About Us

VFNHP Mission

We are a strong union of health care professionals organized to ensure access to high-quality health care for everyone in the communities we serve.

Together, using our collective voice and activism, we champion healthy work environments, access to resources for delivery of the best care possible and a future of sustainable well-being for all.

Our History

In October of 2002, by an overwhelming majority of 2 to 1, the Registered Nurses at UVM Medical Center voted to form our union, the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (VFNHP), Local 5221, AFT-Vermont, AFL-CIO.

On and off since the late 1980’s, nurses and health professionals at UVM Medical Center sought to build the commitment and momentum necessary to form a union. In what was an increasingly challenging work environment fraught with unfairness and inequality, our nurses continually struggled with preventable staff shortages, downsizing, micro-management, devastating cost-cutting measures, unfair firing practices and anti-union bullying. We committed to righting these wrongs and securing a better working environment. 

After over a year of tenacious work and courageous organizing, nurses at UVMMC won a critical battle that would improve standards of patient care, work to secure a healthy and safe working environment, and establish equitable wages and benefits for front-line healthcare workers. With a resounding 2 to 1 vote, we formed our union in 2002.

With a seat at the table, we began bargaining in earnest in December 2002 for an equitable contract that addressed issues of nurse-to-patient ratios, retention, floating, stagnant wages, and more; in July of 2003, we signed our first union contract with UVMMC! That contract was heralded as “one of the best first contracts in healthcare in the country,” and marked the beginning of what would be a series of groundbreaking negotiations on behalf of our members.


In 2003, the Licensed Practical Nurses voted to join our union, and in 2006 we negotiated one contract for both bargaining units.


Technical Professionals Join Our Union
In 2009, seeing the indisputable benefits of union representation, a group of over 300 Technical Professionals voted to join our union as well, bringing the union’s membership at UVMMC to over 2,000 healthcare professionals. The first tech contract was signed in 2010.


Putting Patients First
On the first day of the Legislative session in 2012, inspired by the Vermont Workers’ Center Put People First campaign, we officially launched our Put Patients First campaign. Working with the Vermont Workers’ Center since the outset of the “Health Care is a Human Right” campaign which has built a groundswell of support for a universal health care system in Vermont, we also worked with legislators to introduce bills that would ensure safe staffing ratios for dialysis patients, expand the admitting and signature privileges of nurse practitioners, eliminate insurance discrimination based on gender identity, and ensure patient and worker safety through safe patient handling programs and a ban on mandatory overtime for healthcare workers across the state (VFNHP members have that benefit in our contract).


Strength in Numbers
In early 2013, the National Federation of Nurses affiliated with the AFT, whose 1.5 million members include more than 48,000 nurses and thousands of other healthcare professionals. This means The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals is now part of the over 100,000 nurses and healthcare professionals nationwide who make up the healthcare division of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Our AFT state federation is AFT-Vermont, which represents over 3,000 healthcare workers and educators throughout the state.

AFT Healthcare is made up of 95 locals in 17 states and one territory (Guam). While nearly half the members of AFT Healthcare are registered nurses, the division also represents medical researchers, physicians, dieticians, psychologists, medical technicians, therapists and others. AFT Healthcare is currently the second largest union representing nurses and healthcare professionals in the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations).


MAT teams and Strike
Member Action Teams (MATs), an innovative structure for communication sharing, were established at VFNHP to build strength for nurse contract negotiations.

On July 12-13, 2018, at the state’s second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the nurses of VFNHP struck over issues of safe working conditions and wage inequity, they also demanded a livable wage of $15/hour for their colleagues in supporting roles at the hospital. This strike was overwhelmingly approved by the membership and resulted in positive safety and economic gains in the 2018-2021 contract, as well as management’s promise of a livable wage for all at the UVMMC.


Imaging Technologists Join Our Union
In 2021, after a successful campaign through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Imaging Technologists voted to join our union.  They will begin the contract negotiation process next.

The Work Continues…

VFNHP continues to campaign and organize on behalf of our members and other healthcare workers in the state for the fundamental rights, protections, and benefits essential in delivering outstanding healthcare, improving recruitment, achieving long-term retention, and building a better, more equitable workplace for all.

Our strength is in our ability to give our members a strong voice on the issues that affect our patients, our workplace, and our profession.



We are a strong union of health care professionals organized to ensure access to high-quality health care for everyone in the communities we serve.

Call: (802) 657-4040

Fax: 802.871.5946

Email: info@vfnhp.org

Address: 96 Colchester Ave, Burlington VT 05401