Vermont workers' center at the fore of health care advocacy

January 15, 2015

 Vermont Digger: Last week’s pro-universal health care demonstration during Gov. Peter Shumlin’s inaugural address drew attention locally and nationally, and left many wanting to know more about its organizers — the Vermont Workers’ Center, which has grown substantially in the past five years.

Founded nearly two decades ago as Central Vermonters for a Livable Wage, the nonprofit labor and human rights group has evolved into a substantial grassroots organization.

In 2001, as the Vermont Workers’ Center, the group affiliated with Jobs With Justice, a national pro-labor group, and is essentially that organization’s Vermont chapter. VWC founded the Health Care Is a Human Right campaign in 2008 because the cost of medical care and health insurance was creating crises for its members that “transcended” the workplace, according to the group’s website.

The campaign is viewed by some as a model for health care advocacy in other states.

Since launching the Health Care Is a Human Right Campaign, VWC’s annual budget has grown from $154,500 in 2008 to $638,700 in 2012, the latest publicly available tax filing from the group.

James Haslam, VWC’s director, said its current budget is close to $800,000, a more than fivefold increase since the campaign began...Click Here to read the full article