General interest facts about unions and the current status of unionization at the University of Vermont:
State and federal laws protect the rights of employees at the University to engage in concerted activities for their mutual gain and protection and to bargain collectively on matters affecting the terms and conditions of employment. The terms and conditions of employment may include compensation (salaries or wages and benefits), working conditions, grievance procedures, leave policies and similar issues of importance to union members.
A union is a private membership organization (often a corporation) formed at the local, national or international level. The primary purpose of the union is to bargain collectively on behalf of unit members in order to affect their benefits and conditions of employment.
A collective bargaining unit is a group of employees who share a "community of interest" with other employees who perform similar categories of work and who have the same, or substantially similar, interests concerning wages, hours, and working conditions. A union may represent one or more collective bargaining units.
At the University of Vermont there are currently three unions representing four collective bargaining units:
The Chauffeurs, Teamsters, Warehousemen and Helpers Union, Local 597 (Teamsters) represents approximately 25 police officers, service officers and dispatchers in the University's Department of Police Services.
The United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers, Local 267 (UE) represents approximately 350 service and maintenance employees in various departments across campus including Physical Plant, Print and Mail, the University Bookstore, Residential Life, Athletics and other UVM departments.
United Academics/American Federation of Teachers (AAUP/AFT, referred to as UA) represents two collective bargaining units:
- Approximately 680 full-time Lecturers, Clinical, Extension, Library, Research, Tenure Track and Tenured faculty (.75 or greater FTE appointments for 9, 10, 11 or 12 months); and
- Approximately 170 part-time Lecturers, Clinical, Extension, Library and Research faculty.
Non-represented employees at the University include:
- All faculty in the College of Medicine and in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
- Administrative and clerical employees
- Professional employees
- Technical employees
- Executive employees
- Police Services supervisory employees
- Service and maintenance supervisory employees
- Deans, academic directors and department chairs
- Employees ineligible to unionize, such as "managerial" and "confidential" employees, as defined by Vermont law
Union dues and initiation fees (if any) are determined by each union, and 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.