Blue Bloat
Who Bargains with the Bargainers?

The union which represents Vermont government employees, the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA), is getting a little taste of its own medicine. You see, it turns out that VSEA staff have their own union, the Staff Alliance, to help 16 non-executive employees bargain with the VSEA. The two unions are entangled in a dispute that could be headed to court, according to the Vermont Press Bureau:

Adam Norton, president of Staff Alliance and a strategic analyst with VSEA dealing with bargaining and legislative strategy, said the dispute is over the process of resolving the original grievance. He also declined to provide specifics about the original grievance.

The process calls on employees to first take a grievance to a supervisor for resolution. If that does not work, the grievance is taken to Howard as the executive director. The next step involves a hearing with the VSEA president serving as a hearing officer.

Norton said Staff Alliance is disputing that the management team can appeal the ruling of VSEA President Shelley Martin — a ruling to which Staff Alliance is agreeable, he said.

“I wouldn’t say (the ruling is) totally in our favor, but certainly management’s perspective is they don’t like the ruling,” he said.

If management tries to appeal Martin’s decision, Staff Alliance may sue in Washington County Superior Court, according to Norton.

You have to give it to them. These deep blue union leaders from the Green Mountain State point out a weighty philosophical question: who collectively bargains with the collective bargainers?

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