Business Opposition Halts Paid Sick Days Bill

After a lot of hard work from Vermonters, Business Opposition Rules the Day


The Vermont Paid Sick Days Coalition worked hard during the 2010 legislative session for passage of H.382, a bill calling for a minimum of 56 hours of paid sick days for every Vermont worker. The coalition called a press conference in the fall of 2009 and introduced the bill to the public while focusing on the theme of its importance to public health. The relevance of prevention of the spread of the H1N1 virus resulted in a strong press response.


The coalition organized a group of parents, workers, school nurses and doctors, child care providers and business owners who supported the bill and provided testimony to the House General Housing and Military Affairs Committee. When some business groups realized that the bill had serious support and backing, they jumped in action. They requested a third hearing date and business owners pelted the committee with emails. Unfortunately, the opposition of that segment of the business community was enough to kill the bill in the House. Vermont’s majority Democrat House did not want to take it on in the current economic climate.


With your help, over the next several months we will be ramping up our efforts to ensure that Paid Sick Days in a priority in Montpelier in 2011.  We will be asking for your help to build this campaign across the state. Click here to get involved and join the struggle for working Vermonters

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Take Action on Paid Sick Days

Contact members of the General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee


We need your help now, take action! Some in the business community are putting opposition pressure on members of the General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee in regards to H.382 on Paid Sick Days. What you can do to help:

Contact your Representatives!


Take Action - Contact your State Representative


Send us an email to get involved in your community and learn about other opportunities to help.

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Let your Representatives hear your voice

Show your support - add your name to our new sign-on letter


We are ramping up our campaign for the new legislative session.  Show your support for Paid Sick Days and add your name to our sign-on letter by February 8th.  We will then be submitting the letter to the House of Representatives.  Help us move this bill (H.382) forward.


Other important ways to show your support:


Take Action - Write a Letter to the Editor showing your support for Paid Sick Days -  click here for talking points and sample letters.


Send us an email to get involved in your community and learn about other opportunities to help.


View one Vermonter's view on PSDs

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Without Paid Sick Days Vermonters are more susceptible to Swine Flu

Respond to the PSD Coalition Press Conference - Write a letter to your paper!


On Tuesday September 15 the Paid Sick Day Coalition held a press conference on the H1N1 Virus and the effect of paid sick days.  There Dr. Jan Carney, associate dean of public health at the University of Vermont, presented a UVM College of Medicine Study on the effects of Paid Sick Days on Children's Health.  Dr. Carney said that current guidelines recommend that people stay home if they think they have the flu.  She added that it would be easier to do so if people had paid sick leave.


Rep. Paul Poirier, I-Barre co-sponsor of H.382, also spoke at the event, saying that the H1N1 virus will affect children and the elderly more than other populations, and he is worried that a family could slip into economic despair if a person needs to take time off and care for someone suffering with the flu or another bad illness.


Read the press coverage of the event from The Burlington Free Press, Times Argus, Rutland Herald, and WCAX News, or watch it on  Local Channel 17.


Take Action - Write a Letter to the Editor responding to this press conference -  click here for talking points and sample letters.


Send us an email to get involved in your community and learn about other opportunities to help.


View one Vermonter's view on PSDs

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Brattleboro Reformer Endorses Paid Sick Days H.382

Campaign 2010 - Paid Sick Day for Vermont Builds Momentum - Write a Letter of Support


Coming off a very successful press conference in late may where the Paid Sick Day Coalition launched Campaign 2010- Paid Sick Days for Vermont we learned on Wed. June 10th that the Brattleboro Reformer in a very strong editorial endorsed H.382 and encouraged all Vermont lawmakers to enact this important new labor standard in 2010.


The editorial concluded by stating "In a time of economic instability, a paid sick time law is a low-cost reform that would promote public health and protect workers rights. It is a measure that deserves the full support of Vermont's lawmakers next year."  To read the editorial in the Reformer click here.


Now we need your help to continue to build the momentum by submitting Letters to the Editor for the Brattleboro Reformer thanking them for the Editorial if you live in Windham County.  In addition, if you live in Central Vermont please write letters to the editor to the Times Argus and Rutland Herald in support of the article about the campaign.


Take Action - Write a Letter to the Editor -  click here for talking points and sample letters.


Send us an email to get involved in your community and learn about other opportunities to help.


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Campaign 2010 - Paid Sick Days for Vermont Launched

New Poll Released Showing Vermonters Strong Support for PSD


On Wed. May 27th at a press conference at the State House in Montpelier the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign as part of the Paid Sick Day Coalition helped launch Campaign 2010 - Paid Sick Days for Vermont.  At the press conference the coalition announced its plans to engage working Vermonters, businesses and local leaders to helping to make H. 382 a reality in the legislature in 2010.  Over the coming months Campaign 2010 will hold community forums, gather petitions and engage a broad coalition of Vermonters to take action.


The press conference also marked the release of a poll conducted by the UVM Center for Rural Studies showing nearly 9 in 10 Vermont voters surveyed think paid sick days would protect working Vermonters’ health. In addition, more than three-quarters want the legislature to create a workplace standard. This overwhelming support cuts across the political spectrum: 69% of Republicans, 75% of Independents, and 87% of Democrats. To view a summary of the poll click here.


To read the front page, above the fold article in the Times Argus click here.


Sign the petition to support Paid Sick Days for all Vermonters.


Send us an email to get involved in your community and learn how you can help.


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Paid Sick Days Bill - H.382 Introduced in the House of Representatives

New Study Released by VLWC and UVM College of Medicine


The Vermont House of Representatives Introduced a Paid Sick Days Bill on Friday Feb. 27.  The bill provides that employees will earn one hour of paid leave per 30 hrs worked, accumulating time over the course of the year until a maximum of 56 hours or 7 days* are earned.  These paid sick days can then be used in the case of:


  • Physical or mental illness or injury. 

  • Obtaining professional diagnostic, preventative, routine, or therapeutic health care for the employee.

  • Caring for a sick or injured child, parent, parent-in-law, etc

  • Obtaining services for the employee or the employee's child, parent, parent-in-law, etc, when the absence is directly related to social or legal services.

The VLWC now needs your help to support the Paid Sick Days Bill in order to bring it to a vote in the House of Representatives.  Show your support by writing a letter to your Representative and to the editor of your local newspaper. Click Here for information to get started on your letter.


The VLWC has recently concluded a study in collaboration with  students from the UVM College of Medicine.  The study found that adults with less PSDs are more likely to send a child with symptoms of illness to school for financial or work related issues.  Additionally three or less PSDs reduces the amount of well child visits in families when adults are commonly not home, while over 90% of adults took their children to well child visits regardless of PSDs when an adult was typically home during the school day.  See the full study here.


*Assumes 8 hour work days

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Livable Wage Campaign off to a Great Start in the New Year

VPT and You, Livable Wages Discussed on Public Square


The Vermont Livable Wage Campaign is off and running for 2009.  The Joint Fiscal Office on January 15 released the new and updated Basic Needs Budget Report to the legislature.  You can read the numbers here or read the full study

The VLWC has also been pushing forward on getting our message out.  We were on Vermont Public Television throughout the month of January.  Watch our short PSA focusing on livable wages and the minimum wage.


On January 29th at 8pm Public Square, ran a live call in show on issues effecting Vermonters.  The VLWC lead the conversation on the hour long segment on livable wages in Vermont.  Watch the full video HERE!


The VLWC had an Op-Ed which ran in the Burlington Free Press, Times Argus, and Rutland Herald. The article entitled Low wages are crisis catalyst by Colin Robinson begins, "For the nearly 6,000 Vermonters who earn $8 per hour or less, and the nearly 7,000 Vermonters who receive a tipped wage, Jan. 1 is more than the beginning of a new calendar year..."  Read the full article here.


Read the Full Article




Increase in the Federal Minimum Wage

Rises to $6.55/hr but still not enough for many workers

On July 24th 2008 the Federal Minimum Wage went up to $6.55/hr as part of legislation passed by Congress is 2007 which gave millions of workers across the country their first raise in 10 years.  Although this increase is a positive step forward, after 10 years remaining at $5.15/hr it does little to change the economic picture for millions of workers.  Over this same period we have seen median wages for working families decrease while productivity is up 20%.  Additionally, if the federal minimum wage had kept up with inflation since its peak in 1968 it would be $10.06/hr, far closer to a livable wage, but still two dollars more then the minimum wage of Washington state which is the highest in the county.


Here in Vermont we have the 5th highest minimum wages in the county at $7.68/hr and it is adjusted every January 1st for inflation, which doesn’t happen with the federal minimum.  However, Vermont families continue to struggle as fuel, food and the cost of other basic necessities climb faster then our pay checks.  With approximately 20,000 Vermonters making the state minimum wage or receiving the tipped minimum wage, over 60,000 Vermonters living in poverty and many thousands more barely holding on what little they have it is clear something isn’t working.  Unfortunately this isn’t the picture for all Vermonters.  While the majority of us struggle to make up the difference between our wages and our bills the number of Vermont tax filers making over 1 million dollars increase by 23% from 2005 to 2006.


In Vermont we have been and continue to be a leader on many fronts, but clearly something isn’t working for the vast majority of us.  We need to ensure that Vermonters are able to meet their basic needs, receive a livable wage and that small businesses are able to thrive.  We must make sure that we invest in Vermonters to ensure that we can all succeed.


We need your help.  If you want to get involved in ensuring all Vermonters can find Livable Jobs and Livable Wages in Vermont send us an email or call 802-863-2345 x8.

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Livable Wage Victory for Burlington Food Service & Maintenance Workers

Contract will bring workers up to a Livable Wage over 4 years


After a three and a half year campaign, Burlington school food service and custodial workers of AFSCME Local 1343 won an agreement that will bring all of its members up to a livable wage by the end of the contract. This agreement is a ground-breaking victory. This is the second livable wage victory in less then a year, last fall the Burlington para-educators had the first livable wage victory in the Burlington Schools.


The campaign for livable wages for Burlington food service and custodial workers has not been without struggle. It took three years of educating school board and community members, as well as organizing faith leaders, elected officials, other union members and hundreds of Burlington residents to show their support.


It is hoped that this contract will change the economic reality for many hard working Vermonters.  According to the Report on Livable Wages in Burlington Schools put out in June 2007 by the Peace and Justice Center’s, Vermont Livable Wage Campaign and the Vermont Workers Center, no food service workers make the hourly livable wage, 43% earned $8.59/hr or less in 2005-2006 school year, and 94% of food service workers are women.  Many food service workers have to work two jobs to make ends meet while their own children qualify for free or reduced price meals at school.


Congratulations to the food service and maintenance workers in Burlington and thank you to everyone who help out over the past three and a half years.  The hard work of the food service and maintenance workers and AFSCME, coupled with the community solidarity efforts and Burlington Livable City Coalition lead to a victory that is a true community success and finally address some issues of gender wage inequity in Burlington.

Read the Press Coverage

Are you a tipped worker?
Do you know your rights?

Watch our short video, Survival Tips, to learn more.

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2009 Livable Wage Figures
Read the new numbers

Read full study by the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office



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    VLWC Media Coverage






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