Vermont’s 1,300 home-based child care workers will not be forming a union in Vermont this year. Mailed-in ballots were counted Tuesday at the Labor Relations Board in Montpelier, and union advocates fell short by only 20 votes.
It’s been a hard-fought battle over whether or not to gain collective bargaining rights as part of Vermont Educators United, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.
Supporters said unionizing would give home-based child care workers better pay and respect, and a bigger voice in decisions. Opponents said the dues go out of state, do not guarantee better benefits, and do not give providers the power to hire and fire as necessary to achieve high standards. By a vote of 418-398, the union lost. Kay Curtis has operated a home-based child care program in Brattleboro for 15 years, and she’s disappointed by the outcome.
“You know, we’ve been disappointed before, we’ve had setbacks before and we always come back with more strength and more knowledge and we go at it again, and that’s what I am thinking we will do,” Curtis said.
Curtis expects another union vote to be held as soon as a year from now.