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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

Comprehensive UW-UAW Tentative Agreement Reached

The parties reached a comprehensive tentative agreement for the 2015-2018 contract on April 30, 2015.

Summary of the 2015-2018 Agreement

The following is a summary of provisions that have changed or are new for the 2015-2018 contract.

Article 4: Appointment and Reappointment Notification

  • Job Descriptions: The ASE job description will be expanded 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.

Article 6: Discipline or Dismissal

  • Corrective Action Conference: ASEs who wish to request a conference with their supervisor and the union regarding a corrective action must do so within 14 days of its issuance.
  • Administrative Leave: New language clarifies 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.

Article 7: Fee and Tuition Waiver

  • Building Fee: During each year of the 2015-2018 contract, UW will waive the Building Fee in its entirety for ASEs with a 50 percent FTE (full-time equivalent) appointment.
  • U-Pass and SFR Fees: ASEs will resume payment of the U-Pass and Student Facilities Renovation (SFR) fees beginning Summer Quarter 2015, in accordance with the parties' past settlement agreement that allowed remittance of such fees for a finite time period.
  • "Student-imposed" Fees: In the event that future student-initiated fees are imposed, the union will receive notice and the opportunity to bargain over the impacts.

Article 8: Grievance Procedure

  • Mediation: New language codifies the parties' rights to request grievance mediation, and clarifies that mediation will not prevent or delay the scheduling of an arbitration hearing.

MOU: Arbitration Hearing Pilot

  • New Program: A memorandum of understanding commits the parties to a pilot program whereby standing arbitration hearings will occur four times per year, which either party may discontinue after June 1, 2016.

Article 11: Intellectual Property

  • Language Updates: New contract language updates several outdated policy references and empowers the Union-Management Committee to discuss intellectual property.

Article 12: Insurance Programs

  • Basket of Benefits: New and restructured contract language summarizes the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) plan design for medical, dental, and vision benefits in an appendix to the contract. UW may automatically renew GAIP if the benefits outlined in this appendix do not change. GAIP will utilize the provider network(s) available through the selected insurer, and UW will not request that the insurer create custom networks.
  • Data Reporting: UW will provide the union with utilization reports as they become available. The University will provide the Union with access to relevant information during the annual renewal period in March, including an annual review of the plan, experience summary reports, plan census information, and trend information relating to GAIP.
  • Unforeseen Changes: In the event that modifications to GAIP are necessary to ensure legal compliance as a result of unforeseen changes to law or regulations, UW will fulfill any notification and bargaining obligations to the union. During the 2016-17 and 2017-2018 plan years, the parties will meet and bargain the impacts of any unforeseen changes in law or regulation that are expected to result in an increase of more than 1 percent per year to GAIP fees, taxes, penalties, or mandated benefits. If the parties are unable to reach agreement after 60 days of bargaining, the matter will be submitted to interest arbitration.
  • Ongoing Discussions: UW and the union will meet each December and June to discuss the status of GAIP. In December the parties will discuss whether to renew GAIP or initiate a request for proposals (RFP), ultimately to be determined by UW. An RFP will involve union input, and UW will provide the union with renewal plan documents and related filings with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC).
  • GAIP Assistance: UW and the union will each designate a contact person to help resolve identified challenges. Both parties will maintain and periodically share issue-tracking logs.

MOU: Health Insurance

  • GAIP Implementation: A new memorandum of understanding enumerates select benefits modifications, to apply as of May 1, 2015, pending OIC approval. When applicable, UW will reimburse ASEs for the difference in any claim costs incurred between May 1 and OIC's approval that resulted from the aforementioned benefits modifications.

MOU: Job Titles and Classifications

  • Hourly Compensation Practices: The Union-Management Committee will meet four times in 2016 and again in 2017 to discuss implementing a step system for UAW-represented employees and more effectively publicizing compensation practices and policies for hourly ASEs.

Article 16: Leaves of Absence

  • Faith/Conscience Days: Leave without pay will be granted for up to two workdays per calendar year for reason of faith or conscience, to which employees may apply vacation leave or personal holiday. Such requests may only be denied if the employee's absence would create undue hardship (per WAC 82-56) or the employee is necessary to maintain public safety.

Article 19: Non-Discrimination and Harassment

  • Non-discrimination: "Gender expression or identity" will be added to the contract's list of statuses protected from discrimination.
  • Workplace Behavior: New language outlines workplace behavior expectations and the parties' shared opposition to exchanges that denigrate or exclude individuals, and guides employees who feel subject to inappropriate behavior to the appropriate section of this article.
  • Lactation: UW will maintain a webpage listing known lactation stations, to include access instructions, and equipment availability. UW and the union will meet twice in 2016 and again in 2017 to discuss expanding the quantity and accessibility of lactation stations for ASEs.
  • Bathroom Equity: UW will provide that all ASEs have adequate access to all-gender bathrooms, which may include providing a reasonable amount of travel time. The parties will meet twice in 2016 and again in 2017 to discuss plans and actions regarding the creation of all-gender bathrooms. New language memorializes that UW will complete the construction of 24 all-gender bathrooms in buildings on campus by the end of May 2015 and anticipates construction of two more by the end of summer 2015. UW will publish the location of every all-gender bathroom on campus online.

MOU: Micro-aggressions

  • Micro-aggressions Discussions: UW and the union will meet three times in 2016 and again in 2017 to discuss the joint goal of eliminating micro-aggressions against ASEs.

Article 27: Union-Management Committee

  • Language Updates: The parties agreed to deletions of outdated contract language.

Article 29: Union Security

  • Language Updates: The parties agreed to language updates surrounding the dues deduction authorization process to better reflect current practices.

MOU: Union Security

  • Data Reporting: A new memorandum of understanding commits the parties to discuss the union's proposed data reporting expansions once UW's new HR/payroll system is implemented and its capabilities are more fully understood.

Article 32: Wages

  • Global Challenge Formula: The parties will continue the formula adopted during the last round of bargaining, whereby the ASE non-variable base rate salary would keep pace with the median of UW's peer institutions in the Global Challenge States.
  • 7/1/2015 Wage Increases: ASEs will receive annual wage increases, effective July 1, 2015, as follows:
    • Salaried, Non-variable: ASEs on a non-variable wage scale will receive an annual percentage wage increase to keep pace with the Global Challenge States median or a 4 percent raise, whichever is greater.
    • 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 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.
  • 2016 and 2017 Wage Increases: ASEs will receive annual wage increases, effective July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, as follows:
    • Salaried, Non-variable: ASEs on a non-variable wage scale will 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 will 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.

MOUs: Hourly Wages

  • $11 Hourly Minimum: A new memorandum of understanding established that all hourly ASEs be paid at least $11 per hour, effective April 1, 2015, and will receive an additional 2 percent increase effective July 1, 2015.
  • Future Minimum Wage: A new memorandum of understanding memorializes that the UW Provost has convened a committee to examine the hourly minimum wage for UW student employees and how they may be affected by the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance. The Provost's final decision resulting from this committee's recommendation will apply to UAW-represented employees. Regardless of this outcome, all hourly ASEs will be paid at least $12.50 per hour effective January 1, 2016.

MOU: One-time Payment

  • $150 Lump Sum: UW will provide a one-time lump sum payment of $150 to each ASE with a 50 percent FTE appointment, payable during the first quarter of employment during the 2015-2016 academic year (beginning Fall Quarter 2015).

Article 33: Workload

  • Workload Discussions: New language fosters 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.
  • Policy Clarification: New language clarifies the policy basis for hourly ASE appointments and schedules.

Article 34: Workspace and Materials

  • Equipment Time: The list of services and resources made accessible to ASEs was expanded to include time with equipment to perform research required for the ASE's appointment.

Article 35: Duration

  • Three-year Contract Term: The parties agreed to a three-year contract term, to expire on April 30, 2018.

MOU: HR/Payroll Modernization

  • System Transition: A new memorandum of understanding regarding UW's transition to a new HR/payroll system, memorializing the parties' mutual understanding of the anticipated impacts, while ensuring that discussions may resume if needed and that no union will get a "better deal" than any other.

MOU: Immigration Status and Work Authorization

  • Work Authorization Discussions: A new memorandum of understanding commits the parties to meet four times in 2016 and again in 2017 to discuss issues arising from ASE employment as it relates to immigration status and work authorization, specifying that additional meetings could be added by mutual agreement.

Next Steps

The parties will submit the agreement to their respective constituents for ratification.


Negotiations Recap for April 23, 2015

This recap details the 21st session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW First Package Proposal

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

Job Titles and Classifications – As part of its package, UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language, provided that the Union-Management Committee meet four times per year in 2016 and 2017 to discuss implementing a step system for UAW-represented employees.

Management Rights – As part of its package, UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

No Strikes/No Lockouts – As part of its package, UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

Duration – As part of its package, UW maintained its proposal for a three-year contract term.

Immigration Status and Work Authorization – As part of its package, UW would accept the union's proposed side letter to commit the parties to meet four times per year to discuss issues arising from ASE employment as it relates to immigration status and work authorization, specifying that the meetings would occur in 2016 and 2017, and that additional meetings could be added by mutual agreement.

Debt Management – As part of its package, UW proposed language whereby the UW Benefits Office would facilitate six financial education presentations per year in 2016 and again in 2017 by UW's partner non-profit credit unions, to include the topics of debt management and budgeting.

Bathroom Equity – As part of its package, UW proposed language memorializing the parties' commitment to ensuring that ASEs have adequate access to all-gender bathrooms. UW proposed that the parties meet twice per year in 2016 and again in 2017 to discuss plans and actions in support of this goal. UW would publish online the location of every all-gender bathroom on campus.

Union Second Package Proposal

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

Job Titles and Classifications – As part of its package, the union proposed that all departments post wage rates and compensation policies for hourly positions online in conspicuous location no later than June 30, 2016. The union incorporated UW's proposal for the Union-Management Committee to meet four times per year in 2016 and 2017 to discuss implementing a step system for UAW-represented employees.

Debt Management – As part of its package, the union would withdraw its proposal regarding debt management.

Career and Job Placement Services – As part of its package, the union would withdraw its proposal regarding career and job placement services.

UW Second Package Proposal

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

Childcare – As part of its package, UW maintained its proposal to expand the childcare subsidy for each eligible ASE from $700 per quarter to $900, and would increase the annual union-wide usage limit from $40,000 to $45,000.

Intellectual Property – As part of its package, UW maintained its previous proposal to update several outdated policy references and to empower the Union-Management Committee to discuss intellectual property.

Union Security – As part of its package, UW would accept the union's proposed language updates throughout the article, except its proposed expansions to employee data reported to the union. Instead, UW proposed a memorandum committing the parties to discuss the union's proposed data reporting expansions once UW's new HR/payroll system is implemented and its capabilities are more fully understood.

Lactation Support – As part of its package, UW maintained its previous proposal describing ASE rights related to lactation support under the law.

Micro-aggressions – As part of its package, UW proposed a memorandum that would incorporate the union's definition of micro-aggressions and commit the parties to meet three times per year in 2016 and 2017 to evaluate progress on the goal of eliminating micro-aggressions against ASEs.

Based on the union's concerns, topics of discussion could include available resources for training as well as the notion of training for new ASEs, current ASEs, supervisors, faculty, and departments.

International Student Fee – As part of its package, UW proposed that the union withdraw its proposal to eliminate the International Student Fee.

Union Third Package Proposal

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

Childcare – As part of its package, the union proposed that UW increase the childcare subsidy for each eligible ASE from $700 per quarter to $1,100 per quarter, and proposed increasing the annual union-wide usage limit from $40,000 to $70,000.

Micro-aggressions – As part of its package, the union maintained its previously-proposed language on micro-aggressions, and incorporated UW's proposed language committing the parties to meet three times per year in 2016 and 2017 to evaluate progress on the goal of eliminating micro-aggressions against ASEs, with minor modifications to the topics of discussion.

Lactation – As part of its package, the union maintained its proposal that UW maintain a webpage listing lactation stations, access instructions, and equipment availability, and that UW and union meet twice annually to discuss expanding the quantity and accessibility of lactation stations for ASEs.

Bathroom Equity – As part of its package, the union 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. The union 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.

The union proposed language memorializing that the UW will complete construction of 26 all-gender bathrooms in buildings in the central core of campus.

Union Security – As part of its package, the union would agree to UW's most recent proposal (delivered as part of a package) whereby a memorandum committing the parties to discuss the union's proposed data reporting expansions once UW's new HR/payroll system is implemented and its capabilities are more fully understood.

Immigration Status and Work Authorization – As part of its package, the union would agree to UW's most recently-proposed revisions (delivered as part of a package) to the union's proposal regarding ASE employment as it relates to immigration status and work authorization.

Intellectual Property – As part of its package, the union would agree to UW's proposal to update several outdated policy references and to empower the Union-Management Committee to discuss intellectual property.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 24.


Negotiations Recap for April 22, 2015

This recap details the 20th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

Mediation

The parties enlisted the assistance of two third-party mediators from the Public Employment Relations Commission ("PERC") to help facilitate mutual understanding and agreement. The UW and the union spent the meeting updating the mediators on the status of bargaining and the parties' positions on several outstanding provisions.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 23.