The University of Vermont Faculty Union announced Wednesday that it would withdraw a complaint about unfair labor practices against the university after administrators agreed to conduct negotiations on Covid-19-related issues and in the fall semester. According to the union, the government`s bargaining team indicated that the pay cuts only partly responded to COVID-related budgeting. The government has clearly shown its intention to take advantage of a crisis to bring faculty salaries and benefits back to their pre-2015 levels. United Academics says it has reached an agreement with EIA administrators who have agreed to come to the bargaining table since the unfair labour practices complaint was filed last month against the school. The complaint came amid growing frustration among faculty members that they had been excluded from the planning process for the university`s reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. Julie Roberts, president of United Academics, said that just hours after the union filed the complaint, the school turned to negotiations focused on directors who were not previously involved in negotiations because changes were made in the workplace, which the union said had an impact on the collective agreement. The union drew attention to possible changes in the modality of teaching and uvm health standards at work in the midst of the coronavirus, as issues that the school should address to remedy the complaint. United Academics also stands in solidarity with EIA staff members, who have been unilaterally forced to make cuts. Office workers, technicians and EIA professionals have yet to organise a trade union, which would force the administration to negotiate changes in wages, social benefits and working conditions. The intention of the faculty union throughout the bargaining process was to prioritize fairness and justice for all EIA employees, not just the faculty. United Academics also recently filed two separate complaints in which the University blamed the violation of the collective agreement, reducing some non-tenure track faculties to 75% of full-time employment and postponing some previously authorized sabbaticals. Roberts said the government agreed to continue negotiations in good faith.
The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals who stand up for fairness. democracy; economic opportunity; and quality public education, health care and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to promoting these principles through social engagement, organization, collective bargaining and political activism, and in particular through the work of our members. In Vermont, the American Federation of Teachers represents health and higher education professionals. vt.aft.org/ Recognizing the challenges of negotiations during a pandemic, the United Academics team proposed in April to halt negotiations and renew the current contract. The union team also proposed in June one-off progressive salary cuts for the faculty. The government rejected these efforts in good faith to compromise and interrupt the negotiation process. United Academics wrote in a press release that the university`s president, Suresh Garimella, and the provocateur Patricia Prelock refused to participate in negotiations, as the school made “large-scale and unilateral” job changes affecting the collective agreement. . . .