A month after the Vermont legislature approved a bill allowing home care workers to collectively bargain, more than 4,500 home care workers filed an election petition seeking to form a union. Because of the new law, more than 7,000 workers are now eligible to join a union, and many participated in a march to file the petition. Home care workers in the state experience low wages and a lack of sick time, paid vacations and other benefits. The election is expected to be held in mid-July.
AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes joined the march and explained the importance of the filing in Vermont:
I am in Vermont today as thousands of home care providers in the Green Mountain State file for the largest union election in the state's history. I know first-hand the struggle home care providers face. I also know the power and possibilities that are created when providers come together and form a union that cares about home care workers and the people we serve. I know it because I am a home care provider and have walked in the shoes of Vermont providers.
My oldest son was born two and a half months early. He had a brain hemorrhage, and the doctors diagnosed him with cerebral palsy. They said he would never speak or walk. That's when I quit my job as an educator and became a home care provider. I knew that with constant care and attention, Damien would overcome the obstacles. And he did. Today he is not only walking and talking, he's in college preparing for a full life of opportunity.