Vermont labor unions picket in Burlington against job cuts

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:30 AM EDT
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Union members are speaking out to protect their jobs in the face of massive budget shortfalls for state and local governments.

Representatives from municipal unions in Burlington picketed Tuesday to demand that the city government not target union jobs or ask for contract concessions as a way to balance the budget. After a rally at the public works building, the group paraded in cars to City Hall. They have a 20-point plan to protect unions and government services.

AFSCME Local 1343, the union representing Burlington workers, says the city refuses to guarantee there won't be layoffs in the near future. They support a recent plan from Progressives to implement a local wealth tax to make up for lost revenue.

"It's all about essential staffing, It's about not opening up contracts, it's about not laying off. We feel that Vermont, Burlington -- they've laid off enough people," said Damion Gilbert, the chapter's president.

Burlington has not taken significant steps to offset anticipated budget shortfalls.