Archive for July, 2013

SEIU withdraws from our election

There’s some important news that we want to share with you right away. In deference to the overwhelming support among homecare providers for AFSCME Vermont Homecare United, SEIU has officially withdrawn from our union election.

Now we can focus on what’s really important: building our union and negotiating a contract that honors the work we do as providers and that values the lives of the people we serve.

We’re closer but there remains an important step we all must take.

You will still receive a ballot on September 9th. It is crucial that you vote for AFSCME, so we can get to the table with the state to win the homecare improvements that providers and clients need and deserve.

From the beginning, Vermont homecare providers have demonstrated their desire for a collective voice. From our time testifying together at the Capitol, to the countless organizing meetings we’ve held around the state, to the thousands of doors we’ve knocked, it’s been clear that the time for a voice is now.

Your overwhelming support for AFSCME over the past several months has been nothing less than inspiring, and now more than ever, our movement will continue to grow as we approach our election date.

We thank SEIU for their support as we build our union,  and look forward to building a strong movement of labor solidarity right here in Vermont.

Vermont Homecare Providers Are Making History With AFSCME

Vermont homecare providers are making history with AFSCME, and people all over the country are taking note! This week we were profiled in an AFSCME TV episode featured on the national website. I had the opportunity to narrate the story of AFSCME Vermont Homecare United which featured several Vermont providers and current Vermont AFSCME members.

We’ve come a long way and we’ve done some pretty impressive things. Take a look for yourself.

When your ballot arrives in the mail on September 9th, you have the opportunity to make homecare better in the state of Vermont—and to be a part of history. A vote for AFSCME is a vote for lasting progress for us and the people we care for.


Mary Halligan Montgomery
Orange County Vermont

AFSCME Celebrates the Anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act

Twenty-three years ago today the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. This legislation has changed the lives of millions of Americans by making our communities more accessible and inclusive.

Homecare providers working with AFSCME Vermont Homecare United wish to take a moment to recognize the hard work of those in the disability rights community. On this anniversary, let’s remember how far we’ve come—and how much work we still have ahead of us here in Vermont.

When we as homecare providers help our neighbors to lead dignified lives, we are living the legacy of the ADA. Our struggle to make homecare a viable, respected career is part of the same legacy. If the state of Vermont wants to demonstrate a true commitment to independence for people with disabilities, it needs to show that it values the workers who make that independence possible.

AFSCME has a proud history of speaking up for inclusion in the workplace and in the community. International Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes, a homecare provider, wants to share with you her comments on this anniversary:

Statement by AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes on the 23rd Anniversary of the ADA

Today, we celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a farsighted law signed in 1990 that continues to improve the lives of millions of American residents.

In protecting all Americans from potential discrimination based on disability, the ADA was a major achievement for human rights, social justice, and the freedom of every individual to fully participate in the social and economic life of our country.

AFSCME supported passage of the ADA, and we have since helped our members take full advantage of its protections. The principle on which it is built – the belief that discrimination is a threat to individual freedom and to the value of each person’s merits – is one we have always upheld. It falls in line with our mission to protect workers’ rights and ensure fair treatment in the workplace.

As the mother of a young man who was born with a disability, I am proud of what our country has achieved through the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 that broadened protections for disabled workers. They have made an important difference in the lives of millions of people and their caregivers.

We also believe that home care providers – those who care for individuals with disabilities – should have basic protections that guarantee their dignity and fair treatment in the workplace. Home care providers will always know that in AFSCME they have a friend and ally on whom they can rely.

As a former home care provider and organizer, I am proud of what our union has achieved in defending these workers’ rights and dignity. And we’ll continue to do so. In Vermont, as we speak, we are helping more than seven thousand home care providers form their own union.

The benefits and success of the Americans with Disabilities Act would not be possible without those whose work is devoted to caring for individuals with disabilities. That’s why today, as we celebrate this landmark piece of legislation, it’s just as important to stand with home care providers throughout our nation and help them improve their own quality of life.

Why AFSCME? Providers Speak Out.

Dear fellow homecare provider:

With our union election approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this process has already changed my life.

As a homecare provider it can sometimes feel like no one is listening to me. But since I started working with AFSCME Vermont Homecare United I’ve found a supportive community that’s genuinely interested in my voice and my concerns.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Getting involved with the Vermont union, AFSCME, has been an incredibly empowering experience.  I’ve seen how ordinary Vermonters can work together to change things in our state.  I’ve learned how I can take control of the issues that affect me and the people I care for.We have built a network of thousands of providers across Vermont and we have the support of AFSCME’s existing membership in the state.  I am confident that we are on our way to victory.  But we need your help.

Ballots will be mailed on September 9th.  Remember to look in your mailbox and cast your vote for AFSCME.

It’s a simple step that will make a big difference.


Bonnie McDonald
Bennington, Vermont

A Vermont AFSCME Family Picnic

Last weekend, providers and current AFSCME members from right here in Vermont, came together for the first of many AFSCME Family Picnics.

In addition to a beautiful day and great food, these were a great way for providers to meet and talk to current Vermont AFSCME members to hear their stories and ask questions about what it really means to join theVermont AFSCME family.

Didn’t make it to one of our picnics last weekend? We have many more coming up and your invitation is in the mail!

AFSCME is working with Vermont caregivers to ensure that homecare services are adequately funded and that personal care attendants are paid for the hours they work. Follow us Facebook Twiter RSS