Roll Call! House Votes to Shift More Union Bargaining Costs to Taxpayers (102-46), 2021

H.81 AN ACT RELATING TO STATEWIDE PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS 

PASSED
in the State House of Representatives
on February 16, 2021, by a vote of
102-46

Purpose: The purpose of this bill is to create a separate bargaining process for lower income school workers. This would allow them to highlight economic difficulties and increase the likelihood that they could negotiate for greater benefits.

In 2018, the Legislature passed Act 11, prioritizing adequately funding Vermont’s Education Fund while supporting a union bargaining process which negotiated health benefits for all public school workers as a group, called “uniform cost sharing.” H.81 would segment public school workers into different groups that local school systems must negotiate with.

Analysis: No formal fiscal note was given to legislators regarding how much the more complicated bargaining process could cost, plus the extra cost of negotiated premiums themselves. However, if lower income employees pay just 1% less on their premiums, estimates suggest that taxpayers would have to pay another $1.43 million dollars.

Those voting YES want to give paraeducators, cafeteria workers, school custodians and other lower-paid school staff a seat at the bargaining table. “Almost 40 percent” of paraeducators are the primary income earners for their household, making only about $22,000 a year. Many of these school workers see the health insurance as the primary reason they took a low-paying job. By changing the current bargaining process, the “lowest paid school support staff can include their economic situation” in the conversation, which will likely ensure they get greater benefits.

Those voting NO believe H.81 will have “significant (negative) financial implications for Vermont taxpayers.” If uniform cost sharing is removed from bargaining, Vermont cannot “comply with the provision in Act 11 to safeguard the financial ability of the education fund and our local school districts across the state.” Bargaining will take more time, and thus more money for publicly financed negotiations. If the arbitrator gives low-income public school workers inexpensive monthly premiums and smaller out-of-pocket contributions during bargaining, taxpayers will be expected to “make up the difference,” since “higher paid employees administrators do not offset the cost.” Taxpayers in some school districts may pay more than others, worsening “inequity issues for our students and our taxpayers.”

Opponents also note the lack of transparency and proper legislative oversight in getting this bill to the floor. Only the House General Committee reviewed and approved it, while the House Education and House Ways and Means Committees were not allowed to analyze the proposal.

As Recorded in the House Journal, Tuesday, February 16, 2021: “Shall the bill be amended as recommended by the Committee of General, Housing, and Military Affairs? was decided in the affirmative. Yeas, 102. Nays, 46.” (Read the Journal, p. 178 - 184). Watch the floor debate on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2

How They Voted
(Click on your Rep’s name to send an email)

Sally Achey (R - Middletown Springs) – NO
Janet Ancel (D – Calais) – YES
Peter Anthony (D – Barre) – YES
Norman Arrison (D - Weathersfield) –YES
Sarita Austin (D – Colchester) –YES
John Bartholomew (D – Hartland) – YES
Lynn Batchelor (R – Derby) – NO
Scott Beck (R – St. Johnsbury) – NO
Matthew Birong (D – Vergennes) – YES
Alyssa Black (D - Essex) – YES
Tiffany Bluemle (D - Burlington) – YES
Thomas Bock (D – Chester) – YES
Seth Bongartz (D - Manchester) – YES
Michelle Bos-Lun (D - Westminster) –YES
Erin Brady (D - Williston) – YES
Patrick Brennan (R – Colchester) – NO
Timothy Briglin (D – Thetford) – YES
Jana Brown (D – Richmond) – YES
Nelson Brownell (D – Pownal) – YES
Jessica Brumsted (D – Shelburne) – YES
Thomas Burditt (R – West Rutland) – NO
Mollie Burke (P/D – Brattleboro) – YES
Elizabeth Burrows (P/D - West Windsor) –YES
Scott Campbell (D – St. Johnsbury) – YES
Bill Canfield (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Seth Chase (D – Colchester) –  YES
Kevin “Coach” Christie (D – Hartford) – YES
Brian Cina (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Sara Coffey (D – Guilford) – YES
Selene Colburn (P/D – Burlington) – YES
Hal Colston (D – Winooski) – YES
Peter Conlon (D – Cornwall) – YES
Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D – Bradford) – YES
Timothy Corcoran (D – Bennington) – YES
Mari Cordes (D/P – Lincoln) – YES
Lawrence Cupoli (R – Rutland) – NO
Eileen Dickinson (R – St. Albans) – NO
Karen Dolan (D - Essex) – YES
Kari Dolan (D – Waitsfield) – YES
Kate Donnally (D - Hyde Park) – NO
Anne Donahue (R – Northfield) – YES
David Durfee (D – Shaftsbury) – YES
Caleb Elder (D – Starksboro) – YES
Alice Emmons (D – Springfield) – YES
Peter Fagan (R – Rutland) – NO
Martha Feltus (R – Lyndon) – NO
John Gannon (D – Wilmington) –  YES
Leslie Goldman (D - Bellows Falls) – YES
Kenneth Goslant (R – Northfield) – NO
Maxine Grad (D – Moretown) – YES
Rodney Graham (R – Williamstown) – NO
James Gregoire (R – Fairfield) –  NO
Lisa Hango (R – Birkshire) – NO
James Harrison (R – Chittenden) – NO
Robert Helm (R – Fair Haven) – NO
Mark Higley (R – Lowell) – NO
Robert Hooper (D – Burlington) – YES
Mary Hooper (D – Montpelier) – YES
Philip Hooper (D – Randolph) – YES
Lori Houghton (D – Essex) – YES
Mary Howard (D – Rutland) – YES
Kathleen James (D – Manchester) – YES
Stephanie Jerome (D – Brandon) – YES
Kimberly Jessup (D – Middlesex) – YES
John Killacky (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Charles Kimbell (D – Woodstock) – YES
Warren Kitzmiller (D – Montpelier) – YES
Emilie Kornheiser (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Jill Krowinski (D – Burlington) – PRESIDING
Robert LaClair (R – Barre) – NO
Martin LaLonde (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Diane Lanpher (D – Vergennes) – YES
Paul Lefebvre (R – Newark) – YES
Samantha Lefebvre (R - Orange) – NO
Felisha Leffler (R – Esburgh) – NO

William Lippert (D – Hinesburg) – YES
Emily Long (D – Newfane) – YES
Michael Marcotte (R – Coventry) – NO
Marcia Martel (R – Waterford) – NO
Paul Martin (R - Franklin) – NO
James Masland (D – Thetford) – YES
Christopher Mattos (R – Milton) – NO
Michael McCarthy (D – St. Albans) – YES

Curtis McCormack (D – Burlington) – ABSENT
Patricia McCoy (R – Poultney) – NO
James McCullough (D – Williston) – YES
Francis McFaun (R – Barre) – NO
Leland Morgan (R – Milton) – YES
Michael Morgan (R - Milton) – NO 
Kristi Morris (D – Springfield) – YES
Mary Morrissey (R – Bennington) – NO
Michael Mrowicki (D – Putney) – YES
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (D - Burlington) - YES
Barbara Murphy (I – Fairfax) – YES
Logan Nicoll (D – Ludlow) – YES
Michael Nigro (D - Bennington) – YES
Robert Norris (R - Sheldon) - YES
Terry Norris (I – Shoreham) – YES
William Notte (D – Rutland) – NO
Daniel Noyes (D – Wolcott) – YES
John O’Brien (D – Tunbridge) – YES
Carol Ode (D – Burlington) – YES
“Woody” Page (R – Newport) – NO
Kelly Pajala (I – Londonderry) – YES
John Palasik (R – Milton) – NO
Joseph Parsons (R – Newbury) – YES
Carolyn Partridge (D – Windham) – YES
Avram Patt (D – Worcester) – YES
Henry Pearl (D - Danville) – YES
Arthur Peterson (R - Clarendon) – NO
Ann Pugh (D – S. Burlington) – YES
Barbara Rachelson (D/P – Burlington) – YES
Marybeth Redmond (D – Essex) – YES
Lucy Rogers (D – Waterville) – YES
Carl Rosenquist (R – Georgia) – NO
Larry Satcowitz (D - Randolph) – YES
Brian Savage (R – Swanton) – NO
Robin Scheu (D – Middlebury) – YES
Heidi Scheuermann (R – Stowe) – NO
Patrick Seymour (R – Sutton) – NO
Charles “Butch” Shaw (R – Pittsford) – NO
Amy Sheldon (D – Middlebury) – YES
Laura Sibilia (I – Dover) – NO
Katherine Sims (D - Craftsbury) –YES
Taylor Small (P/D - Winooski) – YES
Brian Smith (R – Derby) – NO
Harvey Smith (R – New Haven) – NO
Trevor Squirrell (D – Underhill) – YES
Gabrielle Stebbins (D - Burlington) - YES
Thomas Stevens (D – Waterbury) – YES
Vicki Strong (R – Albany) – NO
Linda Joy Sullivan (D – Dorset) – NO
Heather Suprenant (D - Barnard) – YES
Curt Taylor (D – Colchester) – YES
Thomas Terenzini (R – Rutland) – NO
George Till (D – Jericho) – YES
Tristan Toleno (D – Brattleboro) – YES
Casey Toof (R – St. Albans) – NO
Maida Townsend (D – South) – YES
Joseph “Chip” Troiano (D – Stannard) – YES
Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D - Essex) – YES
Tommy Walz (D – Barre) – YES

Kathryn Webb (D – Shelburne) – YES
Kirk White (P/D - Bethel) –YES
Rebecca White (D – Hartford) – YES
Dane Whitman (D - Bennington) – YES
Terri Lynn Williams (R - Granby) – NO
Theresa Wood (D – Waterbury) – YES
David Yacovone (D – Morristown) – YES
Michael Yantachka (D – Charlotte) – YES


 

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  • Doug & Patricia Richmond
    commented 2021-03-06 11:12:53 -0500
    Sounds like the taxpayers pay the union to work against the taxpayers interests,
    But…………….. But what?
  • Doug & Patricia Richmond
    followed this page 2021-03-06 11:12:41 -0500
  • Forbes Morrell
    commented 2021-02-28 11:35:22 -0500
    If our legislation continues to be formulated by soft money people, we must find another way for tax revenue rather than primarily property based taxes. As it is now, anywhere from .72-.87 cents on the dollar is for the education tax on the local basis. This cannot continue and must be addressed immediately ..
  • David Flemming
    published this page in Votes 2021-02-26 09:56:08 -0500