Porter nurses optimistic about reaching a new contract

MIDDLEBURY — University of Vermont Health Network-Porter Medical Center officials and nurses’ union leaders returned to the bargaining table on Wednesday, Sept. 13, for 11 hours of talks that failed to produce a new pact for PMC’s more than 140 full- and part-time nurses. But negotiators on Thursday were optimistic a new deal would be struck before the nurses’ current, three-year contract expires at the end of this month.
“After an 11-hour bargaining session, we were unable to come to an agreement on all our proposals, but much progress was made,” said Alice Leo, a Porter RN and president of the Porter Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (PFNHP). “We have agreed to meet again this Sunday.”
PMC nurses and administrators have been in negotiations for several months. Union members have been emphasizing “safe staffing levels” at Porter through colorful yard signs and gatherings near court square and on the Porter campus.
The union includes nurses who work at Porter Hospital, Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, and the network of around a dozen physicians’ offices affiliated with PMC.
This will be only the second-ever contract negotiated for Porter nurses and the first since the center’s affiliation with UVM Health Network.
The nurses’ current contract, finalized at the end of 2014, guaranteed salary increases of 2 percent during each of the three years of the deal. It also addressed some overtime, professional development and wage-scale concerns brought forward by the nurses’ union.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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