UVM Medical Center administration gives ultimatum to nurses

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The University of Vermont Medical Center says it has put its "last, best and final offer" on the table after negotiations with the nurses union Thursday evening.

The two sides have been bargaining over the last several months, trying to reach an agreement over pay and patient care. The union wants a 20 percent increase over three years, the hospital has offered 15 percent. Now the hospital says that while it will continue to be at bargaining sessions, it will no longer put any more offers on the table.

"We will listen if the union has additional proposals that may be of value. We are happy to listen. What we're really excited about is the opportunity, is to take this very strong proposal out to our members to really ask them to vote on it and ratify a contract," said hospital president Eileen Whalen.

"I'm really disappointed that the hospital is taking this position -- that they're prioritizing CEO salaries and expansions over our nurses," said Laurie Auchman, president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses.

Upwards of 1,800 UVM union nurses went on strike for two days back in July and union officials have said another strike could last longer.

There is another bargaining session planned for next Wednesday.