Education

Anti-union child care workers beat out AFT in union vote

A small group of independent child care workers has dealt a blow to the American Federation of Teachers.

An anti-labor group, Vermonters for the Independence of Childcare Providers, rallied child care providers against the unionization effort, and the AFT lost a bid to unionize child care workers in Vermont by 20 votes Tuesday.

The vote was 398 for, 418 against unionization. The Vermont Labor Board counted 816 valid ballots cast by mail. The results are not official for 10 days; during that period parties can contest the results. In all, 1,323 child care providers were eligible to vote, according to Tim Noonan, executive director of the board. About 800 providers run registered child care services, while about 500 are legally exempt from state registration requirements.

Kay Curtis of Happy Hands in Brattleboro who helped to lead the AFT’s effort in Vermont said the union is not done fighting. “We will continue working together for each other and for the families we serve,” Curtis said.

Elsa Bosma, a child care provider in Shelburne and the prime mover behind Vermonters for the Independence of Childcare Providers, said she was thrilled with the outcome. Bosma received $2,000 from an anonymous donor this summer and used the money to urge child care workers to vote against the bill. She used Facebook, robocalls and mailings to reach her colleagues, and especially worked hard to motivate legally exempt child care providers (family members and neighbors who provide services) to vote.

“We got what we wanted, which is we don’t want to be micromanaged,” Bosma said. She was worried about that the unionization would have a profound impact on the cost of running her business. “We’re all small businesses, we’re not employees. The child care union would have made us employees.”

Bosma said child care providers had been “bombarded” with literature and calls from the AFT, but she said “everyone I spoke to had no idea what the union was for.”

The AFT spent four years lobbying for legislation to pave the way for unionization. The law passed this year.

The union wants to negotiate higher state subsidy rates for child care.

Subsidy rates for child care providers have not kept pace with cost of living increases and have stalled at 2008 levels, according to Reeva Murphy, who runs the program for the Department for Children and Families.

Bringing subsidies up to 2012 levels would cost $9.6 million, according to an estimate from the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office.

Bosma objects to the idea that nonunionized child care workers would be asked to pay fees and dues to support the AFT under the state’s fair share law.

The state’s home care workers employed by individuals and families formed a union last year. Home care providers can now negotiate hourly rates with the state.

CORRECTION: Home care workers negotiate hourly rates with the state, not subsidies as originally reported.

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Anne Galloway

About Anne

Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of VTDigger.org and the executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust. She has been a journalist for 20 years. Galloway was the editor of the Sunday Rutland Herald and Times Argus from 2006 through 2009. For many years, she was a contributing writer for Seven Days, and her reporting has appeared in The New York Times (Vows column), the New York Daily News, Vermont Life and City Pages (Minneapolis). In March 2017, she was a finalist for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for her investigation into allegations of fraud at Jay Peak Resort. Galloway was also a finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors FOI Award in April 2017.

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  • Janice Prindle

    Small donation fron an anonymous donor? Robocalls? I think Ms. Bosma ought to be more transparent.

    • Stacey Pearsons ***

      what is wrong with a small donation and robo calls? As opposed to union reps posing as state workers, hanging out a providers homes, taking their pictures so the can put a name to a face, asking for signatures “so providers can get information then using said signature to show legislators look these people support the union, or publishing said pictures and signatures in binders sent out to recurve other providers that their colleagues support the union…talk about transparency…spending thousands of dollars getting support…you have the nerve to critized an HONEST PROVIDER…get your facts straight! This woman worked hard to provider childcare workers with the truth!!!!!! Instead ifcfulking her full of lies!! If the legislation thinks the subsidy rates should increase they need to find the money to pay for it..if there is no money there will be no increase…childcare providers will LOSE money paying for a union to do what the legislators are already paid to do…and we are NOT employed by the state!!! We are small businesses owners!!!! People who support this union need to get the facts..,will subsidy rates help families of course but should we have to PAY for those increases???? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! That is what the union is asking us to do…how that makes sense to people I just do not understand…cane someone explain to me that to me?? Anyone out there is different professions…when you ask for a raise do you have to pay for it??? Hey boss I will pay you “X” amount of money a month for a $20 raise…how does that make sense? Plus, I decide my rates not the state…even with subsidy rates increasing my pay will not…if this union passed it would have been decreased by the dues I would have been FORCED to pay…

      • Michael Bayer

        NEWSFLASH!!! Small business owners vote against a union, don’t want anyone to tell them how to run their businesses.

        I am surprised the union got the votes they did from this group.

        Actually, they are probably most afraid of the people they employ wanting to be represented by a union.

        This was always a smokescreen for small business people to get more dollars from the state. (Not that there shouldn’t be more subsidies for child care, but they should go to parents not bosses).

        Probably someone pointed out that state money might come with strings, like requiring that they pay the actual care givers a living wage. Can’t do that and increase the bottom line!

  • It is unlikely that this is “a small group of childcare providers.” The movt against the organizing of childcare centers is nationwide. Websites provide picket signs, etc. Who is funding it? That’s the question. http://www.childcareunioninfo.com/news.html

    • Gail Graham

      What?!!

  • paul lutz

    Common sense prevails!!!!!!!!!

    • Gail Graham

      YES!

  • Ellen Drolette

    Could not be happier with this outcome. This is a strong message and I hope it was heard loud and clear. Independent voices deserve to be heard.

    • Tom Licata

      Ellen,

      Congratulations on your “pro-Independent” labor victory.

      Go Bobcats! 😉

  • NTl Right to Work?

  • Joseph F. Whelan

    Let me guess who the “anonymous donor” was. You “anti-union, pro small-business,” people are only kidding yourselves. Go ahead. Keep the rest of the people in your profession struggling to make ends meet while you cling to the “independent Vermonter” culture of old.

    • mary cushing

      Do you understand that we are talking about privately owned businesses? I should not be forced into paying someone to speak for me and my private business, any provider that wants that should go work at a school.

    • Nancy Lavigne

      I guess if you don’t like the “Vermont ways of old” You reserve the freedom to move….just sayin 🙂

  • Paul Richards

    There is hope! Against all odds, fighting the union war machine and the State of Vermont, these people staved them off. Congratulations! Keep it going because they will use every dirty trick in their play book to try to defeat you. They have the government, their dirty money and the law on their side.
    In other states there have been class action law suits that have been won against this type of unionization but here in Vermont we are charging ahead. What does that tell you about our state government who pushes this? This is nothing more than another power grab by the union and the liberals to get more money and influence. That is exactly what we need LESS of. We don’t need any more public sector unions taking us out of the debate and silencing us.
    No more taxation without representation!

  • Mary Daly

    There was a time in our history when unions were of value. They did a lot to help the average worker. I now believe that time is past and the unions have become an odious burden on the State. Talk to any School board member about trying to hold the reins on school spending or investigate the benefits of the State Workers for proof. The fact that many union dues are taken out of the workers pay check and sent directly to the union fat cats contributes to the problem. Then there is the deal re. those who don’t want to be a member having to pay anyway? Another problem is that the unions pit the worker against the employer which can make for a hostile work environment. Am I anti union, You bet. Have I always been, No.

    • Paul Richards

      Well said and I agree. It’s bad enough for all of that but what I object to the most is how these public sector unions have stripped us of our ability to have input into the process. They sit behind closed doors with their union lawyers and “negotiate” our tax dollars away without one ounce of input from any of us. We have to suffer the consequences and are told those contracts are “non-negotiable” for us. Those deals are sealed and they are shielded from public scrutiny. We fought a war against this and gained independence over taxation without representation and we are right back where we started. Our voices are stripped out of the process and we are left to only pay the bill. It’s not right and it’s un-American. When are we going to stand up and say enough is enough?

    • Gail Graham

      I totally agree with all Mary has stated, and am so happy for the ones who want to remain independent. They are much better off without the union, for many reasons.

  • Wayne Andrews

    Mr. Whelan: Funny more businesses are moving to Wisconsin after the unions defeat there. If I was a young person I would move to Scott Walkers state as well.

  • Donna Aiken

    I am very pleased we won yesterday. It goes to show we do not need to pay a Union to be our voice. The union may be a good thing for employers who have employees but we are self employed and we are our own boss. These are at home business people we are talking about. For everyone who feels the Union is best, makes me feel they do not understand the way a home provider business is run through the state. The Union would give us benefits or pay for loss of income or protect any job loss like a regular union would do. For anyone following this whole process please do your research not only presented by Vermont but also by many other states. There is much documentation out there to prove a Union would not benefit us small self employed business people. We are very pleased with the win of yesterday for NO Union. I can personally say that all the families I serve have fought this fight as well as it directly would impact them. They are very pleased with this outcome.

  • Beth Sanders

    Its our right and we choose NO!!! YES we do have a voice, could not be happier!!

  • Maureen Corbeil

    First of all I am very happy of the outcome of this vote and I also feel Elsa Bosma did a Awesome job standing up for what is right.We all have our own opinion on this matter and it will not make everyone happy.I have been a Home Daycare provider for 22 years and I make my own Rates and will continue to do it this way.A union is just not a right fit for Home Daycare Providers in the long run it would hurt low income families NOT help them.I can now continue to take these families that rely on State Subsidy without paying for something I don’t feel strong about.There doesn’t seem to be a reasonable solution for this subject……Yes some providers feel that a Union will help them and then there is others who feel strongly that it won’t work this is why the talk of forming a Union needs to be forgotten.Just remember this is my opinion and people will disagree but hey that’s OK and I can say I was proud to vote NO

  • Cathleen Francis

    This is a step in the right direction. As a childcare provider and small business owner, I want to keep my independent voice. Together our voices spoke loud and clear. The majority of the voters, small business child care providers, spoke and decided that a Union was not what was best for them. Childcare Providers

  • Martha DeGraaf

    The results of this vote show that the providers have spoken. It’s better to have a small donation from an anonymous donor to help fight the fight, than have it come directly from providers, like the union dues would have been used for.

  • mary cushing

    Thank you Elsa for all of the hard work you have put in to prove that we do not need a union to come together ( you didn’t even charge us dues). Because of you we were able to put our voices together. In a perfect world the union would now listen to the people they want represent and go away.

    • Thank you Mary for your kind words- and your hard work!

  • Meegan Delphia

    First of all, how very unsurprising that the first comment attacks Elsa Bosma’s honesty…if you pro-union people can’t win fairly you always seem to go on the personal attack. Elsa worked tirelessly to protect her self-employed brethren and her voice drew us all together as no union ever will. Secondly, the majority has spoken, deal with it. The lies told by the pro-union front were frankly quite disturbing. This union does nothing to support the self-employed day care providers, it serves the families that we take in so perhaps the union should be more transparent in who they are really attempting to serve. Trying to force a union on self-employed providers who do not want or need their uninvited attention makes the union despicable in my opinion!

  • Carl Bayer

    Without the power of the child care union to bargain with the state for an increase in the child care financial assistance program there will be no chance to improve the economic situation of this vital profession for a long while. After all, Vermont has a 100 million dollar budget deficit. This is a sad day for Vermont’s child care workers and for the low income families that rely on the financial assistance program.

    • Donna Aiken

      I have to disagree with you Mr. Bayer. I feel with the way you commented it makes me believe that you are not a registered home provider and have not had the opportunity to read the many many articles from various states that have opposed the childcare unionization process. The negative impact points have been brought to the attention of not only other states but Vermont and that is why we oppose being unionized. It is a great day for Vermont and I would only ask that you please if you have the opportunity, please talk to a registered home provider as to how this would have been a negative impact on their home business. We are not state employees and the Union would not help in a financial loss of income or provide any health benefits. Also if the state of Vermont has no money to increase the subsidy rates at this time, no Union will be able to magically make that money appear. In the process though they would make the money disappear in the subsidy payments that belong to the low income families. Thank you,

      • Nancy Lavigne

        I agree Donna!! There is no raise to be had. Money cannot be gotten from where there is no surplus. Also, my families that do receive subsidy seem to be well taken care of from the subsidy they receive right on to the reach up program…section 8 for housing and 3 squares to help with feeding their children.

  • John McClaughry

    For the gratuitous characterization file: “An anti-labor group, Vermonters for the Independence of Childcare Providers…”
    Why isn’t it a pro-freedom group ? Because to left leaning reporters “anti-labor” means “against working people” as well as “against Labor unions”.
    And imagine: the VICP spent an astounding $2000 to win this election! How does that compare with what the paid staff of the AFT spent lobbying the unionization bill through the legislature and (unsuccessfully) promoting a positive vote?

    • paul lutz

      Great point.

    • Paul Richards

      Yes, great point! I thought I was the only one who noticed things like that. Maybe I have just assumed that the liberal media will continue their assault as usual.

  • Laura Butler

    Our voices were heard! Great news for Family Child Care providers and the families we serve!

  • Heather Friedrichsen

    I am thrilled with the outcome of this vote! Elsa worked tirelessly to create a network of supporters to promote our message of Independence for childcare providers. As Independent small business owners we have control over all aspects of our businesses. We have the right to maintain our individuality, and we have shown that our voices are strong. For those providers who think they need a union to get something done – LOOK at what we did without one – JOIN your Starting Points Networks, Join the VCCPA – Put your voices to work! GREAT JOB PROVIDERS! Now Elsa, about that subsidy rate….. 🙂

    • Donna Aiken

      Very well said Heather.

  • ray giroux

    Bravo!!! Keep up the good work Ladies. I love your independence!

    This is what I think.

    It is not so much about the Childcare “PROVIDERS” but more about the State Liberals having more control of the children. Yes, the Nanny State knows more about caring for children than parents and hard working Childcare Providers.

    Yes, it is a National Trend, From the cradle to the grave, the Liberals will take the children, indoctrinate them and train them to be good Liberal Citizens.

    Do not question Government and always do as your told, OBEY, be a nice corporate Worker.

    Yes, the State wants your children, to give them vaccines, Pharms and Common Core Curriculum.

    This is a great fight and needs to be taken on by ALL citizens. If for nothing else, to save the children.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    Agree with Mr. McClaughry, someone let their bias slip with that reference to VFCP as being “anti labor”. They are anti-ORGANIZED labor or anti private-sector union. This is another color of icing on the cake to the last election where abused Vermont taxpayers are finally rubbing the sleep out of our eyes. As we try to make Vermont affordable again the last thing we need is another public sector union attaching itself to the public teat. (and with the level of taxpayer funded subsidies for it in Vermont, daycare is essentially a public sector industry) And God forbid, please let’s stop inferring that day care providers are “educators”.

  • As leader of Vermonters For The Independence of Child Care Professionals, I would love to take a few moments to both congratulate the small business owning child care providers of Vermont who worked so very hard to get the vote out as well as answer some questions.

    I am a home childcare provider who works over 50 hours per week taking care of young children within my home, a job I absolutely love. I learned about the childcare union the same way many other providers learned about it- from an unsolicited home visit while I was working. I was intrigued, but not convinced. I spent time educating myself (someone who is typically a democrat and pro-union) on both sides of the argument and decided, for a number of reasons, that I was strongly against this bill.

    I went to work talking with my peers and over the course of three years and a LOT of hard work, built a very strong coalition of home childcare providers who felt the same way I did. We formed Facebook groups, created our website, and contacted our elected officials. We met after working 10-hour days to strategize. We asked hard questions, testified, wrote letters to the editor and did radio interviews. All of this was accomplished with zero outside money, nor did I receive any compensation for my time. In fact, I lost quite a bit of my money paying for a substitute for when I traveled to Montpelier to testify. But I did it out of a passion for my profession.

    A very small donation was received once the bill was signed to help get the vote out- and that is exactly what we did. The ballot return rate was over 60%, and we accomplished something no other state has been able to. We were the first state to not vote a union in once a bill was signed into law.
    This “job” at times was a second full time job. It robbed me of time with my own children, money from my personal bank account, and sleep at night. It put me in the limelight, which allowed others not familiar with this fight or myself to question my integrity and honesty. But the joy I felt from watching other providers across the state, often isolated, become empowered to find their voice and use it was far greater than anything I may have lost. I am so incredibly proud of the blood, sweat and tears the small business owning childcare providers across Vermont put into this fight and I cannot thank them enough for their work. I may have been the leader, but it takes a village, and our village proved we are a force to be reckoned with.

    The legislature wanted the providers to have the opportunity to vote and speak their voice. Once again they have spoken loudly and clearly. Thankfully this time we will be listened to. And when the AFT submits yet another petition to represent those who have stated they do not want or need representation, we will converge again to win.

    • Elsa, I’m glad it went your way however I fear it’s not “settled law” until it goes their way.

      • Paul Richards

        Unfortunately you are correct. They will not give up. Look at how they tried to destroy Scott Walker in Wisconsin. He was challenged and won 3 times. The union thugs from all over the country descended on Wisconsin to try and run him out. The liberal politicians and the liberal media joined in the pile-on. They employed their book of dirty tricks and still lost because the common people rallied against them and common sense prevailed for once. The unions have a different set of laws that they have to follow. They can get away with harassment and other things that the rest of us can’t. That’s right; they are protected by law to intimidate and harass people without having to follow the same laws we do. Look it up!

    • Carol Frenier

      Congratulations, Elsa! This is real democracy at work. I am thrilled by your success. Unfortunately there will be a next time to deal with. They won’t just let this be. So stay connected and reach out to those of us who aren’t providers to support you. Start raising some funds now for future battles.

  • Amie Choiniere

    So happy this did not pass!
    I agree, if there is money to raise the subsidy payments, it’s the legislature that will do that….and it’s the parents who should be fighting for more subsidy, it is all based on their income. I set my own wages (and this union law was only bein passes for in home providers, not centers where there are staff members).
    Thank you Elsa for your hard work, leadership and supporting all of us in this fight.

  • Ralph Colin

    Congratulations to you, Ms. Bosma , and to all your colleagues. You have proven that a well-meaning and properly organized group of INDIVIDUALS can win over a self-serving and self-aggrandizing union, the leaders of which want only to increase their coffers and expand their power.

    WELL DONE!!

  • Deb Thayer

    So proud to be a part of Vermonters for the Independence of Childcare Providers , grateful to meet and work with some of the most caring, and compassionate childcare providers around.
    We are small business owners, not employees that need to be represented by a union! We have spoken….

  • karen hebert

    I am so very thankful for this outcome!! I have been a registered provider for over 30 years & am VERY against a union that we stand to gain nothing with! I am not sure where the numbers given for those allowed to vote come from, but I have to say, I know of at least 4 providers from Fairfax whom also would have a NO vote had we been able to vote. You see, eventhough we accept subsidy children, we did not have a current rate agreement with the state as we have no subsidy families at this time, so we were not allowed to vote. There were many more of this, I am sure. But, we still came through loud & clear with NO union!! We are a small group as was reffered to: we are NOT the ones who were provided $$$ from the union to attend meetings in Montpelier. We received NO funding at all! Elsa has done an amazing wonderful job of being our leader, so I for 1 feel whatever she received does NOT begin to cover what she has done for us. Our senators who are paid dearly & gave us their word to help us,some still voted to allow a union…. they are the ones that should not be paid… I am referring to former Franklin county senator Collins. But that is PAST!! YAY!! & YAY for NO UNION for childcare workers!!!!!! Thank you Elsa!!

  • Cheryl Ganley

    Congratulations to Elsa and all providers who voted no. Please do not let your guard down with this win. The union has spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to get this union forced upon you. They will not let up until they win or are forced to go away. You can be sure they will demand more votes until they get the outcome they want. Keep up the fight I’m sure the shenanigans are not over.

    • Paul Richards

      That’s a fact Cheryl. To Elsa and the rest of the providers their number one job is providing care. They have had to fight this unwanted battle in their spare time (so to speak) and with their own resources. For the unions their number one job is proliferating their poison into every faction of our lives they can for power and money and getting as much as they can for their own sake. They work 24/7 with an army of paid organizers. They have deep pockets and they are many, many lines deep in resources funded by the dues of the rank and file members. If they don’t like the results they got they will call in the big dogs from Chicago and around the country.
      Great job! Stay strong and keep up the good work! A lot of us true Vermonters are very proud and thankful for what you have done. You morals and values are those of true Americans. It’s not about what you can get for nothing through coercion and you recognize that. Power on!

  • Dave Bellini

    “small business owners” “independent”

    I am a union member. I understand that many don’t consider themselves “labor” or “employees”. Rather, you folks are management and “owners” of a business, not at all like line staff workers for some employer. You don’t want to pay a union fee because you want autonomy and “freedom.” So I think you should not receive any state subsidies. Because, I, like you, don’t want to pay a fee via my tax dollars. You’re “independent business owners” and government should not be involved with your business. You should support eliminating government subsidies for your business. Let the market decide and get the state all the way out of this. There’s a huge budget shortfall and this is the first thing that the state should eliminate. Let the “small business owners” enjoy total freedom.

    • Jon Corrigan

      It appears ‘We the People’ have devolved into bickering over scraps (in the form of ‘subsidies’) provided by those we elected to serve all of us. Guess it boils down to who has the strongest lobby and which legislators have the weakest constitutions. What’s next? Perhaps the ‘small business owners’ will stop selling products to known union members.

    • Paul Richards

      “So I think you should not receive any state subsidies. Because, I, like you, don’t want to pay a fee via my tax dollars.”
      How do you like it when the shoe is on the other foot? You just can’t stand it that this money is not going to your union cronies. In spite of what you and the liberal politicians think, government money is not destined to be paid to unions and then given back to the politicians in a filthy tit for tat. I, like you do not want to pay for state subsidies either with my tax dollars. I do not want to pay for all of the public sector union members without my consent. “Let the market decide and get the state all the way out of” that and let THEM fend for themselves! I’m sick of them holding us hostage.
      As far as the subsidies you mention; they are not for the benefit of the caregivers, they are for the benefit of the ones receiving care. So if it is the caregivers you want to bash you need to find a different argument.

      • Dave Bellini

        “Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.”

        • Paul Richards

          With that comment, you proved my point better than I could have hoped to. It’s all about fear and intimidation with the unions of today. It’s all good until you and the government runs out of other people’s money and you have beaten the last standing taxpayer into submission. That’s something to be proud of Dave. Real Americans are much better than that.

          • Dave Bellini

            Absolutely Paul, you should fear unions:
            First they want livable wage for people. Then it’s safe working conditions for employees. Pretty soon they want a secure retirement and things like healthcare and dental coverage. Christ, unions will ruin this country. Police, fire, coal miners, prison workers, nurses, teachers, social workers, pilots, etc. all unionized. “Real Americans are much better than that.” Other than yourself, who are the “Real Americans” that are “better” ???

    • John McClaughry

      Here’s a hypothetical, Dave. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Vermont homeowners are enjoying very nice state-mandated subsidies (paid by electric ratepayers) to invest in solar PV systems.
      Suppose the legislature passes a law – I am NOT recommending this! – that a union , say the (fictitious) Amalgamated Brother and Sisterhood of VPIRG True Believers (ABSVTB), can organize all these homeowners to pay union dues (or 85% agency fees), in return for which the ABSVTB will lobby the legislature and Public Service Board to increase the feed in tariff subsidies for its members, and make grants of dues money to similar organizations peddling the Menace of Climate Change..
      This Union isn’t organizing bargaining groups to negotiate with their employers for better wages, etc. This union is organizing people who benefit from lavish renewable energy subsidies to force them to pay for lobbying to increase the subsidies – paid by somebody not even a party here, the ratepayers. No free riders!
      Do you have any problem with that, Dave? Is this hypothetical any different than forcing child care providers to pay dues to a union to have the union lobby the legislature and AHS for increased payments to their customers who received child care subsidies?

    • J. Scott Cameron

      Dave:

      The day care providers don’t receive the subsidies. The families receive the subsidies. If increases to the subsidies are needed, the Vermont legislature should address the issue, as it has been doing for years.

  • J. Scott Cameron

    “An anti-labor group, Vermonters for the Independence of Childcare Providers, rallied child care providers against the unionization effort, and the AFT lost a bid to unionize child care workers in Vermont by 20 votes Tuesday.”

    Vermont Digger, you have a lot of gall and little integrity to call this group of hard working individuals “anti-labor.” They are no such thing. These are independent daycare providers who, unlike workers in factories or schools or state employment, would got no benefit whatsoever from having their affairs overseen by a Union.

    Please prove me wrong. Run an article explaining how any daycare provider would benefit from the Union. The whole thing was a scam foisted on the providers by our labor indebted legislature who also had no clue what they were doing.

    This is a victory for freedom and the independent worker. How dare you label these good folks “anti-labor”. They deserve an apology.

  • pat mcdonald

    And lets not forget our legislature passed this bill in spite of getting many letters to the contrary – mine being one of them. These folks are independent contractors/business owners. They should be free to decide their own destiny. If they want a stronger voice, they should form an association (as businesses do) and hire a spokesperson/lobbyist to bring their concerns to the legislature. This approach assures that they and only they are in charge of what the association/spokesperson presents on their behalf. Good for you – keep up the great work.

    • John Odum

      “And lets not forget our legislature passed this bill in spite of getting many letters to the contrary – mine being one of them. These folks are independent contractors/business owners. They should be free to decide their own destiny.”

      I don’t understand this statement, as it’s totally contradictory.

      It was the bill the legislature passed that allowed them to be “free to decide their own destiny.” That was the whole point.

      And now, thanks to the legislation, they have. So what’s the issue?

      This complaint only makes sense if you are simply categorically anti-union and are trying to confuse the issue. They had no choice before the bill, now they do. They took a vote and the results are in. Before the legislation, no vote was possible. If you were against the bill, you were therefore against there being any choice in the matter whatsoever. 1+1=2.

      • pat mcdonald

        John, you are right in that the bill did give them the right to choose. So I stand corrected. My point was that the bill shouldn’t have gotten as far as it did.

        • J. Scott Cameron

          John, the legislature can always give us choices. But why was there a need to have a choice in this instance? It was as if a law was passed saying that all people named John will now have a right to pay dues or fees to a labor union, subject to their right to vote yea or nay on the idea. And what will this labor union do for the multitude of Johns, you ask? Nothing whatsoever. But all you Johns now have a choice, so that’s good, isn’t it? Yes, unless “you are simply categorically anti-union and are trying to confuse the issue.”

  • Paul Richards

    “Before the legislation, no vote was possible.”
    Nor was it necessary. They just wanted to be left alone and not have a government sponsored union shoved down their throats and have to put up a fight against an army of paid thugs.

  • Darryl Smith

    Congratulations on maintaining your pro-worker independence. Unfortunately OUR Vermont Legislature will continue to beat on you until the AFT gets their way.

  • Lauren Norford

    The article says “Subsidy rates for child care providers have not kept pace with cost of living increases and have stalled at 2008 levels, according to Reeva Murphy, who runs the program for the Department for Children and Families.”

    ALL rates and reimbursement dollars have stalled at 2008 levels in the state. Child care subsidies are just one of many, many things that have stalled. Community mental health center reimbursement rates have stalled (hard to say whether child care providers or community mental health workers are paid worse….), higher education support has stalled (which is why VT has the highest state university/college tuition in the nation), our roads are crumbling, etc, etc! Going at the problem through a mentality of “entitlement” (union or otherwise) is not going to address the root problem.

    When certain groups are guaranteed wages and benefits that the state actually cannot support (such as with public education employees and state government employees), the cost of that guarantee just gets passed on to all of us through higher taxes (property, etc.).

    All low wage workers deserve better, but until the VT economy improves as a whole, it is not going to change.

  • sandra bettis

    More people voting against their best interests……

    • J. Scott Cameron

      Too bad you don’t trust the people affected by this legislation to understand where their best interests lie.

      • sandra bettis

        Right – just like when poor people vote Republican.

  • David Dempsey

    When one person runs a daycare, they are both the employer and the employee. Unions don’t usually represent employers. Just saying.