University Unions at UVM

At UVM there are four unions that represent various types of employees who work for and within the institution. The first union is comprised of the UVM police officers, who are represented by the Teamsters, one of the largest national unions of American workers. They are located in Washington D.C. and include smaller local unionized organizations around the country such as the UVM Police Services employees. Member groups agree to the terms of the teamster brotherhood and then add their own rules as needed at the local level.

A second union that exists at UVM is United Electric (UE), who represents the custodial, maintenance and bus driving employees. The bus drivers have another union that is organized separately from United Electric but according to Colin Robinson, leader of the student organization SLAP, the bus drivers are represented by United Electric.

United Electric is a national union that represents many people in Vermont. It has been soliciting to pass legislation in Vermont that would raise the minimum wage because over 60 percent of workers in Vermont who earn a wage less than eight dollars per hour are over thirty years of age, said Jonathan Kissam, Secretary-Treasurer of the UE local 221.

United Electric will be negotiating with UVM administration in the spring of 2006 to discuss issues of wages and benefits for the employees who are represented by UE at UVM.

A third union at UVM is United Academics, who is part of the AFT union. United Academics represents the full time faculty members, who have been in negotiation with the UVM administration since last year. In December 2004 an impasse in contract negotiations occurred because the Administration and UA could not agree on certain issues of salary and benefits.

The negotiations resumed this fall and have been mediated by a third party to help reach a compromise. The issues that have been negotiated this fall have been concerned with wages, workers benefits and intellectual property rights. No resolution has been made and the negotiations are scheduled to resume on November 7th.

The president of United Academics is David Shiman, a professor in the education department here at UVM, who specializes in human rights and multicultural education. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has written two books: Teaching Human Rights (3rd edition) and The Prejudice Book (2nd edition).

A fourth union at UVM is the part-time faculty union, which is part of United Academics but is represented by Michele Patenaude, a part-time faculty member and the lead negotiator for the part-time union. The primary issue that the union is addressing is job security because they say that the status quo allows for part-time faculty members to lose their job at the end of a semester without compensation. There are many part-time faculty members who are only hired per semester and do not have assurance of being rehired at the end of each semester. The part-time union is also advocating for better pay, benefits and offices for faculty members.

The part-time faculty union has been given November 10th and 11th to represent their concerns to the UVM administration, in which all of the part-time faculty grievances will be discussed. Patenaude hopes to resolve the issues if both the union and the administration are able to work cooperatively with one another.