Unions Call on Burlington Mayor to Not Cut Jobs

Union workers from across Vermont rallied against potential job cuts for city employees atop a parking garage in Burlington Tuesday evening. 

Nearly 100 people, including Burlington city councilors, union leaders from across Vermont and elected state officials, rallied following a “car picket” around Burlington City Hall. 

Damion Gilbert, president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1343 and an organizer of the event, said unions and their supporters were calling on Mayor Miro Weinberger to promise no city employees will lose their jobs due to budgetary shortfalls. 

In early June, Weinberger told the unions to expect layoffs unless contracts were renegotiated, Gilbert said. 

The unions refused and Weinberger has since withdrawn the request. 

The city is expecting a $10 million revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic’s economic effect. 

In an interview at the event, Gilbert said he and fellow organizer David Van Deusen, president of the Vermont State Labor Council AFL-CIO, considered canceling the event since Weinberger withdrew his request. 

“The thing is two weeks after we talked to [Weinberger], he managed to find $2 million laying around,” Gilbert said. “I think it was just a cat and mouse game.” 

Ultimately, Gilbert said he wants city officials to pledge no city employees will lose their jobs as a result of budget cuts.