District Council 1707, AFL-CIO

President of Home Care Employees, Local 389, Manuela Butler

During the 1970's and 1980's, Manuela Butler tolled as a seamstress and a shop steward in Local 155 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. She said she was extremely proud of her efforts as leader of the fire brigade, which would have warned workers to escape safely in case of a fire.

This native of Puerto Rico settled in Wiliamsburg, Brookllyn some years ago and never left. She raised her two children and watched thier success. She started her new career working as a home care worker in 1991. She has worked at the Association for the Aged for more than 15 years.

She remains active in the fighting for affordable housing in Williamsburg and while gentrification has created an upheaval for working family housing and services, she remains optimistic that working families will prevail over the real estate giants if the community unites.

She became progressively active in the union becuase she saw the needs for more members to be active to fight for the rights of home care workers including changing the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act recognizing home care workers as workers and not care givers an antiquated law put in to effect in the late 1930s. She said that recognition of home care workers is necessary because it is an affront to workers and women, in particular.

One of her proudest moments as a worker and as a trade unionist was going to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama in 2011 to discuss the fight for overtime pay for home care workers.

In 2012, she joined AFSCME to organize home care workers in Vermont and she wants to continue to be as active as possible to ultimately build the largest local within the Council.

Whether traveling through Europe or Central America, she takes particular enjoyment of how other nations across the world treat their employees and how the interaction manifests itself.   

 

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