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Week In
Action!


January 6, 2017

In This Issue:


Save The Date! VSEA 2017 State House Day Is February 28

“Inventors” Of Defined Contribution Pension Plan Concept Now Say It’s Not Working!

VSEA Posts Short Video, Urging Members To Help Stop Any Debate About Privatizing The Vermont Vets’ Home Before It Even Starts

Electronic VSEA VOICE Emailed To Members On January 3

Lamoille Valley Chapter Hosting Two EADs Next Week

VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee Is Planning New Bus Trip, But Committee Wants Your Input First!

VSEA 2017 Scholarship Applications Now Online!

Clarification & Correction

Information On Who Will Be Handling VSEA Union Rep Rachael Fields’ Territories While She Serves At The State House

VSEA Labor Educator’s Monthly Worksite Meeting Schedule

VSEA Members Invited To Participate In Special Legislative Training

Winter/ Spring 2017 Training Schedule

VSEA Insurance Representative Will Be In Central Vermont Throughout January
 

VSEA Calendar

Quote Of The Week!

Subscribe To VSEA!

Print Week In Action

Previously In Week In Action:


View Contracts Online At VSEA.org

Be Informed! Join VSEA's Texting List!

New NMU Bargaining Survey Is LIVE!

Wondering How The Vermont Legislature Works?

VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee Launching New Recruitment Effort

VSEA Strategic Analyst’s "Right To Work (For Less)" Presentation Now Available Online

Threatened While On The Job? VSEA Wants To Know

VSEA Calendar

January 10
Training: Representing Co-Workers In Investigations & Disciplinary Meetings
VTrans Training Center
1716 U.S. Route 302
Berlin
9:00 a.m.


January 10
Child & Elder Care Committee
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:30 a.m.
 

January 10
Lamoille Valley Chapter
EAD 1
Johnson State College
Willey Library & Learning Center
Ellsworth Room (210-211)
Johnson
9:30 a.m.
 

January 12
Labor Educator’s Monthly Meeting
ESD Conference Room
State Office Building
67 Eastern Ave.
St. Johnsbury
12:00 p.m.
 

January 13
Labor Educator’s Monthly Meeting
Room 148
State Office Building
232 Main Street
12:00 p.m.
 

January 13
NMU Bargaining Team Meeting
VSEA HQ
Montpelier
9:00 a.m.
 

January 13
Lamoille Valley Chapter
EAD 2
Morrisville P&P/DOL
Harrell St.
Morrisville
Noon
 

January 16
Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Holiday
State & Federal Holiday
VSEA Offices Closed


> View the full VSEA Calendar here
 

Quote of The Week!


“I helped open the door for Wall Street to make even more money than they were already making. That is one thing I do regret.”


Ted Benna (a.k.a. the father of the 401k pension plan), commenting in a January 4 Christian Science Monitor about one of the major regrets he now has about helping to create 401k plans.

> Read More Here

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View Contracts Online At VSEA.org



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

Be Informed!
Join VSEA's Texting List!



 
Texting is a great way for VSEA to let members know about important state employee issues or fights in a timely manner, but VSEA can’t text you if we don’t have your correct cell phone number.
 
Sign Up To Receive Texts Here!
Or contact VSEA headquarters (802-223-5247) today to provide, check or update your number. Please urge your colleagues to do
the same.

New NMU Bargaining Survey Is LIVE!



 
Not wasting any time following the recent ratification of a new, two-year contract with the State of Vermont, a newly reconstituted Non-Management Unit (NMU) Bargaining Team has already prepared a new bargaining proposal survey for NMU members to complete and submit. The goal of this year’s survey is to assess NMU members’ bargaining priorities before entering into the next round of formal negotiations with the State. The NMU’s survey will be comprehensive, covering everything from wages to benefits to working conditions.

NMU members, click here to complete the survey.

Wondering How The Vermont Legislature Works?



 
Williston lawmakers Jim McCullough and VSEA’s own past-president Terry Macaig recently penned an informative column for their local paper, The Williston Observer, which explains how the Vermont legislature works. The two legislators cover topics like “How Committees Work” and “How Bills Are Drafted,” as well as explaining salaries and term limits and how to be successful.
 
The pair’s column ends:
 
“We both agree that ‘we are continually amazed how long it takes to get things done while, at the same time, how fast things happen. At any given moment the Legislature is like your best and worst day at university, complete with your best and worst professors. The Legislature works best when you do your civic duty and communicate with your legislator. Good government is a participation sport.’”

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 Strategic Analyst’s "Right To Work (For Less)" Presentation Now Available Online




VSEA Strategic Analyst Adam Norton’s presentation on everything wrong with America’s so-called “Right-to-Work” movement was so well received at VSEA’s Annual Meeting that Norton is now fulfilling requests to give the presentation to Chapters.

Norton’s “Right To Work (For Less)” presentation is a must-view for all state employees who are concerned about the move across America to bust unions and hasten the race to the bottom for workers. Please share this presentation with interested colleagues.  

> View Bullet Points From Norton’s Presentation 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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Save The Date! VSEA 2017 State House Day Is February 28

 
The 2017 Vermont legislative session opened this week, and VSEA’s Legislative Committee is announcing that an online form has been created for VSEA members to use to register to attend the union’s annual State House Day, which this year is Tuesday,
February 28.
 
At State House Day, VSEA members get a chance to talk face-to-face with legislators about the services you provide and the issues and challenges you and your colleagues face.
 
Register today and help make this VSEA’s most successful State House Day ever. With Vermont facing another budget deficit, it’s important again for VSEA members to demonstrate their collective power at the State House to remind lawmakers that we’re not only state employees who provide services, we’re also Vermont voters, and we care about the adverse impact service and personnel cuts have had—and will have—on the communities where we live.
 
More on events associated with VSEA State House Day to come in future WIAs. Stay tuned.
 

“Inventors” Of Defined Contribution Pension Plan Concept Now Say It’s Not Working!



 
The new Administration might want to switch new hires to state government from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution plan, but they should heed this week’s warning from the “inventors” of the defined contribution plan concept, who now say it’s not working the way they envisioned. The primary flaw in the concept, they say, is that “workers in even the highest income brackets aren’t saving enough for retirement.”
 
Mother Jones wrote about the new revelation in a January 4 story, titled “Were 401(k) Plans Just a Big Mistake?” It contained the following:
 
“Many early backers of the 401(k) now say they have regrets about how their creation turned out despite its emergence as the dominant way most Americans save. Some say it wasn’t designed to be a primary retirement tool and acknowledge they used forecasts that were too optimistic to sell the plan in its early days. Others say the proliferation of 401(k) plans has exposed workers to big drops in the stock market and high fees from Wall Street money managers while making it easier for companies to shed guaranteed retiree payouts.”
 
>  Read the full story here.
 
WIA reminded readers a few weeks back about a 2015 VPR story that highlighted how millions of Americans have a defined contribution plan through their employer, but how Vermonters rank dead last in the nation, in terms of how much money an individual has contributed to supplement their plan.
 
VSEA members are urged to help your union spread the word that defined contribution pension plans are not the answer.
 

VSEA Posts Short Video, Urging Members To Help Stop Any Debate About Privatizing The Vermont Vets’ Home Before It Even Starts

Why Vermonters Can Be Proud Of Our State’s Sole Veterans’ Home & Why It Should Never Be Privatized
Last week, VSEA’s Communications Department posted a short video on its Facebook page about the importance of the Vermont Veterans’ Home and why it shouldn’t be privatized. VSEA member Karen Tendrup is an LPN at the Home and is featured in the video, appealing to viewers to keep the facility State-run.

> You can watch the Vets’ Home video here.
 
VSEA members are urged to contact your local legislators now to urge them to oppose any and all proposals to privatize the Vermont Veterans’ Home.
 

Electronic VSEA VOICE Emailed To Members On January 3



 
All VSEA members should have received an email on January 3 that contained a link to a special pre-legislative-session, electronic version of the VSEA VOICE.
 
In case you missed the email, you can click here to download and read the VOICE.
 
The special edition includes a pre-session message from the VSEA President, a list of all the issues that made the 2017 VSEA legislative agenda, a profile of VSEA Legislative Committee Chair Margaret Crowley, a rundown of all the new faces at the State House and other items for VSEA members to reference throughout the upcoming session.

Lamoille Valley Chapter Hosting Two EADs Next Week



 
VSEA’s Lamoille Valley Chapter is hosting two Employee Appreciation Day events next week, and members are invited to stop by for some free coffee and doughnuts.
 
Tuesday, January 10
Johnson State College’s Wiley Library & Learning Center, Ellsworth Room (210-211). Begin serving at 9:30 a.m.
 
Friday, January 13
Morrisville Probation & Parole/DOL Offices, Harrell Street. Noon to 1:00 p.m.
 

VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee Is Planning New Bus Trip, But Committee Wants Your Input First!



 
By all counts, last weekend’s VSEA-sponsored bus outing to Boston to see “Disney on Ice” was a huge success, as was the Committee’s trip in late fall to see a Red Sox game. Members of the VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee want to continue to offer these kinds of outings to members, and Committee members are, in fact, already planning a new trip for late March, this time to the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. However, before the Committee can begin to formally plan the trip, it is first asking VSEA members to answer a simple survey question to determine whether trip participants would want to come back the same day or stay overnight. If enough members want to stay the night, the Committee will build a lodging fee (hopefully reduced, if VSEA purchases a block of rooms) into the overall trip cost.
 
If interested, please answer the VSEA Membership Recruitment Committee’s question today by clicking here.
 

VSEA 2017 Scholarship Applications Now Online! 




Every year, the VSEA Scholarship & Awards Committee solicits scholarship applications from VSEA members and their spouses, dependents and domestic partners. The 2017 scholarship applications are now available online, and VSEA students who are seeking financial assistance this year in the pursuit of post-secondary educational goals can download one here.

Clarification & Correction

 
VSEA is apologizing for an error in the cover letter that accompanied each member’s new contract, which has hopefully arrived by now in your home mailbox.

The letter erroneously lists the contract wage increases as 2% in the first year and 2.5% in the second. The true increase is instead 2% in year one and 2.25% in year two.

Information On Who Will Be Handling VSEA Union Rep Rachael Fields’ Territories While She Serves At The State House

 
VSEA Union Representative Rachael Fields returned to the State House this week to resume her duties as one of Bennington's elected representatives. In her absence, VSEA Field Services Director Gretchen Naylor is announcing the following temporary VSEA Union Representative assignments:

Department of Health
Dave Van Deusen
dvandeusen@vsea.org

Department of Vermont Health Access
Mike O'Day
moday@vsea.org

Health Access Eligibility Unit
Mike O'Day
moday@vsea.org

Department of Mental Health
(to include VPCH)

Brian Morse
bmorse@vsea.org

Department of Aging and
Independent Living

Bob South 
bsouth@vsea.org

VSEA Members working in these departments and agencies should contact your temporary Union Representative until the close of the 2017 legislative session. 
 
For VSEA members working at the Vermont Veterans' Home, Rachael Fields will continue to be your designated Union Representative.
 

VSEA Labor Educator’s Monthly Worksite Meeting Schedule

 
Next week, VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch begins to personally conduct informational meetings in set workplaces on set days in four locations. Lenoch says the purpose of the meetings is to provide members with an opportunity to “join with their colleagues and VSEA staff for updates and discussion on the issues and challenges facing state employees and the impact on your working conditions and the services they provide.” He adds that members are welcome to “come share their ideas and hear from co-workers on how to build a stronger union and improve public services.”
 
Snacks and refreshments are provided.

St. Johnsbury
ESD Conference Room
State Office Building
67 Eastern Ave.
 
January 12
February 9
March 9
April 13
May 11
June 8
 
Brattleboro
Room 148
State Office Building
232 Main Street
 
January 13
February 10
March 10
April 14
May 12
June 9
 
White River Junction
Room 170
State Office Building
118 Prospect Street

January 17
February 21
March 21
April 18
May 16
June 20
 
Springfield
First Floor Conference Room
State Office Building
100 Mineral Street

January 18
February 15
March 15
April 19
May 17
June 21
 

VSEA Members Invited To Participate In Special Legislative Training



 
VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch has been working with VSEA’s legislative team to create a new training to educate VSEA members about how statutes, policies and Vermont’s legislative process can impact state employees’ working conditions—and sometimes even, their livelihoods.
 
This comprehensive training will be offered at five different locations throughout the state, including:
  • Bennington: Wednesday March 8 – Hampton Inn Bennington, 51 Hannaford Square
     
  • Springfield: Wednesday March 8 – Holiday Inn Express, 818 Charlestown Rd.
     
  • Burlington: Thursday March 9 – Zampieri Building, 108 Cherry St.
     
  • St. Johnsbury: Thursday March 9 – TBD
 
> Register For Training Here
 
All trainings begin at 9:30 a.m., and they are open to all VSEA members, but only members in the following VSEA leadership roles are eligible for paid leave time to attend training:
  • VSEA Council Members;
  • VSEA Stewards;
  • VSEA Chapter Officers
  • VSEA Board of Trustee Members;
  • VSEA Standing Committees Members;
  • VSEA Unit Executive Committee Members;
  • VSEA Bargaining Team Members; and
  • VSEA Labor/Management Committee Members.
 
Please review your Collective Bargaining Agreement’s “VSEA Rights” section for specific language about paid leave time. Find your contract here.

Important! You must request time off to attend this training at least two weeks prior to your desired date.
 

Winter/ Spring 2017 Training Schedule




VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch asked WIA to announce a new round of trainings he has scheduled throughout the winter 2017. If you are interested in registering to attend one or more trainings, you can do so by clicking here. Please direct your training questions to Tim at tlenoch@vsea.org.

All trainings begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.

Location may change based on worksite location of registered participants. If this happens, registered participants will be notified at least a week ahead of the training. Mileage and lunch may be reimbursed or provided.



TOPIC TRAININGS

 
Representing Co-Workers in Investigations and Disciplinary Meetings
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, January 9

Stewards & The “Hostile Work Enviroment”
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday January 31
 
Health and Safety Issues In The Workplace
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, February 7
 
Stewards & Labor Management Committees
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, February 16
 
The Grievance
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, February 23
 
Diversity For Public Sector Union Members
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, April 4
 
Stewards & Contract Review
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, April 20
 



TARGETED DEPARTMENT/BARGAINING UNIT TRAININGS

 
Nursing/Health Care Facility Stewards
Mendon
Thursday, February 2
 
Department of Corrections Stewards
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, February 14
 
Supervisory Bargaining Unit Stewards
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, March 14
 
Vermont State Colleges’ Stewards
VTC Campus, Randolph Center
Thursday, April 6

Judiciary Stewards
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Tuesday, April 11

DCF Stewards
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, April 27
 



NEW STEWARD TRAININGS


Steward 1: Introduction and the Basics
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, March 2
 
Steward 2: Protecting the Contract and Building the Union
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, March 16
 
Steward 3: The Contract and Challenges in the Workplace
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, March 30

Steward 1: Introduction and the Basics
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, May 4
 
Steward 2: Protecting the Contract and Building the Union
VTrans Training Center, 1716 US Rte. 302, Berlin
Thursday, May 16



ALL STEWARD TRAINING


All-Steward Training
VTC Campus, Randolph
Friday, May 26

> Click here to register for a training(s)!
 

VSEA Insurance Representative Will Be In Central Vermont Throughout January



 
VSEA Benefits Enrollment
By Appointment Only:

VSEA Insurance Representative Joanne Woodcock will be at the following locations to talk with interested VSEA members about member-only insurance benefits.

Berlin
Vermont Psychiatric
Care Hospital
January 10 and 11
12:00 to 4:00
 
Waterbury
Waterbury State
Office Complex
January 12 and 13
Conference Room A191A
Atrium area
12:00 to 4:00
 
Montpelier
National Life
January 17 and 18
Conference Room 511
12:00 to 4:00
 
Dept. Of Labor
January 20
2nd Floor Conference Room
12:00 to 4:00
 
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.

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.

 

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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