“It is unfortunate that we have not been able to reach a fair treaty without reaching an impasse. We trust in the strength of our union and in the justice, common sense and compassion of our positions. We thank our committed negotiating team, our community members and allies for their efforts,” said Julie Roberts, Professor of Linguistics and President of United Academics. “United Academics shares with UVM students and staff its commitment to quality, affordable, personalized and safe public higher education. These qualities are a hallmark of UVM training. The faculty is very concerned about our students and their health, well-being and success, and we are committed to outstanding sub-pedagogical performance for students, responsible leadership and effective and transparent communication,” said Mr. Roberts. United Academics also solidifies with UVM employees, who have been unilaterally forced to cut back. THE UVM`s office, technical and professional staff have not yet organized a union that would require the administration to negotiate changes in wages, benefits and working conditions.
Throughout the negotiation process, the faculties union has sought to prioritize fairness and justice for all UVM staff, not just the faculty. “The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges and uncertainties in the implementation of a long-term contract,” said Jane Knodell, the union`s economics professor and chief negotiator. This fact, combined with the very severe reductions in wages and benefits presented by the administration, finally prevented us from reaching an agreement, despite the 19 negotiating meetings that the two parties had at the beginning of February. United Academics wrote in a press release that the university`s president, Suresh Garimella, and Le Provost Patricia Prelock, refused to participate in the negotiations because the school made sweeping, unilateral workplace changes that affect the collective agreement. The union, United Academics, says it has reached an agreement with UVM administrators who have agreed to come to the bargaining table since the complaint against the school was filed last month. The complaint came amid growing frustration among faculty members that they had been excluded from the university`s planning process to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Roberts said the government had agreed to continue negotiations in good faith. United Academics also recently filed two separate complaints accusing the university of violating the collective agreement by reducing some non-Tenure-Track faculties to 75% of full-time employment and ending some previously authorized sabbaticals. The University of Vermont Faculty Union announced Wednesday that it was retracing a complaint against the university for unfair labor practices after administrators agreed to negotiate issues related to Covid-19 and the fall semester.