(Photo credit: Glenn Russell/VTDigger)
Burlington, VT—Two units representing more than 2200 technical and support staff at The University of Vermont Medical Center, Vermont’s largest private-sector employer, overwhelmingly voted yes today to form a union and join AFT Vermont, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
The final vote in the support staff unit was 997 to 163. The technical professional unit voted 123 to 18. The healthcare workers join 2,500 nurses and technical professionals who are already organized with AFT Vermont at the hospital.
Higher wages, safe staffing, and respect on the job were three top issues motivating many support staff to organize.
Jordan Bushway, a Licensed Nursing Assistant at the hospital’s Mother Baby Unit, said, “I support forming a union because I am ready for the day where support staff is finally treated and respected the way we deserve.”
“I have been working to form our union because as support staff we are empowered to support our patients and colleagues and we will not quit fighting for better pay and benefits to improve the quality of life for ourselves and our patients,” said Harly Rodriguez, a Mental Health Technician working in inpatient psychiatry.
AFT Vermont represents over 8,000 healthcare and higher education professionals at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Community Health Centers of Burlington, Community Colleges of Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the University of Vermont, the University of Vermont Medical Center, and Vermont State University.
The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.