Vermont hospital, technicians in negotiations months after nurse contract dispute

Burlington-based University of Vermont Medical Center and about 340 professional technicians are negotiating a new labor deal less than four months after unionized nurses ratified a contract agreement with management, according to a VTDigger report.

The workers are members of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, which also represents about 1,800 licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners at the hospital.

The technicians are in early stages of negotiations with UVM Medical Center and have brought up issues such as pay, staffing and patient safety, according to the report.

Pay was also a key sticking point in negotiations with the hospital's nurses, who started negotiations in March, ended a 48-hour strike in July, and ratified a contract agreement with UVM Medical Center in September.

"We are still holding out hope that things are going to be different [than negotiations with nurses]," union officials said in a statement obtained by VTDigger. "However, the safety of our patients and colleagues continues to be our primary concern."

Chris Oliver, the hospital's clinical services vice president, told VTDigger that "progress" has been made, and hospital officials "look forward to bargaining in good faith and reaching an agreement that is fair and equitable for our staff and one that allows our hospital to achieve its mission."

Hospital officials said UVM Medical Center has proposed wage increases of at least 9 percent over the three-year contract, and up to 26 percent based on market adjustments for positions that are difficult to fill or have high turnover.

Ms. Oliver said the next negotiation session is scheduled for Jan. 24.

 

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