Vermont Home Care Providers Vote for AFSCME, Win Largest Union Election in State History

by Karen Conner  |  October 03, 2013

Vermont Home Care Providers Vote for AFSCME, Win Largest Union Election in State History The Vermont Labor Relations Board counts the ballots in the election for Vermont’s home care providers. (Photo by Karen Conner)

It’s a big win for a small state. After two years of organizing, independent home care providers in Vermont voted overwhelmingly in favor of AFSCME Vermont Homecare United to represent them in collective bargaining with the State of Vermont.

With nearly 7,500 eligible voters, it is the largest union vote and organizing win in the state’s history. It is the largest organizing win in the nation in 2013. When the votes were tallied today, 71 percent of home care providers had voted for AFSCME. 

The Vermont Labor Relations Board announced the results today to an enthusiastic group of home care providers who gathered in Montpelier to witness the vote count. 

Amanda Sheppard Home care provider Amanda Sheppard and her son speak to a television news crew after the vote count at the Vermont Labor Relations Board.

“I’m so excited! It makes the hard work worthwhile. I walked through ice and snow to talk with other home care providers like me because I want AFSCME Vermont Homecare United behind us to improve our jobs so we can give the best to those we care for,” said home care provider Janelle Blake. “Now we can building our union and get our contract.”

Home care providers supporting AFSCME helped lead the successful fight for Vermont state legislation allowing home care providers to organize. AFSCME supporters gave testimony, attended committee hearings, legislative debates and advocacy events with disability groups to get the bill across the finish line. The law allowing organizing was signed into law in May.

“The home care providers of AFSCME Vermont Homecare United worked tirelessly to win collective bargaining rights in the Green Mountain State,” AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said. “Many spent countless hours meeting personally with other providers to explain why it was so important for them to have a voice on the job through AFSCME. At kitchen tables, on front porches, at picnics and even in the grocery store, these home care providers showed their fellow providers how coming together through AFSCME brings them one step closer to better pay and benefits, overtime protections, and training opportunities.”

AFSCME Sec.-Treas. Laura Reyes, who is a home care provider, added, “These providers’ determination inspires us and this victory serves as a model for grassroots union organizing work across this country.”

Vermont Labor Relations Board Members of AFSCME Vermont Homecare United celebrate outside the Vermont Labor Relations Board.
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