Union nurses at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington have voted to authorize a two-day strike if necessary.
The union and the hospital have been in contract negotiations since March, and the nurses' contract expires July 9.
Laurie Aunchman, president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, told VPR Wednesday that 72 percent of the union's nurses voted, and 94 percent of that total voted in favor of a two-day strike if no progress is made in talks with the hospital and the bargaining committee decides a strike is necessary.
"The membership is in favor that if the bargaining committee feels now that after our contract expires on July 9, and we're still not making any headway or progress with UVMMC, then they have given the right to call for a two-day strike," Aunchman said.
If a strike is called for, Aunchman said nurses will give the hospital 10 days notice.
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Aunchman said nurses are seeking a boost in wages to retain a larger nursing staff and to keep nurses from leaving their jobs for more lucrative positions in other states.
A spokesperson for the medical center said the administration has been at the table for all bargaining sessions and the negotiations can be successful if the two sides use a mediator.