With strike date looming, nurses union and UVM to continue talks

Local News

Negotiations between the union representing 1,800 nurses and Vermont’s largest hospital will continue in hopes of averting a two-day strike planned for later this week.

The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals say negotiating sessions with officials from the University of Vermont Medical Center are planned for both Monday and Tuesday.

The two sides met Friday, but were unable to reach an agreement on a new three-year contract. The union has said it will walk off the job Thursday and Friday if no deal is reached.

UVM officials say if a strike does occurs, patient care will not be affected.

The union is seeking a 24 percent wage increase to make their pay equal to those of a New York hospital, which is part of the same network.

“The hospital has prioritized expansion of the network, buildings, they’ve spent a lot of money on the electronic health record, but in the expansion of the network, the nursing staff has been left behind,” said Julie MacMillan, the union’s lead negotiator, on Friday. 

On Friday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders urged the hospital to do whatever is necessary to prevent the strike.

“The hospital must take seriously the nurses’ demands for fair and competitive wages, and they must send actual decision-makers to negotiating sessions,” Sanders said. 

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