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Week In
Action!


August 26, 2016

In This Issue:


VSEA Actively Soliciting Your Candidate Endorsement Input!

Tuesday Is Deadline To Register For VSEA Annual Meeting!

VSEA’s HQ Email Service Restored!

Council Convenes For Special Meeting

Lamoille Chapter’s 2nd Annual School Supplies Challenge Is A Big Success

Another Barre Chapter Member Appreciation Day Event Next Week

Federal Justice Department Pulls Plug On Use Of Private Prisons

VSEA Members Invited To Participate In “2016 Walk For Children” On September 17

Vermont’s Economy Ranked 25th In The Nation

New Pew Study Finds Vermont Is Just One Of 15 States Working To Address Pension Plan’s Unfunded Liability

Bolton Valley Extends Season Pass Offer To VSEA Members

VSEA Advantage Program’s 2016 Sugarbush Ski Pass Offer!

VSEA Insurance Representative At The Vets Home Next Week

Subscribe To VSEA!

VSEA Calendar

Quote Of The Week!

Previously In Week In Action:


How To Print Week In Action

VSEA Labor Educator Announces Fall 2016 Training Schedule

New Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers Now Online

Calling All VSEA Campaign 2016 Volunteers!

Your Input Is Needed! Membership Recruitment Committee Creates Survey To Determine What Kinds Of Group Outings Appeal To VSEA Members

This Campaign Season, Ask Yourself: “Is It Fact, Or Is It Myth?”

Information About Upcoming VT State Retirement Board Elections

Discounted 2016 Great Escape / Splashwater Kingdom Day Tickets Available Online & At VSEA!

Threatened While On The Job? VSEA Wants To Know.
 

VSEA Calendar

August 30
Deadline To Register For Annual Meeting
Register Here


August 30
Steward Training 2: Protecting The Contract & Building The Union
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin, VT
9:00 a.m.


August 31
Barre Chapter Member Appreciation Day Event
Free Ice Cream!
McFarland State Office Building
Barre
Noon


September 1
Retirees’ Chapter Meeting - Mailing
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:00 a.m.
 

Quote of The Week!


“This is a historic moment. There are tens of thousands of workers at private universities across the United States that will reap the benefits of unionization.”


Julie Kushner, director of the northeast chapter of the United Auto Workers, talking about this week’s NLRB ruling that allows graduate-student workers at private colleges to organize.

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VSEA Labor Educator Announces Fall 2016 Training Schedule



VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch asked WIA to announce a new round of trainings he has scheduled for the fall of 2016. If you are interested in registering to attend one or more trainings, you can do so by clicking here. All trainings begin at 9:00 a.m. Please direct any of your training questions to Tim at tlenoch@vsea.org.

Trainings in blue are for all members.

Steward Training: Representing Co-Workers In Disciplinary Meetings & Investigations
Friday, September 30
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin

Steward 1: Introduction & The Basics
Tuesday, October 4
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward Training: Judiciary Unit
Friday, October 7
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward Training: Health Care Facilities
Friday, October 14
Rutland/Mendon – TBD
 
Steward 2: Protecting The Contract & Building The Union
Tuesday, October 18
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin

Steward Training: Department for Children and Families
Friday, October 21
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward 3: The Contract & Challenges in the Workplace
Tuesday, October 25
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin

Steward Training: Health Care-Related Departments
Friday, November 4
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward Training: The Labor/Management Committee
Thursday, November 10
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward Training: Protecting Bargaining Unit Work
Friday, November 18
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward 1: Introduction & The Basics
Wednesday, November 30
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin

Steward Training: The Grievance
Wednesday, December 7
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
 
Steward 2: Protecting The Contract & Building The Union
Wednesday, December 14
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
  
Steward 3: The Contract & Challenges in the Workplace
Wednesday, December 21
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin


> Register For Trainings Online Here!

New Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers Now Online



 
In an effort to provide interested VSEA members with more information about a candidate’s positions on issues of importance to you, the VSEA Legislative Committee has collected responses from most statewide general-election candidates to a questionnaire, and their answers are now available online.
 
New responses have been posted by candidates running for Secretary of State, Auditor and Attorney General. Previous responses remain from candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor and other statewide positions.  

> Read Candidates Questionnaire Responses Here!

Calling All VSEA Campaign 2016 Volunteers!




In the weeks leading up to the Vermont’s August 9 primary election—and then to the November 8 general election—VSEA Legislative Committee members and HQ staff will be asking members to volunteer some time to assist candidates who have received VSEA’s endorsement and who deserve our support. A reminder that, this year, there are five VSEA members running for office, and each could use your help.
 
There are many ways for you to participate in VSEA’s Campaign 2016 activities, including:
  • Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored phone bank;
     
  • Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored honk-and-wave;
     
  • Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored door-to-door canvassing effort;
     
  • Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored candidate(s) rally;
     
  • Educate your family, friends and colleagues about the candidate and his/her positions on issues important to VSEA members;
     
  • March with a candidate in a parade;
     
  • Volunteer to help at a candidate’s headquarters (if applicable) with things like answering phones, filing, assembling educational packets/mailings, etc.;
     
  • Put a yard sign in your yard, or help the candidate distribute signs in your area;
     
  • Host a candidate house party;
     
  • Drive voters to the polls on Election Day;
     
  • Pen a letter to the editor in support of VSEA-endorsed candidate(s); and
     
  • Make a monetary contribution to a candidate(s).
 
If you would be interested in volunteering some time to help your union’s campaign 2016 efforts, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email voconnor@vsea.org, or by phone at 223-5247.
 
Important Note: It is imperative that VSEA have your current home email address, so you can receive political material. This is because some messages could be labeled partisan, and therefore they are not permissible to send to work emails. When contacting Vinnie with interest, please be sure to let him know your current home email. Thanks!

Your Input Is Needed!

 


Membership Recruitment Committee Creates Survey To Determine What Kinds Of Group Outings Appeal To VSEA Members

 
VSEA’s Membership Recruitment Committee is actively arranging trips for members to see a NASCAR race in New Hampshire and a Red Sox game in Boston. These are the kind of group events the Committee would like to offer more of in the future, but VSEA’s membership is broad and there are a lot of interests, so the Committee recently created a simple survey to guage interest in some suggested outings and for members to submit their own ideas.

> Please take a few minutes to complete the Committee’s short survey, which can be found here.

This Campaign Season, Ask Yourself: “Is It Fact, Or Is It Myth?”




With Vermont’s general election cycle now gearing up, it means there will now be a lot of rhetoric flying around about why Vermont continues to have budget deficits, with some candidates almost certainly talking about having to “streamline” or “modernize” government” or they will propose giving more tax breaks to corporations to entice them to do business here. VSEA has listed some of the more prevalent myths we hear each election about Vermont’s economic and social climate, and included a fact to counter each. During the campaign, VSEA members are urged to question candidates who continue to promote some of the more common myths.
 
Here’s an example:
 
Myth: Too many Vermont young people are leaving the state.

Fact: From a July 15, 2016, VPR story: “According to data from the Internal Revenue Service, nearly as many young people are moving to Vermont as those leaving, dispelling the popular notion that Vermont is losing young people in droves.”

> Read more examples of myth vs. fact (with citation) here

Information About Upcoming VT State Retirement Board Elections


Elections for two full Vermont State Retirement Board seats (each w/ two-year term) will be conducted at this year’s VSEA Annual Meeting on September 10. If you are interested in serving on the Board—and wish to have your name on the printed ballot for Annual Meeting—you must submit a letter of intent to the VSEA Elections Committee no later than September 1, 2016. You should send an email to Rubin Jennings VSEA (RJennings@vsea.org), or mail your letter to:

VSEA Elections Committee
c/o Rubin Jennings
VSEA Headquarters
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.

Discounted 2016 Great Escape / Splashwater Kingdom Day Tickets Available Online & At VSEA!



$34.60 each

2016 Regular Day Tickets (42% savings!)


Discount tickets are now available to purchase online here, but in order to access the discount page, which also includes the required VSEA username and password, you must be a registered “member-only” VSEA website user (you can sign up here!).

Please note that there is a service charge for purchasing online.
 
VSEA also has tickets available for members to pick up at headquarters, and there is no service charge attached.

Questions? Feel free to contact Laurie Hassett by emailing lhassett@vsea.org or calling 802-223-5247
 

Threatened While On The Job? VSEA Wants To Know.


VSEA President Dave Bellini is asking all state employees who are threatened while performing your job duties to provide an account of the threat not only to your supervisor or the State, but also to VSEA.

“VSEA wants to begin to compile its own record of threats against frontline state employees, no matter your occupation,” explains Bellini. “I’m asking all employees who are threatened, especially those working in AHS, to take a few minutes to fill out an online form VSEA made to collect your report. The information will help us provide a firsthand account of the number of threats being made and where they are being made, in addition to some other things.”

If you are a state employee who is threatened on the job, please click here to find the online report form, which will remain confidential, unless otherwise approved by you.

 


> VSEA On-The-Job Threat Report Form

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VSEA Actively Soliciting Your Candidate Endorsement Input!


Note: VSEA Legislative Committee Chair Margaret Crowley asked WIA to include this reminder, and we are happy to oblige.


“VSEA is currently conducting a survey to gauge how members feel about the candidates running in upcoming statewide, general-election races. If VSEA has your up-to-date home email on file, you should have received the endorsement survey this week in your home email inbox. If you have not received the email, please make sure to check your SPAM mailbox. Questions? Please contact vsea@vsea.org

VSEA endorsements are determined, in part, by each candidate's position on labor issues and how each intends to address the needs of state employees, but the VSEA Board of Trustees will also be using your survey answers to help them identify which candidates will receive VSEA's endorsement.

Board of Trustees' members will be announcing VSEA's endorsements at the upcoming Annual Meeting on September 10, 2016, in Killington, Vermont.

For more information on the candidates and their positions on Labor Issues and the needs of State Employees, please click here to review their questionnaire answers.”
 

Tuesday Is Deadline To Register For VSEA Annual Meeting!



 
The deadline to register for VSEA’s 2016 Annual Meeting is Tuesday, August 30. The Annual Meeting is Saturday, September 10 in Killington.
 
All VSEA members are encouraged to attend the meeting and to participate in the festivities. Friday night there will be a dinner banquet followed by a dance. “Good Times Music” Also, for the first time, there will be a caricature artist to do drawings! On Saturday, members meet to discuss and vote on your union’s annual budget and its bylaws, as well as prioritize and set goals for VSEA. 

> If you haven’t registered yet for Annual Meeting, please go here to complete an online form and submit it.
 

VSEA’s HQ Email Service Restored!

 
VSEA’s in-house email server was down for three days this week, but service was finally restored on August 24. VSEA members can now send emails to headquarters’ staff, using the person’s vsea.org email address. VSEA is apologizing for the technical difficulties and thanking members for their patience. 
 

Council Convenes For Special Meeting  

 
VSEA Council Chair Aimee Towne called a special meeting on August 22 in Montpelier to allow Council members to fully vet several proposed organizational bylaw changes and give them a chance to approve or reject candidates being proposed for endorsement in the general election by the VSEA Legislative Committee. The Council’s next scheduled meeting is Friday, September 9, in Killington.   
 

Lamoille Chapter’s 2nd Annual School Supplies Challenge Is A Big Success



 
VSEA Lamoille Chapter President Aimee Towne and Clerk/Treasurer Peggy Burbank sent an email to Chapter members this week, letting them know the Chapter’s Second Annual School Supplies challenge was a big success.
 
“Your generosity and acts of kindness will help to outfit 75-plus children in [DCF] Family Services’ custody through the Morrisville office,” Towne and Burbank wrote in their email.
 

Another Barre Chapter Member Appreciation Day Event Next Week



 
VSEA’s Barre Chapter hosted a well-attended Membership Appreciation Day event on August 25, and   President Sue LaFleche is reminding Chapter members that there is another event scheduled for:

Wednesday, August 31
Noon to 1:00 p.m.
McFarland State Office Building Lobby

 
If you have any questions, please contact Sue by email at Suzanne.lafleche@vermont.gov.
 

Federal Justice Department Pulls Plug On Use Of Private Prisons

 
The federal Justice Department decided last week to end its relationship with America’s private prison industry, announcing on August 18 that private prisons are both “less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.” 
 
A Washington Post story about the decision includes this paragraph from a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to DOJ staff: “[Private prisons] simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security
 
Note: VSEA has long advocated against sending Vermont inmates to out-of-state, for-profit, private prisons, essentially for the same reasons the Feds are pulling the plug; safety and security issues and the level of rehabilitation is nothing like what’s offered here in Vermont. But Vermont continues to ignore these facts, sending millions of taxpayer dollars to private, out-of-state prisons. The question for VSEA becomes “If Vermont is willing to subject a portion of our inmates to these now federally acknowledged less-than-ideal prisons, then why not just construct a new prison here in Vermont and offer the same level of services as the private prisons? Keeps the dollars and jobs in state and ensures Vermont inmates are safer and more secure and have greater access to rehabilitation services and to their families.
 
Vermonters For Criminal Justice Reform Urges Vermont To Follow The Feds’ Lead
 
In response to the DOJ decision, Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform Director Suzy Wizowaty penned a commentary that calls on Vermont to also stop using private prisons. Read it here.
 
Tennessee State Employees’ Association Calls On State To Stop Using Private Prisons
 
Just a few days after the DOJ announced that it would stop using private prisons, the Tennessee State Employees’ Association (TSEA) issued a public statement, calling on elected officials and lawmakers to do the same. Four Tennessee in-state prisons are currently operated by Corrections Corporation of America; one of the nation’s leading for-profit, private prison operators. 

The TSEA statement, reads, in part, “Last week’s Department of Justice decision to reduce, and ultimately end, its use of private prisons should have Tennessee considering taking similar action. [Tennessee DOC] Commissioner Tony Parker and all the employees at the Tennessee Department of Corrections do a great job on a daily basis, and there is simply no good reason to continue paying a private prison company that provides an inferior product, lower levels of safety and security, and debatable cost savings for the public.”
 
> Read full Tennessean story here.
 

VSEA Members Invited To Participate In “2016 Walk For Children” On September 17

 

VSEA members in Burlington and Rutland are invited to participate on September 17 in the “2016 Walk For Children,” which is sponsored by Vermont Prevent Child Abuse and co-sponsored by a host of other Vermont-based businesses and organizations.
 
Saturday, September 17
Check-In: 8:00 a.m.
Walk Begins: 10:00 a.m.


Burlington - Meeting at the First Unitarian Universalist Society Church (152 Pearl St.)
Rutland – Meeting at the Howe Center (1 Scale Ave.)
 
> Register online here

or call 1-800-CHILDREN.
 

Vermont’s Economy Ranked 25th In The Nation



Photo: governing.com
 
A few weeks ago, WIA included a “myth versus reality” piece intended to provide VSEA members with documented responses to many of the myths we hear repeated often during the Vermont campaign season. Another one that resurfaces periodically is how terrible Vermont’s economy is when compared with other Northeastern states. Well…not so fast.
 
The publication Governing recently released its rankings of the economies of all 50 states, and Vermont finished number 25, behind Massachusetts (1) and New Hampshire (7) but ahead of New York (29), Maine (28) and Connecticut (42).
 
Governing explains how the states were ranked:
 
"To determine which states are doing well and which aren't, we looked at six variables from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis: the current state unemployment rate; the improvement in the state unemployment rate over the past year; the per capita state GDP in 2015; the percent change in real state GDP between 2014 and 2015; the percent change in state personal income per capita, from the third quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016; and the percentage growth in year-to-date increases in jobs for 2016."
 

New Pew Study Finds Vermont Is Just One Of 15 States Working To Address Pension Plan’s Unfunded Liability



 
For years, VSEA members have had to listen to several Vermont political talking heads who continue to spread the myth that the state employees’ pension plan’s unfunded liability is helping drag down Vermont’s economy. VSEA members have always countered that their plan is better funded than most and that proactive steps are being taken to address the plan’s unfunded liability. A new study released this week by Pew Charitable Trust confirms VSEA members’ argument, finding that Vermont is just one of 15 states that are on a path to reducing its unfunded liability.
 
> Read the Pew findings here
 

Bolton Valley Extends Season Pass Offer To VSEA Members



For the fourth year in a row, the VSEA Advantage Discount Program is pleased to offer discounted season passes to the Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Bolton.
 
VSEA members who order before October 31, 2016, can purchase a discounted season pass for $269!

Discounted youth passes for your family members are also available ($199/$159).

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.
 
> After acquiring the special VSEA promo code, VSEA members can go here to place your season pass order.
 

Follow these instructions to make your purchase:
  • Click on “Buy Online” and select pass products, accepting or declining pass protection and adding each product to your cart;
     
  • In the Cart view, click on “Add/Change Guest” to set the pass holder's name and information to each pass product, then click “Proceed to Checkout”;
     
  • Enter your Promo Code in the box where it asks for your promo code then click “Apply Code”; and
     
  • The cart should be refreshed and show the discounted corporate pricing.
     

A 2014-15 Bolton Valley All Access Season Pass includes:
  • Unlimited alpine skiing and riding;
     
  • 100km of Nordic and backcountry skiing;
     
  • A 20% discount on rentals, retail shop purchases, group ski and ride lessons, and lodging (includes condos, suites, or hotel rooms); and
     
  • Sports Center Membership including access to an indoor heated pool, hot tub, and sauna.

If you have any questions, please contact Eric Davis at 802-434-6813 or edavis@boltonvalley.com
 

SugarbushVSEA Advantage Program’s 2016 Sugarbush Ski Pass Offer!



 
For the tenth straight year, VSEA is pleased to inform you that the VSEA Advantage Discount Program is once again offering discounted Sugarbush all‐mountain (& other) ski passes for the 2016‐2017 season. This year, Sugarbush is once again using an online sign‐up feature.
 
This year’s rate will be $899 + tax. Offer is available only to full-fledged

VSEA members, meaning those who pay full dues. VSEA will be confirming names and status with Sugarbush representative.

All-Mountain youth, child and “20s” passes can also be purchased from the link.
 
> Get your 2016-2017 Sugarbush passes here!

Deadline to sign up is September 21, 2016!
 
Please share this notice with any VSEA members you know who might be interested in the Sugarbush deal.
 
A few notes:
  • The program is open to full-time employees, their spouse or partner in a same-sex marriage. It does not apply to "roommate" situations;
     
  • Youth and child passes may be purchased only in conjunction with an adult pass; and 

     
  • A complimentary Youth All Mountain Pass in included with an Adult All Mountain Pass purchase.  The discount will be applied at check out.
 
Questions? Please contact Doug Gibson via email: dgibson@vsea.org
 

Another Barre Chapter Member Appreciation Day Event Next Week



 
VSEA’s Barre Chapter hosted a well-attended Membership Appreciation Day event on August 25, and   President Sue LaFleche is reminding Chapter members that there is another event scheduled for:

Wednesday, August 31
Noon to 1:00 p.m.
McFarland State Office Building Lobby

 
If you have any questions, please contact Sue by email at Suzanne.lafleche@vermont.gov.
 

VSEA Insurance Representative At The Vets Home Next Week
 



VSEA Insurance Representative Joanne Woodcock will be at The Vermont Veterans' Home to talk with interested VSEA members about member-only insurance benefits on August 30 and 31.

Receive information on disability coverage, family life insurance, family accident and cancer coverage. You must be a member paying full dues to be eligible for this VSEA benefit. If you are an agency-fee payer, Joanne can provide you information about signing up for full membership.

All applications have to be taken in person.


> Click here to view/download an information brochure.

Vermont Veterans’ Home
325 North Street
Bennington, VT
August 30 and 31
12:00 to 4:00
Canteen Area


Email Joanne@vseainsurance.com for an appointment. Please provide your age, hourly wage and job description so I can send a quote BEFORE we meet. See attached brochure.

 

Subscribe To VSEA!

 
VSEA’s Communications Department is happy to disseminate any and all communications the leadership, Chapters, Units, and others request, however, the lists the Department currently pull from are provided to the union by the State of Vermont. VSEA’s Communications Department has found the lists to be dated, incomplete and sometimes lacking key information that was entered by a VSEA staff person but later overwritten or deleted during a State data dump.  
 
To help VSEA more effectively reach active members—and really all those members who want to know what’s going on in their union—VSEA will be working hard in the coming months to collect members’ emails on its own and begin to build contact lists that cannot be altered by a State download.  
 
You can help us get started by clicking here and signing up for the VSEA communications you are interested in receiving.
 
Thank you in advance for subscribing. Please urge your colleagues to do the same. 
 

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