Week In Action: June 16 – June 20, 2014

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June 20, 2014

In This Issue:


Judicial Unit Contract Ratification Ballots Due June 27!

Retired Members’ Chapter Annual Meeting Is August 13

New Study Finds Privatizing Public Services Punishes America’s Middle Class

John Howe & Rep. Chris Pearson Sound Off About Retaliation On WDEV’s Equal Time Radio Show

NEK/St. Johnsbury Chapter Seeks Volunteers To Help With July 14 Employee Appreciation Day Event

Bennington Subaru Joins Advantage Discount Program


Annual Meeting Toll-Free Reservation Number Correction

Registration Now Open For VSEA’s 70th Annual Meeting

The Employee Assistance Program: A Valuable Resource For Employees Needing Help

VSEA Advantage Discount Program Pleased To Once Again Offer Discounted Day Tickets To The Great Escape

VSEA Needs To Know If Your Mailing Address Is Different Than Your Home Address
 


VSEA Calendar:

June 23
Brattleboro Chapter Meeting   

Marina Restaurant
28 Spring Tree Rd.
Brattleboro
4:30 p.m.

June 24
State Housing Authority Bargaining Team Meeting

VSEA HQ
155 State St.
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.

June 26
Lamoille Valley Chapter Meeting  

AHS Building 
64 Professional Dr.
Morrisville
Noon

June 27
Corrections Unit Executive Committee Meeting  

VSEA HQ
155 State St.
Montpelier
9:00 a.m.

June 27
Child & Elder Care Committee Meeting    
VSEA HQ
155 State St.
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.
 


 

In The News:

New Study Finds Privatizing Public Services Punishes America’s Middle Class



 
One of the issues VSEA attempted to address in the most recent legislative session was to pass a bill that would require closer scrutinization of the State’s contracts with private contractors and to reduce the State’s dependence on private contractors. Unfortunately, VSEA was not successful this time around, but a new study released this week by the group In The Public Interest will help augment the union’s argument next time around.  
 
Titled “Race to the Bottom: How Outsourcing Public Services Rewards Corporations and Punishes the Middle Class,” the study begins with, “A growing body of evidence and industry wage data suggest an alarming trend: outsourcing public services sets off a downward spiral in which reduced worker wages and benefits can hurt the local economy and overall stability of middle and working class communities.” This is an argument that VSEA and its members have also been making to lawmakers, stressing how important good, public-sector union jobs with benefits are to the local Vermont communities where VSEA members live and work.

VSEA members are encouraged to read and share the full study, which can be found by clicking here.

 


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Judicial Unit Contract Ratification Ballots Due
June 27!

The VSEA Judicial Unit Bargaining Team sent a reminder to all Unit members this week that contract ratification ballots must arrive at VSEA headquarters by 4:30 p.m., Friday, June 27. The VSEA Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee is collecting the sealed ballots and will count them shortly after.
 
In its message, the Bargaining Team also reminded that if the contract is ratified, members’ initial cost-of-living increase would be effective as of the start of the first full payroll period under the new contract (Article 16, Sec. 1(a)).  This would be the first full payroll period in July, which, this year, begins with the week of Sunday, July 13.  This is later than in past years simply because of the way the calendar dates fall, with the prior two week pay period beginning at the very end of June.
 
Note: If you intend to return your ballot in the mail, you must leave enough time for it to be received by that date. If you have not yet received your ballot in the mail at your home address please contact our Union Representative Brian Morse at bmorse@vsea.org or (802) 793-0064.

Retired Members’ Chapter Annual Meeting Is August 13

 

The VSEA Retirees’ Chapter is hosting its 2014 Annual Meeting and luncheon, Wednesday, August 13, 9:30 a.m., at the Montpelier Elks Club. A delicious buffet luncheon will be provided for $10 for VSEA-RC members whose dues are current through FY14, and $15 for their guests. The Retirees’ Chapter will hold elections for Chapter officers and trustees. Retirees’ Chapter members must be current in their dues in order to vote. To find out if you are current in your dues, please call the VSEA staff liaison to the Retirees’ Chapter, Nikolas Stein, at VSEA H.Q.: 802-223-5247 or TOLL-FREE 1-800-427-5247.

The Chapter mailed this announcement yesterday to VSEA Lifetime Members, so keep an eye on your mailbox. If you don’t receive the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter’s paper announcement in the U.S. by the middle of next week, please call.

John Howe & Rep. Chris Pearson Sound Off About Retaliation On WDEV’s Equal Time Radio Show

Big VSEA thanks again this week to leader and member John Howe for appearing live to discuss his fight against retaliation on WDEV”s June 17 Equal Time Radio Show. Joining Howe was Rep. Chris Pearson, who tells the audience that what happened to John “makes his blood boil.”
 
Here’s how Equal Time promoted the show:
 
John Howe and Rep. Chris Pearson discuss management retaliation against state employees for testifying to legislative committees. After a two-month-plus fishing investigation and being put on administrative leave a week after testifying to the legislature, VSEA member and leader John Howe was found to not be in violation of the charges he was being investigated for. Thanks to VSEA’s ‘We Are All John Howe’ campaign, more Vermonters understand that something needs to be done at the highest levels of government to address management retaliation. VSEA will be advancing an agenda in the next legislative session to highlight the issue of management retaliation.

Rep. Christopher Pearson (Burlington, Progressive Caucus leader) argues in On Free Speech: Where is the ‘firm action’? that when it comes to how state government is run, our single best resource is state employees and that their feedback is irreplaceable. However, the [State]'s practices have a chilling effect on state employees exercising their rights to basic free speech. There seem to be zero consequences for managers who retaliate against their workers. " That’s bad for workers, bad for tax payers, hinders legislators and violates the foundation of a free and open society." Pearson and Howe also argue that we should protect all working Vermonters' rights to free speech with a law requiring “just cause” before a worker is fired.
 
Listen to the entire broadcast here

NEK/St. Johnsbury Chapter Seeks Volunteers To Help With July 14 Employee Appreciation Day Event

VSEA’s NEK/St. Johnsbury Chapter is hosting an Employee Appreciation Day event on Thursday, July 17, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Vermont Department of Corrections, 1266 U.S. Rte. 5. Free ice cream will be served to VSEA members in a complimentary VSEA pint glass, while supplies last.
 
If you would like to volunteer to help with this Employee Appreciation Day event, please contact NEK/St. Johnsbury President Dianne Rivers at 626-6497 or dianne.rivers@lyndonstate.edu

Bennington Subaru Joins Advantage Discount Program

The VSEA Advantage Discount Program is pleased to welcome Bennington Subaru in Bennington. All VSEA members are now eligible for special preferred pricing on any new Subaru vehicle selected from dealer stock; exclusively at Bennington Subaru!
 
“This is an amazing opportunity being offered to VSEA members, exclusively from Bennington Subaru,” said the dealership’s General Manager Joseph Barakat. “We look forward to making your experience of buying or leasing a new Subaru a truly exceptional one.”

VSEA members can now benefit exclusively from Bennington Subaru’s preferred pricing. Effective immediately, all employees need only show their VSEA identification to immediately qualify for preferred pricing of 1% below invoice cost on any new Subaru vehicle in stock!
 
If you would like more information about this offer, please contact Justin Corcoran at 442-3400, or email him at jcorcoran@benningtonsubaru.com

Summer Steward Training Schedule Announced

 
 
VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch is announcing the next series of Steward Trainings, which will be held during the summer 2014.
 
All trainings begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. Each is open to all VSEA members.
 

July: Topic Trainings

State Policies and Procedures
Tuesday, July 22
Liquor Control Conference room
13 Green Mountain Drive
Montpelier

Health and Safety
Thursday, July 24

VTrans Training Center, Room 201
1716 U.S. Rte. 302
Berlin

Stewards and Working for the Public Good
Tuesday, July 29

McFarland House
3rd Floor Conference Room
5 Perry St.
Barre

Diversity and Solidarity 
Thursday, July 31

VTrans Training Center, Room #201,
1716 U.S. Rte. 302
Berlin
August:  Bargaining Unit/NMU Agency Focus*

Agency of Transportation
Tuesday, August 19

McFarland House
3rd floor conference room
5 Perry St
Barre

Department of Corrections Bargaining Unit
Thursday, August 21

BGS Conference Room #21
133 State Street
Montpelier

Agency of Human Services (non-DOC)
Tuesday, August 26

Liquor Control Conference room
13 Green Mountain Drive
Montpelier

Supervisory Bargaining Unit
Wednesday, August 27

McFarland House
3rd floor conference room
5 Perry St.
Barre

Health Care Facilities (VVH, VSH, Woodside)
Thursday, August 28

Location: TBD

To register for a training, please click here

Questions? Contact Tim Lenoch for details: tlenoch@vsea.org

*Stewards are strongly encouraged to attend the training specific to your Bargaining Unit or NMU Agency. NMU stewards can attend any of the NMU Agency trainings. Some Agencies do not have a specific training due to size and/or number of stewards.

Annual Meeting Toll-Free Reservation Number Correction

 
VSEA’s Special Events Committee asked WIA to issue this urgent update to VSEA members trying to dial the Killington Grand’s toll-free reservation line number listed in the recently mailed 2014 VSEA Annual Meeting registration information. The published number with the 888 area code is incorrect.

The correct number to call is 800-282-9955.

Registration Now Open For VSEA’s 70th Annual Meeting


VSEA’s Special Events Committee met this week to finalize the registration form to attend the union’s 2014 Annual Meeting on September 13 at the Killington Resort in Killington. This year, VSEA is celebrating its 70th birthday, so the Committee is sponsoring a special birthday party event on Friday night, September 12. 
 
Here is how the Committee is billing the events on the forms:
 
“The 70th VSEA Annual Meeting is being held on Saturday, September 13, 2013. All members are encouraged to attend the meeting and participate in the festivities. Friday night there will be a dinner banquet followed by a Happy Birthday VSEA Party (ADULTS ONLY). Feel free to wear your fanciest birthday attire! There will be games and tear-off tickets with the proceeds going to VSEA’s Member Support Fund, so bring your dollars and play!!”
 
To find official VSEA Annual Meeting 2014 registration forms online, please click here.

The Employee Assistance Program: A Valuable Resource For Employees Needing Help

VSEA Members! This is a reminder that your Employee Assistance Program is strictly confidential, free and here for you 24/7 at 1-888-834-2830. 
 
Employees call for all sorts of reasons: stress, relationship problems, parenting issues, workplace issues, financial, legal, substance dependence or abuse, anxiety, depression, etc. When you call the general toll-free number, you will speak immediately with one of our licensed, masters' level counselors. That person will listen and help you with your issue and, if you wish to see a counselor in person near home or work, will provide you two names and contact numbers to set up an appointment. We are not just here for crises. We are here for the small stresses that when unaddressed can build up and lead to big problems.
 
Also, let us know if your office needs EAP brochures and we will get those to you. If you and your co-workers would like to have an EAP rep come to a staff meeting to explain the EAP (15 minutes), we are happy to do that, too. Call us at 1-888-834-2830 for any service.

VSEA Advantage Discount Program Pleased To Once Again Offer Discounted Day Tickets To:

The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom
Lake George, New York

“Two parks of fun for the price of one!"
 

Park Opens Today, May 23, 2014, & Splashwater
Opens May 24, 2014
 

Discount Tickets Now Available Through
VSEA HQ & Online*

 

2014 Regular Day Tickets —
$31 each ($24 Savings)

 
To Get Tickets:
Send or drop off check (made out to VSEA), noting how many tickets you need. VSEA can mail your tickets or you can pick them up at VSEA HQ in Montpelier. VSEA members can also order tickets online by going to GE’s homepage, looking in the upper right-hand corner for the “Promo Code” box and entering VSEA’s promo code, which can be found here*. GE Phone Number: 1-888-792-3500
 
New this year is the Extreme Supernova thrill ride!

*Note: You must be a registered VSEA website user to view the VSEA promo code. You can sign up
online here.

VSEA Needs To Know If Your Mailing Address Is Different Than Your Home Address

Many VSEA members have a mailing address that is different from their home address. They may keep a P.O. Box at the post office, or they may have a mailbox with an address different from their actual house address. If this is the case with you, please email the Union at nstein@vsea.org and let us know! Our reason is that the address information for our members that we receive from the State is unreliable. The State cannot report to us both a “Mailing Address” and a “Home Address.” We only occasionally send paper U.S. mail, but, when we do, it’s important, and includes: Ballots for Union elections, insurance information, and legally-required warnings of Union meetings.

If your mailing address is different from your home address, we need you to tell us! Email nstein@vsea.org. Thanks!
 

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