Adam Norton

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VSEA’s Howard under fire from within

MONTPELIER — A unionized group of staffers for the Vermont State Employees Association has voted to express “no confidence” in Executive Director Steve Howard as internal conflicts continue to brew inside the union. The Staff Alliance, which represents about 20 staff members within the VSEA, recently voted on whether they support Howard, according to a letter from the Staff Alliance to union leaders and members that was obtained by the Vermont Press Bureau. “Having the benefit of fifteen months of experience working under the leadership of Director Howard, Staff Alliance is now prepared to share our professional judgment. Following serious deliberation, the Staff Alliance has voted overwhelmingly to cast a vote of no confidence in the leadership of VSEA’s Executive Director,” the letter states. “This is not a decision we take lightly, however it is our mutual belief that the current level of distrust between Staff and Management, under the direction of Director Howard, is unsustainable and detrimental to the membership at-large.”

The letter includes a litany of accusations against Howard, a former Democratic state representative from Rutland and the former chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party. Continue Reading →

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VSEA dealing with internal conflict, potential lawsuit

MONTPELIER — A labor contract dispute between the Vermont State Employees’ Association and its non-management unionized staff could end up in court if the two sides are unable resolve it internally. VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard disclosed the dispute between VSEA management and Staff Alliance, the union that represents its 18 non-management staff members, in an internal memo obtained by the Vermont Press Bureau. The memo was sent to VSEA members and staff on Tuesday. According to Howard’s memo, the conflict involves a grievance between staff and VSEA leadership. “We are trying to resolve a dispute over a Step III grievance decision that substantially expands the remedies available to the staff union, leading to potentially substantial liabilities in this and future grievances, and also undermining VSEA’s ability to manage the workplace to ensure that staff can work in an environment that is free of abusive or bullying behavior,” Howard wrote in the memo to the thousands of state employees VSEA represents. Continue Reading →

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