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and Senior Vice President

September 21, 2011

From:  Jane Knodell, Provost and Senior Vice President


To:        UVM Community


Re:      Collective Bargaining Update

The University and United Academics have been negotiating since February in an effort to reach agreement on a successor collective bargaining agreement. Despite good faith efforts, the parties have reached impasse, and, in accordance with the State Employees Labor Relations Act, we are now moving into the mediation phase of negotiations.  We are hopeful that the mediation process will lead to a mutually acceptable contract settlement, and we pledge to work hard toward realizing that goal.
The economic issues this year have been very difficult.  The University must balance numerous resource challenges beyond those at the bargaining table.  Our faculty are the heart of our institution, and we are very aware of and committed to maintaining competitive, market-based  compensation, as our progress in recent years has so clearly demonstrated.  However, in addition to that commitment, we are also working to mitigate significant, unpredictable long-term cost issues, such as subsidizing retiree medical benefits for employees not yet hired, while being mindful of the needs of current employees.  Other factors across the institution must be weighed at the same time, including market-based compensation for other employees, rising benefits and utilities prices, deferred maintenance, and the critical necessity to keep student costs affordable, especially in light of the continuing state of the national economy.

We will continue to work to address our many challenges while remaining positive about prospects for a contract settlement with United Academics.