October 25, 2013

AFSCME welcomes Milestone employees

In a union election held Wednesday and Thursday, nearly 500 employees of the Rockford-based not-for-profit agency Milestone, Inc., voted resoundingly to form a union with the AFSCME Council 31.

The new union members include direct-support workers, rehabilitative aides, maintenance workers, cooks, housekeepers, bus drivers, physical therapists and other employees of Milestone, a provider of residential and developmental care for adults and children.

"We're coming together as a union to have a strong voice at work because we are deeply committed to the individuals we serve," said Paula Burnett, a team leader who has worked at Milestone for more than 15 years.

"With our union, we can provide our individuals with the best possible care and improve our own working conditions as well," added Antonio Leach, a direct-support worker with 12 years' experience.

"We're gratified to welcome Milestone employees to our union family," AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer said. "We look forward to working together with management to better the lives of Milestone workers and the individuals they serve diligently every day."

AFSCME is part of the statewide Care Campaign, a coalition of direct-support workers, their unions, provider agencies, associations, families and advocates dedicated to raising wages for direct-support workers across Illinois. Today the industry average wage is $9.35 an hour – 21 percent below the poverty line for a family of four. For more information, visit

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