Weekly News From Your Union: July 21 – July 25

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July 25, 2014

In This Issue:

State Needs To Fill $31 Million Budget Hole

VSEA Offering 20 Lucky Members Free 2014 Annual Meeting Room & Board!

VSEA Frontline Workers Procure Seat On Vets’ Home Board Of Trustees

VSEA Conducting Survey To Learn More About Where Members Work.

Last Call For Tickets To Chittenden Chapter’s Fifth Annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters”

Divine Align Yoga Offers VSEA Members 10% Discount!

VSEA Seeks Legislative And Field Services’ Director

Retired Members’ Chapter Annual Meeting Is August 13: Must Register By August 1

Annual Meeting Award Application and Nomination Forms Now Available!

Go!Vermont Group Promoting “Capital Commuters” Program

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

VSEA Calendar:

July 29
Steward Training: Stewards & Working For The Public Good
McFarland State Office Building
Third Floor Conference Room
5 Perry St.
9:00 a.m.

July 31
Steward Training: Diversity & Solidarity
Vtrans Training Center
Room 201
1716 U.S. Route 302
9:00 a.m.

July 31
VSHASF Bargaining Team Meeting
11:30 a.m.

July 31
Child & Elder Care Meeting
9:30 a.m.

August 1
Chittenden Chapter Employee Appreciation Day
“Night At The Vermont Lake Monsters”
Centennial Field
7:00 p.m.

Note: Chapter-Sponsored BBQ Begins At 5:30 p.m., VDH Lab Parking Lot, 195 Colchester Ave.


Go!Vermont Group Promoting “Capital Commuters” Program

In an effort to help address a parking shortage for state employees working in Montpelier, the group Go!Vermont began to provide discounted bus tickets in June 2013 to employees who commute into central Vermont. To date, Go!Vermont’s offer has been well received and dozens of state employees are taking advantage of the discounts.
Now Go!Vermont is asking WIA to promote another of its programs to VSEA members; the Capital Commuters Program. By enrolling in the program, VSEA members become eligible for a 50% discount on bus passes for certain routes, VIP parking for vanpoolers and carpoolers, a “guaranteed ride home” benefit and an official benefit card. Capital Commuter participants who take transit, carpool, or bike ten round trips per month are eligible to receive great giveaways to area businesses along with other perks.
Sign up by July 30 to be eligible to win one of this month's great prizes:

  • $150 to Onion River Sports
  • $50 to the sponsored restaurant of your choice
  • $25 to Shaw's Supermarket
  • Free transit pass for a month!"

To learn more about the Capital Commuters Program, or to promote it to your co-workers, click here to download a flyer and click here to read the latest edition of the Capital Commuters newsletter.   

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State Needs To Fill $31 Million Budget Hole

The State announced yesterday that Vermont revenues will fall $31 million short of projections in fiscal year 2015, leaving a budget hole that must now be filled.
To begin addressing the budget shortfall, Interim DHR Commissioner Christine Hetzel sent a memorandum on July 24 to all Commissioners and Secretaries, informing them that the State was immediately issuing a temporary suspension of all “management-requested reclassification actions” and was imposing restrictions on the filling of vacant positions. VSEA posted the memo verbatim today on its Facebook page.
To its credit, the State wasted no time reaching out to VSEA leaders to invite the union’s input on ways to fill the budget hole. VSEA President Shelley Martin responded in writing yesterday to the invite, saying “The 5,500 members of the VSEA are eager to do their part on behalf of the Vermonters we serve every day. We are the subject matter experts on the operations of state government. The leaders of the VSEA are very interested in meeting with [the State] as soon as the first week in August. We accept your invitation to discuss potential cost savings that will help address the recently announced downgrade in revenues. I appreciate your respect of the expertise of our members and acknowledge and thank you in your decision to include us in this discussion.”
Needless to say, WIA will be tracking any and all developments around this story in the coming weeks and months.
If you have a cost-savings idea you would like VSEA to consider sharing with the State, please send a brief summary of your idea to VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson at dgibson@vsea.org. In the subject line, please write “Cost-Savings Idea.”

VSEA Offering 20 Lucky Members Free 2014 Annual Meeting Room & Board!

Click here to view/ download your registration info.

VSEA President Shelley Martin announced this week that the union will pay hotel costs for 20 members to stay at the Killington Grand Hotel during VSEA’s 2014 Annual Meeting on Saturday, September 13. To be entered into a drawing for one of the 20 spots, simply register to attend VSEA’s Annual Meeting and then fill out the online, free-lodging entry form that can be found by clicking here.  If you have already registered for VSEA Annual Meeting, thanks and please make sure you enter your name to be eligible for a free night’s stay at one of Vermont’s premier hotels.
All that’s required on the entry form is for members to provide your name, email/phone, worksite, Chapter you belong to, and an answer to the question “Have you ever attended VSEA Annual Meeting?” 
The 20 winners will be drawn at random by President Martin, following the official close of Annual Meeting registration, which is 4:30 p.m. on August 11. Winners will be promptly notified ahead of the actual Annual Meeting.
Prizes awarded will cover only room cost. Hotel amenities, services and gratuities are the member’s responsibility.   

VSEA Frontline Workers Procure Seat On Vets’ Home Board Of Trustees

     Harry “Jaime” Percey Jr.

VSEA members working at the Vermont Veterans’ Home (VVH) in Bennington elected 25-year BGS employee Harry “Jaime” Percey Jr. on July 23 to fill a newly created seat on the facility’s Board of Trustees. It’s the first time ever a classified VVH employee has held a seat on the Board and it would never have happened were it not frontline VVH workers taking action and working closely with VSEA’s Legislative team.
Desperately wanting an employee voice on the Vets’ Home governing board, several VSEA VVH members, including Percey, lobbied this past session with the union’s legislative team to get a law passed that mandates “one member of the 21-member VVH Board of Trustees be a classified employee with at least five years of service at the home and shall serve a 3-year term and may be removed by the governor for cause. The member will be elected by secret ballot administered by the board, with the voters being the Home's classified employees.”
“This is very exciting news,” said VVH employee and VSEA Board of Trustees’ member Rachael Fields, who also helped lobby for the seat. “Jamie is a veteran himself, and I believe he will be a strong advocate for our veterans and for VSEA members. I know that as soon as the Governor officially appoints Jaime, he will get right to work fighting to help the Veterans Home. It’s a big win for the frontline workers here, who only want to help improve our Home and provide the best care possible to the Vermont veterans we serve daily.” 
VSEA President Shelley Martin agreed, saying “For years, our Vets’ Home employees have wanted a worker voice on the facility’s governing board, and now, thanks to a terrific collective and cooperative effort, we have a very positive result. It makes a lot of sense to include the opinion and analysis of the frontline employee experts in any discussion about how to improve and promote the Vets’ Home.”
Martin noted that this is not the first time Percey has taken a leadership role to help his colleagues, reminding that he was a rank-and-file leader back in 2007 when VSEA was fighting to get workers removed from the sick Bennington State Office Building.  

VSEA Conducting Survey To Learn More About Where Members Work.

All Members Urged To Participate


Do you work in an office or a cubicle? Do you carpool to work, drive yourself, bicycle, walk? Are there temporary employees working where you do? What about employees working for a private contractor? How are workers communicating best with each other? Has your workplace moved in the past five years? Do you have trouble finding daily parking? 
These are just some of the questions VSEA is asking members to answer in a new survey that is designed to help union staff and leaders become more familiar with specific worksites across Vermont and better determine how certain issues are impacting employees at specific worksites, if at all.
“We really hope that a lot of VSEA members will take a few minutes on a break, or at home, to complete this important survey,” VSEA President Shelley Martin told WIA. “The information we can glean from members’ answers will help VSEA determine which worksites require more work than others, and things like where the larger pockets of temporary and contract employees are located. The more members who participate, the better for everyone.”
To take the new VSEA worksite survey, please click here.

Last Call For Tickets To Chittenden Chapter’s Fifth Annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters”

Time is running out to reserve a ticket(s) for the Chittenden Chapter’s fifth annual “Night at the Lake Monsters” game on Friday, August 1. If you are a VSEA member wanting to reserve tickets, please contact Chittenden Chapter President Kara Haynes by phone at 735-3739 or email her at kara.haynes@state.vt.us.  
Prior to the game, the Chapter is once again hosting a barbeque for VSEA members in the VDH Lab parking lot at 195 Colchester Ave. All VSEA members and their families attending the August 1 game are invited to drop by the Chapter’s barbeque beforehand to enjoy a free meal and a beverage. The grill fires up at 5:30 p.m.   
The Lake Monsters are squaring off against the Batavia Muckdogs, and the Chapter has extended an invitation to 100 children and their families being served by the Howard Center to join them at the game as their guests.

VSEA Seeks Legislative And Field Services’ Director

Your union is currently recruiting qualified individuals to fill the positions of:

Legislative Director

Job Duties will include:

  • Assisting the VSEA Legislative Committee in the development of the union’s legislative priorities;
  • Coordinating the lobbying and/or testifying activates of VSEA staff and members;
  • Assisting the VSEA Legislative Committee and members in executing the unions legislative priorities thorough lobbying efforts;
  • Testifying before legislative committees and at public hearings on VSEA’s issues;
  • Supervising legislative staff and interns;
  • Developing excellent working relationships with member leaders as well as rank and file members in order to assist members in their union’s legislative advocacy;
  • Researching legislative issues and preparing legislative reports as necessary;
  • Working with VSEA’s communications team to assist with political and legislative messaging;
  • Coordinating necessary action  on proposed legislation;
  • Collaborating with other unions and coalitions on legislation impacting VSEA members; and
  • Coordinating VSEA’s political action and campaign support. 

Field Services Director

Job Duties will include:

  • Supervision of six full-time union representatives;
  • Conducting performance appraisals and evaluations of union field staff;
  • Act as liaison between union field staff and the VSEA legal department;
  • Oversight and coordination of field services, including but not limited to ensuring effective member representation by union field staff and stewards;
  • Responsible for the collection of field staff statistics for inclusion in reports to senior leadership;
  • Enforcement of collective bargaining agreements though the supervision of union field representatives;
  • Responsibility for member representation for cases with statewide or unit-wide impact, class action, or conflict cases;
  • Assisting the Director of Labor Relations in unit contract negations. Work includes: coordination and oversight of worksite meetings, proposal development with bargaining teams, negotiation, communication to unit members, and ratification process; and
  • Temporarily cover field territories in the absence of field staff. 

If you are interested in applying for either of the positions described above, please submit your resume and a cover letter to hiring@vsea.org. You can also mail your information to VSEA, c/o Ray Stout, 155 State St., Montpelier, VT 05602.

Divine Align Yoga Offers VSEA Members 10% Discount!

Class meets on Thursday evenings – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Each class is $10 and there is a 10% discount for VSEA members!

Located in the Plainfield, Vermont, Co-op
153 Main Street
Plainfield, Vt. 05667

To register, or for more information, please contact:
Melissa Massey
(802) 382-8998 or (802) 454-1001

Click here to view D.A.Y. Facebook page

Retired Members’ Chapter Annual Meeting Is August 13

Must Register By August 1


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 to VSEA Lifetime Members. If you haven’t received the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter’s paper announcement in the U.S. Mail please call.

To register please contact Nikolas Stein, at VSEA H.Q.: 802-223-5247 or TOLL-FREE 1-800-427-5247.

Annual Meeting Award Application and Nomination Forms Now Available!

All nominees and applications are due Monday August 18, 2014

Every year at Annual meeting, VSEA gives out five awards: the Frank A. Mazza Award, the Terence D. Macaig Award, the Linda Coan Memorial Award, the VSEA Chapter of the Year Award and the VSEA Steward of the Year Award. Click here to view, download and print application and nomination forms for the 2014 Annual Meeting Awards.

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.

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