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Week In Action will not publish the next two weeks.
The next issue will be published Friday, September 23.
Week In
Action!


September 2, 2016

In This Issue:


Happy Labor Day!

Red Sox Change “VSEA Day” Game Time To 8:00 P.M.

Local Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers Now Online For Review

Non-Management Unit Seeks Nominations For All Bargaining Team Seats And Bargaining Team Clerk.  Also Seeking To Fill One Seat On The NMU Executive Committee.

DCF/FSD Workers Seek To Address Mileage Issue

VSEA Offering Discounted Long-Term Care Insurance To Members

Pew Research Center’s 2016 “10 Facts About American Workers”

New Study Reveals That All American Workers’ Pay Is Tied To The Strength Of The Nation’s Labor Unions

Article Asks "Will America Finally Stop Privatizing Everything?"

Bolton Valley Extends Season Pass Offer To VSEA Members

VSEA Advantage Program’s 2016 Sugarbush Ski Pass Offer!

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

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

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?”

Calling All VSEA Campaign 2016 Volunteers!

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

September 5
Labor Day Holiday
Most State Offices & VSEA Closed


September 8
Board Of Trustees’ Meeting
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:00 a.m.
 

September 9
Council Meeting
Killington Grand Resort Hotel
Killington
9:00 a.m.
 

September 10
VSEA’so 72nd Annual Meeting
Killington Grand Resort Hotel
Killington
9:00 a.m.
 

Quote of The Week!


“The story of unions is the story of America’s middle-class. Unions have been essential in gaining safer working conditions, better wages and benefits, and empowering workers to have a seat at the table.”


Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), in a commentary he wrote this week, titled “Who Benefits From Strong Unions? Everyone.”

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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!

VSEA Members Invited To Participate In “2016 Walk For Children” On Sept. 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.

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

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!

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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Happy Labor Day!


Message from President Bellini:
 
Happy Labor Day VSEA!
 
On behalf of your VSEA Board of Trustees, I want to say a special thank you this Labor Day to every VSEA member for your support throughout this pretty difficult year.
 
This round of negotiations with the State proved to be very tough, but thanks to your solidarity, thousands of NMU, Supervisory, Corrections and State Colleges’ members got a raise and are now working under the terms and conditions of their newly negotiated contract. I especially want to thank the rank-and-file members who stepped up and ran for election to their respective Bargaining Teams. You are the folks who take time away from your family, friends and sometimes life really to ensure we protect state employees’ hard-earned pay and benefits and prevent many of the State’s desired takeaways. VSEA appreciates your sacrifice and your dedication to your union and your fellow state employees.
 
Unfortunately, VSEA’s Judiciary and State Housing Authority Units remain locked in tough contract fights. Judiciary members are making a stand at the table to elevate Docket Clerks’ pay and stop the exodus of valued and needed frontline Docket Clerks. They also have other issues to resolve and, like the NMU, Corrections and Supervisory Units, a fact-finder has been brought in to Judiciary negotiations and will be making a ruling soon hopefully. The reports from VSEA’s State Housing Authority Unit negotiators indicate these negotiations are going to be difficult as well. Both these Units will be asking for support in the upcoming days and weeks, and I know VSEA members will respond to their calls for help.
 
There are additional important VSEA campaigns and fights that continue to require members’ engagement and involvement. We must keep fighting to enhance safety and security for DCF workers, DOC and Parole and Probation workers, VPCH and VVH workers, Court employees and so many others. In addition, we must continue to be on guard against the privatization of our services, and we have to be actively sounding the alarm about waste, fraud and corruption where it exists in state government.
 
Finally, this is an election year, and the truth is, state workers are one of the few groups that actually get to vote for our boss. And there are enough of us that we are able to make a difference in both statewide and local races. I urge every VSEA member to educate yourself about each candidate’s position on the issues that matter to state employees, and cast your vote for those candidates who are committed to helping VSEA members improve our services and improve Vermont in the process.
 
Thank you again to each and every VSEA member for your continued support and activism. Have a safe and happy Labor Day.


> View larger image
 

Red Sox Change “VSEA Day” Game Time To 8:00 P.M.
 



When VSEA scheduled its first annual “VSEA Day at Fenway” event, the Red Sox September 18 game against the Yankees was scheduled to start at 1:35 p.m. However, because it’s the playoff stretch and the Red Sox are in the hunt, television executives and major league baseball have decided to switch the start time to 8:00 p.m. VSEA had no say in this decision.
 
Recognizing that the time change may present a problem to some VSEA members who may have already reserved a seat on the bus to Boston, VSEA is offering to refund your money and then make your seats available to a VSEA member currently on our waiting list.
 
If you have an issue with the game’s new start time and need to cancel, please contact VSEA Union Representative Bob South as soon as possible. You can reach Bob by email at bsouth@vsea.org or by phone at 223-5247.
 
VSEA apologizes in advance for any inconvenience.

Local Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers Now Online For Review



 
Recently, VSEA's Legislative Committee sent questionnaires to candidates for local office. In an effort to better educate members about these candidates, prior to the November 8 general election, VSEA is pleased to make each candidate's questionnaire answers available for review here. Please take time to review their answers and then consider casting your vote on November 8 for candidates whose answers reflect that they will work hard to support and defend state employees and the services you provide.
 
Local Candidate Questionnaire Answers
Statewide Candidate Questionnaire Answers
 

Non-Management Unit Seeks Nominations For All Bargaining Team Seats And Bargaining Team Clerk.
 

Also Seeking To Fill One Seat On The NMU Executive Committee.


Note: This message was emailed to all NMU members this week, but in case anyone missed it…



VSEA's Non-Management Unit is currently seeking self-nominations for all seats on the Unit's Bargaining Team (view current team here), as well as for the Clerk of the Bargaining Team. Additionally, there is one opening on the NMU Executive Committee.

Nominations for the Bargaining Team seats and Clerk of the Bargaining Team will be taken from the floor at VSEA's Annual Meeting on September 10 in Killington, however, if you're interested in a seat but cannot attend Annual Meeting, you must submit your name and a letter of intent to the NMU Chair and Clerk by September 5, 2016.



NMU Bargaining Team (All Seats Open)


If you want to self-nominate for a Bargaining Team seat, and cannot attend the Annual Meeting, NMU bylaws require you to submit your name and letter of intent to the NMU Chair and Clerk no later than 5 days prior to Annual Meeting, making the cut-off date September 5, 2016. In your letter of intent, please also include your job title, department/agency and your preferred email address and phone number.



NMU Bargaining Team Clerk


If you would like to self-nominate for the Clerk position, and cannot attend the Annual Meeting, NMU bylaws require you to submit your name and letter of intent to the NMU Chair and Clerk no later than 5 days prior to Annual Meeting, making the cut-off date September 5, 2016. In your letter of intent, please also include your job title, department/agency and your preferred email address and phone number.



NMU Executive Committee Member


Consistent with the NMU Bylaws, the Executive Committee Member will filling one vacant position on the Executive Committee by appointment to complete an unexpired term.  If you would like to be considered for this appointment, please submit your name and a letter of intent to the NMU Chair and Clerk no later than 5 days prior to Annual Meeting, making the cut-off date September 4, 2016. In your letter of intent, please also include your job title, department/agency and your preferred email address and phone number.

Please send your contact information and letter of intent to both:

Michelle Salvador
VSEA NMU Chair
c/o VSEA
155 State Street
Montpelier

and...

Kelly Price
VSEA NMU Clerk
c/o VSEA
155 State Street
Montpelier
 

DCF/FSD Workers Seek To Address Mileage Issue



 
VSEA DCF Family Services Division employees are banding together to seek a remedy to the issue of workers facing many obstacles to being reimbursed when using their personal vehicle to perform their job duties. This week, members of the VSEA DCF/FSD Labor/Management team sent an email to their colleagues, advising them on how to contribute to the mileage reimbursement fight. If you’re a VSEA DCF/FSD member, but do not remember the email from the team, please contact a member of the Labor/Management team
 

VSEA Offering Discounted Long-Term Care Insurance To Members



 
VSEA President Dave Bellini sent an email to members yesterday, announcing a new and valuable benefit for VSEA members. Your union is partnering with National Long-Term Care Brokers (NYLTCB) to offer Long-Term Care Insurance with discounted premiums.
 
The program is subject to medical underwriting and insurability is not guaranteed.

Some reasons people plan ahead for Long-Term Care:
  • To protect retirement assets and pension income;
  • To prevent Medicaid spend down (impoverishment);
  • To ensure options for health care; and
  • To avoid being a burden to loved ones.

As a VSEA member, this offering is made available to you and your eligible family members with a permanent discount, not available to the general public. Eligible family members include spouses/domestic partners, adult children and parents/parents-in-law.

You will have access to a dedicated Long-Term Care planning specialist to help determine if coverage is appropriate for you, and compare policies from different insurance companies to ensure the best coverage at the most competitive premium.

For more information please call NYLTCB to free at (800) 695-8224 Ext 137 or visit http://nyltcb.com/vsea/
 

Retirees Chapter Launches Effort To Recruit Every Eligible VSEA Retiree To Join Chapter      



Photo: Members of the VSEA Retirees’ Chapter assemble a recruitment mailing at VSEA headquarters on September 1. ​
 
The following was submitted to WIA by Retirees’ Chapter Clerk Terry Lefebvre:
 
Members of the VSEA Retirees' Chapter met yesterday to prepare a recruitment mailing going to all Chapter and Lifetime VSEA Members. Our goal is to enroll all eligible retirees as Chapter members.  

Anyone who was a dues-paying member of VSEA for the five years immediately prior to his/her retirement is automatically granted lifetime membership in VSEA. Those lifetime members can join the Retirees' Chapter by paying mere $12 per year Chapter dues.
 
If you know of any former VSEA members who are now retired, please encourage them to join our Chapter. If they do not receive a mailing from us by the end of next week, they can send an email to returees@vsea.org or call VSEA at 802-223-5247.
 

Pew Research Center’s 2016 “10 Facts About American Workers”



 
Each year around this time, The Pew Research Center publishes its “10 Facts About American Workers,” and here is this year’s list.
 
  1. Over the past three decades, the share of American workers who are union members has fallen by about half
     
  2. There is broad support for the right of workers to unionize across a range of occupations
     
  3. Most Americans work in the service sector
     
  4. Nearly 15 million Americans are self-employed
     
  5. Millennials are now the largest generation in the labor force
     
  6. American women earn 83 cents on the dollar compared with men, but the gap is narrowing substantially among younger workers
     
  7. The wage gap between young workers with college degrees and their less-educated counterparts is the widest in decades
     
  8. A much smaller share of U.S. teens work today compared with earlier decades
     
  9. By contrast, more older Americans are working
     
  10. Raising the minimum wage is a highly partisan issue
 
> To read the narrative attached to each fact, please click here.
 

New Study Reveals That All American Workers’ Pay Is Tied To The Strength Of The Nation’s Labor Unions



 
Salon.com reported this week on a new study from the Economic Policy Institute that finds that all American workers’ pay benefits from a strong labor movement. EPI says its study is an attempt to quantify how much today’s non-union workers would have benefited if union membership remained at 1979 levels. The determined that “the typical, full-time private sector worker—whether a union member or not—would be making thousands of dollars more a year now if unions had the power they once did to influence a state or region’s standard wages and benefits package.”
 
One of the study’s co-authors Jake Rosenfeld tells Salon, “There’s a stereotype that unions only help union workers, but we found that the decline of union membership has had a vast effect on nonunion workers. We got as close as possible to isolating union activity from the other two effects of wage erosion: globalization and technological innovation.”
 

Article Asks "Will America Finally Stop Privatizing Everything?"



 
The August 24 edition of New Republic features an article, titled “Will America Finally Stop Privatizing Everything?” which it published on the heels of the federal Department of Justice’s recent decision to stop using private prisons. The story revisits many of the issues people have with America’s private prisons, and it goes on to speculate about whether or not the decision will cause a ripple effect. The author writes:
 
[Private prisons’ issues] reflect the problem with privatization as a whole. Private companies must carry out a government function—be it water, parking meters, mass transit, or K-12 schools—at a lower cost than the government can provide it, while taking their profit off the top. Time and again, the results reveal that to be impossible, at least if you want to provide the same quality of service. Yet we keep privatizing. Whether it’s Republicans expanding Medicaid or cash-strapped cities handing over bus service to Uber and Lyft, eventually costs shift from taxpayers to the users of the services, oversight becomes impotent as officials grow reliant on outsourcing contracts, and attempts to maximize profits lead to service breakdowns.”
 

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
 

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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