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COVID-19 Crisis: Joining together & taking action as AFT Vermont members

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy in this dystopian moment. I have been working with the patient population affected by this pandemic and it has been eye opening how ill- prepared we were as a country to deal with something of this magnitude. We need to continue to push to get front line workers the supplies and equipment they need. We need to make sure our Higher Ed colleagues are not being punished for circumstances beyond their control.

As the Covid-19 crisis is unfolding, AFT Vermont members are organizing and fighting for ourselves, our families, our students and our patients.

  • Local union leaderships have been meeting with management over the effects of the pandemic and the effects on AFT Vermont healthcare and higher education members and demanding measures to protect our members health and financial security.

  • United Academics leaders at UVM have advocated for allowing their healthcare colleagues at UVMMC to be allowed to park at UVM’s parking lots, and for the staff (who are yet-to-be organized) to not lose pay or have to deplete their leave banks because of Covid-19. Sign petition here.

  • Faculty and Staff union leaders at the Vermont State Colleges are organizing and fighting for the right of staff to be able to work from home, not lose pay, and not have to deplete their leave banks.

  • AFT Vermont Union leaders have met with members of our D.C. congressional delegation and their staffs to let them know the day-to-day effects of the lack of planning and compassion by some of our administrations and the need for our public institutions of higher education to be bailed out before corporations are bailed out.

  • Our healthcare leaders at UVM Medical Center, Brattleboro Medical Center, Porter Medical Center and Community Health Centers of Burlington are preparing for the pandemic and are advising state and federal elected leaders on what’s needed--and meeting with leaders of other regional healthcare unions.

  • Our members are standing in solidarity with each other, protecting each other and advocating for students, patients and all Vermonters.

Here are some things you can do right now:

  1. Sign this petition to the UVM Administration for a safer, and more compassionate policy during this crisis

  2. Sign this petition to demand protective gear for healthcare workers across the country.

  3. Contact Senator LeahySenator Sanders and Rep. Welch to make sure they are advocating that Vermont’s public institutions of higher education receive emergency funding to keep our colleges afloat, prevent layoffs and allow them to refund students’ room and board--and to provide student debt relief

  4. Contact Senator LeahySenator Sanders and Rep. Welch and ask them to provide funding for our hospitals so that healthcare workers won’t be laid off during the pandemic, and to make sure healthcare workers have the protective gear they need.

In Solidarity,
Deb Snell, RN
AFT Vermont President

p.s. Healthcare workers who need childcare should fill out this form.

If you are denied Workers’ Comp (if you became ill at work because of Covid-19) or unemployment insurance (if you are laid off), please let us know immediately.

Read this story about union members taking action to produce more ventilators.

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