Posted on | January 27, 2012 |
A lot has happened over the last few weeks in the efforts to build an employee association for UVM staff. Here’s a summary of the events:
In mid-December of last year, organizers from the Vermont NEA (calling themselves University Staff Union) filed a petition [link to PDF] with the Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) to have an election for a bargaining unit to represent approximately 431 of the 1500+ unrepresented staff at UVM. United Staff has consistently worked to build an employee association that will include all currently unrepresented staff, but we filed an intervening petition [link to PDF] one week ago to ensure that if there was an election for this smaller group, United Staff would be included. On Thursday, January 26th, UVM responded to these petitions [link to PDF] suggesting that more staff should be included in the bargaining unit.
So what happens next? The Vermont Labor Relations Board will preside over hearings where representatives of the VT-NEA and the UVM administration will both make cases for their preferred definition of the bargaining unit. The VLRB will then decide on the appropriate grouping. United Staff representatives will attend these discussions, but our participation may be limited due to our position as intervenors. The outcome of the hearing will determine the next steps for everyone involved.
The University’s formal response to the NEA’s petition aligns with United Staff’s long time assertion that the strongest union for professional, technical and clerical staff at the University of Vermont would be all-inclusive, minus the managerial staff, as the University’s response stipulates. United Staff, the local, independent employee association, continues to advocate and organize for a unified staff working together across the university community. As the chosen collective bargaining representative of the staff, United Staff will negotiate with the administration for meaningful salary increases, affordable benefits, continued tuition remission, parental leave and child care, among other important working conditions, to help create the workplace UVM claims to offer its staff, that which is steeped in social justice, humanity, fairness and respect.