Parental Leave, $3/Hour Wage Increase Among Highlights of New Local 267 Contract

September 2, 2023

The over 300 service and maintenance workers who maintain and clean the University of Vermont’s buildings, grounds, and other physical infrastructure received a “historically high” wage increase of $3 per hour on July 1 thanks to UE Local 267’s new three-year contract. They will also now be able to take up to eight weeks of paid parental leave upon birth or adoption of a child.

“"Local 267 at the University of Vermont was able to negotiate unprecedented gains for our members to improve lives in this post-Covid world we now live in,” said negotiating committee member Karl Suchland, “We were able to secure historically high raises for UVM employees as we knew we had to fight hard to ease the burden of inflation.”

Following the $3 across-the-board increase in the first year, wages will increase three percent in the second and third year of the contract. The minimum wage of $15 which Local 267 achieved in their previous contract was raised to $18, and will increase by 25 cents each year.

Chief Steward John Pruss noted, "Our significant increase in shift differentials was a bright boost on top of the wage increases.” Shift premiums more than double with this contract, with the premium for rotating shifts increasing from $1.15 to $2.50 per hour, the premium for second shift or being regularly scheduled on weekends increasing from 90 cents to $2 per hour, and the premium for third shift increasing from $1.15 to $3 per hour. Workers whose scheduled hours cross shifts will now get paid the premium for all hours worked, based on whichever shift they work the most hours in.

Workers will also now be able to grieve pay equity issues that affect even a single worker. Pay equity grievances, which previously could only be raised if it affected multiple workers, have allowed Local 267 to raise wages for many of its members over the years.

“Equally as important as financial gains was the change to parental leave,” said Pruss, “as we know it's imperative for parents to have time with a newborn.” If both parents of a new child work at UVM, they will both be entitled to the full eight weeks of paid leave.

The new leave language is “personally exciting” for negotiating committee member Aurora Juliana Nowak. “As a human who is discussing when to have kids with their partner, I am looking forward to being able to take advantage of the eight weeks of leave we are granted.”

“Some members who have been able to use it have expressed how impactful having eight paid weeks off to spend with their newborn has been,” said Suchland. “This new policy has allowed for a much easier transition into caring for their new child by allowing them to focus far more time and attention towards their baby during one of the most important times of parenting.”

The new contract also overhauls the overtime language, providing workers with an extra $3 per hour for all hours worked while on call. Workers who work 10-hour shifts will now receive 10 hours of pay on holidays, instead of eight as had been the practice.

Juneteenth is now codified in the contract as a paid holiday, and Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, previously half-day holidays, are now full days.

“While challenges were ever present, we met them head on and were able to address all issues coming out of negotiations with positive results," concluded Pruss. “These gains prove that with solid negotiating and member support there is no ceiling to what organized labor can achieve,” added Suchland.

The Local 267 negotiating committee consisted of President Dave Hamilton, Vice President Michael Belrose, Financial Secretary Nicole Perreault, Recording Secretary Kyle Fleming, Chief Steward John Pruss, Karl Suchland, Rodney Hydon, Eric Swanson, Ken Vachereau, and Aurora Juliana Nowak. They were assisted by Field Organizer Abbie Curtis.


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