An attempt to unionize roughly 760 staff at the University of Vermont failed by 32 votes. After a two-day election held by the Vermont Labor Relations Board that ended Wednesday evening, the college announced that a slim majority — 335 staff members — voted against joining the Vermont State Employees Association.
VSEA has more than 5,000 members — most are state employees; its ranks include staff at the Vermont State Colleges.
This marks the second failed effort to unionize this group of UVM staff in just more than two years. In September 2012, two unions vied to represent UVM staff, but after a runoff, 70 percent of the 634 voters ended up casting ballots against joining the Vermont branch of the National Education Association.
The employees eligible to join hold jobs that fall into three categories — administrative, technical and specialist, which include positions such as library support staff, lab technicians and research assistants.
Currently, three unions represent four groups of employees — including full- and part-time faculty, police officers and maintenance workers — on UVM's campus.
In a statement issued late Wednesday announcing the vote tally, Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president for human resources, diversity and multicultural affairs, said, "I appreciate and applaud the many contributions they make to the realization of the vision for UVM. As we move forward, we are determined to sustain a positive work environment for UVM staff.”
A spokesperson for the VSEA did not immediately respond to an email.