The mood was hopeful and energetic in Montpelier today as homecare providers with AFSCME’s Vermont Homecare United filed a petition for their union election. The petition will start the process for Vermont’s largest-ever union election, giving about 7,000 homecare providers the chance to vote for Vermont’s union.
Over 75 providers turned out in Montpelier to mark the occasion. Rainy weather was no deterrent as they took to the streets of the capital carrying AFSCME’s Vermont Homecare United banners and boxes of the authorization cards that they and thousands of their colleagues have signed.
The cards that they delivered to the state labor relations board represent over three-fifths of the state’s total homecare workforce. By filing for a petition for election, providers have taken another step towards becoming AFSCME’s Vermont Homecare United members. AFSCME already represents thousands of workers across Vermont, and has been endorsed by the Vermont AFL-CIO to represent homecare providers.
AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes, herself a former homecare provider, traveled to Vermont to cheer on these historic efforts. “AFSCME is homecare,” she told the crowd. “I know what it is like to take that first step and sign a union card. I did it nearly two decades ago. Now thousands of Vermont’s home care providers have taken that same step. And today we are making history! We are filing for the largest union election in history of Vermont!”
With an election on the horizon, homecare providers see an opportunity to improve the quality of care that they provide to their families and communities. “We’re off and running,” said Heather Boyd, of Shelburne. “This means more appropriate hours, reasonable wages, livable wages, which will, in turn, mean better care. I am just so excited to be part of it all.”