Lyndonville Police Officers Want To Unionize

Lyndonville Officer Brandon Thrailkill responds to a crash on Severance Hill Road in July. (Photo by Amy Ash Nixon)

The rank and file members of the Lyndonville Police Department want to unionize.

All two of them.

The Lyndon Select Board entered into a special executive session Thursday afternoon to discuss a letter it recently received from the State of Vermont Labor Relations Board on behalf of the Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based police union known as The New England Police Benevolent Association (NEPBA).

The “Petition for Election of Collective Bargaining Representative” gave the town three options.

They could either recognize (NEPBA) as the exclusive bargaining unit for its officers or consent to a unionization vote by its officers. The board could also opt to respond to the petition with questions.

When the board returned to public session it voted unanimously for option 2 - to allow the vote.

“We think it’s important that each of the two officers has an opportunity to vote,” said selectman Chris Thompson. “There may be zero votes. There may be one vote. There may be two. But it’s allowing them to vote.”

According to town officials, the union is acting at the request of one or both of its two police officers - Ofc. Brandon Thrailkill and Ofc. Robert Trucott.

“This is actually generated by employees, not the union, as far as we believe it,” said Thompson after the vote.

“They want at least permission to take a vote to unionize,” said Municipal Administrator Justin Smith.

“…And we don’t know whether it’s all or one,” said Thompson.

Smith said that according to the union that information is not available to the town.

“They won’t give us that information,” said Smith.

According to the instructions provided in the labor relations board letter the unionization effort must be supported by at least 30 percent of the department’s two officers.

Lyndonville Police Chief Jack Harris, who is not eligible for membership in the union, said he’s aware of the unionization effort.

“I’ve been made aware of it but I don’t have a say in the process because I’m a member of management,” said Harris on Thursday.

The only unionized municipal workers in Lyndon are the linemen working for the Lyndonville Electric Department.

The Caledonian-Record contacted Ofc. Thrailkill and Ofc. Trucott by email Thursday seeking comment. Trucott referred all questions regarding unionization to Thrailkill. Thrailkill did not respond by press time.

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