Vermont Strengthens Union Laws
Two years after Janus, Vermont is changing their laws to protect organized labor
Following the Janus decision in 2018, a number of states began instituting laws to strengthen unions' ability to collect dues and represent their members. These laws helped to keep losses to a minimum. Seeing the good work these laws have done, Vermont has finally decided to get on board and protect their state’s unions.
The new law does a few things to help unions. First, it requires that employers take dues directly out of members' paychecks. This automates the process and ensures that the union gets their dues in a timely manner. It also expedites union elections for public sector employees, cutting the timeline down to just 21 days. Finally, it makes it easier for unions to sign up new members by allowing them to talk to new hires at their orientation and giving the union new workers contact information so that they can follow up immediately after the meeting.
Surprisingly, the bill was signed into law by the state’s Republican Governor Phil Scott. However, Scott did say that while he would sign the bill he hoped that lawmakers would amend it next year to add more privacy for new hires whose information is being handed over to the union.
Heather Riemer, the director of the Vermont American Federation of Teachers said that the new law makes it easier for people to form and join unions and fight for equal wages and working conditions.
“Unions can’t promise that things will be better after you organize," he said. "But all the statistics say that union workers make more money, especially when you look at women and people of color. The difference in the pay gap once you have a union, that disappears. We think it should be easier for people to have a voice and a vote at work.”