Porter Medical Center support staff and technical employees vote to unionize

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MIDDLEBURY — In a decisive vote on Wednesday, March 6, three hundred support staff and technical employees at Porter Medical Center, part of the University of Vermont Health Network, chose to organize a union with a 204-30 majority. The newly formed group plans to begin negotiations to improve wages, benefits, working conditions, and the quality of patient care.

The support staff and technical employees will join the 100 registered nurses at Porter who unionized in 2013 and the 9,500 healthcare and higher education professionals represented by AFT Vermont.

Liz Willey, a radiology technician at Porter, expressed her motivation for organizing, stating, “We love our hospital, the people and our jobs. I am organizing to win the resources and consideration we all need to succeed. I believe in doing the right thing, and providing equitable conditions is the right thing to do. Porter needs to be able to hire and retain quality staff, and we can create the conditions to make that happen.”

Shelley Bishop, an office representative, emphasized the need for fair compensation, saying, “We look forward to sitting down with management to negotiate for fair wages. My current compensation makes it difficult to feed my family of four and cover child care–let alone save for retirement. Porter wouldn’t run without us, and we need a livable wage.”

Nicole DiVita, AFT Vermont Co-President for Healthcare, welcomed the new members, stating, “We are so glad to welcome the most recent healthcare support staff and techs into our Union. We know that when we come together, we can win better working conditions for our members and better care for our patients.”

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