Vermont State Colleges' Jeb Spaulding

Jeb Spaulding is chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges. Last month, Spaulding published a white paper outlining the college system’s stresses — from declining enrollments and chronic underfunding to competition from online-degree programs — along with a plan to try to address those challenges.

After more than a year and a half of negotiation, faculty members at the Vermont State Colleges voted to ratify a contract with the administration.

Of the 218 total full-time faculty eligible for the vote, 84 percent cast a ballot. And of those voters, 95 percent voted to ratify the agreement.

The proposed contract includes a 16 percent cut in the teachers’ retirements, a small boost in salaries, and no change in health care premiums.

Those compromises come at the suggestion of a neutral third-party fact finder, hired as part of the mediation process. The talks began in May 2018, and the fact finder got involved after negotiations stalled after eight months of bargaining .

“It’s been a really grueling process,” said Lisa Cline, a history professor at Northern Vermont University-Johnson and president of the VSC Faculty Federation. “We’ve been at it forever; it’s taken a lot of time and energy.”

Read more at VTDigger.org (State colleges faculty ratify contract after 16 months of negotiation)

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