warehouse and business establishments of all kinds, industrial democracy is at work.

Employees, represented by free and democratic trade unions of their own choosing, participate actively in determining their wages, hours and working conditions. Their living standards are the highest in the world. Their job rights are protected by collective bargaining agreements. They have fringe benefits that were unheard of less than a generation ago.

Our labor unions are not narrow, self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, they have brought justice and democracy to the shop floor. But their work goes beyond their own jobs, and even beyond our borders.

Our unions have fought for aid to education, for better housing, for development of our national resources and for saving the family-sized farms. They have spoken, not for narrow self-interest, but for the public interest and for the people.

Central Vermont VSEA Members Belonging To Hunger Mountain Co-Op Urged To Help Employees Get A Fair Contract!

Workers, belonging to UE Local 255–and working at the Hunger Mountain Co-Op in Montpelier–are holding information sessions with the public throughout central Vermont to talk about their contract struggle with Co-Op management and to seek the public’s support. 

The UE employees are currently working under the terms and conditions of an expired contract, and they say the situation is compounded by a breakdown in communication with management and a perceived lack of respect for the workers, in general. They say that, to date, management has proposed raises of just 7-cents-per-hour and is insisting that any future raise be tied to employees giving up paid holidays, or, as they say, "paying for their own raise."

To learn more about how you can help the Hunger Mountain Co-Op workers, message them on their Facebook page or stop by the store and talk with a worker. 

Indiana Teachers Pack State House To Demand Increased Funding

TIME reports this week on thousands of Indiana teachers rallying at the State House to demand increased funding for the state’s public schools. 

From the story: 

Several thousand teachers wearing red surrounded the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday to call for better pay and more respect from the Republican-dominated state government in a protest that closed more than half of the state’s school districts for the day.

The union-organized rally represented Indiana’s biggest such teacher protest amid a wave of educator activism across the country over the past two years.

Teachers chanted, “Fund our schools,” and “Put kids first,” as hundreds of them lined entrances to the Statehouse, many holding handmade signs with sayings such as, “Less Money on Testing, More Money on Students.” Teachers with marching band instruments played “We’re Not Gonna Take It” from the Statehouse steps.

Note: Teachers also protested last year in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona.

Kentucky Teachers Will Lead Newly Elected Governor’s Inaugural Parade!

Recognizing how important unionized teachers were to his election, newly elected Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently announced that teachers will be at the head of his December 10 inaugural parade. 

“In my first inauguration announcement, I want to show my appreciation for our public educators, who work tirelessly, every day to improve the lives of our children and lift up our communities, and that is why I am naming them inauguration parade grand marshals,” Beshear said.

Blog Post

Working Vermont Hosting January 2020 Event With AFT’s National President Randi Weingarten 

Working Vermont (a coalition of Vermont labor unions, including VSEA) is pleased to be hosting a reception for national American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. 
Here are the details:
AFT Randi Weingarten Reception
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
State House Cafeteria
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 


This Week:

Contract Ratification Vote Result Being Certified Monday Morning

VSEA Pension Fight Tour To Continue

Protect Pensions! 
Share This Image!

VSEA Investigating Attack On Springfield CO

State Seeking Input On 2021 Budget 

Nearly 800 Have Signed VSEA’s Petition To Increase State College Funding. Have You Signed Yet?


Talking Points:

JFK’s Words Still Ring True Today, 56 Years After His Tragic Assassination

Central Vermont VSEA Members Belonging To Hunger Mountain Co-Op Urged To Help Employees Get A Fair Contract!

Indiana Teachers Pack State House To Demand Increased Funding

Kentucky Teachers Will Lead Newly Elected Governor’s Inaugural Parade!

Working Vermont Hosting January 2020 Event With AFT’s National President Randi Weingarten



November 28

Thanksgiving Day Holiday
VSEA & Most State Offices Closed 


Important Reminders:

Fall 2019 Membership Drive!

My Office Is Freezing!

Bolton Valley Again Offering Discounted Ski & Ride Passes To VSEA Members!

State Employees Who Are Threatened On The Job Should File "eAlert" Form

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

Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!

What Is The VSEA Advantage Program?


VSEA Videos:

Keynote Speaker At VSEA’s Annual Meeting

Told You’re Being Investigated?
Watch This Video!

More on YouTube


Thank you for reading Week In Action!


Fall 2019 Membership Drive!

Ending Soon!

After a very successful membership-recruitment initiative this past summer, VSEA is excited to announce a new membership drive for the next quarter, or the fall of 2019.

Never forget that ongoing recruitment is vital to the strength of your union! 

  • Members who recruit TWO members will receive a VSEA insulated travel mug; and
  • Members who recruit FIVE new members will receive a dues holiday for a month; and
  • Members who recruit TEN new members will receive a check for $50!

Each time you recruit a new member during the designated period (September 1 – November 30, 2019), your name is entered into a drawing. Four names will be pulled at random and winners will receive a check for $100!  

If you have any questions or want a list of non-members in your area, please contact VSEA Director of Operations and Organizing Amy Kinsell by email:

Help spread the word!
Download, distribute and post this flyer in your worksite! Thanks!


My Office Is Freezing!

Colder than usual temperatures caught some state office heating systems by surprise, evidenced by multiple reports of very cold conditions in offices throughout the Waterbury State Office Complex. 

Here’s a reminder of what the Non-Management Unit contract language says in Article 29, section 16, about cold and hot offices:
The State will respond promptly to complaints about air quality in existing State owned and leased buildings including air testing when appropriate. The State will consider reasonable corrective measures when indoor workplace temperatures are less than sixty-five (65) degrees or more than eighty-five (85) degrees. Air quality standards for newly-constructed or newly-leased buildings shall be subject for consideration/recommendation by the Safety and Health Maintenance Committee.

Note: If excused from work because it’s too cold or hot, employees will have to use their own leave, unless management approves employees leaving without using their own leave. If your building is closed outright, constituting an "emergency closure," Article 44 of the contract kicks in. 


WATCH: Video Of Keynote Speaker At VSEA’s Annual Meeting

If you want to feel inspired, view and listen to the rousing "why unions matter" keynote address that UFCW Local 1445 President Jeff Bollen delivered to members and retirees attending VSEA’s 75th Annual Meeting on September 14. Bollen is a leader of the successful Stop & Shop strike in April 2019.


Bolton Valley Again Offering Discounted Ski & Ride Passes To VSEA Members!

WIA was asked by Bolton Valley Group Sales Manager, Eric Davis, to include the following in this week’s newsletter:

Buy next year’s season pass now and:

  1. Get the lowest price of the year AND…
  2. Ski & Ride the rest of this season FREE!!! That’s right, if you buy next year’s pass now, you can join us for the rest of this season on next season’s pass!

Learn more or purchase passes here!

Please contact me with any questions.
Eric Davis
Group Sales Manager


State Employees Who Are Threatened On The Job Should File "eAlert" Form

We are reminding members that there is an online form to fill out if you are threatened while at work

Find The State’s “eAlert” Homepage Here
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.


Told You’re Being Investigated? Watch This Video!

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!

More: Know Your Union Rights

Not currently a VSEA member?
You can sign up online.


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.​

Learn More On VSEA.org


Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!

Long-time VSEA activist and leader Terry Lefebvre is asking VSEA 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 appeals to VSEA members to talk up the co-workers they know who might be preparing to retire. If you already belong to the Retired Members’ Chapter, a big thanks to you.

Learn More Here About The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter


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!

Learn More!

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

Are You A
Council Member?

Join the VSEA Council Facebook group here!

Are You A
Chapter President?

Join the VSEA Chapter Presidents 
group here!

Are You A

Join the VSEA Steward Facebook
group here!





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