Nurses, UVM Medical Center Reach Tentative Deal to Avert Strike | Health Care | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Nurses, UVM Medical Center Reach Tentative Deal to Avert Strike


Published July 4, 2024 at 9:37 a.m.

University of Vermont Medical Center - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • University of Vermont Medical Center
Updated at 1:02 p.m.

Nurses at the University of Vermont Medical Center have called off their upcoming strike after reaching a tentative deal with the hospital on proposed wage increases.

The union had threatened a five-day walkout beginning July 12 if the hospital did not offer higher wages under a new three-year contract. Late Wednesday night, the union said it withdrew its strike notice after the hospital agreed to raise nursing salaries 23 percent over the life of the contract.

That’s half of the 46 percent increase the union was seeking when negotiations spilled into public view last month, but it's higher than the 17 percent that the hospital had initially proposed. The hospital will also add three additional "steps" at the top of its pay scale so that the most experienced nurses can continue earning annual pay bumps.

The two sides will meet again on Monday, July 8, to hash out some final details before sending the contract to the union's 1,900 members for a vote.

If ratified, it will represent the largest wage increase since the union was formed more than two decades ago, said Deb Snell, president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals.

"They came up, we came down, and at the end of the day, we needed to do what was best for all of our members, not just the people at the top or the bottom," Snell said in an interview.

The deal will avert what would have been the hospital's second strike in six years, one that officials estimate would have cost upwards of $10 million.

In a statement, the hospital said it was "very pleased" to have settled the wage issue.

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