Home News and Features ON STRIKE! Goddard College Unionized Staff Hits The Picket Line 

ON STRIKE! Goddard College Unionized Staff Hits The Picket Line 

Goddard College strikers, bearded man in orange shirt and ball cap in foreground.
Bernard Avery, who works in the Goddard College in the facilities department, joined staff who walked off their jobs and on to a picket line Friday, March 24, at noon. Photo by Kirby Occaso.
PLAINFIELD – Goddard College Staff walked off their jobs and on to a picket line Friday, March 24, at noon. The move came after College President Dan Hocoy failed to appear, according to an anonymous staff member who was present for the discussion.

Earlier in the month, on Monday, March 13, a “super majority of Goddard College staff unanimously voted to authorize a strike and also took a separate vote of no confidence in Hocoy’s leadership, which was also unanimous. Staff across the campus – from kitchen workers to financial advisors – participated in these historic votes, including remote workers,” a document disseminated by the union members states. A later missive states that management and union representatives have met three times this week, and while union leaders commend management representatives for participating, they blame Hocoy for not being available or interested in the situation. Further, staff feel that going on strike is a last resort.

Also, according to a representative, “the very mission of Goddard College, which is to enable ‘imaginative and responsible action in the world’,” has been hampered by Hocoy. The members accuse Hocoy and “management” of failing to provide a 3% cost of living adjustment unless staff agree to give up rights to negotiate over working conditions. “In other words, management is saying that staff must exchange any semblance of workplace democracy – which, again is at the core of Goddard’s mission and ethos – for the barest amount of financial relief in these times of runaway inflation (the current inflation rate is 6.4%).” 

“At the core, Goddard Staff want fair, safe, and equitable working conditions. In line with Goddard College’s own mission, the Goddard College Staff Union (GCSU) have come together to take imaginative and responsible action in the world – to speak collectively to management about about the needs of its workers, whose labor is what allows Goddard to function in its remarkable and transformative work with faculty and students,” stated Danielle Kutner, GCSU Co-Chair.

 Additionally, the union document states that management has spent more money and effort on anti-union lawyers than negotiating with staff. This makes Goddard “more like other corporatized institutions: top-down, hierarchical, authoritarian,” as opposed to the foundational ideas brought with the founders of Goddard college to help inspire students in the 1930s “to explicitly fight fascism and authoritarianism.”

In a negotiation session on Tuesday, March 14, “management doubled down on furloughs and cuts rather than agree to proposals that would provide all Goddard stakeholders a greater voice.”

In a message to Goddard’s workers, Vermont State Labor Council Executive Director Liz Medina said, “If you decide to go out on strike, know that Vermont’s largest labor federation will be here to support you every step of the way!” Medina, a non-member, was in attendance as an observer and supporter. Medina did not participate in voting.

 Medina is also the Vice President of the UAW 2322 Executive Board, a former Goddard College staff union member, and an alumna of the College. 

The Bridge will attempt to get comments from management and President Hocoy as soon as possible.