AFSCME Organizing Home Care Workers in Vermont

by Helen Cox  |  April 25, 2012

Robin Calabria, Melissa Matoushek and Patti Cilwick
Melissa Matoushek, Robin Calabria and Patti Cilwick (left to right) contacted caregivers across Vermont to help form their union, Vermont Homecare United/AFSCME. (Photo by Helen Cox)

BURLINGTON, Vt. – This past week, AFSCME members came together in Vermont to support the efforts of caregivers in forming their union, Vermont Homecare United/AFSCME.

Members from Pennsylvania, Kentucky and right here in Vermont have already reached hundreds of caregivers at their homes and have significantly grown our Council 93 family.

“Visiting caregivers to talk about their work is an amazing experience and the first step in ensuring that they can continue providing quality care and maintaining strong programs in our state.” said Patti Cilwick, a social worker at HowardCenter, a local non-profit. “All of our voices are stronger when we come together with AFSCME.”

More than 5,000 caregivers in the Green Mountain State provide Medicaid-funded in-home services to children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Since January, caregivers have come together to stand up for quality care and respect for the care they provide.

“We all deserve dignity and respect,” caregiver Florette Dorr said. “Caregivers and consumers need a voice in ensuring quality services and shaping the future of our programs.” 

This week’s efforts were made possible through AFSCME’s Volunteer Member Organizing program which combines classroom and field-based training in building the fight for public service. Click here to learn more about the VMO program.

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