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UE Local 221
Convenes Head Start
Worker Conference


Members of UE Local 221 who work at two different Head Start programs in Vermont gathered on Saturday, July 27 for the local’s first Head Start Workers Conference.

Head Start is a national, federally-funded program that works with low-income families to provide services that foster development and success in learning. Currently, Congress is discussing various proposals to fundamentally change the program made by President Bush, the American Federation of Teachers and others. Any and all of these proposals could have serious effects on the working conditions of UE members, and all Head Start workers.


While Head Start maintains a "Policy Council" structure, which gives parents a voice in changes in the program, workers can only gain a voice through organization. UE member Nancy Savoy noted that "It is important that parents are involved in running this program. However, parents are often involved for only a year or two. As workers, we have seen the changes that the program has gone through over the years."

Conference participants agreed to do the following four things:

  • Write a letter to Vermont’s Congressional delegation, signed by as many Head Start workers as possible, asking the delegation to keep Local 221 members informed as changes to the Head Start program are proposed.

  • Investigate the current proposals to change Head Start at the National level and to find out what changes have taken place in Maine where Head Start has already been moved into the Department of Education.

  • Meet again for discussion and dinner in St. Johnsbury during the UE District Two Council meeting in October.

  • Continue to try to make contact with workers from the unorganized Head Starts in Vermont and let them know of the gains organized workers have made in dealing with overwork, too much paperwork, and unfair treatment from supervisors.

Participants work at the Head Start and Early Head Start programs of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) and Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA).

UE News - 9/02

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