Let’s Make a Deal

05.23.132:00 PM ET

Negotiating Nannies

In Vermont, home-care workers fight for collective bargaining rights.

Despite a climate of stripping the power of unions in states like Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Ohio, Vermont is making moves to support home-care workers’ bargaining rights. Because these nannies, nurses, cooks, and housekeepers are geographically isolated from one another, they need extra help in organizing to demand fair pay. Most make less than $10 an hour, and despite grueling schedules, many live below the poverty line. Women, and particularly minority women, make up a sizable chunk of these workers—indeed, home-care jobs make up 16 percent of low-wage positions available to women. “Union prowess,” argues RH Reality Check, “can improve conditions for workers who aid the underserved and are struggling financially themselves.”