Dear VSEA Brothers and Sisters,
I am writing to you to express my concern about the attack on unionized workers in the form of the collective bargaining contract that was finalized on Friday.
Friday’s ruling is unfair, unacceptable and will be devastating to many hard-working Vermonters and their families. This was a clear attack on unionized workers, and the impact will be felt by all state employees, especially those in the lower pay grades and our retirees living on fixed incomes who are struggling to meet basic needs.
The low wage increase coupled with the dramatic rise in health care costs – with some co-pays increasing by 100% – will make it harder for some VSEA members to make ends meet. On top of that, the fact that there are no caps on certain co-pays means that a family can be financially devastated in the event of a serious illness. This is not what we want for our co-workers, our neighbors or ourselves — and it is not what you deserve.
Not only has Phil Scott’s administration attacked you, but he has also attacked our state’s teachers and their collective bargaining process. Make no mistake – an attack on hard-working unionized Vermonters is an attack on us all. Unions have an impact on compensation, benefits and working conditions for unionized workers and non-unionized workers alike. Unions set a standard that non-unionized workforces follow. When unionized workers have fair contracts, we all do better.
We know that the decline of the unionized workforce in our country has had devastating consequences on the once-thriving American middle class, pushing many workers into lower wage brackets. Given this, Phil Scott’s attack on unions is really an attack on our state’s entire workforce.
State employees are the backbone of Vermont. You work tirelessly to make sure government works for your fellow Vermonters. We must invest in that work and invest in you. Instead of that, this contract shows that Phil Scott does not value the state’s workforce.
As governor, I will appoint people to the VLRB who support workers. I will offer fair contract negotiations that invest in Vermont’s employees. I will listen to you every step of the way. I will work with you, not against you.
I come from a union family. Carpenters, dockworkers, electricians, bookkeepers – my values are labor values. My grandfather died in the line of duty as a firefighter and his death benefit helped me be the first in our family to attend college. I have always valued unions. That is why I support organized labor and believe in the VSEA’s essential value to our state.
Across the country, labor is under attack. Now that attack has come to Vermont. I will not stand for it, and I know you will not either. I am standing with you, every step of the way. I assure you that under my administration, workers’ rights will be protected.
I welcome you to contact me. I want to hear your concerns. I ask for your support so we can take back the governor’s office for working people.
Yours in solidarity,
Democratic Candidate for Governor