Maintenance union secures wage increase and other benefits in new contract negotiation


Kate Vanni

The Waterman building stands across the street from UVM’s central campus Jan. 28. The Waterman building houses the UVM upper administration offices.

A new contract for a union of UVM’s service and maintenance workers has been ratified, after a year of negotiations with administration.

A joint press release from UVM and the United Electrical Workers was sent out May 7 announcing the ratification of a new three-year contract outlining wage increases among other benefits for workers.

United Electrical Workers, Local UE 267, is a union representing 330 service, trades and maintenance staff at UVM, and has been organized on campus since 1997.

The Union negotiated the contract with a federal mediator and agreed to increase the hourly minimum wage from $14 to $15 per hour effective immediately, according to the press release.

Additionally, covered employees will receive a 35-cent per hour pay increase in the second year of the contract and a 50-cent per hour increase in the third year and an increase to on-call premium from $15 to $20 per day, the report stated.

“I am pleased that we were able to build on the progress we have made toward ensuring that all employees earn a livable wage,” UVM President Suresh Garimella stated in the press release.

“We appreciate that we were able to work in partnership with the University, through collective bargaining to come to this agreement,” Mike Wells, president of United Electrical Workers stated in the press release.

Additionally, the Union negotiated a pay increase for on-call workers, a second paid cultural holiday, additional leave after the death of family, an additional $200 per year in clothing reimbursement and a third personal day for workers with 15 to 20 year seniority.

The Union fought against proposed cuts, such as the removal of their tuition-remission benefit and retirement contributions, and fended off the implementation of required uniforms, according to the Union’s Facebook page.

UVM service and maintenance workers play a vital role in fulfilling the missions and operations of the University, Mary Brodsky, associate chief human resource officer stated.

 “This year has been especially difficult, and our service and maintenance employees went the extra mile to keep our campus facilities properly maintained and running smoothly,” Brodsky said.