The Howard Center’s employee union voted unanimously to approve a new contract with the mental health provider that will give employees a more than 10% wage increase in the first year, among other wins.
The new agreement and higher wages come at a crisis point in Vermont where a shortage of mental health counselors is causing long waiting lists for clients, according the Department of Mental Health. Part of the reason: the starting wages of workers, cost of child care and high housing prices in the state just don’t add up.
Over the three-year span of the Howard Center employees’ collective bargaining agreement, wages will increase by 19.23%. Starting employees will be paid a minimum of $18 and evening, overnight and weekend shifts all got a bump in the amount of bonus pay awarded.
Employees at the Burlington-based organization also will see a significant increase to their retirement benefit.
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Contact Urban Change Reporter Lilly St. Angelo at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @lilly_st_ang