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Bill Allows Vermont Home Care Workers to Unionize

May 20, 2013

A bill allowing home care workers in Vermont to unionize has overwhelmingly passed through the state legislature.

The House passed the bill by a 95-41 vote on May 2. The vote in the Senate, which was held in March, was nearly unanimous.

Under the terms of the bill (pdf), Vermont home care workers would be able to collectively bargain with the state for better wages and improved benefits. Workers would be forbidden from striking, however.

The bill would affect approximately 6,000 workers who provide care through the state’s Choice for Care Medicaid waiver program, the Attendant Services Program, and other home and community-based programs that are funded largely by Medicaid.

Additionally, the bill would require the state to establish a Direct Support Provider Workforce Council, which would advise the state on various workforce-related matters, such as recruitment, retention, and training.

The state would also have to set up a registry allowing eligible Vermonters to connect with qualified home care workers.

Governor Peter Shumlin (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.

— by Matthew Ozga

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