Students at the University of Vermont, including more than 1,200 who signed the Good Jobs @ UVM petition this past semester, countless staff, faculty, Sodexho employees, housekeeping staff, maintenance workers, construction workers and others all stand together in recognition of several demands central to a healthy, socially just institution. We acknowledge that these demands are not new, but rather have been brought to your attention as well as to the Board of Trustees over the past several years. Our concerns are not disparate, but instead are interwoven, and the concerns of each group reflect concerns for the whole community. The blatantly neglectful behavior of your administration in refusing any substantive resolution to these problems has been wholly inadequate, and here we call upon you the administration of the University of Vermont one last time to take action based on the following demands:

I. The University of Vermont will publicly recognize the importance of paying a living-wage to all workers who labor at or on behalf of the University, whether they are directly employed by UVM or by the University’s contractors. The University of Vermont shall adopt a livable-wage policy to ensure all of its employees and contracted employees receive a minimum livable wage equal to the hourly rate of pay determined by the state of Vermont’s Joint Fiscal Office for a single person in urban Vermont.[1] The University of Vermont shall pay its employees no less than a salary based on this livable wage and shall include the same livable wage figure in its negotiations and contracts for procurement of services from contractors. This minimum livable wage shall be paid for all hours worked, by UVM employees or by the employees of contractors hired by UVM, at or on behalf of UVM. To the extent possible, the University of Vermont will revise all existing contracts to reflect and include this policy before they are renewed, and all new contracts will reflect and include this policy.

II. As an institution founded upon the ideals of democracy and inclusion we call on UVM to agree to move to a strictly neutral position in regards to any organizing campaign. It is integral that all members of the University community are allowed to make their own decisions, free from coercion about whether they want a union. When more than 50% of workers in a unit sign cards authorizing representation by a particular union the university will agree to recognize this union, a process known as “card check”, rather than forcing workers through the complicated and undemocratic National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process. Furthermore, The University shall revise all existing contracts with subcontractors to reflect this requirement.

III. In an effort to promote positive community standards and buildings of the highest quality, UVM construction will be done by contractors who:

  • Have a good safety record and provides training in the recognition and avoidance of hazards and specific training called for in the VOSHA standards.
  • Shows proof of adequate and relevant insurance coverage for a particular project and must prove their compliance with workers’ compensation statutes.
  • Meets local prevailing wage standards, which includes health insurance and pension benefits.
  • Contractors, who bid on UVM construction projects should maintain, participate in and contribute to bona fide apprentice training programs recognized by the U.S. D.O.L./B.A.T. which must meet twenty-two standards of apprenticeship regulated and audited by the US D.O.L./B.A.T., as outlined in 29 CFR 29.5.
  • Are in compliance with the EPA, VOSHA, OSHA and other regulatory agencies and are in adherence to wage and hour standards, record keeping guidelines, child labor regulations and other components of the Fair Labor Standards Act are good indicators of a stable workforce.

We have recognized these demands to be fully attainable within the budget of the University. We have seen models of these practices implemented in numerous Universities nation wide, and expect UVM to stand committed to the acts of social responsibility we hear echoing from Waterman to Ira Allen Chapel. As a leader in the State of Vermont and an institution committed to social justice the Student Labor Action Project feels it is imperative that the Administration and Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont act on these three demands.

We request an official response no later than Friday, April 7th.

The Student Labor Action Project

[1] Since 2001, the State of Vermont Joint Fiscal Office (JFO) has estimated the cost of basic needs and the equivalent livable wage, based on methodology first developed in Phase 1 of the VT Job Gap Study and expanded by a 1999 Special Legislative Committee. As part of Act 59 – passed during the 2005 VT Legislative Session – JFO updates these calculations every odd numbered year on or before January 15th.