Labor | Off Message | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Please support our work!

Donate  Advertise


Monday, March 7, 2022

UVM Medical Center Declines to Recognize Resident Union

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2022 at 7:17 PM

  • Courtesy of University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center has declined to voluntarily recognize a group of physician residents seeking to form a union, a decision that will force the doctors-in-training to pursue a formal vote.

The 350 or so residents at the Burlington hospital asked for recognition last week after more than two-thirds signed up in support of joining the Committee of Interns and Residents, a New York-based union that represents more than 20,000 residents and fellows nationwide.

The hospital informed the group of its decision on Monday. In a statement to Seven Days, the hospital said it respected the right of its residents to "decide whether they want to join a union."

“We have encouraged the union seeking to represent our residents to work with the National Labor Relations Board on a process that will give everyone a voice," the statement read.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, February 14, 2022

UVM Nurses to Get 20 Percent Raises Over Two Years

Posted By on Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 1:13 PM

Deb Snell, president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, speaking last year - COLIN FLANDERS ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Colin Flanders ©️ Seven Days
  • Deb Snell, president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, speaking last year
University of Vermont Medical Center nurses will receive 20 percent raises over the next two years under a wage agreement aimed at stabilizing the hospital's workforce.

The deal, approved Friday, will immediately bump nursing salaries 10 percent before increasing them 5 percent in October and another 5 percent a year later. The medical center will also pay $5,000 retention bonuses to unionized technical employees, excluding imaging technicians, who reached a separate deal last year.

The agreement comes two months before the Burlington hospital and its nurses’ union plan to begin negotiating the rest of their contact, which expires in July. The parties took the unusual step of hashing out wages up front because of the hospital's prolonged staffing crisis, they said at a press conference on Monday.

“This was unchartered ground for both sides,” UVM Medical Center president and chief operating officer Dr. Stephen Leffler said. “Both of us had to take some leap of faith to do this, but I'm very happy that we were able to work with them getting these wages out now. We're hopeful they'll help retain our staff, help us recruit new staff, and build strong momentum going into the rest of negotiations.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Scott Makes Vermont's Workforce His Priority for 2022

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2022 at 8:11 PM

Gov. Phil Scott delivering the State of the State - POOL PHOTO BY GLENN RUSSELL
  • Pool photo by Glenn Russell
  • Gov. Phil Scott delivering the State of the State
Gov. Phil Scott painted a bright picture of Vermont’s future Wednesday as he called on lawmakers to look past the dark days of the pandemic and to aid recovery by boosting the state’s shrinking workforce.

In his State of the State address on the second day of the new legislative session, Scott urged lawmakers to spend billions in federal aid wisely to ensure the state has the nurses to care for patients, the childcare workers and teachers to educate the young, and the tradespeople to build and weatherize homes.

“I am more optimistic than I have ever been that this future is within our grasp,” Scott said in a speech delivered virtually to lawmakers. “But we have got to work together so we do not squander this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly transform our state.”

In tones both earnest and uplifting, Scott described Vermont as strong and “growing stronger every day” thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing investments in housing, broadband, infrastructure projects and economic programs.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, October 22, 2021

Feds Say 7 Percent of Jobs in Vermont Are Open

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2021 at 4:30 PM

A sign at the Marshfield Village store - ANNE WALLACE ALLEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Anne Wallace Allen ©️ Seven Days
  • A sign at the Marshfield Village store
Just over 7 percent of the existing jobs in Vermont were vacant in August, according to a new report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Vermont had 23,000 job openings that month, according to the state Labor Department. That's the equivalent of 7.1 percent of all the state's positions, according to the BLS. The U.S. rate is 6.6 percent. But Vermont's doing better than Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which both have 7.4 percent of jobs open.

“Two years ago, I could put an ad on Indeed and have 50 responses, and now I can get five,” said Katrina Spahn, who hires for Hannaford supermarkets in New York and northern New England. People who do answer Spahn’s help wanted ads are seeking $15 to $18 per hour, she said — but she’s only authorized to offer  $13.

Spahn's company, SOS, recently started offering health insurance to part-time workers. People she talks to at job fairs tell her they'd prefer remote work because they're worried about being infected with COVID-19.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Unemployed Vermonters Won't Get $25 Supplements — at Least Not This Year

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2021 at 6:08 PM

Sen. Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) - ANNE WALLACE ALLEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Anne Wallace Allen ©️ Seven Days
  • Sen. Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden)
Lawmakers must wait until January if they wish to fix a botched effort to raise unemployment benefits.

They should have slowed down and taken more care last spring when creating the benefits program that was later rejected by the feds, Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said Tuesday.

"The legislature moved extremely quickly on this," Harrington said at a legislative hearing. "It was all based on theory, and not fact. No due diligence was taken to make sure the law that resulted actually conformed with the federal requirements."

Vermont’s legislative leaders have asked the U.S. Department of Labor to reconsider a decision that blocks a $25 increase for about 4,000 Vermonters who are receiving unemployment insurance. Vermont lawmakers last spring tucked the additional benefit into state legislation related to the unemployment insurance trust fund, the source of benefits for out-of-work Vermonters.

Federal labor officials later ruled that the Vermont Department of Labor didn’t have to follow lawmakers’ intent to award the extra money. On Tuesday, Harrington said the only way to make the money available is to rewrite the law in the coming session.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, September 27, 2021

Vermont Lawmakers Ask Feds for Help Freeing Up Intended Unemployment Funds

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2021 at 6:30 PM

  • Anne Wallace Allen ©️ Seven Days
  • Vermont Statehouse
Vermont’s legislative leaders are asking the U.S. Department of Labor to reconsider a decision that blocks a $25 increase for thousands of Vermonters who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Last spring, Vermont lawmakers tucked the additional benefit into state legislation related to the unemployment insurance trust fund, the source of benefits for out-of-work Vermonters.

Federal labor officials later ruled  that the Vermont Department of Labor didn’t have to follow lawmakers’ intent to award the extra money. Last week, five top lawmakers wrote to Jim Garner, administrator of the federal labor department's Office of Unemployment Insurance, asking him to reconsider.

The Vermont Department of Labor had assured Vermont lawmakers in negotiations that the most efficient way to increase benefits to Vermonters was to add a flat $25 per week for each recipient, the letter said.

But the state's labor department in early September said it was impossible to add the money from the unemployment trust fund because the benefit was supplemental, and didn’t meet the federal unemployment insurance program requirements, as intended under the new law, Act 51.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, September 24, 2021

Labor Orgs Spar Over Vermont AFL-CIO Gun Rights Resolution

Posted By on Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 3:23 PM

At Sunday's convention - COURTESY OF VERMONT AFL-CIO
  • Courtesy of Vermont AFL-CIO
  • At Sunday's convention
Some local unions are calling for one of Vermont’s largest labor groups to withdraw a controversial resolution in favor of gun rights.

The measure, passed by the Vermont AFL-CIO at its annual convention last Sunday, puts a modern twist on the age-old argument against gun control: It says that extremist groups such as those that participated in the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol already have access to firearms, so tighter restrictions would only succeed in preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves.

“Organized Labor must not rely on the armed wing of the Government to defend democracy, our communities, labor organizations, allies, and regular people in the event of a crisis or attack by fascists, white supremacists, or individual extremists,” the resolution reads.

Echoing the document, union president David Van Deusen said in an interview that it’s “counterintuitive” to believe that progressive groups such as the Vermont AFL-CIO should not have access to firearms when “extremists on the right” are “armed to the teeth.”

“That’s just the reality of the America we’re living in today,” he said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Unemployment Benefits Diminish — or Disappear — for Thousands of Vermonters

Posted By on Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 8:22 PM

  • Tim Newcomb
About 9,000 Vermonters are due to lose all of their unemployment benefits this week as three federal programs that started during the pandemic draw to a close. Another 5,000 or so who remain on unemployment will lose a $300-per-week federal supplement to their checks.

Some employers expect to see job applications rise in response. But most expect the impact of the change to be small.

“It’s a lot more complicated than just this benefit,” Vermont Chamber of Commerce President Betsy Bishop said. She was referring to the federal programs that have paid millions to the self-employed and independent contractors since March 2020. The programs, the first-ever to provide such workers unemployment insurance benefits, ended Monday.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Union Wants Burlington to Fire Airport Director Gene Richards

Posted By on Tue, Aug 24, 2021 at 1:32 PM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • Gene Richards
AFSCME members at the Burlington International Airport are calling for director Gene Richards to be fired.

Richards, however, says he has no intention of stepping down before an ongoing human resources investigation into his conduct concludes.

A petition signed by 34 members of AFSCME Local 1343 states that they have "lost all trust, faith, and confidence" in Richards, who has been on paid leave since June 30 over unspecified allegations. Richards runs the airport, and his official title is director of aviation.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Days Before Students Arrive, Schools Are Still Looking to Fill Paraeducator Positions

Posted By on Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 8:27 PM

  • © Joseph Morelli |
Vermont  students will begin a new school year in the coming weeks. But some districts are still looking to hire a large number of paraeducators.

Paraeducators, also called paraprofessionals or instructional assistants, play an important role in providing academic, behavioral and social-emotional support to students.

“Many of the paraeducator positions that we have open are actually tied to individual education plans, so they’re in support of students with disabilities,"
said Lynn Cota, superintendent of Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union.
"The role that they play helps to provide greater access for those students in the classroom."

Last Friday, her district — which serves 1,950 students — was still looking to fill 18 paraeducator positions before the start of school on August 25.

Paraeducators also help monitor lunch and recess and often work in the district’s before- and afterschool programs, Cota said. When there is a staff shortage, scheduling and ensuring adequate student supervision “gets exponentially more complex.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2024 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation