University of Vermont

Informed Choice at The University of Vermont


Informed Choice

Wanda Heading-GrantThe University of Vermont is an exceptional institution that depends on a community of dedicated people for its successful operation. The University has made remarkable progress in recent years.  We are poised to reach even greater heights in the future. The excellent work of UVM staff is essential to fulfilling that promising future. I appreciate and applaud the many contributions you make to the realization of the vision for UVM. As we move forward, we are determined to sustain a positive work environment for UVM staff.

We now have entered another period in which non-unionized staff members are being asked to consider union representation by the Vermont State Employees Association. An election will be held Tuesday, December 16 and Wednesday, December 17, from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm in Marsh Lounge, Billings for staff who are eligible to join the proposed collective bargaining unit . . . read more.

Labor Union Update

The University of Vermont has received the following documents from the Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB):

The list of staff eligible to vote in the December 16 and 17 election is posted below. A physical copy of the list has been posted on the bulletin boards inside the College Street entrance to the Waterman Building.

The election is scheduled for December 16 and 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Marsh Lounge in Billings, located at 48 University Place on the UVM campus.

More detailed information will be published on this page as it becomes available.

[Photo from UVM Campus]

Purpose of This Site

In the world of employment, we encounter choices. Whether choosing a place to work, a retirement plan or a health care provider, we need information in order to make informed choices. Perhaps no choice in the workplace has more importance to you than the choice of whether to participate in forming a bargaining unit. This website is designed to provide you with information to help you think through your own decision and make an informed choice.

Notice that there is a search box at the top of each page that will allow you to search just this website.

Questions of General Interest

Your thoughts and questions are valued. If you wish to ask a question that isn't addressed on this site, click on “Submit a Question” in the main menu. Submitted questions (without any identifying information) will be considered for inclusion under the appropriate topic area. If you include an e-mail address, we will respond to you personally; if you don't include your name or e-mail address, your question will be completely anonymous.

I've heard that contract negotiations always begin with a blank slate and nothing is guaranteed. Is that true?

New contracts begin at square one. Except for rights established by federal and state statute, all terms and conditions of employment, including compensation and benefit plan components, are open for negotiation in a unionized environment. This is especially true when negotiating a first contract with a new bargaining unit. Collective bargaining is a give-and-take process that requires both parties to bargain in good faith. During negotiations, either party may trade salary or benefits (or other terms and conditions of employment) for something that it values more. Whether current benefits will stay the same or change cannot be predicted prior to the conclusion of the bargaining process and the adoption of the collectively-bargained contract.

I am not familiar with the VSEA. Do they have any relationship with the NEA?

No, the NEA is the National Education Association. The VSEA is the Vermont State Employees' Association.

What can you tell me about union dues?

Union dues and initiation fees (if any) are determined by each union, not by the University. The rules for determining how these fees are set and how they may be increased are governed by the applicable union. Some unions charge a fee that represents a percentage of salary, and some charge a flat fee that is the same for all employees, regardless of income.

Vermont state law permits unions to charge employees in the collective bargaining unit who have chosen not to join the union a "collective bargaining service fee," also known as the "agency fee." This fee may be up to 85% of the cost of membership and is designed to ensure that all members of a bargaining unit pay their share of the cost of being represented by a union during contract negotiations.

If a union is seeking to form a collective bargaining unit, do they have access to my personal information?

Under federal and state labor laws, UVM must provide names and employment-specific information that is a matter of public record, upon the request of the union. In the case of the VSEA, that happened in early November 2014, after the union filed the appropriate documents with the Vermont Labor Relations Board.

Do non-represented employees receive different medical and parental leave benefits than represented employees?

No, both represented and non-represented full-time staff members receive the same medical and parental leave benefits.

It should be noted, however, that there is a difference between faculty and staff in the way that parental and medical leaves are accrued and managed. The difference stems largely from the semester-long nature of faculty teaching assignments and the way that teaching replacements for faculty on parental leave must be scheduled.