Burlington, Vermont, 5/30/19 –Today 500+ Union members and allies picketed the GOP fundraiser in Burlington which featured extremist Union-buster Scott Walker and Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott. The picket was organized by AFSCME-VT, IBEW Local 300, The Vermont Buildings Trades, and dozens of other Unions & pro-Labor community/political organizations. Labor appreciates the support received by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders who reached out to supporters yesterday to express his backing of the picket and to encourage Vermonters to demonstrate alongside us.
The demonstration was electric! Speakers included AFSCME Local 1343 President Damion Gilbert, myself [VT AFL-CIO District Vice President/AFSCME Local 2413 member David Van Deusen], IBEW Organizer Danielle Bombardier, President of APWU-Vermont President Omar Fernandez, and many other Labor and community leaders (*see below for full list of speakers). AFSCME member and Burlington Schools Chapter Chair Dwight Brown did an awesome job MC’ing the event. While speakers touched on many issues, all were pro-Labor at core [like Vermont says NO to Union-busting; Labor is strong when we stand united; working people need to make a livable wage of $15 an hours NOW; & the politics of the status quo as well as those of the anti-Union right shall be resisted and overcome]. Picket participants came from the 36 endorsing Unions, the 20 endorsing community/political organizations, as well as from members of the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont, IATSE, Vermont’s Lt. Governor David Zuckerman-Progressive, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, State Rep Brian Cina-Progressive, and many City Council members and a number of other elected officials.
Today was a great day for Vermont’s Labor Movement. Make NO mistake. We delivered a POWERFUL statement to those who would oppose us: Labor is strong and is stronger still when we stand united with our political & community allies! However, this CANNOT be just one day…
May 30, 2019 needs to be the start of the building of an effective movement here in Vermont which is capable to addressing the social, economic, & political challenges facing working class people during these trying times. And here, this movement needs to understand that our power, our true power, is not in DC or Montpelier; it is in our shops, in our communities, in our neighborhoods, on the streets, and in our Unions!
So again, thank you to all who came out today to show that we are UNION STRONG. Let us come together again soon to begin the hard work of building that movement which our times are calling for. TOGETHER WE WILL WIN!
David Van Deusen
District Vice President
Picket Was Endorsed By: Vermont State Labor Council AFL-CIO, Vermont Building Trades Council AFL-CIO, Green Mountain Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, AFSCME Local 490 (Bennington County), AFSCME Local 1201 (Rutland & Addison Counties), AFSCME Local 1343 (Chittenden & Franklin Counties), AFSCME Local 1369 (Washington County), AFSCME Local 1674 (Howard Center), AFSCME Local 2413 (Northeast Kingdom), AFSCME Local 3797 (Windsor County), AFSCME Local 3977 (Lamoille County Mental Health), AFSCME Local 4802 (VT Home Healthcare), IBEW Local 300, Laborers’ International Union of North America (VT), The Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 2 VT/NY, Iron Workers Local 7, Roofers & Waterproofers Local 241 VT/NY, USW Local 4, AFT-Vermont, United Academics at UVM, APWU-Vermont, UFCW Local 1459, Operating Engineers Local 98 VT/NH, Teamsters Local 597, Vermont State Employees’ Association, VSEA Chittenden County Chapter, VSEA Central Vermont Chapter, VSEA Brattleboro Chapter, Staff Alliance at VSEA, Vermont-NEA, Burlington Education Association, Vermont National Staff Organization at NEA, UE Local 203, UE Local 255, Vermont Workers Center, Vermont Labor United, Vermont Woman’s March, Vermont-National Association of Social Workers, Rights And Democracy, 350 Vermont, Vermont Sierra Club, Vermonters For A New Economy, Green Mountain John Brown Gun Club, Black Lives Matter-Greater Burlington Area, Peace & Justice Center, LBGTQIA Alliance of Vermont, Vermont Progressive Party, Burlington Progressive Party, Burlington City Council Progressive Party Caucus, Young Progressives of Vermont, Vermont House of Representatives Progressive Party Caucus, Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Central Vermont Democratic Socialists of America, Vermont Liberty Union Party, Burlington Democratic Party, Vermont Democratic Party.
*Picket speakers were as follows:
- Damion Gilbert, AFSCME Local 1343 President;
- David Van Deusen, AFSCME Local 2413 Member/District Vice President VT AFL-CIO;
- Danielle Bombardier, IBEW Local 300/Building Trades Organizer;
- Omar Fernandez, APUW-Vermont President;
- Leigh Ullman, Wisconsin AFL-CIO;
- Tom Payeur, Winooski Education Association President (NEA);
- John Davy, VSEA Chittenden Chapter President;
- Deb Snell, AFT-Vermont President;
- Jill Charbonneau, President of the Vermont AFL-CIO;
- Kristen Vrancken and Friends, Woman’s March Vermont/LBGTQIA Alliance of VT;
- Jubillee McGill, Rights And Democracy Activist;
- Tev Kelman, Vermont Workers Center Activist;
- Dwight Brown, Burlington Schools Chapter Chair AFSCME Local 1343.
- PS Special shout out to members of AFSCME Local 490 who came all the up from Bennington for the picket! And likewise to the Brattleboro Chapter of the VSEA! Job well done.