CVMC nurses and techs rally for union deal, safe staffing levels

Central Vermont Healthcare United

Photos courtesy AFT Vermont

Vermont Business Magazine On Sunday afternoon, March 24, over 120 CVMC nurses and technical staff, community members, and legislators rallied in Barre. Seven months after winning their union election, techs and nurses are pushing the CVMC administration to agree to terms that would create livable wages for all staff, reduce consistent staffing challenges and improve patient care as a result. 

Staff rallied because as bargaining team member and longtime Radiology Tech Cathy Couture said, "We are the staff who work the floor and deliver care every day. We understand in a very personal way what we need to improve staffing. When pay is low and we’re asked to see twice as many patients, it’s a sure path to burnout. Many of our longtime techs, who have valuable experience and relationships with patients, have left. The answer is pretty simple: pay us livable wages, support us with robust training, and staffing will improve.” 

Bargaining team member and 26-year CVMC nurse Sue Becker described the struggle boiling down to, “Nurses and technicians love caring for our patients, getting to know them and helping them be well. Yet, doing this work is not sustainable, especially over the last few years, when we are both understaffed and not paid a livable wage. The feeling of unity amongst our union, supporting the wage and staffing proposals, is powerful – now we need the administration to agree to prioritize staff retention and safe patient care.”

Central Vermont resident Kati Gallagher explained why she attended Sunday’s rally: “The techs and nurses at CVMC are a critical part of my healthcare, and they consistently go above and beyond. It’s really important to me that they are valued. That starts with fair compensation, opportunities for work-life balance, and resources for safe staffing. As patients, we need the people taking care of us to be supported if we want safe, quality care.”

Bargaining continues on April 4th and the union bargaining team expects to hear more from management about how they intend to address livable wages, short staffing, better training for new employees, and proper supplies and equipment for patient care.

Central Vermont Healthcare United

Central Vermont Healthcare United is a union of over 500 Nurses and Technical Staff at Central Vermont Medical Center. 

AFT Vermont represents 10,000 healthcare and higher education professionals at the Central Vermont Medical Center, UVM Medical Center, University of Vermont, the Vermont State University, Bennington College, Porter Medical Center, Community Health Centers of Burlington, Planned Parenthood of NNE and Brattleboro Medical Center.

Source: 3.24.2024. Berlin, Vermont, AFT Vermont