Organizers say a vote to unionize by home care workers marks the largest unionizing effort in Vermont. It’s estimated there are 7,000 home care workers in the state.
Now, as part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, they will negotiate with the state over issues like pay, hours and benefits.
Amanda Sheppard is a home care worker in Addison County. Sheppard says she makes under $10 an hour for most of the work she does with disabled Vermonters. She says she wants better pay, but she would also like state programs expanded so she can work more hours and take better care of her clients.
“We need quality care for these clients. Most of these clients are not delegated enough hours to meet their needs," Sheppard says. "As a home care provider, if I’m offered more hours in their homes, then they can have a quality life that they deserve.”
In all, about 2,000 of the state’s estimated 7,000 home care workers voted in the union drive. The unofficial tally shows just over 1,400 voted for a union and 566 voted no.