Free Skiing for Government Workers Stung by Shutdown, as Vt. Congressman Aims to Protect Employees in Future - NECN
Vermont

Vermont

The latest news from around the state

Free Skiing for Government Workers Stung by Shutdown, as Vt. Congressman Aims to Protect Employees in Future

Rep. Peter Welch wants to require the federal government to keep pay flowing to employees

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Legislation Unveiled to Protect Workers in Future Shutdowns

    Vermont’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled new legislation Tuesday that would require the federal government to pay workers during any possible future shutdowns.

    (Published Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019)

    Vermont’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled new legislation that would require the federal government to pay workers during any possible future shutdowns—saying they should “never again” go without pay during any impasses between lawmakers and the president.

    “This is totally unjustifiable and completely unnecessary,” Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, said Tuesday of how federal workers are not being paid during the current partial government shutdown, which reached 32 days Tuesday.

    Welch said he expects bipartisan support for the bill, and thanked federal workers both for their dedication and for helping shape his approach to the legislation.

    The Democrat also called for the government to reopen during the current impasse.

    Students Pay Tribute to New Zealand Shooting Victims With Hakas

    [NATL] Students Pay Tribute to New Zealand Shooting Victims With Hakas

    Two of the students' peers were killed in the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

    (Published Monday, March 18, 2019)

    “This is an example of a broken presidency and to some extent, of a broken Congress,” Welch said of the shutdown. “We’ve got to make it work.”

    Welch said he signed onto a letter co-authored with several House colleagues that was sent to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

    The letter suggests a return to “normal order” through hearings and an open House debate on border security—which is how Welch said differences should be hashed out, instead of through shutdowns.

    “I think every day it goes on, it gets worse,” National Weather Service employee Marlon Verasamy said of the impact on the shutdown on affected federal employees.

    Verasamy, who was speaking off government time on behalf of the Burlington members of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, told necn he and many federal employees he knows are becoming increasingly demoralized working without paychecks, and are canceling personal plans or cutting way back on spending to avoid cash flow crunches.

    “And if it drags on into February, you’ll see people will have to start making some tough decisions on if [their career fields are] something that they will continue to do or do they need to find other avenues, unfortunately,” Verasamy said.

    Tuesday, the Vermont Department of Labor announced Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, and state lawmakers directed that federal workers who aren’t being paid are eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits to help them with bills.

    An estimated 1,300-1,500 federal workers in Vermont have been affected by the halting of federal paychecks, according to state leaders.

    Whenever the federal government reopens and those workers get their back pay, they’d be required to reimburse the state for that unemployment money, the announcement from the labor department pointed out.

    “There are Vermonters who have been showing up to work every day, but not getting a paycheck, for more than a month,” Vermont Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle said in a written statement. “There is no end in sight for [the] federal shutdown and the governor and legislators have asked us to help these individuals feed their families, pay their bills, and put gas in their cars.”

    Two Vermont ski areas have also announced furloughed government workers or federal employees working without pay can visit for free for the remainder of the shutdown.

    Mad River Glen is offering free lift passes to federal employees affected by the shutdown.

    3 Dead in Dutch Tram Shooting; Attacker at Large

    [NATL] 3 Dead in Dutch Tram Shooting; Attacker at Large

    At least three people were killed and nine others injured in a shooting that broke out on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

    (Published Monday, March 18, 2019)

    The ski area said it has had to furlough seasonal staff in the past, in winters with little snow, so wanted to repay similar gestures those people received.

    “It’s not a political thing; it’s not a marketing thing,” said Matt Lillard, the general manager of Mad River Glen. “We just really feel strongly that as a cooperatively-owned community ski area, that we want to be out there supporting our fellow citizens and our fellow community and that’s why we’re doing it.”

    The Mad River Glen offer is available on weekdays only, and not during the President’s Day holiday week—if the shutdown goes that long, Lillard said.

    Alleged Drunk Nearly Drowns in Sinkhole After Hydrant Crash

    [NY-NATL] Alleged Drunk Woman Crashes Into Fire Hydrant, Nearly Drowns in Sinkhole

    An alleged drunk driver crashes into a fire hydrant, then she nearly drowns when gushing water opens a sinkhole under her car. WESH's Michelle Meredith reports.

    (Published Tuesday, March 19, 2019)

    Mad River Glen only allows skiing, but federal employees affected by the shutdown who prefer to snowboard could take advantage of a similar offer from Sugarbush Resort.

    Sugarbush is offering free passes to unpaid workers and their immediate families who ski or ride—only charging a $5 fee for the microchip in the badges.

    “Not receiving a paycheck for nearly four weeks is a huge burden for families,” Win Smith, Sugarbush’s president, said in a written statement accompanying the resort’s announcement. “We certainly hope that our representatives in Washington can reach a compromise soon and get everyone back to work. In the meantime, we wanted to offer those on furlough and their families an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of skiing and riding especially when conditions are so nice.”

    NYC Students Join Global Strike for Climate Change

    [NATL]NYC Students Join Global Strike for Climate Change

    Middle and high school students joined a global strike in more than 100 countries to call on lawmakers to acknowledge climate change on March 15. Students gathered at Columbia University for a rally organized by the Sunrise Movement aiming to engage young people in climate change action. 

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    Sugarbush’s offer ends when the shutdown is over and is not valid on holidays, the resort said.

    Both ski areas ask for federal IDs and a letter confirming a worker is affected in order to get the free passes.

    Marlon Verasamy said he appreciates the support affected federal workers are seeing, but added he hopes the shutdown ends—and soon.

    Global Student Walkout to Demand Action on Climate Change

    [NATL] Global Student Walkout to Demand Action on Climate Change

    Hundreds of thousands of students in more than 100 countries skipped school Friday to demand action on climate change. Kids in more than 1,200 cities across the globe are protesting a failure of governments to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The “Friday’s for Future” rallies were one of the biggest international climate change actions yet.

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    Get the latest from necn anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android