Contact: Heather Riemer, AFT-VT, 802-343-1705
Thursday, April 1, 2021- Imaging Technologists at Vermont’s largest Hospital, the University of Vermont Medical Center, voted overwhelmingly to join the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals-AFT-Vermont. The final vote count was (XX to xx) in favor of unionizing.
The 230 technologists include sonographers, cardiac technicians, and technologists working within CT Scan, MRI, Diagnostic Xray, Nuclear Medicine, and Mammography. This group joins the other 2,400 nurses and technicians currently members of the VFNHP-AFT Vermont, the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in the state.
The technologists began their drive for representation on the heels of the cyberattack and in response to the pandemic. “This has been the worst year that we have ever experienced,” said Alida Aiello, a technologist with 10 years invested into UVMMC, “but we have been asking for years for changes to be made that would improve our work. We have largely been ignored, and problems have only gotten worse.”
In early March, technologists joined VFNHP and asked the UVMMC Administration to voluntarily recognize their majority. After the Administration declined to do so, the VFNHP filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board.
“I put the work in to form our union because I want to feel like I am a part of the process and part of positive change at our Hospital. I voted yes for our union in order to play an active role in bettering my department for both patients and employees. We know what is best for our patients, and it’s long overdue that we have a real voice in the care we provide,” said Stacey Streeter, a 17-year UVMMC employee, and CT Scan technologist.
“Healthcare has been changing for years with a decreased emphasis on the voices of the professionals that make patient care possible.” Said Mike Bernier, a technologist trained in MRI. “Our voice will enhance our work through fair pay and compensation practices, job security, protections, transparency and direct involvement of the technologists. Our union will increase our ability to attract and retain high-quality, knowledgeable professionals. Our patient care can only benefit from the added weight of our collective involvement in the decision-making process.”
“We are so proud of the work these technologists have done to build unity amongst each other and to win the right to have a real voice in the delivery of care. They play an essential role in patient care delivery, and their expertise will only strengthen the outcome of decisions made here at our Hospital,” said Deb Snell, MICU RN and President of both VFNHP and AFT-Vermont.
As a next step, technologists will elect their representative bargaining team and enter into contract negotiations with the UVMMC Administration to win their first contract. VFNHP nurses will begin bargaining their next contract with the same Administration in the early months of 2022.