Vermont Progressive Party's blog

Progressive Debate-Watching Party Draws 300+ in Burlington

The Burlington Progressive Party partnered with ArtsRiot on Oct. 13th to host the premier debate-watching party in the city, drawing more than 300 Bernie supporters to the packed South End studio. Local Party leaders were on hand to sign people up on the Progressive Party listserv, and to register event attendees to vote (many of whom were students and will be first-time voters next year!).  The Progressive Party also had volunteers on hand to register voters at two other debate-watching parties in Burlington. We had lots of amazing conversations with enthusiastic and energized people who believe in the same things we do, and we look forward to building a stronger Progressive political movement in our city and state in the coming months!

 

Make VPP the Party of Labor in VT

Resolution: Make VPP the Party of Labor in Vermont
Adopted November 7, 2015, VPP State Convention

 

WHEREAS far too many Vermonters are currently unable to fulfill the American ideas of self-reliance and self-improvement due to low wages, which forces people to seek public assistance and/or work multiple jobs, and results in economic insecurity for families; and


WHEREAS lack of access to high-quality, affordable education and healthcare impedes children, young people, and families across our state and limits their potential; and

 

WHEREAS Progressives believe that access to all of the above-mentioned things are not only rights that should be afforded to every Vermonter, but also make for sound economic policy; and

 

WHEREAS employment and wage discrimination on the basis of race, gender, LGBTQ status and immigration status continue to impact Vermonters and should not be tolerated; and


WHEREAS the Vermont Progressive Party is committed to giving political voice to the struggles of low-paid workers, youth, people of color, and others typically shut out of the political process by those who wish to protect the interests of the big corporations and the wealthy elite; and


WHEREAS the Progressive Party stands in solidarity with Vermont's Labor Movement and will work to bolster the rights of workers and their unions;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Progressive Party endorses the following remedies to ease the burden on working families in our state:


1. Establish prevailing wage legislation for all contractor and grantees of the State of Vermont to insure that their employees are paid the equivalent wages and benefits of collectively-bargained public sector unions;

2. Include all employers or vendors of state-funded programs under the state Labor Relations Act, making their employees eligible to unionize and collectively bargain;


3. Cap vendor executive pay to no greater than four times the annual wage of its lowest-paid worker;


4. Establish a minimum wage of $15 an hour with built-in COLA to ensure that every working person in our state can afford to live;


5. Enact "Just Cause" legislation to protect the rights all workers from wrongful termination of employment;


6. Fully fund and support quality public education from preschool to college as a right for all Vermonters;


7. Stand up against union-busting tactics (like compulsory anti-union meetings) and support union efforts across the state;


8. Establish prohibitions against the "revolving door" practice; and   

 

9. Establish a statewide Medicare-for-all system in Vermont; and

 

10. Enact legislation affirming the expressed privacy rights of both public and private sector employees when engaged in work activity; and

11. Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and future new trade agreements if they undercut U.S. based producers by favoring countries with weaker labor and environmental laws and/or undermine domestic economic growth, job creation and/or reduce our impact on climate change.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the VT Progressive Party encourages members to submit feedback to the VPP Labor Commission on these and other labor-related issues for discussion and consideration; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the VPP Labor Commission will be empowered to conduct hearings on issues relating to labor practices throughout the state; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Vermont Progressive Party will encourage its legislators to support and prioritize labor issues in the 2016 session; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the members of the Progressive Party undertake to only endorse candidates for office that are strong in their support of organized labor, workers' rights, and collective bargaining.

 

 

BURLINGTON PROGRESSIVES ELECT NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS

Oct 2, 2015

 

BURLINGTON – This past Sunday the Burlington Progressive Party held their biannual reorganization meeting. Throughout the evening the Burlington Progressive City Committee heard from elected officials, approved and adopted city bylaws, and unanimously elected its steering committee and executive committee.

Committee Chair Charles Winkleman and Vice-Chair Kyle-Silliman-Smith, both young professionals, aim to use their experiences working in the fields of education and social justice to help inform the issues and guide decision making within the party.

“As a long term resident of Burlington and an early-childhood educator, I’ve watched families struggle to pay rent, to provide healthy food for their children, and to earn livable wages,” Winkleman said. “As City Chair I plan to work with local lawmakers and elected officials to better understand and address these issues, and to work toward creating an affordable Burlington for all residents, regardless of socioeconomic status.”

Progressive Party State Chair Emma Mulvaney-Stanak shared her thoughts on Sunday’s meeting: “The new slate of officers for the Progressive Party’s Burlington committee illustrates an exciting time for local politics. This is yet another strong movement of growth for the nation’s most successful major third party.”

Burlington Rep Chris Pearson said he was “encouraged to see a wave of younger people take on leadership roles,” adding that it is “how we can continue to provide a credible alternative to the two big parties and stand up for working families, the middle class, and our environment.”

Anyone who would like to learn more about the Burlington Progressive Party is invited to join us at any of the following events in the next few weeks:

  • Bernie Debate-Watching Party at ArtsRiot (400 Pine St), Tues. Oct. 13th at 8pm
  • Progressive Happy Hour at Three Needs (185 Pearl St), Thurs. Oct. 22nd at 5:30pm
  • Progressive Happy Hour at Smitty’s Pub (1127 North Ave), Tues. Nov. 17th at 5:30pm

For more information about the Vermont Progressive Party, visit www.progressiveparty.org, or visit our Burlington Facebook page.

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Progressive Party Urges Members to Support Bernie Sanders

Sept. 21, 2015

  

RUTLAND— The State Committee of the Vermont Progressive Party passed a resolution on Saturday in support of Bernie Sanders for president, and encouraged members to do what they can to support the senator’s candidacy.

Morgan Daybell, the Vice Chair of the Party, said that the passage of Saturday’s resolution should come as no surprise to those familiar with what the Progressive Party stands for: “The issues Bernie champions— like economic justice and getting corporate money out of politics— are the same tenets on which the Progressive Party was founded.”

The resolution (full text available here) also cited Senator Sanders’ positions on such issues as single-payer healthcare, paid family and sick leave, climate change, and institutional racism as reasons for the Party’s support.

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Progressive Senate and House Members Commend Speaker Smith on Legalization Position

September 1, 2015

 

Contacts: 
Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington)
802-860-3933 

Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D-Chittenden County) 
802-598-1986

 

 

Progressive Senate and House Members Commend Speaker Smith on Legalization Position
 
BURLINGTON, VT--  Two prominent Progressive legislators who have been working for over a decade on marijuana reform and legalization-- Senator David Zuckerman and Representative Chris Pearson-- said Tuesday they were pleased to hear Speaker of the House Shap Smith's recent announcement that he is supporting legalization.
 
"I am pleased that Speaker Smith is taking a sensible and proactive approach as we move towards legalization and regulation of cannabis," said Sen. Zuckerman. "His support will be welcome this coming legislative session." 
 
Rep. Pearson agreed: "Vermonters deserve sane drug policies. I'm pleased to see the Speaker evolve on marijuana legalization. Making this change will stimulate our economy. It will also bring the conversation out of the shadows and into our kitchens and dining rooms so parents can talk frankly with their kids," he said.
 
Sen. Zuckerman and Rep. Pearson have both introduced bills to legalize and regulate marijuana and are eager to see them passed into law in the next legislative session.
 
Party Chair Emma Mulvaney-Stanak added that the VT Progressive Party is committed to ending the failed "War on Drugs" and finding ways to better fund drug rehabilitation and counseling programs across the state.  

 

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Letter from Working Vermonters' Legislative Caucus Re: Uber Business Practices

STATE OF VERMONT - GENERAL ASSEMBLY

LEGISLATIVE WORKING VERMONTERS’ CAUCUS

115 STATE STREET

MONTPELIER, VT 05633-5201

PHONE: (802) 828-2228

FAX: (802) 828-2424

 

August 20, 2015

 

Dear Commissioner Noonan,

(cc: Governor Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith, President Pro Tem Sen. John Campbell)

 

It has come to our attention that Uber may not be compliant with state workers compensation and unemployment laws. We write to insist you apply the law consistently and fairly to any and all companies doing business in Vermont.

News reports make it clear that Uber’s business model is based on treating drivers as “independent contractors.” We saw this same model with FedEx a number of years ago until they were forced into compliance. Closer to home, a Burlington food delivery business – 863-ToGo – listed drivers as contractors to avoid state employment regulations. In remarkably similar circumstances to Uber, your own department did the right thing and classified these drivers, who use their own cars, as employees.

Across the country Uber is upending local laws and regulations. They tout their participation in the “sharing” economy or the “freelance” economy. That is all well and good but state law must be applied evenly. At its root, our employment law is designed to prevent worker exploitation. Refusing to apply state law to any company is unimaginable. No matter how many political donations or effective the lobbying team Uber brings to Montpelier, all of our working people and business leaders deserve to know that the law is applied evenly and without prejudice.

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

Rep. Johannah Donovan Rep. Susan Davis (Working Vermonters' Legislative Caucus, co-chairs)

&

Workers Caucus Members:

Rep. John Bartholomew

Rep. Steve Berry

Rep. Mollie Burke

Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman

Rep. Kevin Coach Christie

Rep. Joanna Cole

Rep. Susan Hatch Davis

Rep. Johannah Donovan

Sen. Bill Doyle

Rep. Debbie Evans

Rep. Patsy French

Rep. Rachael Fields

Rep. Diana Gonzalez

Rep. Sandy Haas

Rep. Mary Hooper

Rep. Kathleen Keenan

Rep. Jill Krowinski

Rep. Joan Lenes

Rep. Terry Macaig

Sen. Mark MacDonald

Rep. Linda Martin

Rep. Jim Masland

Sen. Dick McCormack

Rep. Curt McCormack

Rep. Francis McFaun

Rep. Jean O’Sullivan

Rep. Carolyn Partridge

Rep. Chris Pearson

Rep. Paul Poirier

Sen. Anthony Pollina

Rep. Kesha Ram

Sen. Michael Sirotkin

Rep. Tom Stevens

Rep. Mary Sullivan

Rep. George Till

Rep. Maida Townsend

Rep. Chip Troiano

Rep. Tommy Walz

Rep. Mark Woodward

Rep. Michael Yantachka

Rep. Teo Zagar

Sen. David Zuckerman

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