Thursday, February 19, 2015

WVTK Local & State News February 19, 2015

FairPoint Communications has announced the company and workers have reached a tentative deal. FairPoint says deal includes new collective bargaining agreements and gives them a more competitive position in the marketplace. Union members will vote on ratification of the tentative agreement as soon as possible. If the agreement is signed, striking workers will return to work on Wednesday, February 25. FairPoint workers have been on strike since October 2014.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles declared an emergency exists pertaining to the delivery of home heating fuels (fuel oil, propane) within the state. The department says the declaration of emergency is required to ensure the continuation of essential services. The emergency designation suspends the work shift restrictions when transporting home heating fuels from terminal locations and local delivery operations. However, the declaration does not permit fatigued or ill drivers to operate a motor vehicle. The emergency declaration is effective immediately and will expire on March 7, 2015 at midnight.

Walmart announced Thursday they are giving approximately 500,000 employees a raise. Walmart says by April 1, hourly employees will earn $9 per hour. That wage will increase by at least another dollar by February 1, 2016. The company and the Walmart Foundation will also spend $100 million over five years to help increase economic mobility for entry level workers by advancing their careers. The wage increases are for both Walmart and Sam's Club employees.

Vermont Health Connect has announced that some Vermonters who missed this year's open enrollment still have an opportunity to apply for 2015 health coverage. Vermonters who don't have health insurance and learn about the new federal penalty for having no coverage when they file their 2014 taxes now have a chance to avoid paying the full federal fee next year. Vermonters affected by the federal fee should call Vermont Health Connect's Customer Support Center toll-free at 1-855-899-9600. They must apply for and select a plan within 60 days from the date they discovered they would be subject to the federal Shared Responsibility Payment, but no later than May 31.

Just a reminder … Ferrisburgh’s Town Meeting will take place on Saturday, February 28th, starting at 10 am. Last March, residents changed the meeting date by a voice vote from the first Tuesday of March to the previous Saturday. The annual Ferrisburgh Central School meeting will follow, starting at 1 pm. Australian balloting will be held as usual on Tuesday, March 3rd, from 7 am to 7 pm. On that ballot will be all school spending measures and races for town officers, including contested races for the selectboard and delinquent tax collector.