Raise Up Vermont - Rights and Democracy

Raise Up Vermont


For a Vermont that works for all of us,
not just the wealthy few!

1. Raise job standards by making the minimum wage a livable wage.

2. Establish family and medical leave insurance, so Vermont's working families can care for their loved ones.

3. Strengthen existing law to prevent employers denying working people the protections they are entitled to under the law by misclassifying them as "independent contractors."

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When Vermont’s families thrive, Vermont’s communities thrive. Working people in Vermont should be able to care for and support their families with dignity.

Please join Rights & Democracy in raising our voices to raise up standards for working Vermonters. Together, we can build a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

Who's signing

Shawna Bessette
Betsy McGavisk
Will Alden
Peter Cummings
Eva Krukowski
Matthew LeFluer
Rikki Risatti
Lynn Mazza
Elise Greaves
Mary Skutel
Ann Braden
Kyle Rosenblad
Lily Mason
Sharon I Gouwens
Brian Barrow
Thomas Kelly
Gayle Neave
Morgan Nichols
Janet Savage
Monika Ivancic
Jacob Danford
Christina Pasnick
John Balch
Lawrence and Albert Webster
Andy Sebranek
eli mutino
Sandra Batchelder
Todd Clason
5,000 signatures

Will you sign?

  • Shawna Bessette
    signed 2018-11-14 10:11:55 -0500
  • Betsy McGavisk
    signed 2018-11-14 09:41:05 -0500
  • Will Alden
    signed 2018-08-15 22:34:37 -0400
  • Peter Cummings
    signed 2018-07-23 12:26:22 -0400
  • Eva Krukowski
    signed 2018-04-17 13:32:14 -0400
    Testimony in Support of Raising the Wage in Vermont

    S. 40, a bill to raise the minimum wage

    Eva Krukowski

    Bennington College Class of 2020

    Vermont State Legislative Intern (Winter 2018)

    I am speaking as a college student in Bennington Vermont, and also a former Legislative Intern for the State House. During this past winter, I worked in the State House under supervision from Sen. Brian Campion. I was one of the interns who came up from Bennington College and I actually focused most of my work on this bill so I am familiar with the pros and cons that the legislature is grappling with on this issue. I was born and raised in San Francisco, but I have chosen to study in Vermont from here on out.

    The bill S.40, a bill to raise the minimum wage, came out of the S. Economic Development/General Affairs. Senator Mickael Sirotikin, the chair of this committee, truly did his work on this bill well in advance of this session to make it the best it can be for the time being. There was a study group complete with Senior Economists like Tom Kavet and Joyce Manchester, and support from the legislative council by Damien Leonard, among others. I interviewed Sn. Economist Tom Kavet during my internship and questioned him on the pros and cons of this bill. I was very pleased to hear in his testimony that he is in support of this bill.

    I’d like to represent the majority of students from Bennington who earn Vermont’s minimum wage through our Federal Work-Study positions. Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money in college to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.

    Bennington College is located unfortunately far away from Main St. and Downtown Bennington which makes it inconvenient for students to shop or work at the many local, small businesses. The closest places to shop are Walmart, Price Chopper, Hannaford, and Home Depot. As much as I would love to shop at the local bookstore, farmers’ market, or mom & pop restaurants, I cannot afford to do so. I earn my spending money directly from working my part-time minimum wage job on campus. The type of student budget that I am describing is chump change compared to the budget and expenses that you hear from working families because most living expenses for college students are included in tuition. The small, student budget that I’m describing consists of expenses like books, groceries, concert tickets, and clothes. Students who work a Federal Work-Study position or any part-time position should be able to afford a budget like this.

    Students want to be able to support small businesses because we have all moved to Vermont to fall in love with Vermont culture. The Vermont experience is built on the backs of small business owners and farmers. The charm of Vermont does not exist at staple stores like Walmart and Home Depot, it exists at Powers Market in North Bennington. Or at the Bennington Bookstore on Main St. College students in Vermont want to support and buy into the “Vermont charm," but we cannot afford to.

    As a student, I am faced every day with the task of learning how to “walk the walk” as a working adult. Many students and business owners can attest to the beneficial experience of hiring young people. When you hire a young person, you are giving that young person a clear vision of themselves running a business. Not only are you giving them a dream, but you are giving them a resume and experience. Counterintuitively, raising the minimum wage will benefit small businesses because it is making them competitive with big businesses. Young people would prefer to work at a small business because they can more easily envision themselves having a unique career rather than joining the masses who work at low-paying jobs for corporations.

    I am not just a college student who moved to Vermont to go college and then leave the state to work back in my home-state. I moved to Vermont to become a working, voting, citizen of the state. It would be very easy for me to move back home to San Francisco, CA and earn $15/hour flipping burgers. Believe me when I say that I would rather live in this beautiful state of Vermont and flip burgers for $15/hr than move back to my sunny California.

    We all are too aware that Vermont’s workforce is aging and because of this, Governor Phil Scott wants to attract more young people into the state to study, work and start a family… I am the target demographic that the Governor wants to attract to stay in Vermont. So please help me make this dream an economic reality and vote yes on S. 40, a bill to raise the wage in Vermont.

    Thank you,

    Eva Krukowski

    Additional Information:

    I understand why people are skeptical of it because I have also been skeptical of S. 40. Here are some things to keep in mind in regards to this bill:

    An incremental increase in wages until 2024: This bill is offering a 6-year grace period for businesses in Vermont to plan financially for the $15/hr benchmark. This grace period means that the bill as is, will only effectively increase wages by a mere $2.84 above the projected minimum wage under the current law.

    Single-parent families, female workers, and young people will be affected the most by this bill because this is the disproportionally demographic earning minimum wage in VT.

    Not only big businesses: If this bill only asked big businesses pay $15/hr, then small businesses would lose their workforce: If only Walmart and Dunkin’ Doughnuts could afford to pay you $15/hr, then most of the workforce would choose to work at those businesses. We might lose the small business workforce if we make any more incentives to work at big businesses.

    “S.40_Joyce Manchester, Legislative Joint Fiscal Office_Fiscal Note_2-8-2018.Pdf.” February 7th, 2018, Fiscal Note prepared by Joyce Manchester, Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office, 802-828-2295, VT LEG #330062 v.4, n.d.
  • Matthew LeFluer
    signed 2018-04-10 16:21:15 -0400
    I’m. A. Person. With. A. Learning. Disability. And. Working. In. The. Workforce. Is. Stress Me. Out. Due. To. Being. Underpay. And. Not. Making. A. Livable. Wage. To. Make. End’s. Meet. For. Rent , Food, Transportation. Gas. Money. We. Need. To. Act. Now. For. All. Vermont’s. Youngest. Children. And. Family’s To. Move. Ahead. And. Reach. For Vermont’s. Leadership. Future.
  • Rikki Risatti
    signed 2018-03-25 01:14:18 -0400
    After enduring another painful year of homelessness from gentrification displacement from 7 years of living in White River Junction, VT; this winter we moved into the only occupancy that accepted us after ceaseless searching for any opportunity. We were rejected by section 8 options for being too poor, even with SSDI.

    I invested all of my time and savings into making the space livable where both a teenage girl had killed herself in and a woman had been recently raped by an ex military sniper who is now in prison for serial aggressively violent crimes. After a few months of delay, the landlord responded to paying an electrician to connect heat to a freezing room that then exposed us to contracting bed bug/mites which spread contamination throughout the house. Despite being hard working and intelligent people, we do not have a functioning dryer to combat the black mold exasperated from a leaking roof or to kill the pest infestation eating us alive nor can afford the hundreds of dollars to launder fabrics . My medical debt from disabilities and limited income has prevented me from obtaining even purchasing bed bug protective covers for bedding that was donated to us to alleviate the burdens of our cyclic conditions of poverty perpetuating illnesses also denied coverage by Medicaid insurances division. I’m an advocate for basic income to benefit every resident regardless of circumstances or performance ability qualifications as a way to stimulate community vitality. Financial security is a basic right everyone is worthy of to receive, gross negligence of this is a deplorable travesty that must be rectified now. To eliminate the abominations of poverty, everyone should receive at least $30,000 net yearly income to be freed from the enslavement of credit interest debt. People will then have the resource means to prevent the traumatic victimization of homelessness and resulting incriminating acts experienced as direct consequence of surviving poverty.

    A temporary home “guest” which our circumstances coerced and pressured us into at this property was effected by countless mite bites, broke agreements to not smoke indoors, needlessly broke an entry window and refused to amend repairs, and choked me against a wall while I was trying to clean, and behaved in unwelcomed ways reported to the police whose current policy protected the man whom was not on the lease, neglected health hygiene, and was physically abusive. Too many people for too long have directly been harmed by these policies which will immediately change as soon as government politicians authentically represent addressing constituents needs.

    The local emergency response for crisis intervention granted by Economic Services sheltered me in a motel that had no bed bug covers on the pillows, bed, or box spring. The room I’m quarantined in while being treated for scabies is dirty, covered with mold, and dead bugs for $90 a nigh. I found dried blood marks on the pillows and the management whom was confrontational about accepting my service dog rights, also refused to wash to the provided blankets with holes in the sheets. The Health Department must expanding budgets to include bed bug/mite cover requirements as a public health code concern.

    I chose to vote for Bernie once, but he has not delivered reparation of The Public Demands to fund community vitality and protecting environmental rights historically neglected by current institutions which must cease systematic oppressions.

    1.The Public Demands the Vermont Liberation Union Movement “by any means necessary” cause to spread information on how to decolonize puritanical America and abolish fascist culture; a campaign whose moral agenda resolves to face corruption and stands accountable to empower a thriving environment for humanity.

    2.Residents Demand succeeding from federal jurisdiction.


    3.Residents Demand raising the poverty yearly income index be set to a net worth of $30,000.


    4.Residents Demand basic income grants to all residents regardless of verifying varying circumstances to a minimum of $30,000 net yearly income. With supplemental assistance reimbursement for all medical treatments for underemployed peoples living with disabilities.


    5.Residents Demand possessing hotel chain architectures in Vermont State to house displaced persons experiencing homelessness. Tourism economy flow will be redirected for accommodations by local independent hosts.


    6.Residents Demand all residencies must become equipped with a bathtub with access to hot water in addition to laundering services to promote good public health hygiene practices and prevent ailment outbreaks. And bedbug mite covers must be on all beds, box springs in all facilities.


    7.Residents Demand all social service departments and pharmacies must provide internal condoms at adjusted sliding scale , of donation fees, offering no less than 5 daily per individual receiving as needed.


    8.Residents Demand increase food stamp maximum allowance to $800 monthly per all non/under employed single and childless individuals, accommodating a budget of $200 per week. Non/ under employed active guardians should receive equal sum allowance per child.


    9.Residents Demand people living with disabilities quality bulk food home delivery service options payable by EBT.


    10.Residents Demand banning the VT Health Commissions Access Insurance Division (Medicaid) from roles of judgement to deny coverage so as to realize actual universal health care which does not prevent progressing medical prescriptions or treatment resource availability.


    11.Residents Demand Medicaid Insurance coverage for vision and dental.


    12.Residents Demand Migrant Sanctuary State Status; Removing all ICE employees from entering Vermont territory and offering equal citizen protections without requirement to verify identification documentation.


    13.Residents Demand Decriminalization of Sex Work and all drug substances.


    14.Residents Demand prisoner inmates not be sent out of state for incarceration and that local jails be de privatized non profits and be centers focused on restorative justice and rehabilitation mission statements.


    15.Residents demand no aide be denied based on Veteran status and duty post release of all internationally deployed soldiers to Decolonize American Imperialism. Vermont refuses production of nuclear/atomic bombs and resists invasion in defense.


    16.Residents Demand rape convictions be sentenced to any punishment method of the survivors

    ; including a death sentence. If the convict has been found guilty of committing serial rape, they shall be publicly humiliated by cruel and unusual punishment to suffer painful torture afflicted for an extended period of time before allowed mercy of death.


    17.Residents Demand School Tuition Coverage and career investment debt interest cancellation


    18.Residents Demand paid full and part time employment options with complete insurance benefits plus sick leave, excused birthing abscense, and vacation coverage, plus driving Id license provisions with state maintained vehicles for ethnic minority ethic committees designated to every administrative agency to further empower diversity in population development to counteract white colonial supremacy to present transparent gender, sexuality, and ethnic eugenics educational events, bias preference discrimination awareness, advising and protecting available safe space as conflict resolution mediators, and anti bullying programming to promote plurality inclusivity programs requiring all staff observation and participatory attendance.


    19.Residents Demand 24 hour available transportation service in every county.


    20.Residents Demand Ban on businesses supplying carry out handled plastic bags.


    21.Residents Demand Mandatory state wide zero sort recycling and composting.


    22.Residents Demand Ban on all fracking infrastructure.


    23.Residents Demand Ban on international imports from unethical slavery; including but not limited to offending industrial factory, agriculture, or corporations under complaint.


    24.Residents Demand businesses whom have been cited for pollution to desist pollution practices regardless of fees charged, environmental safety denies businesses to pay bribes to continue polluting.


    25.Residents Demand Sheriff department offering relief of abuse to non domestic partners in shared household residences.


    26.Residents Demand Licensed Counselor Professionals not require supervision from Psychiatrists.


    27.Residents Demand Hate Groups to not gather.


    28.Residents Demand secure funding granted for each county to hold at least one annual parade festival requiring businesses schedules to accommodate workers right to attend.


    29.Residents Demands national and state recognition of emancipation for minors. Local applicants with critical need to escape conditions causing failure to thrive must be supervised by DCF whose regulations must deny guardianship appeals of decision outcome, make no exception to ever reinstate an adolescent to return to guardianship, and must permit youth under the age of 18 appeal opportunities to plea without pressure or coercion for alternative choice preferences of consented custody responsibilities between never sexually related individuals. If the person under 18 becomes sexually involved with, harassed, abused, raped, or assaulted by a guardian, the pervert terminates granted custody status rights immediately and DCF must be notified ASAP on how to reconcile the adolescent as Independent or recognize a mutually consensual appointment of a new guardian.


    30.Residents Demand High school curriculum require an independent research and debate class and critical analysis of the Art of War and the Anarchist Cook Book.

    31.The World Demands the impeachment of the Trump Regime and presidential re election with banishment of the Electoral College from assembling participation and to be imprisoned for treason when found to be conspiring practice.


    32. Residents Demand absolute advancements acknowledging validation of all Indigenous Sovereignty Treaty Respects and deliverance of reparations for Native, POC, LGBTQAI+, and under privileged exploits surviving inter generational democide.

    33.Residents Demand democratic representative positions immediately cooperate with these civil law policy amendments. Intersectionalist movements will enforce full government compliance to expedite modernizing preexisting terms of legalities by occupying any means necessary, free of risk from mercenary interruption or by police intervention or arrest in protest demonstrations whenever politicians fail to be an ally in solidarity with these causes.
  • Lynn Mazza
    signed 2018-02-22 09:20:34 -0500
    How is it possible that someone can be working 40 hours per week and still be eligible for food stamps? When huge portions of the work force are living below the poverty line, you know there must be something very wrong.
  • Elise Greaves
    signed 2018-01-18 16:43:37 -0500
  • Mary Skutel
    signed 2017-12-10 10:51:40 -0500
  • Ann Braden
    signed 2017-12-03 16:52:19 -0500
  • Kyle Rosenblad
    signed 2017-11-29 10:32:34 -0500
  • Lily Mason
    signed 2017-11-07 14:33:44 -0500
  • Sharon I Gouwens
    signed 2017-10-26 08:07:55 -0400
  • Brian Barrow
    signed 2017-09-04 21:15:46 -0400
    Two adults working 40+hours a week with 5 kids and still can’t make get ahead. We try to do all the right things. Pay bills, watch the credit score like a hawk, coupon and shop sales. But we still can’t get ahead to put any money into savings, let alone buy a house.
  • Thomas Kelly
    signed 2017-08-26 17:16:37 -0400
  • Gayle Neave
    signed 2017-08-23 12:22:27 -0400
  • Morgan Nichols
    signed 2017-08-15 14:41:46 -0400
  • Janet Savage
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-15 08:00:16 -0400
    Sign the petition: Work With Dignity
  • Janet Savage
    signed 2017-08-15 07:59:44 -0400
  • Monika Ivancic
    signed 2017-08-14 14:18:13 -0400
  • Jacob Danford
    signed 2017-08-13 14:47:35 -0400
  • Christina Pasnick
    signed 2017-08-12 22:16:21 -0400
  • John Balch
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-08-12 16:29:28 -0400
    Sign the petition: Work With Dignity
  • John Balch
    signed 2017-08-12 16:28:40 -0400
  • Lawrence and Albert Webster
    signed 2017-08-11 13:45:18 -0400
  • Andy Sebranek
    signed 2017-08-11 12:11:07 -0400
  • eli mutino
    signed 2017-08-10 16:35:17 -0400
  • Sandra Batchelder
    signed 2017-08-10 10:41:23 -0400
  • Todd Clason
    signed 2017-08-10 09:14:36 -0400


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