As part of the 2013-2015 contract, SEIU 1199 and UW agreed that the University would undertake wage studies for the health care specialist, social worker, and electroneurodiagnostic (END) technologist job classifications to determine how their compensation compared to the market and whether any adjustments were warranted. The parties agreed that health care specialists would be guaranteed a wage increase of at least 2 percent as of October 1, 2013, irrespective of the outcome of the study.
These targeted wage analyses have been conducted, and health care specialists received a 2 percent wage increase on October 1, 2013 (on top of the 2 percent general wage increases effective July 1, 2013 and an additional 2 percent increase July 2014, which apply to all SEIU 1199-covered positions).
The analyses for the other job classifications indicated that the Social Worker 1 job class needed attention, but otherwise did not support additional wage increases.
SEIU 1199 disagreed with UW's assessment, and the parties are currently in mediation to try to resolve the matter.
UW's Proposal: UW has proposed consolidating the Social Worker 1 and Social Worker 2 job classifications into one, to better align with the market's prevailing benchmark, Social Worker (MSW). This would provide all Social Worker 1's with an 8 percent raise, and would recognize that the responsibilities of both positions are the same: to provide counseling, therapy and other services to HMC patients.
This consolidation of positions would raise the pay rates of employees in the Social Worker 1 job class by 8 percent on June 1, 2014, if the union membership ratified the proposal by April 1.
The University's compensation philosophy is to ensure that pay for jobs in its health care system is closely aligned with the market 50th percentile, as reported by its 11 peer hospitals in the Seattle metro region.
The union provided information to support its contention that END technologists and healthcare specialists are behind the market. There is a belief that the EEG technician job reported in the Milliman Healthcare survey is not a good match to the END 2 position. The union's analysis blended cardiac technologist pay rates with EEG jobs and incorporated data from hospitals in the Portland metro area. The union proposed wage increases as follows, at a total cost of $2.1 million:
UW is committed to finding a solution that is fair to employees, conscious of market realities, and ensures responsible stewardship of Harborview's resources and challenging financial situation. The parties are currently working to schedule a third meeting to continue this discussion and try to reach resolution.