Vermont hospital board told to get active in labor talks

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is urging the University of Vermont Medical Center Board of Trustees to be more involved in contract negotiations between management and the union representing about 1,800 registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses.

Mr. Sanders wrote a letter to board chair Allie Stickney, calling on the board "to take a more active role" in the talks.

"The primary responsibility and obligation of any nonprofit board is not to management, but to the organization, and that includes providing oversight and guidance on issues related to the organization's workforce," the senator wrote.

"For most people, the nurses are the hospital," he said. "They are also our neighbors, friends and family. Vermonters want to see them paid fairly and treated with the respect and dignity they deserve."

The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Local 5221, part of AFT Vermont, has been negotiating with the hospital since March. Workers' contract expired July 9, and they ended a 48-hour strike July 14. The latest contract talks were Aug. 13 with a federal mediator. Talks continue Aug. 14, and wages remain a key sticking point.

 

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