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Vermont Homecare United News


As you may recall, AFSCME conducted several trainings last week for Homecare Workers. Below is an article, written by Caitlin Connolly, of the National Employment Law Project, regarding the hazards of being a Homecare Worker.  Any member wishing to obtain a free hardcopy of the Caring for Yourself While Caring for Others, please contact Wendy Thacker, Vermont State Secretary of AFSCME Council 93 at 802-855-2853 or vial email at

Posted June 1, 2016

by Caitlin Connolly – Areas of expertise: Care Giving Workforce


If you’re familiar with the home care industry, it should come as no surprise that home health aides, personal care attendants, and certified nursing aides topped the lists for workplace injuries, illness, and violence.


Providing supports and services to individuals can be hard work. For most home care workers, the demands of the job are already exacerbated by low pay, few or no benefits, inconsistent scheduling and wages, and limited supports; never mind an elevated risk of on-the-job injury, illness, and violence.


The AFL-CIO’s recent report, Death on the Job (25th Edition), provides national and state profiles of worker health and safety and sheds light on the dangers faced by home care workers.


When it comes to serious workplace injuries, nursing assistants, who often work in care facilities, experienced nearly 21,000 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that involved days away from work—second only to laborers/freight movers. Personal care aides, who work in individuals’ homes, experienced 5,300 serious MSDs.


It is likely that home care workers’ injuries are severely under-reported, because numerous studies have shown that government counts of work-related injuries and illnesses are underestimated by as much as 69 percent.*

Personal care aides are now the 3rd-highest-ranking occupation for lost-time injuries resulting from workplace violence.

Since 2005, the rate of violence in home health services has increased by 130 percent. Care recipients were responsible for 49 percent of these reported injuries.


All working people have the right to a safe workplace—whether that workplace is a facility or someone’s home. To help combat unsafe workplaces for personal care workers, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a health and safety training guide, Caring for Yourself While Caring for Others, and online modules that help home care workers, their employers and clients identify safety risks and develop effective strategies for assuring safe and healthy environments. These tools for trainers and resources for home care workers aim to protect workers from common hazards and include strategies for dealing with threatening behaviors.


Employers must recognize their responsibility to provide a workplace safe from injury and violence by providing training, safety policies, and safeguards. Home care workers make it possible for individuals to remain safely at home. It’s time for employers to promise the same.


* Leigh, J. P., Marcin, J.P. and Miller, T.R., “An Estimate of the U.S. Government’s Undercount of Nonfatal Occupational Injuries,” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 46, No. 1, January 2004.

No Check? Reduced Pay? Call the Union!

If you are paid through ARIS but have not received a pay check or have had a recent pay cut, please notify the Union at 802-855-2853. You must do so promptly as the Union only has 15 State business days from the day you first realized you didn’t receive a check or found your pay cut to file a grievance. The office is open between the hours of 7 AM and 3 PM.

New Overtime Rule – NOT Because of Union

Some providers are experiencing changes because of an overtime rule. This rule is NOT a result of the Union. The U.S. Department of Labor made changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA is the federal law that gives most workers in the United States minimum wage and overtime pay protections. The U.S. Department of Labor enforces the FLSA, and recently updated the FLSA rules about home care workers. Under the new rules, most home care workers must now be paid at least the federal minimum wage, and overtime pay. The U.S. Department of Labor calls this change the “Home Care Final Rule.”

To determine whether you should be paid overtime, visit:

There is also a guide to help inform you and your employers available for download and printing here:

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Union office at 802-855-2853.

AFSCME Offers FREE Trainings to VT Home Care Providers


Every day, AFSCME home health care members provide vital services in their homes.  For our members, these homes are their workplaces –each with unique challenges.


Safe Patient Handling – Offered daily, 5/23 – 5/27, at 9:00 AM at the locations below.

The patient-handling training is specific to the needs of home health aides. Students will learn proper body mechanics so they do not injure themselves when handling, transferring and re-positioning patients. They will also learn how to use gait belts, slide sheets, mechanical lifts and transfer boards to assist in such common transfers as wheelchair to toilet, bed to wheelchair, bed linen changings and other day-to-day activities.

Workplace Violence Prevention – Offered 2:00 PM Monday – Thursday, 5/23 – 5/26, at the locations listed below.

In this class, students will learn to adopt workplace violence prevention strategies used in facilities to the home health setting. The training will have three core parts, including identifying hazards in the home, developing crisis intervention skills and post-violence event response. Students will be involved in group activities, role-plays and a unique mapping exercise.

*Please note: The Working with Chemicals and the Bloodborne Pathogens & Infectious Diseases classes have been cancelled.



May 23rd
Lyndon State College
Burke Mountain Room
1001 College
Lyndonville, VT



May 24th
Marlboro College Graduate Center
Rooms 2-E and 2-C
28 Vernon Street
Brattleboro, VT



May 25th
United Methodist Church
71 Williams Street
Rutland, VT



May 26th & 27th
O’Brien Community Center
32 Malletts Bay Ave.
Winooski, VT


Classes are offered 9 am – 1 pm and 2pm – 6pm

To register, call 802-855-2853, email or visit


Employment Opportunity

AFSCME Council 93 is seeking to hire two (2) per-diem phone bankers to work in the Rutland, VT office.  Must have own transportation and Smart Phone.

Role and Responsibilities

  • Make outbound calls to recruit and sign up new members
  • Educate on current campaigns
  • Provide updates, calls-to-action, membership renewals, special appeals and thank you messages
  • Build excellent rapport & confidence with members

Qualifications and Education Requirements

Strong communication skills and motivation a must
  • Previous organizing, fundraising, activism, call center, sales, or customer service experience a plus
  • Must have availability to work a minimum of 2 days per week
  • Logical problem solving skills and ability to multi-task
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Must have a keen sense of attention to detail, taking the initiative
  • Possess a high level of professionalism
  • Must be 18 years old
  • Must live in Rutland County.
  • $15/hour


Training will be provided to the successful applicants.

You make your own schedule and work 2-5 days per week from 9:00 – 1:00PM.  Our office is located in the Knollwood Building, just past the Norman Rockwell museum, at 734 G US Route 4E, Rutland, VT 05701.
If interested, please submit a resumé to the following:
Fax or E-mail:                                                                                       
P: 802-775-4380  E:                                  
Subject Line:  Phone banker position                                               
Attention: Pat Glynn                                                                              
Jay Cassidy VT Coordinator
AFSCME Council 93
734G US Route 4E
Rutland, VT 05701
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