Vermont Legislature overwhelmingly supports homecare providers’ right to form a union
Over 7,000 Vermonters work in homecare, providing vital services to the elderly and people with disabilities, enabling them to sustain their independence and continue living in their own home.
Initiated over two years ago, the push to recognize these compassionate caregivers’ right to organize culminated during the 2013 legislative session with both the Vermont State House and State Senate overwhelmingly supporting S.59, the Homecare Bill, with final passage occurring on May 2nd, 2013. Our bill is now law and called Act 48: an Act relating to independent direct support providers.
Throughout the process, providers with AFSCME’s Vermont Homecare United were on the frontlines. We joined with AFSCME to testify in front of both Senate and House committees, speaking empathetically about our care recipients, the job we love, the struggles we face on a daily basis and why we want to form a union.
Forming Our Union
With the bill passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor, the next step is for an election to be held where we decide what union will represent us. In order to trigger this election, AFSCME turned in thousands of cards signed by supportive homecare providers, greatly exceeding the minimum number of cards needed.
In the coming weeks, the State Labor Relations Board will mail out secret ballots to all 7,000 homecare providers in Vermont. Once the election is held, we will become members of this newly-formed union and elect our own leadership and bargaining department and get to work!