November 18th Statement to the Board

“I Love My Job At Howard: I Wish I Could Afford To Stay”
Howard Board and Management:
We are here today to bring you stories of ourselves and our co-workers, finding ourselves six months without a fair contract at the table with the Howard Center.
Comments and stories have been pouring in from fellow employees trying to come to terms with the fact that the agency is showing no actual respect and concern towards just compensation for its frontline workers, who are the ones keeping the agency afloat day after day.
City Councilors and State representatives alike are asking- Since this is the infrastructure the city has in place for dealing with some of its most pressing issues- homelessness, mental health, drug abuse, family services- Why is it not employeeing its workers under a livable wage and with conditions that allow them to remain more than a year and develop as professionals? They have taken note and are prepared to take new steps in support.
We are coming to you as the Advisory Body for this agency, urging you to not be on the wrong side of decision-making in this process. Urging you to do what is in your power to see that the agency –As it’s number one priority before taking on new projects!–  Compensate its employees with a wage comensurate to the cost of living in Vermont. Towards the development of an actual working relationship with its employees based on dignity, equity and justice, for the tremendous services they daily live out and embody for this community.
Employees are frustrated, feeling unrecognized and unheard. As you listen to these stories from co-workers I urge you to ask yourselves:
Who is it that you believe makes up the Howard Center?  What does it mean to have a true standard of excellence that begins with the working conditions for employees on the ground?
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