UVM Medical Center support staff vote to unionize


Olivia Miller

UVM Medical Center seen Jan. 2. The hospital’s support and technical staff voted 997-163 and 123-18, respectively, in support of unionizing.

Ethan Brodie, Cynic News Reporter

UVM Medical Center support and technical staff voted late January to unionize and join the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, according to a Jan. 27 VTDigger article.

The vote was 997-163 for support staff and 123-18 for technical staff in support of unionizing, according to VTDigger. The National Labor Relations Board held the vote over a three-day period, with the final tally announced Jan. 27.

The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals already includes the hospital’s nurses and other technicians, according to VTDigger.

The organizing effort took 11 months, according to the article.

The new bargaining unit, which will include nursing assistants, lab and office assistants, food service, custodial workers and parking attendants, among others, will seek a minimum wage of $20 per hour, the article stated.

Other hopes include “safe staffing and respect on the job,” according to a Jan. 27 WCAX article.

The start date of the collective bargaining process remains uncertain, according to WCAX.

“The UVM Medical Center is committed to a culture of support, respect, and listening,” stated Stephen Leffler, president and chief operating officer of UVM Medical Center, in a Jan. 30 email from Phillip Rau, media relations and communications specialist at the UVM Health Network. 

The medical center has prioritized making the voices of support and technical staff heard during the process, Leffler stated.

“We believe the election administered on-site by the National Labor Relations Board met that goal, and expect to be in contact with the union soon to begin negotiating in good faith a collective bargaining agreement,” Leffler stated.

The Cynic was unable to reach the American Federation of Teachers Vermont for comment in time for publication. AFT-Vermont is the parent organization of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.

Previously, negotiations between UVM’s part-time faculty union, United Academics, and the UVM administration reached a standstill after nine months as part-time faculty sought increased job security and wages as well as better benefits, according to an Oct. 24, 2022 Vermont Cynic article.

United Academics and the UVM administration reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement Nov. 18, 2022, according to United Academics’ website

Union members ratified the agreement and the UVM administration approved it Dec. 7, 2022, according to the website. The changes have gone into effect as of that date.