Important information about UNAP Local 5051

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5051 Council, from left, Liz Mueller, Laura B Williams, Patty Akley Warlick, Hilde Hyde, Joyce Dion, Susanae Glovacki

Welcome from Joyce Dion, President

On behalf of our Council and Members, I am writing to welcome you to our Union. We won the right to be a union in December 2005. Since then we have worked hard to secure and maintain the rights we now enjoy. In our history, as with all unions, at times we have faced stiff opposition from management, persevered under much pressure and remain ever more committed to representing our members. While there are more goals to be achieved, we are proud of what we have accomplished to date.


We have won these rights for our membership through the contracts our union negotiated with HCRS!

We have won these rights for our membership through the contracts our union negotiated with our employer, HCRS. There are significant protections for our members in the contract. Non union employees do not share these rights and protections. Here are a few highlights from our contracts.

New Provisions in our yet to be published 2015-2017 Contract:

  • We reviewed HCRS' Safety Protocols, Policies and Procedures and found them to be good, but they were not being taught and when our members were surveyed they did not know about them. Thus, we negotiated language for ongoing training and practice drills.
  • Crisis Team members now have the right to refuse to go out to any unsafe community locations without penalty, you do have to notify your supervisor though.
  • Since the quality of supervision is vital to our work and we have found that the quality varies a great deal across the agency, union members now have the right to contact the Program Director or Roland Ransom if they believe that their supervision is not up to par. We advise that you talk this over with your union rep as well. HCRS also is obligated to provide new clinicians with clinical supervision towards licensure, including having a supervisor with the right license and years of experience as a licensed clinician.
  • Employees have the right to participate in the changes of job descriptions.
  • For Crisis Team, increases in on call compensation and a $1,000 COLA for those who earn their QMHP designation.
  • HCRS went to a self insured model of providing insurance.The Certificate of Coverage is equivalent to our past MVP coverage and that fact is in our contract. We worked with our employer to make the Insurance plans as affordable as possible.
Prior Contracts Provisions which we have negotiated and still in effect:
  • We have an expedited resolution process pre Grievance. This allows the Union President to speak with Roland Ransom and advocate for a specific member's situation and often avoids the Grievance Process.
  • Our paid leave time, our benefits, leaves of absences, access to and financial support for training and professional development are defined in the contract so that you know that you can count on them.
  • There are significant restrictions on our management's right to change our regular work assignment (work locations, job classifications and hours of work).
  • The contract includes protections for union employees when it comes to discipline. These include "Just Cause", "Progressive Discipline" and Representation in a grievance proceeding.
  • Just Cause requires that HCRS proves there is a justifiable reason for discipline, that the matter is fully investigated, and that the employer takes into account prior work history. Just Cause prohibits HCRS from disciplining employees for failing to follow policies that have not been communicated to them or reasonably related to the proper running of the workplace. Just Cause also prohibits HCRS from disciplining one union employee for the same offense for which another union employee was not disciplined. In other words, Just Cause prohibits "Disparate Treatment".
  • And even if there is just cause, they must apply progressive discipline rather than be heavy handed when disciplining employees. Progressive discipline means that there are steps in the discipline process.
  • We have preference for hiring for internal positions over outside candidates.
  • And we have a legitimate grievance procedure which allows you to be represented by one of our union representatives.
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We are represented at the Vermont State House

Our members are also represented at the Vermont State House. The Presidents and Chairs of the UNAP locals represent the 500+ Vermont UNAP members on the UNAP Vermont Council. Together we work on issues which affect ourselves and our clients, such as advocating for Safety for Mental Health and developmental services workers and Clinicians on the job in the community and in the hospital, and issues affecting all of us who work in the Designated Agencies (term used for the 14 agencies in Vermont, including HCRS). As well, we collaborate with The Working VT Caucus in support of such issues as "Paid Sick Leave" to enact laws to give those non union workers in Vermont to be able to receive Paid Sick Leave from their employers.

The Union is made up of all of us!!!! Here are ways to get involved!

  • Sign up to be an active union member, paying your share in dues makes our Local strong
  • Read our Union Bulletin and the Union Bulletin Update and The UNAP Flame to stay up to date on our local and the greater UNAP.
  • As a union member, regularly attend our " local union meet ups" at the most convenient site--Brattleboro, Springfield, Hartford, by phone conference calls and/or when we have our full union membership meetings either by video conference (so you can stay close to home and still meet) or all in one location, usually in Springfield.
  • Join us for letter writing, email campaigns. You will receive alerts once we have your email address (and this saves paper!)
  • Join us, in person, either at the State House or in your community to advocate for specific issues. We will keep you informed!
  • Have questions, call us. We welcome your queries and input!
  • Volunteer to help out with Member meetings, by helping with food and other meeting details.
  • Volunteer to be a Union Rep and learn more about the advocacy for our fellow members we engage in.
  • Volunteer to be a member of a standing committee, Grievance, Hospitality.

  • Our experience tells us that we are stronger together, and we invite you to get involved!

Rights of Union Membership

Union Membership is protected and defined under the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law. Therefore, we want to inform you of the rights you have as a member of our union under the National Labor Relations Act. And conversely, if you choose to be a non member, the rights you waive as a result of that decision.

Rights of Union Membership

Members May

· attend union meetings

· run for union office

· be union representatives or union officers.

· nominate or vote for candidates for union office [President, one of 3 VP's, Treasurer, Secretary or the new position of IT person.

· participate in the development and formulation of union policy [negotiation agenda, lobbying agenda etc.]

· participate in the formulation of union proposals for negotiations.

· sit on the union negotiating team during negotiations.

· vote to ratify a contract.

· vote on whether or not to go out on strike.

· sit on labor/management committees to discuss labor/management issues.

· participate in the UNAP student scholarship fund [fund that provides college scholarships to members and/or their children].

· participate as a delegate at the UNAP Convention in RI bi-annually where dues rates are set and UNAP wide union policy is set.

Union Members pay dues. This is how our dues are used.

Our Union Dues go to 2 places, (1) towards our Union Local budget, and (2) towards the UNAP in Rhode Island, our Parent Union with whom we affiliate. Our local budget pays for our Local's expenses. These include meeting rental fees for all of our meetings, the member meetings via VT Interactive Technologies, the many Council Conference Calls, Hotel and food costs for our Open Retreat which we just held for planning and brainstorming, Council Retreats which we hold annually to orient our new council members and for planning, such as for Bargaining Contracts (once every 3 years).

The local budget pays for Council members expenses, such as mileage, as when we travel to represent members in grievances or arbitrations, hotel, food and mileage for bargaining the contract, arbitrator fees are shared with HCRS when there is an arbitration, Insurance, ie bonding for Council members handling Union funds. Other items in our budget include office supplies, printing, including printing the contract, paper and ink, fees associated with the Smore Website, the site we use to publish our online newsletters and Survey Monkey, for our member surveys when the Council requires feedback from our members to better represent you!

Our Local receives a tremendous amount of support from the UNAP. When we were a young, fledgling union local and facing stiff opposition from HCRS for the two years we were working to negotiate our first contract, we did not pay a penny and received all of the support we needed from the UNAP. Now that we are established, we pay our share as do all of the UNAP locals. Together, our dues make up the UNAP budget. From the UNAP we receive professional services, including that of the general Counsel, Chris Callaci, who is also our Field Rep. He is always available to consult with regarding member issues, grievances. We also have access to staff and their consultants, such as an accountant to help us answer questions we have at the Local level. The UNAP also supports advocacy at the Vermont State House, including fees for the lobbyist firm with whom we work, which costs more than what our Local could support.

United Nurses and Allied Professionals, Local 5051 @ HCRS

WE welcome your calls , questions and your thoughts. Please stay in touch. We look forward to meeting you in person at our next Union gathering! Welcome to HCRS and to our Union.

Joyce, Susanae, Patty, Hilde, Laura and Liz