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United Auto Workers Contract Negotiation Updates

United Auto Workers Local 4121 (UAW) represents University of Washington (UW) research assistants, teaching assistants, readers, graders, and tutors, known collectively as academic student employees (ASEs). UAW and UW have entered negotiations for a successor agreement to the 2012-2015 collective bargaining agreement, which expires on April 30, 2015.

Peter Denis
Assistant Vice President, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Rebecca Aanerud
Associate Dean, UW Graduate School
Banks Evans
Assistant Director, Labor Relations
Marilyn Gray
Assistant Director, Fellowships and Awards, Graduate School
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, Labor Relations
Jennifer Mallahan
HR Specialist, Labor Relations
Kevin Mihata
Associate Dean for Educational Programs, College of Arts and Sciences
Linda Nelson
Director of Finance and Administration, College of Arts and Sciences
Helene Obradovich
Director, UW Graduate School
Lynn Perry
Senior HR Consultant, UW Human Resources

Negotiations Recap for April 16, 2015

This recap details the 19th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Proposals

Health Insurance – UW withdrew its proposal to cap cost increases from one plan year to the next. UW maintained the remainder of its previous proposal, including that the parties negotiate health benefits based on the plan design as detailed in the parties' recently-submitted request for proposals, that UW provide the union with relevant reports, and that UW fulfill any notification and bargaining obligations in the event that federal or state laws compel changes to the plan.

Union Package Proposal

UAW put forth a package proposal in which all provisions would need to be accepted in their entirety. Provisions included:

Childcare – UAW proposed that UW increase the childcare subsidy for each eligible ASE from $700 per quarter to $1,300 per quarter, and proposed increasing the annual union-wide usage limit from $40,000 to $100,000.

Fee and Tuition Waivers – UAW proposed that the University waive or remit all campus-wide mandatory fees for ASEs with 50 percent of full-time equivalent (FTE) appointments.

Intellectual Property – UAW maintained its proposal to grant the union a position on any UW committee on intellectual property and commercialization issues.

Insurance Programs – UAW proposed that UW maintain the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) plan based on the union's interpretation of what constitutes current benefits.

Job Titles and Classifications – UAW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language, provided that the Union-Management Committee meet four times per year to discuss implementing a step system for hourly ASEs.

Leaves of Absence – UAW maintained its proposal for ASEs to receive 90 days of paid leave and a guarantee of reinstatement in the same or equivalent position upon return from leaves, and maintained its proposal for up to 10 days of paid leave for hourly ASEs. UAW also maintained its proposal to allow for ASEs to request leaves of absence for certain safety reasons.

Management Rights – UAW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

No Strikes/No Lockouts – UAW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

Micro-aggressions – UAW maintained its previous proposal on micro-aggressions.

Union Security – UAW maintained its proposed language updates surrounding the dues deduction authorization process as well as expansions to the employee data that is regularly reported to the union.

Wages – As part of this package, UAW would accept UW's proposal to keep pace with the Global Challenge States median, and proposed that the ASE minimum hourly wage be raised to $13 effective July 1, 2015, $15 effective July 1, 2016, and receive the general wage increase provided by the contract effective July 1, 2017.

Duration – As part of this package, UAW would accept UW's proposal for a three-year contract term.

Immigration Status and Work Authorization – UAW proposed a new side letter by which UW and the union would meet four times per year to discuss issues arising from ASE employment as it relates to immigration status and work authorization.

Debt Management – UAW maintained its proposal to extend access to the UW Carelink employee assistance programs to ASEs.

Career Development – UAW maintained its proposal to enable ASEs to create an Individual Development Plan with their faculty mentors or supervisors, and proposed that UW and the union mutually agree on a process and template.

Bathroom Equity – UAW maintained its proposal that UW guarantee that all ASE workplaces have access to all-gender bathrooms as well as equal access to gender-specific bathrooms. UAW also maintained its proposals for the parties to meet twice yearly to discuss applicable plans and for the University to publish online the location of every all-gender bathroom on campus.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 22.


Negotiations Recap for April 15, 2015

This recap details the 18th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Proposals

Health Insurance – UW proposed that the parties negotiate health benefits based on the plan design as detailed in the parties' recently-submitted request for proposals. UW proposed capping cost increases from one plan year to the next at 6 percent, calculated based on per-student per-month premium rates, using the 2014-15 plan year premium rates as the baseline.

Beginning in March 2016, UW would notify the union annually of the renewal rates for the upcoming plan year. If rates were to exceed the 6 percent cap, the parties would meet promptly to make adjustments in order to adhere to the cap. UW would provide the union with relevant information and reports, and would fulfill any notification and bargaining obligations in the event that federal or state laws compel changes to the plan.

Fee and Tuition Waivers – UW further clarified the context of its proposal for ASEs to resume payment of the U-Pass and Student Facilities Renovation (SFR) fees.

The settlement language that fully resolved the parties' past dispute over these fees makes clear that the remedy expires with the current contract, and that ASEs are otherwise responsible for paying these fees. Despite this, for ease of administration UW is proposing that payment of these fees begin with summer quarter 2015, rather than on April 30.

UAW Proposal

Intellectual Property – UAW maintained its proposal to grant the union a position on any UW committee on intellectual property and commercialization issues.

Mediation Discussion

UW confirmed with the union that the University has requested bargaining mediation, in which a third-party mediator helps facilitate understanding and agreement between the parties. UW endorsed mediation as a means to resolution on provisions where the parties remain apart, including the union's demand to increase the union-wide childcare subsidy by over 500 percent, from $40,000 to $250,000, and the union's proposal to increase the ASE paid leave allotment from seven to 90 days per year.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 16.


Negotiations Recap for April 9, 2015

This recap details the 17th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Proposals

Wages – UW proposed a continuation of the formula adopted by the parties during the last round of bargaining, whereby the ASE non-variable base rate salary would keep pace with the median of peer institutions in the Global Challenge States, which includes several University of California campuses, Rutgers, and the University of Massachusetts.

ASEs would receive annual wage increases, effective July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, as follows:

  • Salaried, Non-variable: ASEs on a non-variable wage scale would receive an annual percentage wage increase to keep pace with the Global Challenge States median or a 2 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 would receive an annual wage increase of at least 2 percent, or any departmental raise, whichever is greater.
  • Hourly: All ASEs on an hourly wage scale will receive a 2 percent raise each year.

Salaried, non-variable rate ASEs stand to receive a roughly 10 percent wage increase effective July 1, 2015, as part of this formula in the current contract.

Minimum Wage – UW proposed a memorandum that would allow for contract amendments in the event that Seattle's minimum wage ordinance is determined to be applicable to the parties' collective bargaining agreement.

Fee and Tuition Waivers – UW maintained its proposal for ASEs to resume payment of the U-Pass and Student Facilities Renovation (SFR) fees, while proposing language memorializing UW's obligation to notify and bargain with the union in the event that the University creates a new fee.

Intellectual Property – UW proposed updates to several outdated policy references, along with new language empowering the Union-Management Committee to discuss intellectual property.

UAW Proposals

Workload – UAW accepted UW's proposed language clarifying the policy basis for hourly ASE appointments and schedules, and proposed minor language modifications to the parties' "academic excellence" language.

UAW proposed language to encourage discussion at the Union-Management Committee of the criteria and decision process governing ASE hiring, work assignment, evaluation, and reappointment.

Appointment and Reappointment Notification – UAW maintained its proposed expansion of the ASE job description to include a list of required tasks with corresponding time estimates, and the curricular purpose of the assignment when applicable.

Tentative Agreements

Hourly Wages – The parties tentatively agreed that all hourly ASEs will be paid at least $11 per hour, effective April 1, 2015, and receive an additional 2 percent increase effective July 1, 2015.

Appointment and Reappointment Notification – The parties tentatively agreed to expand the ASE job description to include the curricular purpose of the assignment when applicable, and a statement encouraging ASEs and supervisors to discuss time estimates for the specific duties of the assignment.

Discipline or Dismissal – The parties tentatively agreed that ASEs who wish to request a conference with their supervisor and the union regarding a corrective action to do so within 14 days of its issuance.

The parties also tentatively agreed to language clarifying that administrative leave is not discipline, and in cases where no disciplinary action is taken, the ASE will be notified accordingly and no record of such leave would be placed in their personnel file.

Grievance Procedure – The parties tentatively agreed to language codifying the parties' rights to request grievance mediation, with jointly agreed-upon language clarifying that mediation would not prevent or delay the scheduling of an arbitration hearing.

Arbitration Hearing Pilot – The parties tentatively agreed to a pilot program whereby standing arbitration hearings will occur four times per year, which either party may discontinue after June 1, 2016.

Workload – The parties tentatively agreed to language clarifying the policy basis for hourly ASE appointments and schedules, along with language to foster discussion at the Union-Management Committee of workload issues such as class size and the criteria and decision process governing ASE hiring, work assignment, evaluation, and reappointment.

Workspace and Materials – The parties tentatively agreed to expand the list of services and resources made accessible to ASEs to include time with equipment to perform research required for the ASE's appointment.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 15.