VSEA Labor Educator Reminds Members of Summer Trainings – Three Open To All
VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch asked WIA to announce a new round of trainings he has scheduled throughout the summer 2016. If you are interested in registering to attend one or more trainings, you can do so by clicking here. Please direct your training questions to Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are three trainings open to all members, please invite folks who may be interested:
“I invite VSEA retirees to join us to help plan the future of our Chapter,” says Maclay. “We need you to help energize the Chapter and assist your leaders in steering it ahead in a positive and productive way.”
Maclay adds that all of the Chapter’s officer seats are up for election this year, and that nominations will be made from the floor at the August 18 meeting, with voting by attendees to follow. There will also be a presentation on health care by Kathy Callaghan,
More Chapter Annual Meeting information will be sent to retirees in early July. To ensure you receive this information, the Chapter must have your current home email address and your correct home mailing address. If you have changed either of these in the past year, please email VSEA (email@example.com) with your updated information. If emailing, please write “Retired Member Update” in the subject line.
Information About Upcoming VT State Retirement Board Elections
Elections for two full Vermont State Retirement Board seats (each w/ two-year term) will be conducted at this year’s VSEA Annual Meeting on September 10. If you are interested in serving on the Board—and wish to have your name on the printed ballot for Annual Meeting—you must submit a letter of intent to the VSEA Elections Committee no later than September 1, 2016. You should send an email to Rubin Jennings VSEA (RJennings@vsea.org), or mail your letter to:
VSEA Elections Committee
c/o Rubin Jennings
155 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05602
Special Note: VSEA asks that interested candidates consider if they really have the ability to dedicate the time needed to fulfill the role of this position. For more information about the position, please contact Ray Stout at VSEA HQ, 223-5247. If you cannot ensure your attendance at the Retirement Board meetings, and fulfill the other requirements (including outside reading, conference calls, workshops, etc.), you may want to reconsider applying for this role.
Discounted 2016 Great Escape / Splashwater Kingdom Day Tickets Available Online & At VSEA!
Please note that there is a service charge for purchasing online.
VSEA also has tickets available for members to pick up at headquarters, and there is no service charge attached.
Questions? Feel free to contact Laurie Hassett by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 802-223-5247
State Employees Invited To Agency Of Agriculture’s Summer “Buy Local” Market
The Agency of Agriculture asked WIA to let VSEA members throughout central Vermont know that its popular summer “Buy Local” market is returning to the State House lawn on Wednesday, August 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Agency bills the market as “an exceptional opportunity for Montpelier residents, visitors and daytime employees to support Vermont suppliers of local food and agricultural products.” The market coincides with the USDA’s National Farmer’s Market Week. Featured items include fresh and prepared local foods and agricultural products, such as produce and meats, wood products, yarn and other handmade goods, as well as prepared lunch offerings and ice cream.
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.”
Safety & Security On The Minds Of State Employees As August 7 Nears
As Vermont approaches the August 7, one-year anniversary of the tragic killing of DCF Social Worker Lara Sobel, VSEA’s recent letter to the State—requesting several additional safety and security measures above and beyond the ones outlined in a recent email sent to AHS staff by Commissioner Hal Cohen—was referenced this week in safety and security press stories about the tragedy and what the State has done since then.
Here are some of the stories published to date (there will surely be more in the coming days):
A contingent of Bennington state employees (primarily DCF workers but others too, including Bennington Chapter President and Judiciary worker Victoria Thorpe) marched today from the State Office Building into downtown, where they planted a tree in memory of DCF Social Worker Lara Sobel, who was killed by a client on August 7, 2015.
Deadline To Register For VSEA’s 2016 Annual Meeting Is This Monday, August 8!
VSEA’s 2016 Annual Meeting is being held on Saturday, September 10. All members are encouraged to attend the meeting and to participate in the festivities. Friday night there will be a dinner banquet followed by a dance. “Good Times Music” DJ Allen Brown is a VSEA member and an AOT worker! Also, for the first time, there will be a caricature artist to do drawings! On Saturday, members meet to discuss and vote on your union’s annual budget and its bylaws, as well as prioritize and set goals for VSEA.
Deadline Is August 12 To Submit Your 2016 VSEA Annual Meeting Award Nominations!
Note: The VSEA Awards & Scholarships Committee is dealing again this year with a lack of nominations in certain categories. Please take a few minutes today to nominate someone or a Chapter you think is deserving of an award. Thanks in advance for submitting a nomination(s).
Friday, August 12, is the deadline to submit your nominations for a 2016 VSEA Outstanding Performance Award in the following categories:
Lamoille Valley Chapter Announces Annual “School Supply Challenge”
Last year, VSEA’s Lamoille Valley Chapter launched a successful effort to get Chapter members to donate school supplies to help children in need. This year, the Chapter is hoping to build on last year’s initial success.
The Chapter is distributing collection boxes to Lamoille worksites, and the goal is to collect as many items as possible by Tuesday, August 23. All supplies collected will be given to children currently in the custody of DCF Morrisville Family Services. All types of supplies are needed, including: backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, folders, rulers, scissors and markers, to name a few.
On the heels of a very successful Member Appreciation Day event, VSEA’s Waterbury Chapter will hold its Chapter Annual Meeting at noon on Wednesday, August 10, at the State Office Complex in Waterbury. Members with questions should contact Waterbury Chapter President Tracey Harrington by email at email@example.com.
White River Junction Chapter’s Annual Meeting Is August 10!
VSEA’s White River Junction Chapter will hold its Chapter Annual Meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10, at the State Office Complex in White River Junction. Members with questions should contact White River Junction Chapter President Don Shaw by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Springfield Chapter’s Annual Meeting Is August 11!
VSEA Springfield Chapter President Joey Holmes asked WIA to let members in his Chapter know that your Annual Meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 11 at the State Office Building in Springfield. It begins at 4:30 p.m. and pizza and beverages will be available. The meeting has a full agenda, including:
Call to Order;
Adoption of Previous Meeting’s Minutes;
Chapter President’s Report;
Chapter Treasurer’s Report;
Election of Chapter officers (President/Vice-President/Treasurer and Secretary) and 1 open Council seat;
Discussion on VSEA Annual Meeting (raffles/drawings we will do for VSEA and Springfield Chapter fundraising);
New Business; and
Questions? Need Directions?
Contact Joey at 885-8992 /Liz at 674-1103 or Leona at 885-8994.
Franklin/Grand Isle Chapter’s Annual Meeting Is August 12!
VSEA’s Franklin/Grand Isle Chapter Annual Meeting is Friday, August 12, at St. Albans Bay in St. Albans. Food and beverages provided and door prizes to award. Chapter President Michael Gordon is reminding that this is a family friendly event. Members can RSVP to Gordon at email@example.com.
In most cases, your Chapter’s Annual Meeting is its most important assembly of the year, and all Chapter members’ voices and viewpoints are welcome.
Two In A Row: Vermont Veterans’ Home Is Found Again To Be Deficiency-Free!
For the second time in a six-month period, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has inspected the Vermont Veterans’ Home (VVH) and found it to have a zero deficiency rate, which is a huge achievement and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the workers. In addition, the VVH is going to be able to return $800,000 to the State; savings gleaned from a more-efficient-than-thought mold removal process at the Home. This is especially helpful for the Home’s administrators, who it seems must go to the State House every year to seek additional funding.
“This is terrific news again for the Vets’ Home and its workers,” VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson tells WIA. “It will be very helpful to have the results of these inspections in VSEA’s hands when we are at the State House in 2017, fighting lawmakers who are lobbying to privatize the Home and its workforce—and there are a few each session who actively do. I don’t care what private company you are talking about; you can’t deliver any better care to Vermont veterans than they are receiving right now in Bennington, in a State-run home with unionized state employees. We should all be proud that our Vets’ Home is one of the nation’s best.”
In an August 4 Rutland Herald story about the achievement, The Home’s Acting Director of Nursing, Patricia Crossman, praises the VVH workers for their role in the Home’s success.
“What really, I think had the biggest impact was the knowledge base of our staff and how they handle and care for our veterans here,” she says. “Through education and just through our processes, they show confidence. No matter what day it is, you will always see that confidence.” She adds, “Every day, not even just on survey day, every day, every staff member is on the bus, you know? They want to deliver excellent care and they’re very compassionate about their veterans.”
VSEA is proud to represent workers at state fish hatcheries all across Vermont, so the union was pleased to read that the State recently declared August 6 to be Hatchery Day, “in recognition of the important role the state’s fish hatcheries play toward benefiting Vermont’s environment and outdoor recreationalists.”
Hatchery Day, which will be celebrated by open houses and other activities at the state’s hatcheries, will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bennington Fish Culture Station and the 125th anniversary of the Roxbury Fish Culture Station, a facility soon to be rebuilt following impacts from Tropical Storm Irene.
In honor of fish hatchery workers, VSEA is pleased to share again with readers this feature story from the July 2013 VSEA VOICE, which visited with workers at the Roxbury Fish Cultural Station.
VSEA Delegates Attend Annual SummerSchool For Union Women
VSEA’s delegation to the 2016 NE Summer School for Women in Unions and Worker Organizations strike a pose on the grounds of the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick. NJ. Pictured here: Melissa Walsh (VVH), Cassidy Renfrew (DOC), Dawn Carillo (DII), Barbara King (VVH), Victoria Thorpe (Judiciary) and Sarah Draper (DCF). Not pictured is Rebecca Trower (Tax Dept.)
VSEA Summer School participant and Bennington Chapter President Victoria Thorpe tells WIA:
“Wow. Phenomenal. Absolutely amazing. The positive energy of 146 union women is remarkable! Personally, I’m genuinely empowered to pursue a greater level of leadership within my union. An enormous thank you to our VSEA Board of Trustees for making it possible to attend this incredible NE Summer School UALE. If you’re a woman in your union and you want education and inspiration, attending the New England Summer School is a must. 2017’s school is being held at UMASS.”
Keeping His Designated VSEA Worksite Bulletin Board Up To Date!
Brattleboro Parole and Probation employee Mike Arace in front of his designated VSEA worksite bulletin board, which he ensures has current updates and news members can use. In State worksites across Vermont, members like Mike are helping to ensure frontline workers have access to the resources they need, like up-to-date information. If you keep your worksite bulletin board as fresh as Mike, please post a picture of you (or you and your co-workers) to VSEA’s Facebook page! Thanks!
VSEA has begun facilitating phone banks across Vermont for members to contact members to urge their support for VSEA-endorsed candidates on August 9. Pictured here are members of VSEA’s Springfield Chapter, participating in a phone bank this week. VSEA thanks every member who volunteers some time to participate in 2016 VSEA campaign activities. A reminder though that VSEA volunteers are still needed after the primary election next week. If you would be interested in volunteering some time to help your union’s campaign 2016 efforts, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 223-5247.
In the weeks leading up to the Vermont’s August 9 primary election—and then to the November 8 general election—VSEA Legislative Committee members and HQ staff will be asking members to volunteer some time to assist candidates who have received VSEA’s endorsement and who deserve our support. A reminder that, this year, there are five VSEA members running for office, and each could use your help.
There are many ways for you to participate in VSEA’s Campaign 2016 activities, including:
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored phone bank;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored honk-and-wave;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored door-to-door canvassing effort;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored candidate(s) rally;
Educate your family, friends and colleagues about the candidate and his/her positions on issues important to VSEA members;
March with a candidate in a parade;
Volunteer to help at a candidate’s headquarters (if applicable) with things like answering phones, filing, assembling educational packets/mailings, etc.;
Put a yard sign in your yard, or help the candidate distribute signs in your area;
Host a candidate house party;
Drive voters to the polls on Election Day;
Pen a letter to the editor in support of VSEA-endorsed candidate(s); and
Make a monetary contribution to a candidate(s).
If you would be interested in volunteering some time to help your union’s campaign 2016 efforts, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email email@example.com, or by phone at 223-5247.
Important Note: It is imperative that VSEA have your current home email address, so you can receive political material. This is because some messages could be labeled partisan, and therefore they are not permissible to send to work emails. When contacting Vinnie with interest, please be sure to let him know your current home email. Thanks!
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.