VSEA’s Week In Action Newsletter: November 9, 2017

Proud To
Help Vermont Veterans
Every Day

VSEA members are proud to serve Vermont veterans every day by:

  • Staffing Vermont’s sole facility to provide quality care to our state’s veterans;

  • Protecting our veterans’ public safety;

  • Helping our veterans navigate the State’s sometimes complicated benefit processes;

  • Assisting unemployed veterans with the skills they need to get a job;

  • Ensuring veterans know about the health and welfare benefits available to them and are utilizing them;

  • Providing our veterans with safe, clean drinking water and a clean environment;

  • Keeping Vermont’s highways and byways cleared so our veterans can get to work, medical appointments, etc.;

  • Being there for veterans who are having trouble readjusting to society and might need some guidance or someone to listen;

  • Advising our veterans grappling with aging or disability issues;

  • Keeping our veterans suffering with a mental health crisis safe; and

  • Making sure our veterans know about the contract language VSEA members have negotiated on their behalf over the years, like quality health care coverage and the ability to take time off to serve without fear of not having a job when you get back.   

We know this list doesn’t include all the services Vermont state employees provide daily to our state’s veterans, but we do know that VSEA members are proud to deliver each and every service listed, or not listed. VSEA is also proud to represent so many Vermont veterans who return from service and find employment with the State.

This Veterans’ Day, VSEA thanks every Vermont veteran for your service.

Quote Of The Week!

“In sum, we conclude that the State violated Article 31 of the Contract by requiring Grievant to use five days of annual leave for one of the seven weeks he was absent from work due to his serious injury.”

Line from a pro-VSEA, VLRB ruling this week that forces the State of Vermont to stop directing employees to use annual leave after six weeks of sick leave to cover their own injuries or illnesses, even when they have accrued sick leave.

VLRB Rules DHR Violated Contract By Cutting Off Sick Leave After
Six Weeks

VSEA’s Legal Team won another victory at the Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) this week. This case strikes down DHR’s practice of compelling employees to use annual leave after six weeks of sick leave to cover their own injuries or illnesses, even when they have accrued sick leave. This is a longstanding issue that has frustrated VSEA members for years. The State has been arguing that contract language adopted in 1999 cuts off sick leave after six weeks and requires employees to use all their other paid leave before being eligible to draw on sick leave again. Except in the most serious cases, this effectively caps sick leave usage at six weeks per year. This is a concession that VSEA never agreed to in negotiations. 

The VLRB sustained a grievance by an AOT employee who broke his knee and was out of work for seven weeks. The State ordered him to request FMLA time and then to use annual leave for the last week of his recovery. This decision orders the State to restore five days of annual leave to his record. It concludes with the following: 

"In sum, we conclude that the State violated Article 31 of the Contract by requiring Grievant to use five days of annual leave for one of the seven weeks he was absent from work due to his serious injury. Grievant was entitled to use accrued sick leave for this week. His wish to do so was prevented by the State’s position that the cascade provisions of Article 35, Section 5, of the Contract required that he use family leave for this week. The State was entitled to exercise its undisputed right to designate Grievant’s leave for a knee fracture as counting towards Grievant’s annual limits under the state and federal family and medical leave statutes, but the State did not have the right to compel Grievant to use annual leave during this period. As a result, Grievant lost five days of annual leave and should be reimbursed for the value of the leave."

"A few weeks ago, it’s the Judicial Branch not following the law and now the Board finds that the State has been wrongly interpreting FMLA and how employees can use it for quite a while," says VSEA President Dave Bellini. "This is a nice victory and great proof of how one worker’s win can make it so the State actually has to change course and begin applying the law correctly for all state employees. VSEA vows to continue to challenge any and all questionable interpretations and directives by the State because it’s a big part of what a union does for its members, which is to give them a voice and the representation that they might not have on their own."

Read Entire VLRB Decision Here

Special Note: This decision will apply to all state employees’ FMLA leave requests moving forward. It does not provide retroactivity for an employee who may have been issued a similar directive since 1999. A number of employees have filed grievances on the same issue that are currently held in abeyance, and that should now reach the same result.

VSEA Treasurer Election Email With Ballot Link Coming Tuesday, November 14!

VSEA’s Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee is sending eligible members a link to your official online VSEA Treasurer-election ballot on Tuesday, November 14. If you requested a paper ballot, it is being mailed to you next week.

Very important! Your electronic ballot is being sent to the primary email address that VSEA currently has on file for you.

If you do not receive an email from vote@simplyvoting.com on Tuesday, November 14, please look in your “Other” or “Spam” folders before contacting headquarters to request that your ballot be reissued.

Role of the Treasurer: The Treasurer shall oversee the receipt and disbursement of all funds of the VSEA and its various sub-entities. S/he shall keep or cause to be kept a true record of all receipts and disbursements. S/he shall disburse funds only when directed to do so by the Board of Trustees and then only when the disbursement is approved by the President or by the President’s authorized representative; provided however, that s/he shall reimburse any member of VSEA for necessary expenses in connection with the performance of his/her duties when so authorized by the Board of Trustees or the President.

The Treasurer shall keep all corporate funds in accounts under the name of the Corporation and shall submit all books and accounts to the auditor within thirty (30) calendar days following the close of the fiscal year or any other time when so directed by the Board of Trustees. The Treasurer shall furnish a bond in such amount as the Board of Trustees may require, the cost thereof to be paid by the Corporation.

In the absence of the President, the First Vice-President, and the Second Vice-President, the Treasurer shall preside at Council Meeting.

Below is a full list of candidates for this office:

Candidates for
VSEA Treasurer:

Click a candidate’s name to read their candidate statement- opens a PDF.

Help Spread The Word!
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)

State Leasing New Space In Brattleboro

The Commons reports this week that BGS Commissioner Chris Cole has submitted a letter of intent to the town of Brattleboro to lease 10,000 square feet of office space, located at 230 Main Street in Brattleboro. The State Office Building is located at 232 Main Street, and Cole says the idea is to create a “campus” atmosphere for employees and provide the public with “one-stop shopping.” 

One paragraph in the story that does raise a red flag is this one:

“Although parts of the building—especially the basement—were plagued by dampness and mold, [Agency of Administration Director of Planning and Property Management Bill] Laferriere said he and his colleagues were satisfied with the town’s mitigation plans.

“We did a facilities assessment on the building and there were no adverse findings,” he says in the story.

Note: VSEA will be monitoring the testing being done and asking to review the results, prior to state employees being relocated to the new space.

Celebrate Old Labor Hall’s 19th Anniversary On Saturday!

VSEA members are invited to attend the Vermont Workers’ Center’s 19th anniversary celebration of the Old Labor Hall on November 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Hall, located at 46 Granite Street in Barre. A meal is being provided by The People’s Kitchen (sliding-scale donations accepted!).
To RSVP for the anniversary celebration, please email kate@workerscenter.org and write “2017 Dinner” in the email subject line. 
Facebook Event Page

Mill Girls: Stage Play Recounts Stories Of 19th Century Women In
Local Mills

Upcoming performances on November 10 and 11 at 7:00 p.m.  All free and open to
the public.

McCarthy Arts Center Theater
St. Michael’s College

Synopsis: History buffs and theater lovers alike will be enthralled by a new original play staged at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester. Created and directed by St. Mike’s theater professor Peter Harrigan, Mill Girls looks at the lives of the 19th-century young women who worked in New England mills in towns such as Winooski and Lowell, Mass. Primary sources including news reports and personal letters offer insight into the emotional lives of the characters portrayed by a cast of 14 students. A score by local composer and arranger Tom Cleary features period folk, popular and sacred music, transporting audience members to the time and place of the action. 

Learn More Here

Next Lamoille Valley Chapter Meeting Is November 16

VSEA’s Lamoille Valley Chapter will meet Thursday, November 16, beginning at 12:00 p.m. at the State Office Building, located at 63 Professional Drive in Morrisville. Food is being provided.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Lamoille Valley Chapter President Aimee Towne via email: atowne@vsea.org.

First Health Department Labor – Management Committee Meeting Is November 17

VSEA is pleased to see a new labor – management committee has been formed to facilitate healthy dialogue and the exchange of ideas between frontline Department of Health employees and management. The Committee’s inaugural meeting is November 17 at 108 Cherry Street in Burlington.

The VDH Labor Team is:

  • Cheryl Brinkman
  • John Davy
  • William Fritch
  • Bonny Lee
  • Marie Sawyer (Alternate)

Talking Union

VSEA Video Series, Episode 3

"The reality of it is, you want to save money for taxpayers however you can, but you can’t cut a meaningful service and not suffer at the other end."

A few weeks back, WIA informed readers that the second in a series of video chats with frontline state employees had posted. It featured Reach Up Case Manager Sue LaFleche in the second of what the VSEA Communications Department hopes will be many face-to-face sit-downs with VSEA members to talk union and why every member needs to be engaged and informed.

This week, VSEA posted the third in the video-series, and it features DOC Corrections Educator John Vorder Breugge:

View “Talking Union,” Episode 3 –
John Vorder Breugge (Corrections Educator)

VSEA members who want to appear on video to let the membership and public know what your union means to you and your family are urged to email VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson (dgibson@vsea.org).

Strike Settled! Fairbanks Scales Workers’ Action Brings Management Back To Table And Leads To New Agreement

With their backs to the wall, encountering a hostile employer, workers at Fairbanks Scales in St. Johnsbury went on strike, walking a picket line for more than a week to try to convince management to return to the bargaining table with palatable contract proposals. The UE-represented workers’ strategy worked, and this week management did return the table with proposals that differed greatly from the draconian language and measures previously proposed. In the end, the two sides were able to reach agreement and the workers’ picket
line ended.

“Workers received significant wage increases,” [UE representative and employee Chad] McGinnis tells the Caledonian Record. “The employer acceded to most of the union’s demands; we feel like we’ve accomplished a fair three-year contract.” McGinnis also praised the support the workers received from the community.

A total of 67 workers are represented by UE Local 234 at Fairbanks.




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.

We Want To Know What You Think of VSEA’s Week In Action


This Week:

Proud To Help Vermont Veterans Every Day

VLRB Rules DHR Violated Contract By Cutting Off Sick Leave After Six Weeks

VSEA Treasurer Election Email With Ballot Link Coming November 14!

State Leasing New Space In Brattleboro

Celebrate Old Labor Hall’s 19th Anniversary On Saturday!

Mill Girls: Stage Play Recounts Stories Of 19th Century Women In Local Mills

Next Lamoille Valley Chapter Meeting Is November 16

First Health Department Labor – Management Committee Meeting Is November 17

"Talking Union" VSEA Video Series, Episode 3 – John Vorder Breugge (Corrections Educator)

Strike Settled! Fairbanks Scales Workers’ Action Brings Management Back To Table And Leads To New Agreement




Week In Action Reminders:

Looking For District 5 Member To Serve On VSEA’s Board: Bennington & Rutland

More Contributions Needed Now To The NMU’s Sick
Leave Bank!

Union Rep Schedules Vet’s Home Meetings

Coming February 2018! VSEA Boston Bruins Bus Trip!

Advantage Program Vendor of the Week!

What is the VSEA Advantage Program?


VSEA Calendar:

November 10
Veterans’ Day 2018 Observed
Most State Offices & VSEA Closed

November 11
Celebrate The Old Labor Hall’s Anniversary
Old Labor Hall
5:30 p.m.

November 14
ERN Committee Emailing Electronic Ballots
VSEA Treasurer’s Election

November 15
Child & Elder Care Committee Meeting
155 State Street
9:30 a.m.

November 16
Board Of Trustees’ Meeting
155 State Street
9:00 a.m

November 16
Supervisory Unit Bargaining Team Meeting
155 State Street
8:00 a.m.

November 16
Lamoille Valley Chapter Meeting
State Office Building
63 Professional Drive
12:00 p.m.

November 17
Chapter Presidents’ Committee Meeting
155 State Street
9:00 a.m

November 17
Inaugural Meeting – VDH Labor/Management Committee
108 Cherry Street
1:00 p.m


Read Contracts Online At VSEA.org

VSEA members can click here to view your contract.

All contracts expire on June 30, 2018.


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


Looking For District 5 Member To Serve On VSEA’s Board: Bennington & Rutland

The VSEA Board is renewing its effort to recruit a member to fill VSEA’s now-empty District 5 Board seat. All that’s needed is for interested member(s) to submit a petition. The District 5 Trustee serves as the voice for Rutland & Bennington’s VSEA members on
the Board.

Two years remain on retiring Vets’ Home employee Barbara King’s current term, meaning whoever is appointed to the position will serve out her term and then have to run for official election in the next campaign cycle.

To be eligible for election to the District 5 seat, a member must reside or have an assigned workstation–and continue to reside or have an assigned workstation- in
District 5.

If interested, you must be a member in good standing, and you must collect the signatures of 25 or more full, dues-paying VSEA members.

For A Petition Visit VSEA.org

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.


More Contributions Needed Now To The NMU’s Sick Leave Bank!

Deadline For Donations Is December 31, 2017

VSEA member Dawn Carrillo staffs the Non-Management Unit Sick Leave Bank, and she is again asking WIA to sound the alarm that the bank really needs your donated hours. NMU members can donate a few hours to your Unit’s sick leave bank from now until December 31, 2017.

“Just donating an hour of your time can mean the world to a fellow employee,” reads a new flyer DHR is circulating. It also informs state employees that they can donate any amount of annual- or personal-leave time to the NMU 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.”


Union Rep Schedules Vet’s Home Meetings

VSEA Union Representative Rachael Fields has scheduled a series of meetings to talk with Vet’s Home employees about their issues and concerns.
If you work at the Vet’s Home, please mark one of these dates and times down to stop by and talk with Rachael:

  • November 29 (Crispe Room)
  • December 27 (Crispe Room) 

Available Times: 6:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Coming February 2018!

VSEA Boston Bruins Bus Trip!

Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Saturday, February 3
7:00 p.m. 
TD Garden (Section: Balcony 321)
Boston, MA

Based on the popularity of the first few member bus trips sponsored by VSEA, your union’s Membership Recruitment Committee (a small group of rank-and-file state employees who coordinate and host VSEA’s outings) recently polled members to find out what kinds of bus trips members want the Committee to pursue in the future. Coming up number one was a trip to Boston for a Bruins game, so the Committee has scheduled this trip.

$170 Per Person
Includes a bus ride to and from the park, as well as a ticket to the game.

To reserve a seat(s) on the bus, contact VSEA Union Representative Bob South. You can reach Bob by email at bsouth@vsea.org or by phone at 223-5247.

Important! VSEA will be taking the names down of those interested, as members contact VSEA, but you will not be officially on the bus until full payment is received at headquarters. Please make checks payable to VSEA.


Advantage Program Vendor of the Week!

Exclusive Deals For
VSEA Members!

Brattleboro Tire
558 Putney Rd.
Brattleboro, VT 05301 802-254-5471

10% off for VSEA Members! Just present your VSEA union card to receive this discount.

Find more member discounts 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


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At Work? 

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