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

Labor

Monday, July 30, 2018

University of Vermont Medical Center Stops Collecting Nurses' Union Dues

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 6:45 PM

Deb Snell (left) and Julie MacMillan at a press conference with Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: SARA TABIN
  • FIle: Sara Tabin
  • Deb Snell (left) and Julie MacMillan at a press conference with Sen. Bernie Sanders
As the University of Vermont Medical Center and its nurses' union hash out a new contract, the sides continue to operate under the terms of the old pact, which expired July 9.

But at least one policy has changed: The hospital no longer collects union dues from nurses' paychecks.

Under the previous three-year contract, the hospital collected dues automatically from members' biweekly paychecks and passed the funds along to the union. That agreement became "null and void" when the contract expired, according to UVM Medical Center spokesman Michael Carrese.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 16, 2018

Burlington City Council Urges Nurses, Hospital to Settle Their Differences

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 11:06 PM

Nurses on strike - FILE: SARA TABIN
  • File: Sara Tabin
  • Nurses on strike
Figure it out.

That was the Burlington City Council's message to the University of Vermont Medical Center administrators and nurses who are divided on wages and working conditions.

The council unanimously passed a resolution Monday urging the two sides to find common ground after the nurses' union went on strike for two days last week. The nurses returned to work on Saturday without a contract, but have not yet returned to the bargaining table, much less come to an agreement with the hospital.

The nurses' union could strike again, though it would need to provide a 10-day notice to the hospital.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 13, 2018

UVM Medical Center Nurses to Return to Work Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 8:01 PM

Nurses rallying outside the hospital - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Nurses rallying outside the hospital
Nurses will start work as usual Saturday morning at the University of Vermont Medical center after a 48-hour strike. But their union has said another strike is not off the table as it remains at odds with the hospital over a three-year contract.

Members of the 1,800-member union walked off the job Thursday complaining that low wages have led to staffing problems. The union is seeking roughly a 23 percent wage increase for registered nurses over three years.

The hospital's chief operating officer, Eileen Whalen, called the union’s request “unrealistic” at a press conference Friday afternoon. Hospital spokesman Michael Carrese said it would cost $30 million over three years.

Meanwhile, the two-day strike cost the hospital about $3 million, according to Whalen. Much of that went to paying for nurses from out of town to cover for the strikers.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nurses Picket as Strike Starts at UVM Medical Center

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 10:46 AM

Nurses were up early to rally outside the hospital. - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Nurses were up early to rally outside the hospital.
Updated at 5:30 p.m.

The nurses' union at the University of Vermont Medical Center officially went on strike at 7 a.m. Thursday.

A sizable crowd of nurses, most wearing red shirts and holding signs and cups of coffee, gathered outside the hospital’s main entrance by 6:10 a.m. The group cheered as more colleagues joined them. Some talked among themselves about the disappointing end to negotiations with hospital management, which refused to meet nurses' contract demands. The union has complained about short staffing and said the hospital must increase compensation to attract more nurses.

Keith Brunner, a union spokesperson, said nearly 1,300 nurses had signed up to picket during the strike. Union leaders addressed the crowd with words of encouragement at 7 a.m., and then the medical center workers split up into three groups based on nursing units to picket at different hospital entrances.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Nurses, UVM Medical Center Agree: Patients Should Feel Free to Cross Picket Line

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Nurses demonstrating across from the hospital - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Nurses demonstrating across from the hospital
The University of Vermont Medical Center and its nurses' union can agree on one thing — patients should still feel comfortable entering the hospital amidst a nursing strike planned for Thursday and Friday. The union and hospital still do not agree on nursing wages and were scheduled to engage in a last-ditch bargaining session Wednesday afternoon.

If the two sides do not reach a resolution, union members and supporters will rally and then picket starting at 6 a.m. Thursday on public property surrounding the main hospital. More demonstrations are expected at the hospital's other campuses, including Fanny Allen in Colchester, Essex Adult Primary Care and a dialysis center in St. Albans.

The hospital and the nurses’ union have both stressed that picketers outside the hospital want to raise awareness for the union and will not prevent patients or healthcare providers from entering the hospital. No entrances to hospitals or hospital parking lots will be blocked by picketers, and patients can expect to attend appointments without fear of harassment.

“We would never interfere with patients or patient care in any way,” said Samira Lawson, a UVM Medical Center registered nurse and member of the union’s bargaining committee. “Our goal is for patients to feel safe and feel like they can come to the hospital.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

UVM Medical Center Cancels Some Surgeries Ahead of Planned Nurses' Strike

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 4:51 PM

The hospital's chief operating officer Eileen Whalen (center) and Dr. Isabelle Desjardins at Tuesday's press conference - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • The hospital's chief operating officer Eileen Whalen (center) and Dr. Isabelle Desjardins at Tuesday's press conference
The University of Vermont Medical Center has postponed 68 elective procedures that require complex surgical teams in advance of a nursing strike planned for Thursday and Friday, July 12 and 13.

Chief medical officer Dr. Isabelle Desjardins said at a press conference Tuesday that patients were contacted and given the option to reschedule their surgeries for later in the month. Emergency medical care will still be available 24-7 and outpatient services will continue as normal, according to Desjardins.

Nearly 600 temporary nurses are currently in Burlington receiving two days of training before the union work stoppage. Desjardins said there is no cause for concern about patient safety during the strike.

Samira Lawson, a member of the nurses' union bargaining committee, disagreed.

"If they were really not concerned, they would not cancel any surgeries," she said after the press conference.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Contract Talks Yield No Breakthrough for Nurses, UVM Medical Center

Posted By on Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 9:08 AM

Nurses at a honk-and-wave rally outside the hospital - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Nurses at a honk-and-wave rally outside the hospital
Updated at 6:45 pm.

No deal was reached during Friday night negotiations between the University of Vermont Medical Center and its nurses, and less than a week remains until nurses plan to strike. On Saturday, the union and hospital both released statements announcing that bargaining will continue Monday and Tuesday afternoons without a federal mediator.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sanders Speaks Out for UVM Medical Center Nurses

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 6:20 PM

Sanders with union vice president Deb Snell and lead negotiator Julie MacMillan - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Sanders with union vice president Deb Snell and lead negotiator Julie MacMillan
Updated 9:51 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) criticized administrators of the University of Vermont Medical Center and called on them to meet face-to-face with hospital nurses during a press conference at his Burlington office on Friday.

More than 1,000 nurses are prepared to strike on July 12 and 13 amid contentious contract negotiations. Nurses are calling for salary parity with the nurses at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, N.Y., which is a member of the UVM Health Network. The union says the hospital is dangerously understaffed because low salaries create long-term vacancies and high turnover rates.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 5, 2018

UVM Medical Center, Nurses to Return to the Bargaining Table

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 3:14 PM

Union members and supporters at a press conference Monday morning announcing the strike notice - SARA TABIN
  • Sara Tabin
  • Union members and supporters at a press conference Monday morning announcing the strike notice
Updated 4:04 p.m.

With a week left until a nursing strike, the University of Vermont Medical Center has scheduled a bargaining session on Friday with its nurses' union. The time, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., was chosen after discussions involving both sides, according to Hospital spokesman Michael Carrese.

He sent out a press release Thursday announcing the session and stating the hospital administration’s hope that a strike might still be averted. The hospital has maintained that it will be prepared to provide quality care to patients in the event of a strike.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) waded into the fray Thursday, releasing a statement in support of nurses and announcing a joint press conference with the nurses' union on Friday afternoon.

“Nurses are the backbone of the UVM Medical Center," Sanders' written statement said. "They work day and night to treat our family members and to keep our community healthy. Patient care suffers when these dedicated professionals are not treated with respect and do not receive adequate compensation.”

The nurse’s bargaining team voted on Saturday to serve a strike notice Monday. Nurses are required by law to give hospitals 10 days advance notice of their intent to strike. If no agreement is reached, the nurses will strike on July 12 and 13.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

UVM Medical Center Seeks to Hire Hundreds in Advance of Strike

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 6:19 PM

Hotel Vermont
  • Hotel Vermont
University of Vermont Medical Center is making plans to fly hundreds of out-of-town nurses to Burlington to fill in if its nurses strike for two days next week. A staffing agency is recruiting nurses online and reserving local hotel rooms.

Hotel Vermont general manager Joseph Carton said Tuesday morning that an agency tried to reserve 600 rooms in Burlington. Hotel Vermont, which has 125 rooms, could not accommodate the entire request. But the agency ultimately reserved 32 rooms between Hotel Vermont and the Courtyard Burlington Harbor next door, which is owned by the same company, Carton said.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation