Weekly News From Your Union: July 7 – July 11

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July 11, 2014

In This Issue:

ERN Chair Reminds That Ballots To Elect Board Of Trustees’ Seats Are Due August 1

DCF Worker Cleared In Chittenden Child Fatality Investigation! Workers Still Concerned About Scapegoating

Chittenden Chapter Pleased To Sponsor Fifth Annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters”

Central Vermont VSEA Members Asked To Sign Petition Seeking Clarification On Alternate Parking Options

VSEA Applauds Brattleboro Food Co-Op Workers’ First Contract Ratification!

Did You Receive Your VSEA 70th Annual Meeting Registration Form?

Annual Meeting Award Application and Nomination Forms Now Available!

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


NEK/St. Johnsbury Chapter Seeks Volunteers To Help With July 17 Employee Appreciation Day Event

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


VSEA Calendar:

July 15
VSCSF Executive Board Meeting
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:00 a.m.

July 17
Special Council Meeting
Elks Club
Montpelier
9:00 a.m.

July 17
NEK/St. Johnsbury Chapter Employee Appreciation Day
Vermont Department of Corrections
1266 US Route 5
St. Johnsbury

July 18
NMU Executive Committee Meeting
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.

July 18
Legislative Committee Meeting
State House
Ethan Allen Room
Montpelier
10:00 a.m.
 


NEK/St. Johnsbury Chapter Seeks Volunteers To Help With July 17 Employee Appreciation Day Event

Please note the NEK/ St. Johnsbury Employee Appreciation Day is next Thursday July 17!

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
 


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ERN Chair Reminds That Ballots To Elect Board Of Trustees’ Seats Are Due August 1

VSEA Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee Chair Mary Poulos asked WIA to remind members that ballots for the Board seats listed below are due back to headquarters by 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 1.
 

  • Supervisory Trustee
  • Corrections Trustee
  • DG/VSHA Trustee
  • District 4 Trustee (Franklin/Grand Isle, Chittenden, Addison)

VSEA members who have not received a ballot and who belong to a District 4 Chapter, or to the Corrections, Supervisory or DG/VSHA Unit, should immediately contact VSEA headquarters to request a ballot. If you unsure of your status and eligibility to vote in one of these elections, please also contact headquarters to receive assistance.
 

DCF Worker Cleared In Chittenden Child Fatality Investigation! Workers Still Concerned About Scapegoating

  
Chittenden State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan (pictured here directly behind DCF Deputy Commissioner Cindy Walcott) announced at a July 10 press conference that VSEA member and DCF worker John Salter has been cleared of wrongdoing in the April death of a Chittenden child. 
(Photo via VTDigger)

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan held a press conference in Burlington on July 10, where he announced VSEA member John Salter was cleared of wrongdoing in the tragic death of a child in April. 

“John Salter performed his duties. He did everything that he was trained to do, he did everything that he was supposed to do, he followed those protocols that DCF has,” Donovan said at the press conference. “We can disagree whether or not this is the right protocol or the wrong protocol, but the fact of the matter is that’s the protocol.”

This is very welcome news to the beleaguered DCF Chittenden employees, many of whom told VSEA staff and leaders in a June 13 meeting that they were very concerned about being scapegoated following the April death and Salter’s name unfortunately ending up in the press as the DCF employee assigned to the case.

“The workers we met with said repeatedly that policies and protocols were followed in this case, and they explained that they do not possess the ability to change existing policies and protocols,” VSEA President Shelley Martin told VSEA. “John Salter and all DCF employees do incredibly important work in often very difficult settings. If the current policies and protocols are insufficient, or not producing the desired results, then something needs to be done by law enforcement, lawmakers, state officials, or anyone else who can make the needed changes.” Martin added that caseload and staffing issues continue to hamper frontline DCF employees’ ability to provide the level of service Vermonters expect and deserve.

VSEA is currently working to schedule a series of meetings statewide with DCF employees to talk about current working conditions, scapegoating, caseloads and a host of other issues. Look for meeting dates in upcoming editions of WIA.

Massachusetts DCF Undergoing Massive Overhaul After Child Dies:  
One year following the death of a Massachusetts child, the state is implementing a host of things to try and address the findings of an independent review of DCF by the D.C.-based Child Welfare League. The organization found DCF had inadequate staffing and outdated policies and technology. In response, DCF hired an additional 143 social workers and provided 2,300 Ipads to social workers that include software to notify them when a child has not received a visit. “These measures will help the department better ensure the safety of the children of the commonwealth and strengthen families,” interim Commissioner Erin Deveney told a House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight. “The legacy of Jeremiah Oliver demands that we make these lasting improvements to increase child protection.” SEIU Local 509 represents the DCF workers and the union says it welcomes the changes but reminds that morale remains low and workers still face a ‘caseload crisis.’”
 

Chittenden Chapter Pleased To Sponsor Fifth Annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters”

 

STORY CONTAINS CORRECTED EMAIL ADDRESS TO OBTAIN TICKETS


 
VSEA’s Chittenden Chapter will host its annual “Night at the Vermont Lake Monsters” event on Friday, August 1, versus the Batavia Muckdogs. This is the Chapter’s fifth annual night at the ballgame, and this year an invitation has also been extended to 100 children and their families being served by the Howard Center to join Chapter members on August 1.
 
VSEA members belonging to any Chapter statewide can reserve two tickets per member up until Friday, July 25. After that, tickets will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Chittenden President Kara Haynes will keep a list of members wanting more than two tickets initially, and she will follow-up with these requests after the July 25 deadline to reserve has passed and she is able to determine how many tickets remain.  
 
If you are a VSEA member wanting to reserve your two tickets, please contact Chittenden Chapter President Kara Haynes by phone at 735-3739 or email her at kara.haynes@state.vt.us.  
 
In years past, the Chapter has sponsored a barbeque at 195 Colchester Ave. (the VDH Lab) prior to the game, but this piece has not been nailed down yet this year. WIA will update members in upcoming issues about the barbeque status for this year’s game.  
 

Central Vermont VSEA Members Asked To Sign Petition Seeking Clarification On Alternate Parking Options

 
The State is proposing to increase the number of parking spaces in Montpelier by adding spaces in the lot located behind the Department of Labor Building at 5 Green Mountain Drive. In an effort to clarify what exactly the proposal would mean, as well as seek answers to a series of employee questions about safety, traffic, etc., VSEA members in central Vermont have created a petition.
 
VSEA members who are concerned about the parking proposal—or who are questioning it—are asked to sign the employees’ petition, which can be found by clicking here. The petition will be delivered to BGS, as representatives of the State.

VSEA Applauds Brattleboro Food Co-Op Workers’ First Contract Ratification!

 
VSEA is applauding news that on July 9, workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op voted 57-23 to ratify a first-ever contract covering 129 employees. The workers, who belong to United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459, voted to unionize in November 2012. Their new contract is the first ever negotiated by workers in the Co-Op’s 39-year history.
 
"I've been on the bargaining team since this started and I am so relieved it is over," Joelle Montagnino, a frontline worker told the Brattleboro Reformer. "And I'm really optimistic about how it will work out. I am hopeful about a change in culture here. I think it's really important for employees to feel secure about working here. Having those guidelines with a contract behind it is really important.” She added that in addition to the compensation and benefits included in the agreement, the contract also establishes work rules and standards for working conditions.
 
UFCW local 1459 Organizer Jeff Jones told the paper that he is extremely pleased with the victory, explaining that both sides worked hard—and in good faith—to reach an agreement, and he was proud of the results. “It’s something to build on,” Jones explained. 
 

Did You Receive Your VSEA 70th Annual Meeting Registration Form?

According to VSEA’s Special Events Committee, every VSEA member should have received a 2014 VSEA Annual Meeting registration form by now in the U.S. Mail. If you have not received a registration form, please contact VSEA headquarters at 223-5247 to check that your mailing address is correct.   
 
To find an official VSEA Annual Meeting 2014 registration form online, please click here.
 
Another reminder to VSEA members trying to dial the Killington Grand’s toll-free reservation line number that was 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.

Annual Meeting Award Application and Nomination Forms Now Available!

 


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.

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.

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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