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SEIU 925 - Contact Center Contract Negotiation Updates

In fall 2013, employees and supervisors of the UW Medicine Contact Center (UWMCC) elected the Service Employees International Union, Local 925 (SEIU 925), as their exclusive bargaining representative. SEIU 925 and UWMCC began negotiations for a Contact Center collective bargaining agreement on April 16, 2014. These negotiations are summarized below.

Andrew Berg
Labor Relations Specialist, UW Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Stephanie Godwin-Austen
Sr. Compensation Consultant, UW Compensation
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, UW Labor Relations
Joe Karduck
Operations Manager, UW Medicine Contact Center
Lynn Klainer
HR Consultant, Medical Centers Human Resources
Melissa Vasiliades
Director, UW Medicine Contact Center

Negotiations Recap for May 8, 2014

This recap details the third bargaining session between the UW and SEIU 925 for a UWMCC collective bargaining agreement.

UW Proposals

UW proposed a memorandum of understanding addressing several provisions specific to UWMCC. Key points included:

Wage Increases - UW maintained its proposed 2 percent wage increase on July 1, 2014 for SEIU 925-represented UWMCC employees.

Pay Table Conversion - UW reiterated its proposal to place bargaining unit employees on SEIU 925 wage tables at appropriate steps that would not reduce their wages.

Overtime after Shift - UW proposed enabling UWMCC employees working beyond their scheduled eight-hour shift to choose either to receive overtime pay for that day, or to flex that time elsewhere in the workweek, though employees taking calls after their shift's end-time could face corrective action.

Banded Schedules - UW proposed allowing for UWMCC management to schedule employees on a "banded" schedule with variable start times, provided that employees are notified of days off at least four weeks in advance and of start times at least two weeks in advance.

Joint Labor-management Committee - UW proposed that the parties convene a monthly committee to work for equitable work rules and to monitor performance metrics and any related corrective action.

Metrics and Discipline - UW proposed that if a performance standard is not met by at least 75 percent of UWMCC employees over a rolling three-month period, management and the union would discuss ways to improve the standard and/or performance at the next joint labor-management meeting.

Layoff - UW proposed that SEIU 925-represented UWMCC employees comprise their own layoff unit.

SEIU 925 Counter-Proposals

Compensation - SEIU 925 proposed that UWMCC employees be made eligible for any wage increases, premiums, and differentials negotiated in the 2013-2015 Master Agreement between UW and SEIU 925. SEIU 925 reiterated its proposal for any pay increases to be applied retroactively to the UWMCC bargaining unit certification dates.

Metrics and Discipline - SEIU 925 proposed that if the parties must review a performance standard because 75 percent of employees are unable to meet it, corrective action based on that standard be suspended until a clear and fair resolution is reached. The parties discussed the possibility that standards not met by at least 75 percent of employees would not trigger automatic corrective action for the same time period for employees who fail to meet them.

Overtime Pay - SEIU 925 proposed that overtime-exempt UWMCC employees be paid at an overtime rate of one and one-half times their standard rate of pay for time worked in excess of 44 hours per week.

Layoff Unit - SEIU 925 proposed that UWMCC employees be added to layoff unit #74 for Harborview Medical Center Clinical Support Services in the existing contract.

Compensation Discussion

UW clarified that the University is legally prohibited from providing retroactive wage increases on an initial contract like that of SEIU 925-represented employees at UWMCC. The union responded that it would pursue other avenues to receive additional payment.

Referral Team Discussion

SEIU 925 reiterated its argument that the work of Referral Team employees warrants higher pay than that of standard Contact Center Representatives, demonstrating how their time is allocated across varying responsibilities.

UW maintained that while the work may be different, the complexity of the job content as well as recruitment/retention issues are critical considerations to justify a difference in pay. The UW Compensation Office committed to conduct thorough desk audits of relevant SEIU 925-represented UWMCC employees to analyze these factors.

Tentative Agreements

Overtime after Shift - The parties tentatively agreed to enable UWMCC employees working beyond their scheduled shift to receive overtime rates of pay for the time worked beyond the regular scheduled shift. The overtime pay does not apply to part-time employees scheduled to work fewer than eight hours in a day. UWMCC management and SEIU 925 will work to communicate the expectation to employees that overtime must be approved in advance before implementation.

Banded Schedules - The parties tentatively agreed to allow for UWMCC management to schedule employees on a "banded" schedule with variable start times, provided that employees are notified of days off at least four weeks in advance and of start times at least two weeks in advance.

Union Stewards - The parties tentatively agreed that SEIU 925 will designate up to three UWMCC union stewards.

Next Steps

The next UW/SEIU 925 bargaining session is currently being determined by the parties.


Negotiations Recap for April 25, 2014

This recap details the second bargaining session between the UW and SEIU 925 for a UWMCC collective bargaining agreement.

UW Staffing and Service Level Analysis

UW presented a report explaining the workforce optimization process that UWMCC has undergone, and demonstrating the improvements that have resulted from using banded schedules and dynamic start, stop, and break times. Using UWMCC's regular forecasting technology, the report shows improved responsiveness and more consistent service for patients.

UW Proposals

Compensation - UW clarified certain aspects of its April 16 compensation proposal, including that the proposal would provide for a two percent across-the-board wage increase on July 1, 2014, like that which was bargained for the SEIU 925 master contract.

SEIU 925 Counter-proposals

Overtime after Shift - SEIU 925 proposed enabling each UWMCC employee on a call lasting beyond the end of their shift to choose either to receive overtime pay for that day, or to flex that time elsewhere in the workweek.

Banded Schedules - SEIU 925 proposed that the timing of employees' schedule "bands" be changed no more than once every four weeks.

Metrics and Discipline - SEIU 925 proposed that any performance standard that is not achieved by at least 75 percent employees over 90 consecutive days be invalidated, and that any corrective action resulting from such a metric be rescinded.

Compensation - SEIU 925 reiterated its proposal for any pay increases to be applied retroactively to the bargaining unit certification dates, and proposed that pay for Referral Team members be increased to a level comparable to that of the Complex Appointing Team.

Referral Team Discussion

SEIU 925 further explained its proposal to raise Referral Team members' pay to a rate more comparable to that of the Complex Appointing Team, citing ways in which their work differs from that of a standard Contact Center Representative. These include scheduling different types of procedures and discharge appointments, providing eCare technical support, and handling unique work-queues.

UW explained that such a change would need to take into account the frequency and complexity of these differing tasks, as well as any recruitment and retention concerns. The union acknowledged that turnover has not been a problem for the Referral Team over the past two years.

Next Steps

The next UW/SEIU 925 bargaining session is scheduled for May 8.


Negotiations Recap for April 16, 2014

This recap details the first bargaining session between the UW and SEIU 925 for a UWMCC collective bargaining agreement.

Introduction

UW presented its initial contract proposal, to which SEIU 925 provided a response outlining some of its priorities for bargaining.

Key Points of UW's Initial Proposal

Scheduling Flexibility - UW proposed language to memorialize UWMCC management's right to adjust banded schedules out of business necessity.

Overtime Accruals - UW proposed that overtime be accrued for time worked in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, rather than on a daily basis.

Compensation - UW proposed moving each UWMCC employee to their equivalent step on the corresponding SEIU 925 pay table and range, rounding up in some cases to avoid any pay decreases. This would provide for one additional automatic step and eligibility for two performance-based Career Enhancement/Growth Program (CEGP) steps.

Vacation Time - UW proposed an increase to annual leave accruals to match the SEIU 925 master contract.

Use of Data Metrics - UW proposed language to memorialize UWMCC management's right to use metrics to set performance standards.

Overview of SEIU 925's Initial Response

SEIU 925 proposed largely replicating the SEIU 925 master contract, with updates to job classifications, pay tables, and the addition of three UWMCC union stewards.

The union proposed that any pay increases be applied retroactively to the dates that each bargaining unit was certified with SEIU 925, and that the parties convene a monthly labor management committee.

Next Steps

The next UW/SEIU 925 bargaining session is scheduled for April 25.