Winooski Open Letter To Support The Nurses - Rights & Democracy VT

Winooski Open Letter To Support The Nurses


We the undersigned residents of Winooski call for the following resolution in support of the nurses at UVM Medical Center, who are working for quality patient care and a fair contract, to be adopted by our City Council and other elected and appointed public bodies.

WHEREAS, the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC), based in Burlington but with facilities placed throughout our region, is a six (6) hospital network and home health care and hospice agency that is the regional Level 1 Trauma Center for northern Vermont and New York, thereby playing an essential role in the people’s health, safety and well-being, in the same way as police and fire services are; and

WHEREAS, the UVMMC is also the largest employer in Vermont, with over 6,400 employees, $1 billion in unrestricted net assets and a surplus of $69 million in 2017, and a CEO with a reported $2.2 million in income in 2016; and

WHEREAS, the UVMMC is also a 501c3 non-profit institution, exempt from paying local property taxes, with a mission “to improve the health of the people in the communities” they serve, and a key value to be “caring and compassionate to each other and to those we serve;” and

WHEREAS, to act in line with its non-profit status, its role in this community and state, and its mission and values, UVMMC has a responsibility to serve as a model employer, pay its caregivers fairly, and treat them with respect;

WHEREAS, in 2002, the nurses at UVMMC organized a union, Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals Local 5221, in order to improve standards of patient care, work to secure a healthy and safe working environment, and establish equitable wages and benefits for front-line healthcare workers; and

WHEREAS, the nurses’ union represents some 1800 nurses and other health professionals and is currently in contract negotiations with UVMMC management; and

WHEREAS, the critical issues in negotiations are safe staffing levels, competitive and equitable pay, and fundamental respect; and

WHEREAS, safe staffing is at issue because there are over 100 nursing positions that are currently open, thereby making much more work for existing nurses, which translates into less time with each patient and "moral distress" for nurses who know the right thing to do but face institutional constraints that make it impossible to pursue that right course of action; and

WHEREAS, a cause of the high number of vacancies is the non-competitive wages paid to nurses, which makes recruitment and retention difficult and is reflected in Vermont being ranked 47th in the nation, after adjusting for the cost of living, for nursing pay and that UVMMC nurses are paid less than nurses in Plattsburg (a smaller, “feeder” hospital in a lower cost locale); and

WHEREAS, while many nurses have not seen a pay raise in years and low pay makes hiring and retaining Licensed Nurse Assistants and other support workers difficult (so that nurses have to do their work when there are too few on shift), UVMMC pays its 15 highest executives a combined $11 million last year, according to published reports; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that in the interest of the well-being, health and safety of our residents and visitors, we hereby call on the UVMMC management and the Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals to find common ground and come to an agreement that is in the best interest of the community and (1) respects the worth and dignity of UVMMC’s nurses and other health care workers, (2) leads to safe nurse staffing ratios and a reduction in vacancies, and (3) pays fair and equitable wages to recruit and retain high quality nurses and support workers.

Who's signing

Jonathan Jerome
Maggie Phelan
Aaron Lipman
Jill Decarreau
Mary Ann Burlingame
Anne MacLeod
Michael Connolly
Betty Holton
Lauren Berrizbeitia
Brian Sheehan
Margaret Bass
Christy Nelson
Meredith Bay-Tyack
zoe bishop
Elise Greaves
Amanda Calder
26 signatures

Will you sign?

  • Jonathan Jerome
    @jjerome57 tweeted link to this page. 2018-08-23 12:22:10 -0400
    Sign the petition: Winooski Open Letter To Support The Nurses
  • Jonathan Jerome
    signed 2018-08-23 12:19:31 -0400
    Could we get the state legislative body involved with this
  • Maggie Phelan
    signed 2018-08-23 12:00:26 -0400
  • Aaron Lipman
    signed 2018-08-20 17:39:48 -0400
  • Jill Decarreau
    signed 2018-08-17 10:26:32 -0400
    Take care of those who take care of others these nurses work really hard to keep our loved ones safe and they deserve to the right to feel like they can do their jobs well in a safe environment . Thank you to all you amazing people Nurses make a difference!!!
  • Mary Ann Burlingame
    signed 2018-08-17 09:20:24 -0400
    I stand with the nurses and I stand with the patients. When organizations and their owners want to fatten their wallets by skimping on things and not valuing the life of their employees or the patients (their customers) it is saddening and disgusting. Yes you are in business to make a profit but not at the expense of human lives. Make your profits some other way. We are supposed to take care of one another. I have seen it first hand and it makes me cry. I see how tired and overworked the nurses are. I see the lack of care patients get because of the patient to nurse ratio. It is not a safe working environment to be understaffed and overworked . Nurses chose their profession because of love of people and wanting to care for them and they can’t do the job they were hired for properly because of financial greed from the owners of the companies. Greed is ugly and evil. I wonder if the non-profit care companies are run the same way – don’t know – there don’t seem to be any in Vermont.
  • Anne MacLeod
    signed 2018-08-16 20:34:16 -0400
    Never once have I seen the hospital administrators empty my mother’s bedpan or bring her medications in the middle of the night. I am a former administrator; I understand the need for administrators. But this is RIDICULOUS. What kind of human being believes he is 60 TIMES more valuable/important than a human being who cleans up vomit? FIGURE OUT how to pay the nurses what they deserve and need to live in Vermont. The shuttle bus situation is also grotesque. This is the best we can do for our nurses, after a 12-hour shift — saving lives?!

    Many of us long-time residents are outraged; this is not the hospital I grew up with and deeply respected. We know who does the 24/7 work of caring for our sick and injured.
  • Michael Connolly
    signed 2018-08-16 20:14:17 -0400
  • Betty Holton
    signed 2018-08-16 19:51:06 -0400
    I am one of the nurses who did not receive a raise for many years.
  • Lauren Berrizbeitia
    signed 2018-08-16 19:30:56 -0400
  • Brian Sheehan
    signed 2018-08-16 18:02:43 -0400
    Brian Sheehan
  • Margaret Bass
    signed 2018-08-16 17:05:07 -0400
    I fully support the nurses!
  • Christy Nelson
    signed 2018-08-16 17:04:01 -0400
  • Meredith Bay-Tyack
    signed 2018-08-16 16:56:56 -0400
    Meredith Bay-Tyack
  • zoe bishop
    signed 2018-08-16 16:56:44 -0400
    zoe Bishop
  • Elise Greaves
    signed 2018-08-16 15:30:03 -0400
  • Amanda Calder
    signed 2018-08-12 17:17:28 -0400
    We need to support the nurses because we depend on UVMMC for our healthcare and need it to have safe staffing and for the nurses to have what they need to do their jobs well. Nurses are also reaidents of Winooski and we want all our neighbors to have livable wages and safe working conditions.

Sign in with:

Or sign up:

Sign Join Support


get updates