Vermont Democrats OK Staff Union, Elect New Leaders | Off Message

Vermont Democrats OK Staff Union, Elect New Leaders


  • File: Robin Katrick
  • Faisal Gill
Vermont Democratic Party leaders cleared the path Saturday for party staff members to join the United Steelworkers union.

Calling the move “historic,” VDP executive director Conor Casey said he thinks it’s the first time a state party has voted to recognize a staff union. As executive director, he’ll be on the opposite side of the bargaining table from his four staff members. But as the former political director for the Vermont State Employees Association, he’ll likely be a sympathetic negotiator. He may not have much to offer, however, given the party's recent fundraising drought.

“We were looking at our platform [which has] an enormous concentration on collective bargaining rights,” said Casey. “We want to practice what we preach.”

The party also elected new leaders at its annual meeting Saturday. Terje Anderson, a longtime HIV/AIDS activist from Montgomery, will take over as chair, replacing Faisal Gill, who decided not to run again. Anderson's opponent, Bolton town chair Peter Jemley, dropped out of the race earlier in the week, endorsing Anderson.

All the other seats were contested. Former state representative Tess Taylor won the race for vice chair; former Democratic National Committee member Billi Gosh was elected treasurer; field organizer David Glidden was elected assistant treasurer; and Noah Detzer, a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic convention in 2016, was elected secretary.