Chapter Presidents Committee Meeting
Montpelier 9:00 AM
Vermont State Colleges Executive Board Meeting
Montpelier 9:00 AM
VSEA Member Spotlight
WIA will periodically be spotlighting VSEA members who are going the extra mile for their union and for their co-workers. If you have a co-worker you‘d like to nominate, please send the VSEA member’s name, where s/he works and a few reasons why this person is receiving your nomination to VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VSEA Board Wants Your Question For The State’s Top Official
As part of its formal endorsement process, VSEA is actively soliciting one question from members to the State’s top official. VSEA’s Board of Trustees will be meeting soon with this official to conduct a comprehensive interview, and, in advance, they would like to see what your question would be.
If you have a burning question, please send it to VSEA Communications Director Doug Gibson at email@example.com and write “My Question” in the subject line.
We can’t guarantee your question will be asked, but we’ll do our best. Please refrain from submitting questions containing subject matter not related to state employees, your worksites or your ability to adequately deliver services to Vermonters. Thanks!
Retirement Board Seeks Alternate
At the union’s Annual Meeting on September 13, VSEA members Tom Hango and Jeff Briggs were elected to serve as the union’s representatives to the Vermont State Retirement Board. Hango was serving as VSEA’s alternate to this Board, so his election to one of VSEA’s two, full-time seats has created a need to now fill the alternate seat.
If you are interested in serving as VSEA’s alternate to the Vermont State Retirement Board, please submit a letter of intent to the VSEA Elections Committee no later than Friday, October 17, 2014. You should send an email to Mary Poulos at VSEA (firstname.lastname@example.org), or mail your letter to:
VSEA Elections Committee
c/o Mary Poulos
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.
VT Workers’ Center Hosting Series Of “People’s Forums On Human Rights & The Economy”
In advance of the fast-approaching election season, the Vermont Workers’ Center is hosting a series of “People’s Forums on Human Rights and the Economy,” where it hopes concerned workers and other Vermonters will come to share stories about the “interconnected crises in our communities, and how Vermont movements for climate justice, disability and workers’ rights, education, healthcare and a people’s budget are teaming up to collectively advance a vision for citizens and our planet.” The forums will also challenge candidates to explain how, if elected, they intend to follow through to ensure their community’s needs are met.
Here is the forum schedule, times and places:
Oct 13: Mt. Abraham High School, Bristol
October 13 @ 6 p.m.
Oct 14: Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, Essex
October 14 @ 6 p.m.
Oct 14: Marlboro Graduate Center, Room 2E, Brattleboro
October 14 @ 6 p.m.
Oct 15: People's Academy Cafeteria, Morrisville
October 15 @ 6:30 p.m.
Oct 15: St. Peters Church, Bennington
October 15 @ 6:30 p.m.
Oct 16: Franklin Co. Senior Center, St. Albans
October 16 @ 6 p.m.
Oct 16: St. Johnsbury School Gym, St. Johnsbury
October 16 @ 6 p.m.
Oct 16: Hartford High School, White River Jct.
October 16 @ 6:30 p.m.
Bolton Valley Announces Discounted Season Passes For VSEA Members
For the second year in a row, the VSEA Advantage Discount Program is pleased to offer discounted season passes to the Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Bolton, Vt.
VSEA members who order a pass before October 31, 2014, will receive a $70 discount off the regular $569 season pass price, making it just $499. Like last year, this offer is available only to VSEA members who are currently paying full dues to their union.
The sign-up process is pretty straightforward, but, like last year, in order for a member to view the special VSEA discount promo code (which can be found by clicking here), you must be a registered user of the VSEA website, which also requires you to be a full dues-paying member.
In the coming months, VSEA’s Communications team will be devoting time to redesigning the VSEA website, making it cleaner and more user friendly. In advance of sitting down to begin the redesign process, VSEA’s Communications team is asking members to please take a few minutes to complete an online survey about VSEA’s current site and about what members want in a new site. VSEA is also interested in learning what websites appeal to you and why, and what websites aren’t so appealing and why.
New Facebook Page Created To Support Upcoming Representation Election By UVM Workers
Not wasting any time, just days after filing with the Vermont Labor Relations Board for a representation election to join VSEA, more than 800 UVM workers belonging to United Staff have already created a Facebook page to provide campaign updates to workers, invite discussion and promote “Voting ‘Yes’ For VSEA” in the upcoming election.
VSEA members who use Facebook are urged to “like” the United Staff workers’ page, as a show of solidarity for the workers’ effort to win the VSEA representation they desire and deserve. Click here to view the United Staff workers’ page. Thanks in advance for your solidarity.
Post Office No Longer Recognizing Mail Sent To VSEA HQ Using Defunct P.O. Box Number
Stewards Urged To Review Cards
VSEA is issuing an alert to members NOT to use P.O. Box 518 when sending mail or other correspondence to VSEA headquarters in Montpelier. The Post Office is no longer forwarding mail sent to VSEA with the P.O. Box number. VSEA Stewards and other leaders are being asked to review any cards or literature you may be passing out in worksites to ensure the address printed on the material does not include the now defunct P.O. Box number.
As a reminder, VSEA’s new and correct mailing address is:
VSEA Election Season Phone Banking Begins. Volunteer Today!
VSEA Legislative Director Ben Palkowski is soliciting volunteers to participate in upcoming phone banks to promote your union’s endorsed candidates in the 2014 election, both statewide and local.
Here are the phone bank dates (all will operate from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at VSEA headquarters in Montpelier):
Monday, October 13,
Thursday, October 16
Monday, October 20
Thursday, October 23
Monday, October 27
Thursday, October 30
Members with questions—or members who want to phone bank but can’t make one of the scheduled banks—are welcome to contact Palkowski (email@example.com or 595-3558) to try and set up an alternate time or ask your question.
Single-Payer Advocate Campaigns For VSEA Health Care Plan As Baseline! Just In Case
This week, a Washington County legislator and prominent single-payer health care advocate publicly voiced his support for the VSEA health care to become the baseline for all Vermonters, if the State’s current attempt to implement its own health care system does not come to fruition.
In an October 8 VPR story, the advocate expresses real doubts about the future of the State’s plan, labeling the rollout a “disaster” and adding “I would rather put the VSEA plan on the table and say, 'Let’s see how we can all be part of this…as opposed to putting some abstract idea on the table and say, 'Why don’t we try to cobbler together a single-payer health care system starting from scratch?' It seems like it makes more sense to me.”
The executive director of single-payer advocacy group Vermont Leads agrees with the legislator, telling VPR, “With the VSEA plan as a model we can say, 'Hey Vermonters, this is what single payer is going to look like. And I think that’s the important next step we need to take to get the public totally behind the move to universal health care.”
The story highlights the fact that, in the past three years, the well-administered “VSEA plan has had no premium increases. In fact, in 2014, most state employees had a roughly 15 percent decrease in their annual premiums. This comes at a time when other private insurance plans have seen double digit increases.”
Flyer Designed To Help VSEA Members With Your Union’s Health Care Messaging
VSEA’s Legislative Committee has designed a flyer for members to download, print out and use as a resource when talking to elected officials, lawmakers, family, friends and others about your union’s position on any future health care system for Vermont.
It’s important for VSEA members to read through this page to learn your union’s position so you can defend your hard-earned benefits when talking in the next few weeks with candidates for office. The flyer also includes a helpful comparison between the current state employee “SelectCare” plan and Vermont’s Green Mountain Care plan.
The time to act is now VSEA! Educate yourselves, your family, your friends, your elected officials and your community about how important it is that the state employee health care plan be the baseline for all Vermonters.
The VSEA website now features a webpage with the contents of the flyer, as well as a link to download the flyer. Click here to view this page
Retirees’ Chapter Holding Special Meeting On Dec. 11 To Select Trustee For Windham & Windsor Counties
The VSEA Retirees’ Committee is actively searching for a trustee to represent Windham and Windsor Counties. If you’re a current dues-paying retiree who resides in Windham or Windsor Counties, and you’re interested in running for this trustee seat, please send a letter of interest by 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 10, to VSEA RC President Maclay at firstname.lastname@example.org. Chapter officials will then hold a special meeting on December 11 to name a new Windham and Windsor trustee. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.
As always, if you are a lifetime member of VSEA and are interested in joining the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter, please send your $10 dues check to VSEA HQ or bring this payment to the special Chapter meeting on December 11.
With an eye towards the upcoming 2014-2015 legislative session, VSEA’s Barre Chapter is hosting a forum on October 30 and inviting Chapter members to share their thoughts and concerns about the budget, position and service cuts and other workplace issues with local lawmakers and candidates for office. This is a great opportunity for Barre Chapter members to talk one-on-one with the decision-makers in Montpelier.
Barre Chapter Candidate/Lawmaker Forum Thursday, October 30 The Quarry Restaurant
210 N. Main St.
Barre 5:00 p.m.
VSEA Activist Trying To Collect Items For Holiday Charity Effort
Longtime VSEA activist Monte Mason is appealing to his VSEA brothers and sisters to help his niece collect unused shoe boxes to fill with needed items to send to underprivileged children around the world. Some of the items being collected to put in the shoeboxes include toothpaste and toothbrushes, writing implements and small toys.
If you have shoeboxes for Monte and his niece, or you want to donate some of the needed items, please contact Monte by phone (802) 888-4395 or email email@example.com to arrange a pick up. You can also bring your boxes and items to VSEA headquarters and Monte will collect them periodically.
Calling All Troublemakers! Vermont Troublemakers’ School 2014
The Vermont Labor Solidarity Committee and Labor Notes are pleased to announce that the 2014 Vermont Troublemakers School is being held Sunday, November 9, from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. in UVM’s Rowen Hall at 106 Carrigan Drive, Burlington.
New strategies centered on social justice unionism have animated recent struggles—from the 2012 Chicago Teachers strike to the recent Teamster Chittenden County Transit Authority walkout in Vermont.
Join fellow troublemakers for a day of discussion, training, networking, and inspiration! We’ll discuss rank-and-file strategies for advancing our unions and demanding our rights.
How to have an organizing conversation
How to broaden member participation
Reviving social justice unionism
Developing rank-and-file leaders
Winning contract campaigns
Strikes and other worksite actions to win
And much more
Here's a list of organizations whose members are contributing to shaping and building our Troublemakers School:
CCTA Teamster Bus Drivers
Vermont Workers Center
United Academics at UVM
Vermont Nurses and Healthcare Professionals (VNHP)
International Socialist Organization
UE Locals in Chittenden and Washington Counties
Vermont Migrant Justice
Home Health Care Workers
Howard Center AFSCME Local 1674
Green Mountain Labor Council
And more to come.
To register, choose a registration level at bottom of page, add to your cart and check out through our online store. (Look for "Shopping Cart" in the upper right corner of the page when you are ready to pay.) For more information or to get involved, contact Traven Leyshon at Traven.L@gmail.com or 802-522-3484.
Childcare will be available. Details to come.
Brattleboro Chapter Offering To Pay For Members To Attend Troublemakers’ School!
The Brattleboro Chapter is offering to finance Chapter members who want to attend this year’s Troublemaker’s School in Burlington. The Chapter will pay your enrollment fee, as well as travel reimbursement for a carpool. If you’re interested, please contact Brattleboro Chapter President Robin Rieske at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, October 31, 2014.