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UAW Contract Negotiation Updates

In June 2011, the University of Washington (UW) and the United Auto Workers Local 4121 (UAW) agreed on a renewal of the previous collective bargaining agreement, with some slight amendments. This agreement became effective on June 8, 2011, and expires on April 30, 2012. UAW represents UW research assistants, teaching assistants, readers, graders, and tutors, known collectively as academic student employees (ASEs).

The 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement has been published to the Labor Relations website. View the 2013-2015 UAW Contract.

Peter Denis
Assistant Vice President, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Rebecca Aanerud
Associate Dean, UW Graduate School
Katy Dwyer
Executive Director, UW Benefits
Jessie Garcia
Assistant Vice President, Campus HR Operations
Gerry Grohs
Benefits Consultant, UW Benefits
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, Labor Relations
Jennifer Mallahan
HR Specialist, Labor Relations
Shelley Middlebrooks
Executive Director, HR Compensation
Kevin Mihata
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Linda Nelson
Director, College of Arts and Sciences
Helene Obradovich
Director, UW Graduate School
Lynn Perry
Senior HR Consultant, UW Human Resources

Negotiations Recap for May 4, 2012

Tentative Agreement Reached

The UW and UAW reached a tentative final agreement for a three-year contract on the evening of Friday, May 4, 2012. The agreement provides for the following new provisions to the existing collective bargaining agreement:

Wages

Key Leadership Initiative - Competitive Wages: The University will align ASE base salaries with the median base salary of UW's Global Challenge States peer group. ASEs will receive annual wage increases, beginning July 1, 2013, for the duration of the three-year contract as follows:

  • Salaried, Non-variable: ASEs on a non-variable wage scale will receive an annual percentage wage increase toward matching the Global Challenge States median by July 1, 2015, or a four percent raise, whichever is greater each year.
  • Salaried, Variable: ASEs on a variable wage scale that are already paid above the Global Challenge States median will receive an annual wage increase of at least two percent, or any departmental raise, whichever is greater.
  • Hourly: All ASEs on an hourly wage scale will receive a two percent raise each year.

One-time Pay Supplement: All salaried ASEs holding an eligible appointment during the 2012/2013 academic year will receive a $50 lump sum payment.

Insurance Programs

UW agreed to preserve the current GAIP plan for the coming year, absorbing the rising premium costs, and will do so each subsequent year for the duration of the contract, accounting for up to a six percent annual inflation increase.

Childcare

UW agreed to increase its commitment to ASE childcare expenses by $10,000 for fiscal year 2013, and will increase this by $2,500 each subsequent year for the duration of the contract.

UW and UAW will recommend this agreement to their respective constituents for approval and ratification.


Negotiations Recap for April 30, 2012

This recap details the eighth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UAW Response

UAW began by expressing its appreciation for UW's leadership in proposing the Global Challenge States competitive wage initiative.

UAW pointed out that many ASEs on a variable rate wage schedule would not receive additional benefits from UW aligning ASE average wages with those of its Global Challenge States peer institutions, because their pay already exceeds this average.

UAW Counter-Proposal

UAW presented revisions to UW's proposed changes to Article 32:
Article 32 - Wages: UAW proposed that the Global Challenge initiative align the average of the overall compensation package instead of the average wages.
UAW proposed that each year, for the duration of the contract, all ASE variable rates be increased by 4.8 percent, and that ASE hourly rates be increased by 9.8 percent.
UAW also proposed removing the mandatory Building Fee for all non-hourly ASEs.
UAW also further amended its proposals on childcare, health insurance, and "Academic Excellence":
Article 5 - Childcare: UAW proposed that UW increase its yearly commitment to ASE childcare by $10,000 for the 2013 fiscal year, and $2,500 for each subsequent year during the contract.
Article 12 - Insurance Programs: UAW proposed that UW increase ASE dependent coverage by five percent per year during the contract. UAW also proposed that the UW assume coverage of all potential benefits of the impending Affordable Care Act this year.
"Academic Excellence": UAW revised this clause to require that UW provide UAW with annual reports detailing classroom metrics, and that UW meet regularly with UAW to discuss the topics of online learning and class sizes.

UW Response

UW presented a revision of its former proposal to UAW.

Key Leadership Initiative

UW proposed a revised, more inclusive version of its Key Leadership Initiative to address UAW's concerns.

This revised proposal maintained bringing the average base wage of ASEs at the UW into alignment with that of its peer institutions in the Global Challenge States by 2015, and still provided for annual raises up to that point, whereupon the wages would be fixed to this average.

The revised proposal provided additional benefits for ASEs working on variable rate or hourly wage scales.

Variable Rate
ASEs on variable rate wage schedules would receive a two percent annual increase, to account for any who will not incur a pay raise through the Global Challenge States standard because their rates already exceed that amount.
Hourly
The base rate for ASEs on an hourly wage scale, $9.75 per hour, would increase by two percent each year.

UW declined UAW's proposal to use overall compensation as a core metric, and instead upheld its proposal to use base salary.

UW revised responses to UAW proposals:
Article 5 - Childcare
UW agreed to increase its annual commitment to ASE childcare expenses by $10,000 for fiscal year 2013, and would increase this by $2,500 each subsequent year for the following two years.
Article 7 - Fee and Tuition Waivers
UW would remain committed to maintain the tuition waiver benefit for ASEs, absorbing any increase in tuition.
Article 12 - Insurance Programs
UW agreed to preserve the current GAIP plan for the coming year, absorbing the rising cost of premiums. UW would do so for the remainder of the contract, assuming a six percent annual inflation increase.
Academic Excellence
UW would formally recognize the importance of ASEs, but not commit to specific levels of funding for instructional services based on previous years.

Further Dialogue

UAW requested clarification on UW's resistance to its amended "Academic Excellence" proposal.

UW pointed out that its proposed financial commitments to UAW wages and healthcare are a material demonstration of its continued investment in ASEs. UW noted that what is taught and how it is taught is too subjective to be bargained in a contract and on a broad scale.

UAW expressed concern over UW declining its proposal to include sexual reassignment coverage in the GAIP plan.

UW explained that while it is compassionate for this particular issue, it cannot currently provide any expansions to the GAIP plan, including this provision, due to the high cost of simply maintaining GAIP amidst rising premiums.

Today was the expiration date of the existing contract, but UW and UAW agreed to extend negotiations until 6 p.m. on May 1, 2012.

State law provides for the existing contract to remain in effect for up to one year following expiration, while both parties continue work to reach an agreement.


Negotiations Recap for April 27, 2012

This recap details the seventh session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Management Accounting and Analysis Presentation

To begin, UW Management Accounting and Analysis presented a detailed overview of how payroll load rates are calculated, explaining that they are based on benefit and salary cost estimates for the upcoming year.

At the end of each fiscal year, UW Management Accounting and Analysis compares the estimated costs against the actual costs. The difference, known as a true-up, is then incorporated in subsequent years' rate calculations.

UAW asked for clarification on how true-ups are calculated and applied, and asked whether the same load rate was used for all budget lines.

UW Management Accounting and Analysis explained that true-ups are based on actual expenditures versus what the UW collected throughout the load process. The difference is determined at the end of the year, and applied in a future year.

UW Management Accounting and Analysis noted that load rates are established based on employee type, and applied accordingly to each group. The federal Department of Health and Human Services annually reviews and negotiates these rates with the UW.

UW Proposal

UW presented its proposal for a new multi-year contract ending on April 30, 2016.

Key Leadership Initiative
UW put forth an innovative competitive wage clause based upon UAW's earlier wage proposal, which would bring the average base salary of ASEs at the UW into alignment with that of its peer institutions in the Global Challenge States.
The UW and UAW would engage and work collaboratively with a third party to establish a market median value for ASE base salaries in the Global Challenge States. Following this, ASEs would receive annual wage increases beginning in 2013 that would align with this market median by 2015.

UW Response

Next, UW replied to UAW's primary proposals.

Article 5 - Childcare
UW proposed maintaining the existing program as it is currently configured and funded, and declined the additional proposed changes.
Article 7 - Fee and Tuition Waivers
UW committed to maintaining the current levels of tuition waivers, absorbing any tuition increases, instead of expanding access to waivers. UW declined the proposed waiver of mandatory fees.
Article 12 - Insurance Programs
UW pledged to preserve the current GAIP plan for the coming year, absorbing the rising cost of premiums, and to extend this coverage for each subsequent year of the agreement, provided that inflation does not exceed six percent annually.
In light of the cost to maintain GAIP, UW declined any expansions to coverage.
Article 16 - Leaves of Absence
UW agreed to maintain the existing paid leave plan allowing for seven (four-hour) days, and declined expanding the paid leave allowance to 12 (20-hour) weeks.
Article 32 - Wages
UW explained that the Key Leadership Initiative represents its comprehensive response to UAW's wage proposal.
"Academic Excellence"
UW recognized the vast importance of ASEs, but declined to commit to preserving overall funding levels for ASE instructional services.

Further Dialogue

UAW requested clarification on UW's response to the "Academic Excellence" provision.

UW explained that it must reserve the freedom to allocate funds as necessary in order to best serve the University's academic and instructional needs where and when they arise. As such, UW is not interested in binding the University to a predetermined threshold.

UAW voiced concern regarding the omission of fee waivers from UW's response.

UW noted that mandatory fees for ASEs are not uncommon, including among peer institutions. UW explained that the proposed wage increases represent a significant counterbalance to any fees.

UAW committed to reviewing UW's proposal and responses at length, and will provide a reply promptly.

The next UW/UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 30, 2012.