UW and SEIU 1199 met on April 17 for the third mediated session regarding wage studies that the UW has undertaken for the health care specialist, social worker, and electroneurodiagnostic (END) technologist job classifications.
UW invited a compensation expert from Milliman to attend the meeting to provide the parties with an objective overview of the goals and processes behind conducting a compensation survey. Milliman is an established and respected third-party compensation consulting firm with extensive experience in health care, the public sector, and with union-represented workforces.
Milliman delivered a presentation summarizing the compensation survey process, sharing best practices, and evaluating the wage studies conducted by both UW and SEIU 1199.
Purpose of a Survey: An organization participates in a compensation survey to see how its compensation compares to that of its market. This information helps an organization to remain competitive, identify problems, and effectively carry out its compensation philosophy.
UW's compensation philosophy is to ensure that its pay is closely aligned with the 50th percentile (or median) of its market. This is the point at which half of its comparators pay above UW and half of its comparators pay below UW.
Defining the "Market": An organization's market is the group of entities with which it competes for labor. Geography, industry, function, and size are critical factors in determining which organizations constitute an appropriate market.
Conducting a Quality Survey: A quality compensation survey must be administered by an independent third party and must use consistent criteria in determining peers. The data must be current, with clear compilation practices, and it must be aggregated rather than individually reported.
Other important considerations include:
Milliman reported that UW's approach is consistent with best practices. Milliman explained that UW's established peer organizations are appropriate, and have been analyzed and applied with consistency and stability over time. Milliman reported that UW is matching the appropriate jobs and appropriately aging and aggregating its data.
Milliman raised concerns with SEIU 1199's methodology. Milliman reported inconsistencies with SEIU 1199's definition and use of peer organizations, and cited inappropriate job matching in the union's analysis.
In follow-up to UW's February 28 proposal to provide Social Worker 1's with an 8 percent pay raise into a consolidated Social Worker job classification, both parties put forth counter-proposals.
UW reiterated that there is no market justification for wage increases for any of the job classifications except the Social Worker 1. In an effort to resolve the parties' disagreement, UW proposed a 1 percent wage increase for health care specialists, social workers, and END technologists.
UW is awaiting SEIU 1199's response to its most recent proposal.