Vermont Business Magazine Exactly one year to the day after they requested voluntary recognition of their union, the workers at the Vermont Historical Society have ratified their first union contract.
The Vermont Historical Society joins libraries in Burlington, Essex, Kellogg-Hubbard, Middlebury, Rutland and Springfield as the number of libraries in the state whose workers formed unions through AFSCME Council 93 continues to grow.
While raises for the Vermont Historical Society are set by state law to mirror those received by other state employees, there were still a number of issues to be bargained over in achieving a first contract. Top among them were health care affordability and implementing a fair pay grade reclassification system.
Thanks to the expert assistance they received from Council 93 staff, the members achieved these goals and more in their first contract, which they ratified on Oct. 31.
Health care premium splits went down from 60/40 to 80/20 – meaning the employer will pick up 80% of the cost – putting hundreds of dollars back in members’ pockets. Requests for pay grade reclassification review can be made by a member, or the union, once every two years and any denials are subject to arbitration.
The contract includes provisions on just cause, progressive discipline and grievance procedures; calls for the creation of a Joint Labor Management Committee, a seat for the union on hiring committees, as well as new employee orientation rights to review the contract with new hires and explain it to them. Vermont Historical Society union members also cannot be disciplined for refusing to cross another union’s picket line.
Through its Cultural Workers United campaign, AFSCME represents more than 35,000 workers at hundreds of cultural institutions like museums, libraries and zoos across the country. These workers joined together to form unions through AFSCME to negotiate for better pay, benefits, resources and working conditions. They demand equity and fight for transparency in their workplaces as they build a national movement of cultural workers.
Source: 11.14.2023. https://www.afscme.org/ Top photo courtesy AFSCME