WASHINGTON, March 21 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), on Monday wrote to Kevin Miller, CEO of the Sciolex Corporation, to express concern over the treatment of Sciolex workers at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Vermont Service Center (VSC). Formerly based in St. Albans, the VSC, now located in Essex Junction, is one of five USCIS service centers in the country that collectively handle between eight and ten million immigration cases per year – performing the essential work of preparing and processing immigration benefits applications and petitions.
In the letter, the Vermont Congressional delegation called on Sciolex to engage fairly with the workers and their union, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 208.
Sanders, Leahy, and Welch wrote, “After speaking with your workers, we have heard troubling reports that you have implemented unilateral changes to benefits and COVID policies and refused to bargain in good faith with the union. Further, it has been reported to us that you have threatened, punished, and intimidated workers in retaliation for their participation in the union and protected concerted activity.”
In the letter, the Vermont lawmakers described worker reports that Sciolex violated the “No Strike No Lockout” provision of their collective bargaining agreement and fired UE Local 208 of the St. Albans, Vermont chapter, President Christine Brown, for her participation in a rally that took place on March 2, 2022, on her own time. President Brown had worked at the VSC since 1995.
“Mr. Miller, our message to you is simple: treat your workers with dignity and engage in good faith with them and their union,” wrote the delegation. “These jobs are not only important to Vermont, but to individuals, families, and communities across the country. Workers at the VSC deserve safe working conditions, fair benefits, and respect for their legal right to organize and be represented by a union.”
Read the full letter, here.