Press Statement in Support of State Workers 3/16/16

Speakers from VPP’s March 16 press conference in support of a fair contract for state workers:
  • Mari Cordes, VPP CoCo ( VT Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals / AFT)
  • Jim Fouts, member of Teamsters
  • Autumn Martinez, president of UE 255 (Hunger Mountain Coop)
  • Michael Cham, member of AFSCME 1674 (Howard Center)
  • Traven Leyshon, Executive Board, VT AFL-CIO
  • Heather Pipino, Vermont Workers Center
  • Michelle Salvador, VSEA Non-Management Unit
  • Rep. Chris Pearson (P/D – Burlington)
  • Rep. Susan Hatch-Davis (P/D – Washington Town)
  • Sen. Anthony Pollina (P/D – Washington County)


Opening statement by Progressive Party Coordinating Committee member, Mari Cordes:


Mari at press conference“Thank you for coming. My name is Mari Cordes, and I’m a member of the Labor Commission of the Vermont Progressive Party. 


How can it be that in 2016, some Democratic Leaders in the state of Vermont are actively working to encumber – beginning with a letter recommending such by representatives Johnson and Sweaney— hard working state employees that have already felt an inordinate share of budget pain? ….How can it be that the Shumlin administration has refused to bargain respectfully with these employees?


We, the Labor Commission of the VPP, and Vermont unions, organized this event independent of VSEA in strong support of Vermont State Employees non-management unit to demand that Democratic leadership stop undermining the collective bargaining process, and that the Shumlin administration respect state employees and the collective bargaining process by negotiating a fair contract, not pushing for an imposed one.  


I am also here as a union member to declare that my union, VFNHP, through democratic process stands with VSEA. Our union members include 2000 nurses, advanced practice nurses, respiratory therapists, billers/coders, workers in sterile supply processing, and sleep technologists. Other unions represented here will either make their own statements, or have written statements.


I also want to bring to your attention that other statements of support for state employees have been made by three other unions that are not here today:


  • Vermont-NEA (they released their own statement to the press earlier today)
  • United Academics / AFT, representing full-time and part-time faculty at the University of Vermont
  • VSEA Staff Alliance, representing the professional and support staff of VSEA.


We are united today in solidarity with state workers, who deserve a fair contract.”


BACKGROUND: The VPP Labor Commission is a caucus of the Vermont Progressive Party comprised of progressive members of unions throughout the state. The aim of this commission is to investigate and take action on issues important to Vermont’s Labor community. In February the Progressive Party passed a resolution in support of state workers.


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