Goddard College staff went on strike Friday after bargaining between the staff union and administrators broke down.
Thirty-five staff members in a range of positions, including custodial workers and admissions office employees, walked off the job mid-day Friday after reaching an impasse in bargaining.
Last week, the union unanimously voted to authorize a strike and issue a vote of no confidence in the Plainfield college’s president, Dan Hocoy.
“Negotiation hasn’t concluded yet,” Patrick Burke, the president of the UAW Local 2322, said Friday afternoon. “So the strike is on.”
The college’s faculty union did not participate in the strike, and classes were in session Friday, Hocoy said.
In a brief interview Friday afternoon, Hocoy called the strike “irresponsible.”
“I'm very disappointed in the decision of the union to strike, since I really felt that the staff union and the college had made significant progress in negotiations over the past few days,” he said.
The two parties have been in negotiations for a new contract for roughly a year. Union members and the college administration described the stalemate differently.
The union accused college administrators of holding cost-of-living raises hostage.
“For over a year, management refused to grant a modest cost-of-living adjustment of 3% without staff surrendering their right to negotiate on working conditions or agreeing to other economic concessions,” the union said in a Thursday press release.
Hocoy, meanwhile, said the union had refused to accept standard language in the contract.
“The UAW staff union was unwilling to agree, specifically, to language regarding management rights that are standard in every collective bargaining agreement in the United States,” Hocoy said.
The parties will return to the negotiation table tomorrow morning, Hocoy said.
If you want to keep tabs on Vermont's education news, sign up here to get a weekly email with all of VTDigger's reporting on higher education, early childhood programs and K-12 education policy.