Posted on | August 7, 2012 |
There will be an election early this fall for the unrepresented clerical, technical, and specialized staff at UVM, with an unprecedented two unions on the ballot.
Do you know your options?
We hope by now you have noticed that two different, unrelated groups are attempting to unionize the non-represented staff at UVM. We are United Staff (US); the other group is the University Staff Union (USU-VTNEA).
Although the names are similar, our philosophies are quite distinct. When it comes time to vote, it will be crucial for you to understand those differences.
Here’s one difference for you to consider:
All unions have the stated aim of improving working conditions for their members. Unions traditionally accomplish this is by casting management (in our case, the UVM administration) as the “bad guys” who need to be dealt with through gamesmanship, posturing, lawyering, and other adversarial approaches. Clearly, it’s hard to do our best work in an environment ruled by antagonism and mistrust. All too often, workplace problems are turned into formal grievances, and ineffective solutions could be imposed by people who may not have a true understanding of the problem.
United Staff offers a different vision with a non-traditional approach to workplace problem-solving. We think of ourselves as an “employee association” rather than as a typical union. At UVM, we are already working well with the administration in some departments, and we plan to encourage and broaden those areas of collaboration. Still, when problems do arise, United Staff believes that the best way to proceed is to find the solution in our own expertise, gained from our years of working at UVM and our network of colleagues across the UVM community. Together, we can help the involved parties come to a real, workable solution.
By engaging in the labor-relations work ourselves, we continue to gain sophisticated and valuable skills that enrich our lives as well as our workplaces. This direct collaboration between the staff and the administration makes for more dignified and harmonious working lives. Our intent is for United Staff members and members of the University administration to work side-by-side, cooperatively and effectively, to improve our working conditions.This approach has been successfully implemented by the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA), and the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW).
We can do this too! We are already well on our way.
We hope you better understand the United Staff vision of improving workplace relations while maintaining the pride and satisfaction we feel as UVM employees. There are other key differences between traditional unions and the United Staff. We will be happy to explain those differences to you, and answer any questions you might have. Call US or email US for more information.
United Staff, the local, independent in-house union, continues to advocate and organize for a unified staff working together across the university community.
United Staff has always believed in fairness and respect to create the best working environment for all of us, no matter one’s job title or duties.