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Week In
Action!


October 14, 2016

In This Issue:


VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee Launching New Recruitment Effort

VSEA State Housing Authority Ratifies New Contract

Jonathan Bruce Appointed To DOC Board Seat

Sarah Ballou Elected Vice Chair Of State Colleges’ Unit

Bennington Chapter Meeting Is October 18!

Thanks For Your Service Tim!

VTPAC Hosting Event On Friday, October 21, To Honor 20th Anniversary -
New: Happy Hour Added!


Now Is The Time To Donate To The NMU, Corrections & Supervisory Unit Sick Leave Bank

Sign The Judiciary Workers’ Petition Today!

Ruthie Is Still Looking To Solve The Annual Meeting Gas Gift Card Mystery

TIME Magazine Columnist Reminds, “Stronger Unions Could Fix Our Economy — And Our Politics”

VSEA Insurance Representative In St. Johnsbury Next Week
 

VSEA Calendar

Fall 2016 VSEA Training Schedule

Quote Of The Week!

Subscribe To VSEA!

Print Week In Action

Previously In Week In Action:


New Contracts Now Online At VSEA.org

Is Your VSEA Work Site Bulletin Board Up To Date? Do You Have A Work Site Bulletin Board?

Upcoming Vermont Political Events Now On VSEA.Org

Local Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers Now Online For Review

Campaign Season Is Phone Bank Season. Volunteers Needed!

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

VSEA Offering Discounted Long-Term Care Insurance To Members

Bolton Valley Extends Season Pass Offer To VSEA Members

Not Seeing VSEA In Your Facebook News Feed? Set VSEA’s Page To "See First"!

Threatened While On The Job? VSEA Wants To Know

VSEA Calendar

October 17
Vermont Tech Jam Gubernatorial Debate
Film House @ Main Street Landing
60 Lake Street
Burlington
Noon

 
October 18
Child & Elder Care Committee Meeting
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.

 
October 18
Bennington Chapter Meeting
Madison Brewery (Upstairs)
428 Main Street
Bennington
5:00 p.m.

 
October 18
WCAX Gubernatorial Debate
WCAX TV
Burlington
7:00 p.m.

 
October 20
Legislative Committee
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.

 
October 21
Special Events Committee
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.

 
October 21
VTPAC’s 20th Anniversary Celebration
VT Granite Museum
7 Jones Brothers Way
Barre
5:30 p.m.
> Kindly RSVP Here!


October 23
Vermont Press Bureau Gubernatorial Debate
McCarthy Arts Center @ St. Michael’s College
18 Campus Rd.
Colchester
3:00 p.m.


> View the full VSEA Calendar here
 

Quote of The Week!


“I didn’t come here to give people a hard time or expose problems just to smirk. I did it because I care and believe state government has an important role to play in society.”


Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer, in an October 13 Burlington Free Press story about what is driving him to campaign for a new (and well-deserved) term.
 

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Fall 2016 VSEA Training Schedule

Updated October 14!


Please note, some dates have changed!


VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch is announcing a new round of trainings 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 1: Introduction & The Basics
Thursday, November 3
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 2: Protecting The Contract & Building The Union
Thursday, November 17
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 Training: The Grievance
Wednesday, November 30
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin


Steward 3: The Contract & Challenges in the Workplace
Thursday, December 1
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin


> Register For Trainings Online Here!
 

New Contracts Now Online At VSEA.org



 
VSEA members belonging to the Non-Management, Corrections and Supervisory Units can now click here to view your newly ratified contract. All these contracts expire on June 30, 2018.

Is Your VSEA Work Site Bulletin Board Up To Date? Do You Have A Work Site Bulletin Board?



 
VSEA’s Organizing Department asked WIA to remind members statewide that, consistent with the contract, there should be a VSEA-designated bulletin board visible somewhere in your work site. This space is reserved for VSEA-only material and hopefully your bulletin board is up to date, but Organizers report seeing more than one bulletin board with outdated, irrelevant or even zero content.
 
“VSEA Organizers want to get a bulletin board hung in every work site, and we want to make sure the board’s content is from 2016 and not 2006,” explains VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor. “I urge members in work sites without a bulletin board—or who want help with their board’s content—to contact VSEA’s Organizing Department. We want to help.”

Note: VSEA Organizers like Jen Larsen (pictured above) ask that you to also make sure your work site bulletin board is accessible, unlike the one pictured here that required Jen to climb on a counter to post material.

Upcoming Vermont Political Events Now On VSEA.Org



 
It’s election season and VSEA’s political awareness committee, VtPAC, is now posting upcoming political events of interest to VSEA members on the union’s website homepage.

> Click here to view all the upcoming events.


Next Event:

Monday, October 17

Vermont Tech Jam Gubernatorial Candidate Debate
Film House @ Main Street Landing
60 Lake Street Burlington
12:00 p.m.

Local Candidate VSEA Questionnaire Answers 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
 

Campaign Season Is Phone Bank Season.
 

Volunteers Needed!



 
VSEA’s Legislative Department is casting a net to find VSEA members who are interested in volunteering some time to staff a phone bank in support of VSEA-endorsed candidates. The calls will be targeted solely to fellow VSEA members.
 
If you would like to volunteer a few hours of your time in the coming weeks to make some calls to promote VSEA-endorsed candidates, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email at voconnor@vsea.org.
 

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

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 Membership Recruitment Committee Launching New Recruitment Effort

 
The VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee is launching a 2016/2017 “Membership Engagement and Recruitment Initiative” to grow the union’s ranks, asking members to talk with current agency-fee payers about the benefits of full-fledged membership and why s/he should make the switch. If they decide to upgrade their membership, the recruiting member will have the satisfaction of knowing they helped their union become stronger, but, in addition, the Membership Recruitment Committee will be awarding different levels of prizes to members, based on the number of new VSEA members recruited.  
 
Here are the guidelines to participate and be eligible for a prize:
 
  • Whether submitting your recruited member(s) name(s)on a physical recruitment card or online, you must include your name as the recruiter;
     
  • Every member who recruits a new member will has his or her name entered into a drawing for the Grand Prize. The winner’s name will be drawn at VSEA’s Annual Meeting in September 2017, and the winner must be present to claim the prize;
     
  • Team entries are being accepted. Please register with Membership Recruitment Committee Chair Katelyn Chase by emailing her at kchase@vsea.org.
     
  • Members who recruit a new member, who then agrees to join your union’s political awareness committee (VTPAC) will receive an additional chance to win the Grand Prize, and
     
  • The cut-off date for this competition is August 30, 2017.

Here are the different prize levels:
  • $10 gift card and a VSEA water bottle
    (75 prizes awarded)
     
  • $25 gift card and a VSEA hat
    (40 prizes awarded)
     
  • $50 gift card and a VSEA tote bag
    (15 prizes awarded)
     
  • $100 and a VSEA fleece vest
    (8 prizes awarded)
     
  • 1 Grand Prize - $1,200
 
Note: WIA will periodically remind members about this effort until its culmination in August 2017.
 

VSEA State Housing Authority Ratifies New Contract



 
VSEA’s Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee Chair Rubin Jennings sent a note to VSEA’s State Housing Authority Unit members today, informing them that they had voted unanimously to approve a new, two-year contract with the State. With the vote to ratify, the State Housing Authority becomes the sixth Bargaining Unit to reach agreement. The only Unit yet to reach agreement is VSEA’s Judiciary Unit, which is still in tough bargaining, awaiting a fact-finder’s report.
 

Jonathan Bruce Appointed To DOC Board Seat


At its October 11 meeting, the VSEA Board of Trustees appointed 10-year DOC member Jonathan Bruce to the DOC seat recently vacated by Brad Dunsmore. Bruce is a Corrections Services Specialist II who works at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport.
 
Congratulations Jonathan!
 

Sarah Ballou Elected Vice Chair Of State Colleges’ Unit

 
The votes are in, and VSEA Vermont State Colleges’ members have elected Vermont Technical College employee Sarah Ballou to be the Unit’s Vice Chair. Sarah is an eight-year Administrative Assistant in VTC’s Admissions Office.
 
Congratulations Sarah!

 

Bennington Chapter Meeting Is October 18!




VSEA Bennington Chapter President Victoria Thorpe asked WIA to remind Chapter members that your next meeting is Tuesday, October 18, at Madison’s Brewery (upstairs), located at 428 Main Street in Bennington. The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m., and the Chapter is contributing up to $10 towards each member’s meal or non-alcoholic beverages. There is also a cash bar.

Please RSVP to: vthorpevsea@gmail.com
 

Thanks For Your Service Tim!




VSEA is saying goodbye today to Organizer Tim Boyle (pictured here, talking with a reporter at the 2014 Climate Change march in NYC), who is sadly leaving the union to go to work for another cause he cares deeply about. Tim started with VSEA in April 2013.

VSEA thanks Tim for his dedicated service to the VSEA membership during his tenure and wishes him the best in all his future endeavors.

Solidarity Tim!
 

VTPAC Hosting Event On Friday, October 21, To Honor 20th Anniversary  

 

New: Happy Hour Added!



 
A reminder that VSEA’s “Vermont Political Awareness Committee” is hosting a special event next Friday, October 21, to celebrate its 20-year anniversary and honor longtime VSEA friend, Senator Anthony Pollina and several other “labor heroes.”
 
Just added! VSEA will sponsor a happy hour, prior to the main event, beginning at 4:30 p.m. All VSEA members who attend will receive one free drink ticket.
 

VTPAC’s 20th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, October 21

Happy Hour Starts At 4:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Vermont Granite Museum
(View map here)
7 Jones Brother Way
Barre

 

Kindly RSVP Here!
If you are an existing VTPAC member, meaning you currently contribute to your union’s PAC through payroll deduction, you are cordially invited to attend the event free of charge. For members and others who don’t currently belong to VTPAC, there is a suggested contribution at the door. Members can also contribute to VTPAC prior to the event here.
 
This event will feature food, drinks, music and live sculpting demonstration by local Vermont artist Heather Milne Ritchie.
 

Now Is The Time To Donate To The NMU, Corrections & Supervisory Unit Sick Leave Bank




VSEA member Dawn Carrillo staffs the Non-Management Unit Sick Leave Bank, and she asked WIA to remind not only NMU members but also Corrections and Supervisory Unit members that you can donate a few hours to your Unit’s sick leave bank from now until December 31.

“Just donating an hour of your time can mean the world to a fellow employee,” reads a flyer DHR is circulating. It also informs state employees that they can donate any amount of time to the NMU, Corrections and Supervisory Sick Leave Banks. “Know that you are performing a wonderful service by helping your friends and fellow employees, who, along with their families, are struggling due to serious health issues,” the flyer concludes.

VSEA members interested in donating some much-needed time to the NMU, Corrections and Supervisory Sick Leave Banks can find a donation form here.

“I want to thank every member for considering a donation to your Unit sick leave bank,” says VSEA President Dave Bellini. “Even if you only donate one hour to the bank, these one-hour donations add up. It’s so worthwhile because your donation is going to help a fellow state employee who is battling a serious illness.”
 

Sign The Judiciary Workers’ Petition Today!

Watch VSEA's ad here!
Sign The Judiciary Workers’ Petition Here
VSEA members who have yet to sign the Judiciary workers’ petition are urged to add your signature today by clicking here.
 
VSEA’s Judiciary workers are still embroiled in tough negotiations with the Court Administrator and the Unit is currently waiting for a fact finder’s report to be released.
 

Ruthie Is Still Looking To Solve The Annual Meeting Gas Gift Card Mystery



 
No luck yet. VSEA Special Events Committee member Ruthie Leithead is still trying to find out out which VSEA Chapter purchased a $25 gasoline gift card from a Jolly’s store to donate to Annual Meeting. The member who won the prize recently informed Ruthie that the card was not activated. Anyone who might know which Chapter donated this card should contact Ruthie at 802-635-9282.
 

TIME Magazine Columnist Reminds, “Stronger Unions Could Fix Our Economy — And Our Politics”



TIME magazine columnist Rana Foroohar’s piece in the latest edition is titled “How Stronger Unions Could Fix Our Economy—And Our Politics.” Citing a recent study by the Center for American Progress (which WIA wrote about in a recent edition) that supports the writer’s claim, he writes:  
 
“Strengthening unions might also have the knock-on effect of decreasing populism. At least some of the ugliness we’ve seen this election cycle has been rooted in rising inequality. Meanwhile, about one-third of the recent increase in wage inequality for American males can be attributed to weakening unions, according to research by Harvard and Washington University academics. A separate IMF study found that countries without unions see a 10% increase in the share of income that goes to the highest earners.

By contrast, the social benefits of unions stretch across generations. American children of fathers without a college education earn 28% more if their dad was in a labor union, compared to those whose fathers were non-union. In other words, the demise of American unions — only about 7% of private sector workers currently belong to one — has been a key factor in the rising wealth gap, but also in the sort of horrific, Hobbesian presidential politics we’ve seen over the past year. (Many economists see the wealth gap as a big reason why we aren’t enjoying a more sustainable recovery.)

The big challenge to revitalizing unions is moving beyond today’s system of labor law, which hasn’t been updated since 1935. Unions get a bad rap in the U.S. in part because most collective bargaining can be done only at a firm-by-firm level. That creates a race to the bottom away from higher-wage unionized firms. Yet there is a wealth of research that shows that when bargaining can be done at an industry level — the way it is in most other countries, including Germany, Sweden, Australia, and Canada, among others — you get higher national wages without sacrificing economic competitiveness. That’s because factors like labor representation on corporate boards and the ability to bargain collectively is associated with greater productivity levels, as management and labor are better able to work together to solve problems. (See here for an example of how this helped German companies gain market share against U.S. firms in the wake of the financial crisis.)”
 

VSEA Insurance Representative In St. Johnsbury Next Week




By Appointment Only: VSEA Insurance Representative Joanne Woodcock will be at 67 Eastern Ave. In St. Johnsbury to talk with interested VSEA members about member-only insurance benefits on Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21.

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.

Department For Children And Families
67 Eastern Ave. Suite #7
St. Johnsbury, VT
October 20 and 21
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.


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 here.

 

Not Seeing VSEA In Your Facebook News Feed? Set VSEA’s Page To "See First"!



See larger image here

Many VSEA members have reached out to VSEA's Communications Department to ask why they don't see their union's posts in their Facebook newsfeed. Facebook has limited space to show you posts, so if you like a lot of Facebook pages, VSEA's posts may not be appearing in your feed. But fear not, Facebook provides a way to prioritize your favorite pages, so you can ensure you don't miss VSEA's posts. It’s an easy process:
  1. ​​Navigate to VSEA’s Facebook page;
  2. Towards the left of the page, below the cover photo, click the “Liked” button. A drop-down menu should appear; and
  3. In the drop down menu, select, “See First”
That’s it! Now Facebook will prioritize VSEA’s posts in your news feed so you won’t miss a thing!
 

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/
 

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
 

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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