United Academics has gone a long way to try to work with the University of Vermont administration as they attempt to meet new accounting standards in which the future cost of retiree healthcare benefits must be reported as a liability, creating a distorted picture of UVM's financial health. Our bargaining team has brought to the table several proposals that would address the accounting concerns while also safeguarding crucial health benefits for retired workers. Yet the administration has been reluctant to consider any solution except to eliminate retiree healthcare benefits for all future hires. The administration's proposal will not have the effect of alleviating any short-term budget woes for UVM. The effect this proposal will have is to create two tiers of faculty: those who receive this substantial benefit of retiree health coverage and those who are denied it. We, the undersigned, are University of Vermont faculty who stand with United Academics in opposing the administration's plan to eliminate retiree healthcare benefits for future employees and who call on the administration to find a solution that maintains meaningful support for retiree health care for the next generation. In addition to it being the right thing to do to stand up for retiree health benefits, it will also keep our union strong by demonstrating to new faculty that we will not sacrifice their interests by protecting those of us hired before them.
Stop trying to eliminate health benefits for new faculty hires
United Academics has gone a long way to be responsive to the University’s budget concerns. We have indicated a willingness to move towards their positions regarding salaries and retirement eligibility age. They have refused to move on the matter of retirement benefits for new hires, even though their proposal will not save them any money for 15 years, when the first new hires reach the minimum number of years of service for retirement benefit eligibility. They offer nothing except a steep medical benefits cliff over which all future employees will fall upon retirement.