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Follow VPR's statehouse coverage, featuring Pete Hirschfeld and Bob Kinzel in our Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier.

Bill Allows Deputy Prosecutors To Unionize

Deputy state’s attorneys would be allowed to join a public employees union under a bill advanced today by the Vermont Senate.

The bill was sponsored by Chittenden Democrat Philip Baruth. He told senators that the legislation covers 101 employees, including the deputy prosecutors and victims’ advocates.

Baruth said when state employees agreed to a pay cut several years ago to help balance the budget, they eventually saw their pay restored. But the deputy state’s attorneys – who technically work for county government – were not included in the union contract and did not get a salary increase.

“And following that incident, there began a very organized among these hundred workers in county government to be recognized to collectively bargain,” he said.

Some senators questioned what the bill would cost, and if it would lead to other unionization efforts. Baruth promised to have the Joint Fiscal Office produce a budget estimate by the time the legislation comes up for final passage.