“We, the workers of AFSCME local 1674 at the Howard Center, stand in full solidarity with Vermont state employees in their demand that the state bargain with them in good faith.
Like state employees, we are vulnerable to the shameful budget-hacking that state and federal lawmakers have been engaging in for the past three decades. We are understaffed and underpaid, which inhibits our efforts to support the most vulnerable Vermonters, often resulting in tragic outcomes for them, and for us.
Like state employees, we know that our collective bargaining power is central to our efforts to rectify this situation, to put pressure on our bosses and on lawmakers, to allocate the funds that will allow us to support the autonomy of those we serve, and to make our communities safer.
Like state employees, we bargain with a boss who pretends that there is simply not money enough to pay us to provide essential services, here in the richest country on earth. That pretense is even more absurd, when the bosses are the very politicians who hand out tax breaks each year to their wealthy benefactors.
As we prepare to bargain a new contract, we remember our last contract campaign, during which VSEA members marched with us in informational pickets, spoke at public forums, and stood with us as we confronted the Howard Center board of directors and the Burlington city council. Due in part to their solidarity, we won back a small portion of what is rightfully ours as workers.
It is therefore a delight to be able to stand with VSEA workers, as they wage the same fight. AFSCME local 1674 calls on governor Shumlin to quit using the budgetary process to subvert state workers’ right to bargain collectively, to propose the full restoration of the funds stolen from state workers in his five years of austerity budgets, and to get to the bargaining table where he belongs.”