“This is terrific news for Burlington’s students. In the end, the board shares the same deep devotion to the city’s children as we do, and our teams were able to reach an agreement that will allow us all to devote ourselves to making our schools even better for all of our students.”
Burlington Education Association President Fran Brock, in a prepared statement, following teachers and the Chittenden School Board reaching a tentative contract agreement on October 19. Teachers were prepared to strike on October 20, if an agreement was not reached.
VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee Launching New Recruitment Effort
The VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee is launching a 2016/2017 “Membership Engagement and Recruitment Initiative” to grow the union’s ranks, asking members to talk with current agency-fee payers about the benefits of full-fledged membership and why s/he should make the switch. If they decide to upgrade their membership, the recruiting member will have the satisfaction of knowing they helped their union become stronger, but, in addition, the Membership Recruitment Committee will be awarding different levels of prizes to members, based on the number of new VSEA members recruited.
Here are the guidelines to participate and be eligible for a prize:
Whether submitting your recruited member(s) name(s)on a physical recruitment card or online, you must include your name as the recruiter;
Every member who recruits a new member will has his or her name entered into a drawing for the Grand Prize. The winner’s name will be drawn at VSEA’s Annual Meeting in September 2017, and the winner must be present to claim the prize;
Team entries are being accepted. Please register with Membership Recruitment Committee Chair Katelyn Chase by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members who recruit a new member, who then agrees to join your union’s political awareness committee (VTPAC) will receive an additional chance to win the Grand Prize, and
The cut-off date for this competition is August 30, 2017.
Here are the different prize levels:
$10 gift card and a VSEA water bottle (75 prizes awarded)
$25 gift card and a VSEA hat (40 prizes awarded)
$50 gift card and a VSEA tote bag (15 prizes awarded)
$100 and a VSEA fleece vest (8 prizes awarded)
1 Grand Prize – $1,200
Note: WIA will periodically remind members about this effort until its culmination in August 2017. /
Now Is The Time To Donate To The NMU, Corrections & Supervisory Unit Sick Leave Bank
VSEA member Dawn Carrillo staffs the Non-Management Unit Sick Leave Bank, and she asked WIA to remind not only NMU members but also Corrections and Supervisory Unit members that you can donate a few hours to your Unit’s sick leave bank from now until December 31.
“Just donating an hour of your time can mean the world to a fellow employee,” reads a flyer DHR is circulating. It also informs state employees that they can donate any amount of time to the NMU, Corrections and Supervisory Sick Leave Banks. “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.”
Local Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers Online For Review
Recently, VSEA’s Legislative Committee sent questionnaires to candidates for local office. In an effort to better educate members about these candidates, prior to the November 8 general election, VSEA is pleased to make each candidate’s questionnaire answers available for review here. Please take time to review their answers and then consider casting your vote on November 8 for candidates whose answers reflect that they will work hard to support and defend state employees and the services you provide.
VSEA’s Legislative Department is casting a net to find VSEA members who are interested in volunteering some time to staff a phone bank in support of VSEA-endorsed candidates. The calls will be targeted solely to fellow VSEA members.
If you would like to volunteer a few hours of your time in the coming weeks to make some calls to promote VSEA-endorsed candidates, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email at email@example.com.
This Campaign Season, Ask Yourself: “Is It Fact, Or Is It Myth?”
With Vermont’s general election cycle now gearing up, it means there will now be a lot of rhetoric flying around about why Vermont continues to have budget deficits, with some candidates almost certainly talking about having to “streamline” or “modernize” government” or they will propose giving more tax breaks to corporations to entice them to do business here. VSEA has listed some of the more prevalent myths we hear each election about Vermont’s economic and social climate, and included a fact to counter each. During the campaign, VSEA members are urged to question candidates who continue to promote some of the more common myths.
Here’s an example:
Myth: Too many Vermont young people are leaving the state.
Fact: From a July 15, 2016, VPR story: “According to data from the Internal Revenue Service, nearly as many young people are moving to Vermont as those leaving, dispelling the popular notion that Vermont is losing young people in droves.”
VSEA President Dave Bellini is asking all state employees who are threatened while performing your job duties to provide an account of the threat not only to your supervisor or the State, but also to VSEA.
“VSEA wants to begin to compile its own record of threats against frontline state employees, no matter your occupation,” explains Bellini. “I’m asking all employees who are threatened, especially those working in AHS, to take a few minutes to fill out an online form VSEA made to collect your report. The information will help us provide a firsthand account of the number of threats being made and where they are being made, in addition to some other things.”
Tonight Is The VTPAC Event To Honor Its 20th Anniversary!
A reminder that VSEA’s “Vermont Political Awareness Committee” is hosting a special event tonight to celebrate its 20-year anniversary and honor longtime VSEA friend, Senator Anthony Pollina and several other “labor heroes.”
VTPAC is sponsoring a happy hour, prior to the main event, beginning at 4:30 p.m. All VSEA members who attend will receive one free drink ticket.
VTPAC’s 20th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, October 21
Happy Hour Starts At 4:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
If you are an existing VTPAC member, meaning you currently contribute to your union’s PAC through payroll deduction, you are cordially invited to attend the event free of charge. For members and others who don’t currently belong to VTPAC, there is a suggested contribution at the door. Members can also contribute to VTPAC prior to the event here.
This event will feature food, drinks, music and live sculpting demonstration by local Vermont artist Heather Milne Ritchie.
Results Of VSEA General Election “Endorsement Survey” Online
VSEA was alerted this week about some recent discussions on social media, concerning which candidates for statewide office VSEA members supported in a recent general election "endorsement survey." In an effort to address some of the misinformation being floated, here are the official results of that survey for all members and the public to see.
VSEA Strategic Analyst’s "Right To Work (For Less)" Presentation Now Available Online
VSEA Strategic Analyst Adam Norton’s presentation on everything wrong with America’s so-called “Right-to-Work” movement was so well received at VSEA’s Annual Meeting that Norton is now fulfilling requests to give the presentation to Chapters. Adam is pictured here delivering his presentation last week to the Bennington Chapter.
Norton’s “Right To Work (For Less)” presentation is a must-view for all state employees who are concerned about the move across America to bust unions and hasten the race to the bottom for workers. Please share this presentation with interested colleagues.
Central Vermont Chapter Hosting Member Appreciation Event At 133 State Street
Central Vermont Chapter President Cassandra Edson is inviting all members belonging to the Chapter to attend a special Member Appreciation event on Tuesday, October 25, in the main lobby of the 133 State Street Building in Montpelier. The event begins at 11:00 a.m. and continues until 1:30 p.m. All full-fledged members will receive a special gift and there will be free cider and doughnuts available.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Hosting Series Of Get-Out-The-Vote Rallies This Weekend
Vermont Senator and U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is conducting a series of get-out-the vote rallies across Vermont this weekend, and VSEA members are invited to attend. Sanders will be rallying with a host of Vermont statewide candidates who have been endorsed by VSEA. Sanders says the goal of his rallies is to energize Vermont voters and share his and other candidates’ vision for the future.
Friday, October 21
Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumni Hall Montpelier 6:30 p.m. RSVP Here
Saturday, October 22
Vergennes Union High School Vergennes 10:30 a.m. RSVP Here
Saturday, October 22
Mount Anthony Middle School Bennington 3:00 p.m. RSVP Here
Saturday, October 22
Vermont Farmers’ Food Center Rutland 6:00 p.m. RSVP Here
Sunday, October 23
UVM Davis Center Grand Maple Ballroom Burlingto 10:30 a.m. RSVP Here
Vermont Veterans’ Home One Of Vermont And The Nation’s Best
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its ratings of the nation’s nursing homes this week, and the Vermont Veterans’ Home received a five-star rating; a coveted distinction only 15 percent of the nation’s nursing homes receive. Read the VVH rating here.
“The staff at the Vermont Veterans’ Home works extremely hard to ensure Vermont’s veterans are receiving the best care possible in the best setting possible, and this rating shows that they are succeeding,” says VSEA Communication Director Doug Gibson. “Considering how few nursing homes nationwide earn a five-star rating, it makes you wonder why some elected officials and lawmakers continue to want to privatize this top-flight facility.”
CMS implemented its “Five-Star Quality Rating System on Nursing Home Compare” in December 2008, assigning each individual nursing home a rating based on: quality of care delivered; direct care staffing levels; and the results of annual healthcare inspections conducted by each state’s department of health.
VSEA Reminds Corrections & Law Enforcement Members About Legal Defense Fund Opportunity
VSEA sent a message this week to its Corrections and law enforcement members, informing them that now is the time to decide whether or not their work site wants to adopt a program to provide legal defense to members who face criminal charges or other civil or administrative challenges arising from actions taken in the course of their employment. As is explained in the message, before the program can be implemented, more than half the employees at each worksite must indicate their support for it, via an online survey. Once all qualifying work sites are identified, VSEA will begin scheduling informational meetings for members at the individual work sites.
Thanks in advance for your attention to this important survey. If you are a VSEA Corrections or law enforcement member who did not receive the survey message this week, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link. Write “legal defense” in the subject line please.
Meeting For VSEA Members In The Zampieri State Office Building Is October 27!
VSEA member John Davy asked WIA to remind members working at the Zampieri State Office Building that there will be an employee meeting on Thursday, October 27, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in Conference Room 3A at 108 Cherry Street in Burlington. Topics of discussion include: 2016 election and VSEA endorsements, contract status update and the need for new NMU steward at 108 Cherry.
California Nurses Cheer Passage Of New Regulations To Prevent Workplace Violence In Health Care Settings
California nurses are cheering an October 20 unanimous vote by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to approve “nation-leading” regulations to prevent workplace violence in health care settings.
“This is a landmark day for the entire country, as California has now set the bar with the strongest workplace violence regulation in the nation,” says Bonnie Castillo, RN and director of health and safety for the California Nurses’ Association.
“The most important goal of [the new regulations] is to prevent physical harm from ever occurring in the first place,” adds Paula Lyn, an RN at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. “Today, the fear we face in the workplace is not just the fear that violent situations will arise, but the fear that we will not be prepared when they do. The inclusion of comprehensive and robust training requirements in these regulations is the best way to ensure that everyone is prepared.”
National research shows that health care workers are at a “substantially higher” risk of workplace violence than the average worker. In 2013, for example, private-sector hospital workers were five times more likely to take time off of work because of an injury caused by violence than a typical private-sector worker.
Workplace safety standards already exist in California, but the new Cal/OSHA rules are specifically designed to prevent violence. Health care employees would help assess workplace risks, and the resulting injury prevention plans will address their concerns, union sources say.
California Public Pension Ruling Could Reverberate Nationwide
Several media outlets are reporting this week on an upcoming California Supreme Court decision that could “end public pensions as we know them.” The Court is deciding on an earlier Appeals Court ruling that declared public-employee pensions were not “immutable” because employees only required a “reasonable” pension. If the Supreme Court upholds the Appeal Court’s decision, public employees will be able to keep the benefits they had earned, but they would not be able to calculate their pension on the highest seniority grade they made or the greatest number of years of service. This also would stop the common practice of public employees maximizing overtime in their last 2 years of employment to spike benefits.
Now, you would think California judges would be opposed to any decision to alter the existing system because they are also enrolled in the public employee pension plan, but Gov. Jerry Brown took care of them and them alone. “Brown cleverly exempted the treatment of California judges’ pensions under the law. A union lawyer ruefully commented, ‘They stuck it to pretty much everybody except the judges.’”
Reports surfaced this week about a new online tool for workers to determine whether they’re getting paid their market value, which the company defines as “the estimated median base pay he or she could earn in their local job market, right now.” The tool was developed by Glassdoor; a jobs and recruiting site. The so-called “know your worth tool” asks users to enter their current employer, location, job title, years of relevant work experience, and salary. Through an algorithm, the tool calculates the user’s market value based on local job market trends. Because Glassdoor collects information on nearly all online job postings, the company is able to track job opening trends in specific areas and to weigh how demand compares with supply. Visit Glassdoor.
VSEA Insurance Representative In St. Albans and Swanton Next Week
By Appointment Only:VSEA Insurance Representative Joanne Woodcock will be at the following locations to talk with interested VSEA members about member-only insurance benefits.
Receive information on disability coverage, family life insurance, family accident and cancer coverage. You must be a member paying full dues to be eligible for this VSEA benefit. If you are an agency-fee payer, Joanne can provide you information about signing up for full membership.
VSEA Offering Discounted Long-Term Care Insurance To Members
VSEA President Dave Bellini sent an email to members yesterday, announcing a new and valuable benefit for VSEA members. Your union is partnering with National Long-Term Care Brokers (NYLTCB) to offer Long-Term Care Insurance with discounted premiums.
The program is subject to medical underwriting and insurability is not guaranteed.
Some reasons people plan ahead for Long-Term Care:
To protect retirement assets and pension income;
To prevent Medicaid spend down (impoverishment);
To ensure options for health care; and
To avoid being a burden to loved ones.
As a VSEA member, this offering is made available to you and your eligible family members with a permanent discount, not available to the general public. Eligible family members include spouses/domestic partners, adult children and parents/parents-in-law.
You will have access to a dedicated Long-Term Care planning specialist to help determine if coverage is appropriate for you, and compare policies from different insurance companies to ensure the best coverage at the most competitive premium.
Many VSEA members have reached out to VSEA’s Communications Department to ask why they don’t see their union’s posts in their Facebook newsfeed. Facebook has limited space to show you posts, so if you like a lot of Facebook pages, VSEA’s posts may not be appearing in your feed. But fear not, Facebook provides a way to prioritize your favorite pages, so you can ensure you don’t miss VSEA’s posts. It’s an easy process:
Bolton Valley Extends Season Pass Offer To VSEA Members
For the fourth year in a row, the VSEA Advantage Discount Program is pleased to offer discounted season passes to the Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Bolton.
VSEA members who order before October 31, 2016, can purchase a discounted season pass for $269!
Discounted youth passes for your family members are also available ($199/$159).
Like last year, this offer is available only to VSEA members who are currently paying full dues to their union.
The sign-up process is pretty straightforward, but, like last year, in order for a member to view the special VSEA discount promo code (which can be found by clicking here), you must be a registered user of the VSEA website, which also requires you to be a full dues-paying member.
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.