The Vermont Workers' Center joins our brothers and sisters in trade unions and grassroots organizations in the US and throughout the world in strongly condemning the illegal coup carried out by the Honduran military on June 28, 2009, in which the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was kidnapped and forcibly taken to Costa Rica. We completely reject the claim, widely circulated in the corporate media, that this coup was somehow justified by President Zelaya's plans to consult the Honduran people about constitutional reform.
Members of the Vermont Workers Center participated in 4th of July celebrations in Bennington, Brattleboro, Lyndonville and Montpelier spreading the word and organizing around Healthcare is a Human Right.
Healthcare is a Human Right leaders began collecting hundreds of postcards to our legislators demanding our basic right to healthcare. You can help too! Check out our "Organizer's Toolkit" and call us at (802)861-4-VWC.
If you are interested in getting involved organizing for Healthcare is a Human Right, collecting postcards or becoming a member of our Art Committee (street theater and more!), contact us!
Last Thursday the hospital techs at Fletcher Allen voted 160 - 87 to join the nurses union, Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, UPV-AFT Local 5221.
“We joined the VFNHP so that we can work with the nurses and the hospital to ensure respect for the employees and quality care for our patients.”
-Chris Gonyeau, a Respiratory Therapist at Fletcher Allen
The Workers' Center is happy to announce we are closing in on filling the $30,000 funding gap! After the massive "Healthcare is a Human Right" rally on May 1st, the VWC lost a $30,000 grant from a national foundation because we refused to take a position limiting women's reproductive rights. (See background and link to media coverage here)
Now, after our Annual Celebration in Barre and the "Fill the Gap" tour with performers Si Kahn and Scott Ainslie, we've raised over $27,000 and we're getting really close! If you want to help us finish filling that gap, go to www.workerscenter.org/donate or call us at (802) 861-2877 if you want to help us raise the money to keep this movement growing.
"There's been a huge outpouring of support. Our whirlwind tour over the the last four days of concerts, house parties and gatherings across the state has shown us that, for one, Vermonters believe healthcare is a human right, that the time is now to build a huge statewide movement and we are going to let nothing and no one get in our way. They've also shown Vermonters believe that that when we say healthcare is a human right, it includes women's rights," said James Haslam, Director of the Vermont Workers' Center.
The members of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, the Nurse’s union at Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC), have a tentative agreement on our third contract. The agreement includes a free and fair process for organizing for the remainder of the employees at the hospital as well as improvements to wages, education and health insurance. This is a tremendous victory for the nurses, techs, all FAHC staff and for patient care. Big-time congratulations are in order for their tremendous hard work.
BURLINGTON - For the past several months, Technical Professionals at Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) have been organizing for better staffing and quality patient care at Vermont's largest hospital. Staff in a wide variety of positions, such as Emergency Department Techs, Pharmacy Techs and Respiratory Therapists, all of whom are critical to the hospital's ability to provide quality patient care, have been organizing to join the healthcare union, Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Care Professionals UPV/AFT Local 5221.
Am I A VWC Member?
The Vermont Workers' Center (VWC) is bringing legendary singer-songwriter-organizer Si Kahn to join them on a series of events and fundraising concerts across the state. For the Barre and Brattleboro performances, Kahn will be joined by Scott Ainslie, the world-renowned blues guitarist based in Brattleboro. The tour celebrates the eleventh anniversary of our work to grow a grassroots network of working and low-income Vermonters for workers' rights and social justice. This tour builds the momentum and energy of over a thousand participants who converged on the Statehouse in Montpelier on May 1, 2009, to celebrate our historic "Health Care is a Human Right" rally.
Next Steps For VWC and Healthcare Is A Human Right
Building off the success of the historic May 1st rally the next steps for this campaign are to:
- consolidate our local organizing committees in major population centers throughout the state
- deepen the understanding of human rights principles for healthcare throughout our base
- strategize with local organizing committees about the best way to hold elected officials accountable to human rights principles.
In the midst of all the excitement and the enthusiasm around our very successful May 1st rally came some very disheartening news for the Vermont Workers' Center and our Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign. We were informed that we lost a $30,000 grant, which we were counting on and that we had received for years from a national Catholic foundation. We were told by the Vermont Diocese the funding would be pulled because we would not agree to put limits on a woman’s right to choose as a part of our Healthcare is a Human Right campaign.