[President's message] take action to make UVM better: a May 9th rally and more

Dear colleagues,

Today, some calls to action: a May 9th rally at noon, some outreach, and more. 

Like many of you, I’m frustrated that the administration has chosen to drag out the full time contract negotiations this long, merely because they don’t want to provide raises even one percent better than inflation. I firmly believe that their thinking is blinkered, short term, and imitative. It is in the long term interest of the University of Vermont to shift priorities towards academics instead of letting our salaries slide in national rankings. 

There are things we can do. Because the fact finder’s report is likely to be delivered on May 8th and the Board of Trustees meets the following week, folks inside and outside UVM will be paying attentionWhile the semester is coming to a close, we have an opportunity to flood the information space in the coming weeks, and create pressure that can nudge the administration towards settling the contract quickly and focusing more clearly on teaching and research. The CAS no confidence vote in IBB has generated ongoing media coverage which has raised questions about the broad direction of UVM. Leaders in Vermont, on the Board of Trustees, in the legislature, are noticing.

So plan to drop by a SHOW US THE CONTRACT/FUND THE FACULTY event outside Bailey Howe May 9 (reading day) from 12:00-1:30. Faculty and students can stop by for just a minute to pick up an energy bar (to keep up our energy as the administration tries to drag negotiations into a second summer) and a fact sheet about UVM finances and spending priorities. At 1:00 pm we’ll take a SHOW US THE CONTRACT group photo. Drop by for a few minutes or for the whole time

(RSVP is optional, but appreciated.) 

Another way to make a difference is outreach. Our outreach efforts to faculty are working: eleven faculty have joined the union in the last month. One of the best things we can do to encourage the administration to quickly settle the contract is to keep this up. It is in faculty’s interest to be members, but also new members send a message to the administration that UA is trusted and should be taken seriously. Just ten more members in the next two weeks could really make a difference. So please keep talking to your colleagues, asking them about their concerns about working at UVM, answering their questions about the union and what it does for them. Contact Katlyn Morris for some tips about how to do this effectively. 

UVM’s Board of Trustees meets starting on May 18th. If you would like to help with impressing upon the BOT members the faculty’s knowledge and experience, and the need for UVM to shift priorities more clearly towards teaching and research, please let me know. 

Finally, this morning, our part-time contract bargaining team began negotiations on the next UVM part-time faculty contract. Part time faculty are a growing category across the nation, and they are increasingly highly trained professionals with professional careers; the old stereotype of part time instructors as folks who do it casually on the side is no longer true, if it ever was. We invite you to join as an observer at any of our future sessions (the next will be May 30, 10am-2pm). The contract negotiation process is fascinating, and collective bargaining represents some of the fundamental work

of our union. And as we strive to represent all part-time UVM faculty, we always appreciate hearing your experiences and what's important to you.

As always, please keep in touch, and best wishes for the last weeks of the semester.

Tom Streeter

President, United Academics




United Academics is the union of full- and part-time faculty at University of Vermont, with over 700 members from departments and colleges across the campus. We represent faculty in negotiating and upholding contracts, and we advocate for fair labor practices within and beyond our academic community. We are a member-led union­ committed to academic freedom, shared governance, social and environmental justice.

Get to know us at www.unitedacademics.org, and United Academics on Facebook