Unions Fight Over Vermont Home Care Membership

Two unions are competing against each other to represent home care workers in Vermont, just days after the state officially granted those workers the right to unionize, reports the VTDigger.

Vermont is home to about 7,000 home care workers, and both the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union want them as members. Although employed by elderly or disabled individuals, the workers are paid with state Medicaid funds. With union representation, they’ll have the ability to bargain with the state for subsidies and benefits. 

AFSCME and SEIU fought together for home care workers’ right to unionize—but that alliance, reports the VTDigger, “splintered as soon as the law passed.” 

“We were very conscientious to putting aside our differences” while the legislation was in the process of becoming law, Matt McDonald, Vermont campaign director for SEIU, says in the article. “I think some people are surprised that we are now going head to head.”

So far, it appears AFSCME is winning the battle, with 4,000 signatures for its bid to represent the workers, according to the article. In order to initiate a union election, a union must get support signatures from at least 30% of the employees eligible to unionize. 

The SEIU did not disclose how many signatures it has gotten, but says it has enough to be included in the election.  

The Vermont Labor Relations Board hasn’t yet finalized rules for the election and won’t do so until June 6 at the earliest, says the VTDigger.

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Written by Alyssa Gerace 

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