Copy
Weekly News From VSEA!
Please Read on Your Break
Trouble Viewing This Email?
View this email in your browser
Week In Action Newsletter
November 13, 2020
Not A VSEA Member? Learn More or Sign Up Online!

What Issue(s) Do You Want To See On VSEA's 2021 Legislative Agenda?

VSEA's Legislative Committee reached out this week to members, asking for your help to determine what issues you and your co-workers would like to be considered for inclusion on a list of legislative-priority recommendations the Committee will soon present to VSEA''s Board of Trustees. These are issues VSEA will fight for in 2021 at the State House.
 
The Committee wants to hear from you! Please take 30 seconds now to let them know what issue(s) you would like them to consider in discussions about VSEA's legislative priorities in the 2021 legislative session.
 
The Committee will be discussing members' priority suggestions at its upcoming meetings. Also, if the issue you raise is one that VSEA’s Field Department or a member's Bargaining Unit Team is best suited to address, the Committee will be forwarding it to them for attention. 

VSEA’s Legislative Priorities Online Form
 
VSEA members who want to be a part of the work of the Legislative Committee, or  who want to join any other VSEA Committee, should e-mail VSEA President Aimee Towne, aimeetowne@gmail.com, to express your interest!

VSEA Corrections Unit Members Launch Phase 2 Of Campaign For Hazard Pay 

The second packet of Corrections member testimonials, focused on low morale, were sent this past Monday to the Administration. 

On Monday, VSEA’s Corrections Unit launched the second wave of its weeks-long campaign to get hazard pay reinstated for Corrections workers in facilities statewide. The campaign uses VSEA Corrections Officers' (COs) firsthand written accounts to help them make their case to the Admininstration that the additional pay for COs and other essential workers should never have ended.

Here is just one of the hundreds of powerful responses VSEA COs submitted to their union when asked to provide an honest account of what it’s been like working in a Vermont prison during the pandemic and also how they feel about the Administration ending their “hazard pay.”

“Daily we are asked to do more with less. Daily we are asked to risk our own life, safety, and mental health to supervise a population that does not want us here. Add COVID, and the task is now doubled if not tripled in demand for every officer here. Yet there are now fewer of us staffing the same facilities than before.”

Because such a large number of COs responded to VSEA’s request, it means VSEA and the Unit have been able to send a new and different packet of testimonials to the Administration every week for the next five weeks. On average, VSEA estimates that the Administration be reading ten, powerful testimonials every day!

VSEA is pleased to share this second batch of CO testimonials that were sent last Friday to the Administration.

Phase three launches Monday morning, when the third batch of testimonials is sent. The topic this week is PPE, or lack thereof. 

Read VSEA Corrections Unit Chair Steffen Flibotte’s campaign announcement letter to the Administration,​ requesting hazard pay.

VSEA invites members and retirees to help VSEA’s COs get their hazard pay reinstated by sharing these worker stories with your colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors. You can also call the Governor’s Office and lobby our local lawmakers to step up.

​VSEA members, retirees, and members of the public are urged to check VSEA.org or VSEA's social media pages weekly to view the latest batch of VSEA Corrections Unit members’ testimonials being sent to the Governor and to receive campaign updates. Thanks!

President Towne Posts New Video Update

Watch on YouTube
This week, newly elected VSEA President Aimee Towne​ posted the latest video update she's sharing with the membership.

Towne talks about an important Legislative Committee survey (see WIA story this week), two openings on the VSEA Board of Trustees, how members can participate in Board meetings, and the importance of getting involved with the VSEA Council.

View VSEA Board of Trustees Openings 

View VSEA Council Openings

VSEA Special Election - District 5 Rutland & Bennington Chapters

The VSEA Board of Trustees' District 5 seat, representing VSEA's Rutland and Bennington Chapters, is currently vacant. The seat is open to any VSEA member working in, or residing in, District 5.

If you like to place your name into nomination for this seat, there are two ways to do so:
  • ​Submit a paper petition with 25 signatures to VSEA HQ; or
     
  • Submit electronically. It's a two-step process that begins by emailing vsea@vsea.org with your interest in being on the ballot, followed by you soliciting 25 members to email vsea@vsea.org, providing your name, their name, their EE numbers and a short statement of support for your name on the ballot. 
The deadline for either the paper or electronic option is Monday, November 30, 2020, at 4:30 p.m.

Thanks!
VSEA Election, Rules and Nominating Committee

Labor / Management Meeting Scheduled At Northern State 

VSEA Union Representative Mike O'Day asked WIA to remind members working at the Northern State Correctional Facility are invited to attend a:

Northern State CF
Labor / Management Meeting
Wednesday, December 2
10:30 a.m. 


Please note the date. Thanks. 

VPCH & MTCR Zoom Meetings Next Week

VSEA Union Representative Rachael Fields has scheduled two Zoom meeting times next week for workers at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital and Middlesex Therapeutic Community Residence. The topic is "call off procedure."

Tuesday, November 17
9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Online, via Zoom


If you have any questions of if you would like to request the Zoom information, please email RFields@vsea.org.

NMU & Corrections Unit Election Ballots Due November 19!

Time is running out to cast your vote in current elections to fill:
  • Non-Management Unit Executive Committee and Bargaining Team seats; and
     
  • DOC Bargaining Team seats for the Springfield, Chittenden and Newport facilities.
The VSEA Elections, Rules & Nominating Committee's email with your ballot included more information about how to cast your vote.

Completed ballots for both elections must be returned to HQ by 4:30 p.m., Thursday, November 19, 2020.  

If you have any questions about your ballot or voting, please contact Amy Kinsell at akinsell@vsea.org

November Is
Long-Term Care Awareness Month

VSEA President Aimee Towne sent an email to members last Friday, reminding that November is "Long-Term Care Awareness" month.  

In case you missed it, here's President Towne's letter:

Dear VSEA Member:

November is "Long-Term Care Awareness" month, which Congress established in 2001 to emphasize the importance to plan for the possibility of needing care someday.  

The VSEA wants to remind you, as a dues-paying VSEA member, that discounted, long-term insurance rates are available exclusively to you.

The VSEA has partnered with National Long-Term Care Brokers to provide members with a free, no obligation phone or in-person consultation to help determine if this coverage may or may not be appropriate and beneficial.  

National Long-Term Care Brokers is committed to providing VSEA members with all the  information you need to make the best choice for you and your family when it comes to deciding whether or not a long-term care insurance plan or long-term care hybrid policy option is right for you.  

For more information or to schedule your free consultation, please call National Long-Term Care Brokers toll free at (800) 695-8224 Ext 137 or visit www.advisorsib.com/vsea to submit a request. 

Quote Of The Week!

 

"At one point, several officers were sharing one gown that was taped together. Now, we have several gowns but we have to dunk them in bleach water after each use. I always go home wondering if I was safe enough."


One VSEA Corrections Officer's testimonial being sent to the State on Monday, citing the DOC's failure to provide proper PPE to employees during the COVID pandemic as a chief reason why Corrections workers should still be receiving hazard pay.  
Talking Points:
Non-VSEA specific stories that may be of interest to VSEA members.

Vermont AFL-CIO Holding Annual Convention

VT AFL-CIO Convention 2020


Rebuild a Fighting Labor Movement 
Saturday, November 21 


"Our convention will bring together union activists from around Vermont to strategize on key questions, starting with the basics: how do we build up the presence and strength of our unions at work? And how do we use our power as workers to win economic, racial, and gender justice?"

11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 
Zoom Conference Meeting Link 
Password: unionpower

Or Telephone: Dial: 8888449904 (Toll Free) Conference code: 966241 

 

Friendly Reminder!

The snow will be flying again soon, so, on behalf of hundreds of VSEA AOT members, VSEA is reminding drivers to give our plows and plow drivers plenty of room if out on the roads during one of Vermont's many seasonal snow storms. Thanks!    
This Week:
What Issue(s) Do You Want To See On VSEA's 2021 Legislative Agenda?

VSEA Corrections Unit Members Launch Phase 2 Of Campaign For Hazard Pay

President Towne Posts New Video Update

VSEA Special Election - District 5 Rutland & Bennington Chapters

Labor / Management Meeting Scheduled At Northern State

VPCH & MTCR Zoom Meetings Next Week

NMU & Corrections Unit Election Ballots Due November 19!

November Is Long-Term Care Awareness Month

Quote Of The Week!
Talking Points:
Vermont AFL-CIO Holding Annual Convention

Friendly Reminder: Don't Crowd The Plow!
Important Reminders:
Enroll Today In VSEA Member-Only Supplemental Dental Plan!

Current Executive Branch Unit Contracts Posted!

Told You're Being Investigated?
Watch This Video!


State Treasurer Cautions VSEA Members To Ready For A Pension Fight

Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!

VSEA Advantage Discount Program
Thank you for reading Week In Action!
Enroll Today In VSEA Member-Only Supplemental Dental Plan!
One key benefit of VSEA membership is access to a supplemental de0ntal plan that has been helping VSEA families bring down the costs of expensive dental procedures for nearly a decade now. The program is very popular, and for members not yet enrolled, now is the time for you to sign up for this unique benefit for state employees represented by VSEA.

VSEA sent an all-member email this week about the new enrollment period. If you don’t recall receiving the email, you can learn more about the plan here.

The supplemental program is offered as an enhancement to state employees’ State-administered dental insurance benefit.
Current Executive Branch Unit Contracts Posted!
VSEA Labor Relations Director Gary Hoadley recently let WIA know that the current contracts for all VSEA Executive Branch Units are now posted to the Department of Human Resources and VSEA's websites and VSEA.org.
View Contracts
Told You're Being Investigated? Watch This Video!
Please take a few minutes on a break to watch the video, and know that the information being relayed could very well save your job someday. Remember, as a VSEA member, you are entitled to no-cost representation in investigatory meetings that may lead to discipline. Non-members, however, must now pay a rate of $250 to $350 per-hour for the same level of representation!

More: Know Your Union Rights
State Treasurer Cautions VSEA Members To Ready For A Pension Fight

At VSEA’s 76th Annual Meeting, VSEA members participating were greeted by State Treasurer Beth Pearce, and she cautioned state employees to begin preparing (again) for a renewed attack soon on state employees’ defined benefit pension plan. Actually, Vermont’s own pension Chicken Little, David Coates, has never stopped his now decade-long campaign to convince lawmakers to implement a 401K plan for new hires to state government. Mind you, the last time VSEA checked, a majority of exempt state employees (read: not VSEA members), when given a choice, chose a defined benefit pension plan.

Pearce did stress that she is unsure right now what action(s) state employees could be asked to make to shore up the pension fund, but she warned it could include a call for employees to increase your contribution. Pearce promised to keep us informed, and she vowed to continue to fight alongside VSEA members to protect your pension.

Continue Reading...

Did you know? Defined benefit plans are safer and more reliable for Vermont's retirees & are cheaper for taxpayers than risky, Wall St 401(k)-style plans. Learn more about the differences between defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution pension plans (a.k.a. 401K) here.
Getting Ready To Retire? Retired Already? Join The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter!

Long-time VSEA activist and leader Terry Lefebvre is asking VSEA members getting ready to retire to join the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter to continue to be an active and engaged union member, even in retirement. Lefebvre also appeals to VSEA members to talk up the co-workers they know who might be preparing to retire. If you already belong to the Retired Members’ Chapter, a big thanks to you.

Learn More Here About The VSEA Retired Members’ Chapter
VSEA Advantage Discount Program
Did you know the average VSEA member can save hundreds of dollars a year by taking advantage of some of the Member-Only benefits offered through your union?

Learn more about the VSEA Advantage Discount Program
Need To Update Your Contact Information
With VSEA? 


Don't Have
A VSEA
Union Card? 

Request A Green VSEA Union Card


Have You Been Threatened
At Work? 

Send A Threat Report To VSEA


Are You A
Council Member?

Join the VSEA Council Facebook group here!


Are You A
Chapter President?

Join the VSEA Chapter Presidents 
Facebook
group here!



Are You A
Steward?

Join the VSEA Steward Facebook
group here!
Thank you for reading
Week In Action!
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Unsubscribe
Copyright © 2020 Vermont State Employees Association, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list