VSEA President Shelley Martin asked WIA to include a solicitation to members who might be interested in serving on the union’s Judicial Board. Martin notes that, historically, members who serve on this Board are not activists, stewards, officials or Council or Board of Trustees’ members.
“In this rare case, the less involvement you have with VSEA, the better suited you are to serve in this role,” explains Martin. “We need members who can be objective.”
VSEA’s Judicial Board is charged with ensuring elected and appointed union officials’ compliance with Unit and Master Articles, Bylaws and adopted policies. The Judicial Board is also charged with ensuring that all Unit, Chapter, and VSEA elected and appointed officials and members shall act in a manner consistent with the purposes and policies of the VSEA, and with the goals and objectives of the union and its Units and Chapters, and not act in a way that is detrimental to the purposes of the VSEA as specified in Article 2 of these Articles of Association.
The Judicial Board consists of VSEA members, who are appointed by the VSEA President. If you would interested in submitting your name for consideration, please send your letter of interest to VSEA President Shelley Martin no later than Friday, January 30, 2015. The mailing address is 155 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05602.
Capital Commuters January eNews
The following was submitted to Week In Action via Capital Commuters:
Would you like to avoid driving to work in winter weather? You might consider joining the nearly 500 State Employees choosing to commute more efficiently. Last November, Go! Vermont representatives met with many folks, many are pleased with the program because they are saving a bundle of cash, while others are considering their options and would like to learn more.
Want to learn more?
Join us for a lunch and learn:
Thursday, January 8
from 11:30 – 1:00 p.m.,
5th Floor Conference Room, Pavilion Building, 109 State Street.
The purpose of this event is to hear concerns, answer questions and better understand how what transit and carpooling improvements are needed to help you access your preferred transportation option.
Remember, you can sign up anytime. Learn more here and how easy it is to begin saving. Plus, you’ll be entered to win great monthly raffle prizes. For more details, check out our newsletter or visit our website by clicking here or give us a call at 1-800-685-RIDE
Looking forward to seeing you on January 8!
Ross MacDonald at 802-828-5577 or
Deb Sachs 802-658-8487.
Here are some suggested New Year’s resolutions for VSEA members in 2015:
I resolve to get more active in VSEA;
I resolve to train to become a VSEA worksite steward; a member’s first line of defense as the go-to person to represent a co-worker who is in trouble for an alleged contract or policy violation;
I resolve to volunteer to be on a VSEA Committee. VSEA has a host of important Committees to aid VSEA leaders and staff with conducting the union’s day-to-day business. Some of these Committees include Budget, Bylaws, Diversity, Special Events, Membership Recruitment, Legislative, Communications and Benefits Advisory. Committee members meet regularly (paid time), usually at VSEA headquarters, to discuss important matters and help advise and direct union leaders, governing boards and staff;
I resolve to run to be a VSEA Council or Board of Trustees’ (BOT) member. VSEA’s two top governing bodies are the Council and the BOT. Council members number more than 100, and these are the workers who represent all their fellow workers in a particular occupation or agency or department. The Council meets quarterly to make recommendations to the BOT on things like the budget, and the body also retains the right to overrule BOT decisions. The BOT numbers 18, including VSEA’s five top elected officials and 13 other members representing a particular VSEA District or Unit (i.e. District 1/Barre, Corrections Unit) . The BOT meets monthly to review and adopt or decline recommendations, as well as manage VSEA’s day-to-day internal affairs and ensure VSEA policy is being followed in every instance;
I resolve to run to be a Chapter officer. Each VSEA Chapter (i.e. Central Vermont, Chittenden, Newport/Island Pond, etc.) conducts periodic elections for Chapter President, Vice President, Secretary and Clerk. Chapters conduct regular meetings, and the four primary officers are responsible for setting the meeting agenda, leading the meeting, listening to members and their ideas and initiating action on their behalf;
I resolve to run to be a VSEA Elected Officer. In 2015, VSEA will conduct a formal election to be the union’s President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Clerk and Treasurer. These positions are the face of VSEA, as they are the union’s chief spokespeople and the ones primarily invited to meetings with State officials, lawmakers, the press and others. Each also has clearly defined roles to ensure the union is well governed, meetings are well documented and finances are in good order;
I resolve to help VSEA advance its 2015 legislative agenda at the State House. VSEA members are always needed to testify to legislative committees about bills important to workers. Members also help by making phone calls and sending messages to lawmakers;
I resolve to write a letter to the editor of my local paper, if needed. Periodically, a VSEA issue or fight will become public, via the media. When this happens, VSEA members are often asked to help VSEA educate the public at large by penning a short letter to the editor of your local newspaper. A newspaper contact list can be found by clicking here;
I resolve to talk with new employees and non-members about the importance of solidarity and belonging to VSEA, as well as the importance of being involved; and
I resolve to attend VSEA’s 2015 Annual Meeting in September 2013 at Jay Peak Resort.
VSEA Sends Heartfelt Condolences To Family, Friends & Co-Workers Of DCF Employee Cheryl Miller
This week, the entire VSEA family sent heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of 24-year DCF employee Cheryl Miller, who passed away tragically when her car left an icy road and plunged into a river. Details of the vehicle’s recovery were widely reported by news outlets across Vermont. Cheryl was an Administrative Assistant B, working in the DCF’s Essex Junction office.
“Our deepest condolences go to the Miller family during this very difficult time,” said VSEA President Shelley Martin.
Check Your Email Monday For New Electronic VSEA VOICE
In advance of the 2015 legislative session, VSEA is publishing a special electronic version of the VSEAVOICE, which will be emailed to all members on Monday, January 5. The special edition includes a message from the VSEA President, a breakdown of all the issues that made the 2015 VSEA legislative agenda, an interview with first-time lawmaker and VSEA member Rachael Fields and an interview with DPS worker Patricia Bennett, who testified at the State House for the first time last year and wants to share her positive experience with members who might be wary of coming to Montpelier.
Letter Writer Infuriated By Recent Decisions By State & Vets’ Home Board
The following letter to the editor appeared in the December 27 Bennington Banner. It was penned by a veteran who also happens to be the spouse of a VSEA member working at the Vets’ Home.
“My concerns about our Veterans’ Home here in Bennington are threefold. One: I have a family with a long history of military service. I had an uncle that served with General Patton in World War II and lived out his final days at the VVH; an uncle in the Korean conflict, another in Vietnam. I also served my country in the army for four years and currently have a nephew who is a Captain in the Marines who has done two tours of duty in Afghanistan and probably before he gets through with his military service will see several more combat tours.
So how can we as a community and a state just say now we are going to cut the number of beds at the Vets’ Home, cut staff workers wages again, jobs, and raise their insurance premiums 17.5 percent, when before this story broke the rumor in the community is that all the administrators at the Vets’ home all got very good raises, upwards of $5000 or better. Not too long ago you cut the workers’ wages over three years, raised their health insurance, and you have disrupted workers family lives by constantly changing the schedules of workers on the floor and made the stress in these people’s lives unbearable and made it a downright a rotten place to go to work every day.
How do I know this? Because my wife has over 20 years of service at the Veterans’ home as a nurse and is one of the most dedicated workers you will ever find.
She signs up all the time to fill holes in your schedule and goes in a majority of the time when she is called in and very seldom calls out.
Over the years she has built up over a 1000 hours of sick time. To say that you people steering the ship at the Vets’ Home have put undue strain on my family and marriage would be a huge understatement; I truly have never seen the Home run worse than it is now.
In corporate America, if a company is not making money or running like it should, they usually cut the head off first; not from the bottom up like you people are proposing. Your nurses are paid less than in the private sector and I have been after my wife for the last three years to just put her papers in and find a different job making better money and less stress with a schedule that doesn’t always change every few months, but by the sound of things I may soon get my wish. You have just about pushed her out the door, a woman who used to truly love her job and knew that when she went to work every day she had a purpose and responsibility to our veterans that she took to heart and sacrificed her time with her family to take care of those who served our country. How can you tell the next wave of Vets’ coming home from the new battles that we are fighting this very day that we no longer have space for you here at VVH because we can’t fix it and we can’t run it right?
I hope you all at the top in administration and our state government are proud of yourselves for the mess that you’ve made at the VVH. For the first time in my life I’m not very proud to say that I’m a Vermonter. The only thing I can say I’m very proud of is my wife and some of the other employees that work there; they never give up and they truly believe that they are making a difference in the life of someone that long ago signed that blank check to this country payable with their lives if need be. So now we say we don’t have room for you at the Vermont Veterans’ Home anymore. How can you administrators and politicians walk around with your heads held high and be proud of what you have done at the Vermont Veterans’ Home?
I’m surely not too proud of the job that you have done and I know there are a lot more that feel the same way.”
VSEA Member Appointed As Liaison To AOT Training Center
This week, the labor side of the AOT labor/management committee appointed VSEA member Nick Davis to serve as liaison to the AOT Training Center. Davis works out of AOT’s Middlesex Garage.
In a prior AOT L/M meeting, it was mutually decided to allow a labor representative to meet periodically with the Training Center Director to provide workers’ input on current and proposed training curriculum and methods. The expectation from both labor and management is that Davis’ input will help the Training Center carry out its mission to provide the most relevant and effective trainings to AOT workers.
Labor team committee members also report that approval has been given for a labor/management committee to be created at the Dummerston Garage. If successful, the model could be tried out in garages across Vermont. They report that management also agreed to invite a VSEA Steward to attend District Manager /Foreman meetings. The purpose is to have labor representatives address any District specific concerns/thoughts/ideas/questions directly to District management in order to foster better understanding between the two parties and try to resolve disputes (or clarify any rumors), etc., at the District level before they go viral.
On Thursday, January 8, the Vermont Workers’ Center is sponsoring a day of action at the State House to promote the message that “health care is a human right” and lobby lawmakers to continue forward to ensure all Vermonters have access to quality, affordable health care coverage.
VSEA members interested in participating in the day’s actions are asked to meet at 10:00 a.m. at the State House in Montpelier. Actions are scheduled throughout the day, some to coincide with scheduled, high-profile events, such as the legislature’s formal announcement of Vermont’s next Governor, the Governor’s State of the State address and a hearing of the Green Mountain Care Board.
This week, the publication In These Times published its 2014 list of the most important victories for unions. Here is the list, but for more information about the victories, please see the whole story here.
Northwestern University Athletes Hold Union Vote
Courts Rule FedEx Drivers Are Employees
Fight For $15 Goes International
NLRB Gives New Rights To Unions
Seattle Passes $15 Minimum Wage
New Orleans Goes Union
American Airlines, JetBlue & Virgin American Workers Unionize
San Francisco’s "Retail Workers Bill Of Rights"
Chattanooga VW Workers Win Minority Union Representation