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SEIU 1199 Contract Negotiation Updates

SEIU 1199 represents Healthcare Specialists, Registered Nurses, Social Workers, and several medical technologist and technician job classifications at Harborview Medical Center (Harborview), as well as the flight nurses of Airlift Northwest. SEIU 1199 also represents Registered Nurses at Hall Health Center and UW Environmental Health and Safety, along with UW Research Nurses.

Pranika Laing
Assistant Director, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Banks Evans
Assistant Director, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Andrew Berg
Assistant Director, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator: Airlift Northwest)
Bonnie Conley
Director, Social Work, Harborview Medical Center
Tara Cannava
Director of Operations, Hall Health Center
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, Labor Relations
Julie Hoffman
Regional Manager, Airlift Northwest
Stephanie Howe
Payroll Services Director, UW Medicine Payroll Services
Darcy Jaffe
Chief Nursing Officer, Harborview Medical Center
Sommer Kleweno-Walley
Administrator, Patient Care Services, Harborview Medical Center
Dana Kyles
Assistant Administrator, Patient Care Services, Harborview Medical Center
DeAnn Lestenkof
Director, Administration and Human Resources, Department of Medicine
Joe Marotta
Administrative Director, Radiology, Harborview Medical Center
Kathy Mertens
Assistant Administrator, Ambulatory and Allied Care Services, Harborview Medical Center
Jennifer Petritz
Director, Medical Centers Human Resources
Becky Pierce
Associate Administrator, SEICS, Harborview Medical Center
JoAnn Wuitschick
Human Resources Consultant, Campus HR Operations

Negotiations Recap for June 18, 2015

This recap details the 12th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and SEIU 1199.

UW Proposals

Skills Day – In response to SEIU 1199’s proposal for an annual paid skills day for respiratory therapists, UW proposed a paid skills day for respiratory therapists comprised of internal education focused on job specific competency training.

Corrective Action – UW reasserted and altered elements of its last proposal, including:

  • Coaching: UW proposed that informal coaching precede the corrective action process. UW accepted SEIU 1199’s language memorializing that coaching is part of the ongoing role of management, and that the corrective action process may be implemented in cases where coaching has not resulted in an employee’s success or where there is a specific behavior issue.
  • Corrective Action: UW would make clear when formal or final counseling is being conducted and inform employees of their representation rights. UW would determine the step at which corrective action begins based on the nature and severity of problem, and formal counseling could only be grieved through Step Two of the grievance procedure.
  • Process: In response to the union’s concerns, UW reincorporated the practice of assigning letters to each step of the corrective action process.
  • Administrative Leave: UW proposed that if management elects not to take corrective action after an investigation involving an employee on administrative leave, the employee will be notified that the investigation is complete and no corrective action will be imposed. For administrative leaves lasting longer than 90 days, the union could request an update on the investigation status, next steps, and approximate timeframe for completion.

Job Posting and Transfer – UW reasserted elements of its last proposal, with adjustments based on union feedback. Before referring candidates to a vacant position or shift, UW would provide seven calendar days’ notice to employees within the unit seeking a different shift. Employees would submit requests in writing, and must have permanent status in the job class and work in same unit. Eligible employees would have no corrective action in their file for past 12 months, and would have the skills and abilities necessary for the vacant shift.

Seniority would act as a tiebreaker if two comparably-qualified employees requested the same shift. Employees refusing an offer that they requested would be unable to submit another such request for 12 months.

Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace – UW amended its proposal to memorialize the expectation that employees report to work unimpaired by alcohol or drugs, and to allow for drug testing in cases where reasonable suspicion exists. UW withdrew its language requiring that employees inform their supervisor if their medication is likely to affect job safety.

SEIU 1199 Proposals

General Wage Increases – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for general wage increases of 5 percent on July 1, 2015, and another 5 percent on July 1, 2016. UW reminded the union that wage increases will not be applied retroactively, and rather will only be applied prospectively after the contract is ratified.

New Top Steps – SEIU 1199 proposed the creation of two new steps at the top of all applicable pay tables, each one 3 percent greater than the step prior. The union proposed that any employee who has been at a top step for more than three years be placed on the newly-proposed top step, and employees with more than two years at a top step be placed on the penultimate of the newly-proposed steps.

Targeted Wage Increases – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposals for the following wage adjustments specific to individual job class series:

  • Anesthesiology Technician Series: 5 percent wage increase.
  • Social Work Series: 10 percent wage increase.
  • Electroneurodiagnostic (END) Technologist Series: 15 percent wage increase.
  • Vascular and Cardiac Lead Sonographers: Move from pay range 96 to range 99.

Standby Pay – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to increase the premium for time spent on call to $6 per hour for all eligible employees.

Certification Pay – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to expand eligibility for certification premium pay to include healthcare specialists as well as cardiac and vascular sonographers.

Filler Steps – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for 1 percent pay step adjustments from the previous step for steps that currently do not result in a pay increase, applicable to all SEIU 1199-represented job titles.

Training Fund – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for UW to pay an amount equaling 1 percent of all nurses' gross pay as a contribution to the SEIU 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund (“Training Fund”).

BSN Premium – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposed pay premium for nurses holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree premium as an "all-or-nothing" package with the Training Fund.

Hire-in Rates – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for social work hire-in rates to be based on year-for-year credit for applicable experience, to be developed through the joint labor-management process.

Research/Hall Health Nurse Pay Tables – SEIU 1199 proposed that the Research Nurse 1 job class be placed on the BW pay table such that it aligns with the Hall Health Nurse 2 job class. The union proposed establishing a 6 percent pay differential between the Research Nurse 1 and Research Nurse 2 job classes.

Credit for Past Experience – SEIU 1199 proposed that UW adjust wage rates for the entire Research/Hall Health Nurse bargaining unit to reflect year-for-year credit within 30 days of contract ratification.

Contract Distribution – SEIU 1199 proposed that the parties maintain the current practice of printing paper contracts.

Trial Service Period – SEIU 1199 proposed a six month trial service period for permanent employees who transfer into a job class for which they previously have not attained permanent status. Employees could voluntarily revert to their former permanent position within six weeks of the appointment, provided that the position had not already been filled or offered, and reversion of employees who are unsuccessful during their trial service period would not be subject to grievance.

An employee who voluntarily moved positions within the bargaining unit (excluding shift changes within a work unit) would have a six week trial service period, in which employee or the employer could elect for the employee to return to their prior position without notice or grievance recourse. If their prior position was filled with a permanent employee, the employee would be placed on the rehire list.

Per Diem Probationary Period – SEIU 1199 proposed that up to six months of service as a per diem nurse count toward a nurse’s probationary period in the event they are hired into a permanent position in the same job class without a break in service.

Overtime – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for sick leave to count toward the calculation of overtime except in the case of prescheduled overtime.

Rest Between Shifts – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to expand eligibility for rest period premium pay to include cardiac and vascular sonographers as well as respiratory therapists.

Meal and Rest Breaks – SEIU 1199 proposed expanding UW’s language regarding uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for Harborview nurses such that it would apply to SEIU-1199 employees across UW. The union proposed language committing employees and managers to attend joint training concerning the importance of taking breaks, how to record missed breaks, and non-retaliation policies.

Break Relief Nurses – Rather than conduct a finite evaluation, SEIU 1199 proposed that Harborview provide break relief nurses with no permanent patient assignments to all acute care units on the day shift.

SEIU 1199 Airlift Northwest Proposals

Union Delegates – SEIU 1199 proposed that the Seattle base have two union delegates, and that each other Airlift Northwest base have one.

Part-Time Employees – SEIU 1199 declined UW’s proposal to revise the threshold of hours worked in a six week period to be considered a "part-time employee" for the Airlift Northwest bargaining unit from 120–240 hours to 144–240 hours.

Flight Nurse Premium – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for a flight nurse premium of $5 per hour.

Juneau-based Flight Nurses – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposed 15 percent wage increase for flight nurses based in Juneau.

Float Pay – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for flight nurses to receive float pay for time assigned to work outside their official duty station.

Mileage – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for all mileage to and from a flight nurse’s reporting station to be paid in cases where they report to work at a station other than their official duty station. The union maintained its proposal for mileage to be paid for any travel required for clinical work or education that is not provided at a flight nurse's official duty station.

The union accepted UW’s proposal for mileage to be paid to and from a flight nurse’s home rather than to and from their official duty station in the event their home is closer to their reporting station than their official duty station is, with minor clarifications.

Aircraft out of Service – SEIU 1199 proposed that there must be a staffing need in order for management to require a flight nurse to work at another Airlift Northwest facility in cases where the aircraft at their official duty station is out of service.

The union maintained its proposal to allow flight nurses to be paid at an overtime rate for time spent driving back to their official duty station from a different facility in cases where they must begin their return trip after their shift was scheduled to end. The union proposed language establishing the expectation that flight nurses will end duty shifts on time.

Job Posting and Transfer – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to allow flight nurses who do not fulfill a two year commitment at the Juneau base to repay a prorated amount of the moving cost incentive paid to them, rather than the whole thing.

Official Duty Station – SEIU 1199 proposed payment of lodging and food per diem for flight nurses attending training more than 80 miles from their official duty station, rather than UW’s proposal for 100 miles.

Sign-in Sheet

UW again delivered a sign-in sheet for both bargaining teams to sign, in order to help facilitate payment of release time to employees. For the 12th consecutive session, SEIU 1199 declined to utilize a sign-in sheet.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for June 24.


Negotiations Recap for June 16, 2015

This recap details the 11th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and SEIU 1199.

UW Proposals

Rest Between Shifts – UW proposed the parties maintain current contract language. UW withdrew its proposal to expand rest between shifts premium pay eligibility to several other groups because SEIU 1199 declined UW’s proposal to standardize the rest between shifts pay practice for nurses.

Contract Distribution – UW proposed that the parties print 900 paper copies of the 2015-2017 contract (roughly half of the number of SEIU 1199-represented UW employees), and share the cost equally. UW would not print future contracts.

Social Work Wage Increases and Consolidation – UW proposed wrapping the Social Worker 1 and 2 job classes into a single job class. Employees in the Social Worker 2 job class would remain on their current pay table at their current pay range, to which employees currently in the Social Worker 1 job class would also be moved. This would result in a wage increase of roughly 8 percent for employees currently in the Social Worker 1 job class.

SEIU 1199 Proposals

Contract Distribution – SEIU 1199 proposed that the parties continue printing paper contracts and sharing the cost thereof, and that UW provide the contract for existing employees while the union provide it for new employees.

Rest Between Shifts – SEIU 1199 proposed expanding eligibility for rest period premium pay to include cardiac and vascular sonographers as well as respiratory therapists.

Skills Day – SEIU 1199 proposed the implementation of an annual paid skills day for respiratory therapists.

Education Support Funds – SEIU 1199 proposed increases to the annual education support funds available to each full-time equivalent (FTE) as follows:

  • Healthcare Specialists: Increase from $1,800 per FTE to $2,500 per FTE.
  • Airlift Northwest: Increase from $500 per FTE to $800 per FTE.

Corrective Action – SEIU 1199 proposed language memorializing that coaching is part of the ongoing role of management, and that the corrective action process may be implemented in cases where coaching has not resulted in an employee’s success or where there is a specific behavior issue.

The union maintained its proposals requiring that employees be informed of their right to a union delegate before any informal counseling, and that the supervisor declare that the meeting is a Step A counseling. SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for the union to be notified of the decision on whether or not to terminate an employee prior to the actual employee being notified.

Job Posting and Transfer – SEIU 1199 proposed that before referring candidates to a vacant position or shift, UW would provide seven business days’ notice to employees within the unit seeking a different shift or position. Employees would submit requests in writing, and must have permanent status in the job class and work in same unit. Eligible employees would have no corrective action above Step B in their file for the past 12 months, and would have the skills and abilities necessary for the position. Seniority would act as a tiebreaker if two comparably-qualified employees requested the same vacancy.

The union also proposed that additional hours on a shift or unit would first be offered to current permanent employees within the unit. Existing employees would be notified of job openings immediately, and have priority. Per diem employees would be considered before outside applicants if a regular position was not yet filled by a permanent employee.

Staffing – SEIU 1199 revised elements of UW’s proposed consolidation of nurse staffing policy and contract language into the body of the contract. The union proposed that employee compensation for time spent on the staffing committee include pay differentials and premiums.

The union proposed that trends related to census, acuity, and ratios that continue for three months be used as a basis for changing the staffing matrix. The union maintained its proposals for unit-based staffing committees, and unit-specific patient-to-employee staffing ratios ranging from 1:1 to 4:1.

Negotiations for a Successor Contract – SEIU 1199 proposed that UW provide paid release time for 1 percent of all 1,859 employees represented by the union for negotiations for a successor contract. The union proposed that UW provide paid release time for three employees to attend statewide healthcare negotiations.

Sign-in Sheet

UW again delivered a sign-in sheet for both bargaining teams to sign, in order to help facilitate payment of release time to employees. For the 11th consecutive session, SEIU 1199 declined to utilize a sign-in sheet.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for June 18.


Negotiations Recap for June 11, 2015

This recap details the 10th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and SEIU 1199.

Compensation Discussion

Milliman Study – UW presented an analysis of how compensation for UW/Harborview employees compares to that of employees in Harborview’s market of competing organizations, including Swedish, Valley, MultiCare, and Virginia Mason. The analysis was derived from a classified staff salary study conducted for UW HR by third-party compensation experts at Milliman in fall of 2014.

Philosophy – UW HR's general compensation philosophy for the broader University is to pay at 80 percent of the market median, in part because UW's robust benefits package exceeds the market. However, for nurses and other healthcare workers UW targets to pay at 90 percent of the market median. The market median, or "market," for UW is the point at which half of UW's comparators pay below UW and half pay above.

Findings – Several UW/Harborview job classifications are paid very near the market, including nurses at 97.8 percent of the market, healthcare specialists at 102.7 percent of the market, and respiratory care employees at 97.7 percent of the market. This does not factor in UW's above-market benefits such as healthcare and retirement.

UW Proposals

UW delivered proposals and provided responses on all outstanding matters. Provisions included:

Union Delegates – UW withdrew its proposal for the union to send an up-to-date list of union delegates to the Labor Relations office quarterly, rather than once per year.

Contract Distribution – UW maintained its proposal for the parties to utilize the electronic version of the contract rather than printing paper copies, with each department maintaining a paper copy accessible to all employees.

Per Diem Probationary Period – UW accepted SEIU 1199’s proposal for up to six months of service as a union-represented per diem nurse to count toward a nurse’s probationary period in the event they are hired into a permanent position in the same job class without a break in service. Such a decision would be at management’s discretion.

Work Day – UW accepted SEIU 1199’s language stating that all employees are to be compensated at the appropriate pay rate for each missed rest period. UW added that employees are expected to make good faith effort to communicate with the appropriate shift charge or lead to problem solve in order to help facilitate a meal or rest break.

Overtime – UW proposed that vacation leave and compensatory time not count toward the calculation of overtime, withdrawing its proposal to not count personal holiday as well.

Rest Between Shifts – UW proposed a compromise in which it would agree to the union’s proposed expansion of rest period premium pay eligibility to include imaging technologists and sonographers as well as respiratory care and anesthesiology technicians, provided that the union agreed to standardize the rest between shifts pay practice for nurses to align with that of all other eligible groups.

Elective Educational and Professional Leave Use – UW withdrew its proposed requirement that mandatory education be completed prior to approval of elective education.

Wage Increases – UW put forth an initial wage proposal comprised of a 1 percent general wage increase effective July 1, 2015, and a 1 percent general wage increase effective July 1, 2016. UW declined SEIU 1199’s proposals for several individualized and general adjustments to wage scales and pay premiums.

Call Back – UW maintained its proposal clarifying that the two and one-half hours of guaranteed premium pay for employees called back, from standby or not, only applies once during the same two and one-half hour period of time. UW also maintained its proposal for the minimum callback hours to not apply for employees who are called in from standby prior to their scheduled shift and continue working into their scheduled shift.

Vacation Leave – UW declined SEIU 1199’s proposed adjustments to vacation leave accruals.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – UW proposed that for leave under FMLA, employees must use a portion of their accrued paid leave, but may retain 100 hours of accrued vacation leave.

Layoff – UW maintained its proposed language updates to establish a clear process in the event of a layoff, spelling out an ordered list of distinct employment options for employees subject to layoff.

Meal and Rest Breaks – UW proposed a memorandum of understanding to capture the parties’ joint goal of ensuring that nurses at Harborview receive uninterrupted meal and rest breaks. The language memorialized the responsibility of Harborview to create an environment that allows and encourages uninterrupted breaks, and the responsibility of nurses to take such breaks.

  • Process: Nurses would notify their supervisor if they anticipate being unable to take a meal or rest break, and supervisors would make every effort to provide a break. Nurses would be compensated at the appropriate rate of pay in the event they miss a meal or rest break, or if they are required by Harborview to be available for duty on premises.
  • Tracking: Applicable processes would be determined by Harborview in collaboration with the joint labor-management committee, and would incorporate data and feedback from nurses. Harborview would track data on breaks not taken in each department/unit and shift and report to the joint labor-management committee. Retaliation for reporting missed breaks or related concerns would continue to not be tolerated.
  • Break Relief: Harborview would conduct a finite assessment of the efficacy of break relief nurses on day shift on each acute care unit, considering unit-specific requirements and acuity, fiscal responsibility, and quality indicators. Break relief nurses generally would not have permanent patient assignment.

END Technologist Job Descriptions – UW proposed a memorandum of understanding whereby the UW Compensation Office would undertake the union’s proposed review of the Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist series job descriptions, and provide a response within 90 days of the contract’s ratification.

Negotiations for a Successor Contract – UW proposed 960 hours of paid release time for union designated bargaining team members for negotiations for the 2017-2019 contract.

Sign-in Sheet

UW again delivered a sign-in sheet for both bargaining teams to sign, in order to help facilitate payment of release time to employees. For the 10th consecutive session, SEIU 1199 declined to utilize a sign-in sheet.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for June 16.