Martha Allen

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Unions oppose latest attempt to resolve teacher health care showdown

MONTPELIER — Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson’s proposal to save on the cost of teachers’ health care plans appears to be growing on Gov. Phil Scott, but she received a lashing from unions Tuesday and may have trouble getting fellow Democrats on board. Democratic leaders in the Legislature and the Republican governor have been engaged in a stalemate for three weeks over a demand by Scott that teachers pay at least 20 percent of their health care premiums. The impasse has caused the Legislature to remain in session beyond the 18 weeks included in the state budget. Democratic leaders and Scott agree that savings can be achieved from changes to the health insurance plans offered to teachers by the Vermont Education Health Initiative. VEHI is offering new plans to all Vermont teachers beginning in January that have lower premium costs but higher out-of-pocket expenses. That change is driven by a provision in the federal Affordable Care Act that will tax high-end insurance plans that many teachers currently have. Continue Reading →

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Vermont NEA endorses Sanders

MONTPELIER — The Vermont NEA, the state’s largest union, announced its endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders Wednesday in the 2016 presidential race. “We want to let the whole country in on what we in Vermont have long known,” Vermont NEA president Martha Allen said in a statement. “Bernie’s core values are in line with ours: he is pro-family, pro-worker, pro-education and pro-labor and we believe the time has come for his vision to become a national reality.”

Allen said the union, which represents about 12,000 teachers throughout Vermont, has been a longtime supporter of Sanders because of his support for the working class, as well as for his views on public education and economic inequality. Allen said union members will begin helping to spread Sanders’ message, particularly across the state border in New Hampshire. “In Vermont, we’re very fortunate to have a senator who represents the middle class over the titans of Wall Street,” she said. Continue Reading →

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