UVM Administration forces 2/20 on another unrepresented group

UVM's unrepresented faculty just received notice that the Administration is applying their inadequate 2/20 compensation formula, previously forced on the unrepresented staff, to them as well.

The 2/20 formula involves a meager 2% raise, along with a 20% increase in the percentage of health insurance premium the employee is responsible for.

For employees with a family health plan, their net raise is negative if they make just under $40,000 or just under $50,000 before the "raise" - three separate health insurance increases (the 20%, the increase in premium share from going over $40,000 or $50,000 and a 3% year-to year premium increase from Blue Cross) combine to more than consume the 2% pay increase.

Other employees with a family health plan face either a ~1% net raise if the 2% raise doesn't push their income across $10,000 boundary or a near-zero (well under 0.5%) raise if they are unlucky enough to cross a boundary.

Some interesting links from local media on the situation at UVM

Both the Vermont Cynic, UVM's student newspaper, and VTDigger.org have written about issues of interest to United Academics in the past few days.

From the Cynic:

A staff editorial endorsing a pay raise for faculty (which is a reversal from a position the Cynic took last year).

A front-page article critical of the UVM Administration's compensation policies

From VTDigger.org:

An article on the University's new Incentive Based Budgeting initiative, with extensive commentary from United Academics President Denise Youngblood

UA President Denise Youngblood's Labor Day remarks - delivered at a rally in Burlington

My name is Denise Youngblood.  I have been a faculty member at UVM for 26 years and am currently the president of United Academics, the faculty union.  These are difficult times in which to be a union activist and faculty member in higher education.  Challenges to our collective bargaining rights are mounting across the country, and university administrations nationally are subscribing to a corporate model that pushes faculty, staff, and students to the periphery of university governance.  UVM is no exception.

We have been negotiating for six months with the administration for a fair and equitable contract.  This past Thursday, the administration shut down negotiations and declared impasse.  We agreed, because it was clear from their so-called counterproposals that they were not interested in true negotiation.  In its communications to the faculty, staff, and students about impasse, the administration has sought to present itself as “the University.”  I strongly disagree.  A group of highly paid administrators sitting in Waterman Bldg. is NOT the university!  We—faculty, staff, and students—the people who actually do the hard work of education, are the University!

What do we need from a new contract?  In our last contract, negotiated during the recession, we made sacrifices and givebacks as responsible university citizens.  Now the administration is asking our members in the LOWEST wage brackets to take actual CUTS in salary, due to minuscule salary increases and an exorbitant rise in the percentage we pay for health care premiums.  This is indefensible.  But our negotiations have been about much more than salary and health care.  For example,  United Academics has always stood strong for the most defenseless in our ranks—the lecturers.  We are working to get modest severance pay, so that a senior lecturer who taught at UVM for 15 years will not get booted out without a penny while the administration gives themselves outlandish golden parachutes and pay increases.

              The administration has attempted to pit faculty, students, and students against one another.  We are here to say NO! and to stand together in solidarity.  We need your support.  Stop Corporate U.!

Full Time Contract Negotiations Reach Impasse

 

After a prolonged bargaining process, United Academics and the administration of the University of Vermont reached impasse on Thursday, August 28th at approximately 3:45 pm.  It is unfortunate that we were unable to reach a fair contract through the bargaining process and equally unfortunate that the administration led us to believe that they had one last offer to bring forward after begging us to delay impasse.  We declined a delay in declaring impasse (which had already happened at the request of the Administration team), agreed to suspend our public campaign until 5pm today in anticipation of UVM’s offer and were blindsided by their press release in place of an actual offer. For all of that we are confident in the strength of our union and the justice of our positions. 

We thank our bargaining team, our members and our community allies for their support in the process thus far. We ask all of you to support us as we continue along the path that will ultimately lead us to a fair contract.

At this point, we begin the public phase of our campaign. We will be speaking out for the principle of a democratic University as a community of faculty, students, staff and administrators committed to learning together and working together for the public good. We are disappointed in the Administration’s behavior, typified by their last “faux impasse” stunt, that has led to our being unable to reach an agreement on a contract that respects these principles. We welcome the opportunity to work with the wider Burlington labor movement for justice for all workers.

United Academics is in solidarity with students and staff in support of high quality, affordable, personalized, public higher education. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions!

Contact:

Denise Youngblood

President, United Academics

e-mail:denise.youngblood@uvm.edu

phone: (802) 238-8785