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United Auto Workers 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 April 18, 2012

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

New Proposals

UAW began by presenting amendments to Articles 7 and 32 of the existing contract:

Article 7 - Fee and Tuition Waivers
UAW proposed an expansion to fee and tuition waivers, whereby ASEs working as little as 25 percent of a full-time equivalent, whether salaried or hourly, would be exempt from paying all campus-wide mandatory tuition and fees.
Article 32 - Wages
UAW proposed pegging ASE wages to the average compensation of institutions in the Global Challenge States by July 1, 2015.
Until then, UAW proposed annual ASE wage increases that would match whichever is greatest each year between faculty raises, departmental raises, or a larger undetermined percentage raise toward the Global Challenge goal.

Continuing Discussion

UAW expressed that increasing ASE wages will make UW more attractive to prospective graduate students, citing institutions such as Cornell, USC, and Stanford as offering higher compensation.

UW recognized that the economic downturn at the state level has impacted employees across the University, and articulated the need to work toward a plan that will benefit and recognize all employees when the economy eventually improves.

Q Center Presentation

Leaders from the UW Q Center delivered a presentation on health insurance issues for transgender ASEs to promote parity between the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) on transgender coverage.

UW voiced its appreciation for the Q Center mission and its effective presentation. UW agreed that such provisions are important for ASEs, and that the success with SHIP in promoting transgender equality establishes a sound foundation for trying to align GAIP.

UW Benefits will attend the April 23 and 25 meetings to address all proposed reform to ASE benefits.

The next UW/UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 20.

Negotiations Recap for April 12, 2012

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

New Proposals

UAW began by presenting four provisions, including amendments to Articles 5, 12, and 16 of the existing contract:

Article 5 - Childcare
UAW proposed that UW maintain ASE eligibility for the "Emergency Back-Up" childcare program and pay all associated fees, and requested a $150 increase in quarterly childcare compensation paid to ASEs.
Article 12 - Insurance programs
UAW proposed an expansive overhaul of the existing Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP), including free coverage for ASE dependents and expanded criteria for who constitutes a dependent, unlimited maximum benefits for ASEs, and a $1,500 annual out-of-pocket cap for ASEs choosing non-network services, for which there is currently no maximum.
UAW also proposed hiring consultants to help form a new "Health Care Task Force" to research and solicit other insurance carrier options.
Article 16 - Leaves of Absence
UAW proposed increasing the ASE paid leave allowance from seven (four-hour) days to 12 (20-hour) weeks.
UAW also put forth a provision entitled "Academic Excellence," whereby UW would guarantee that funding for ASEs remain at or above the 2011/2012 level.

UW Response

UW reiterated that its ability to make changes involving health benefits is linked to the pending outcome of federal healthcare reform, and the continued uncertainty at the national level makes an immediate restructuring challenging. Nonetheless, UW committed to reviewing the insurance-related proposals with the UW Benefits, and agreed to study the other provisions as well.

Further Dialogue

UAW requested clarity on the UW's budgetary structure and resource allocation, specifically pertaining to funding for childcare.

UW explained that individual departments allocate resources provided by a central budget. Funding for certain ASE programs, including the ASE childcare program and the $50,000 ASE fee abatement program, comes directly from this central budget.

The next UW/UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 18.

Negotiations Recap for March 30, 2012

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

Scope of Negotiations

The UAW represents close to 4,300 graduate and undergraduate academic student employees (ASEs) performing a variety of work at the UW as research assistants, teaching assistants, tutors, readers, and graders. This initial session served to establish ground rules for the negotiations to come, and allowed the union to share its leading priorities.

UW noted that while there is significant uncertainty surrounding the state budget and federal healthcare reform, it is eager to continue the work that has been undertaken during the 2010 and 2011 renewals with respect to matters of mutual interest.

UAW Proposal

Consistent with the themes it has presented during prior renewals, the UAW seeks to secure the following broad areas of interest:

Increased wages and an expansion of the ASE tuition and fee waiver.
Expanded health benefits to cover extraordinary healthcare costs, while maintaining adequate coverage for health insurance services. The union also requests that the UW maximize the efficiency of administering its health plan, and that addressing work-related injuries and illnesses remains a priority.
Family Benefits
Increased health coverage for ASE dependents, enhanced family medical leave benefits, and expanded childcare access and subsidies.
Job Quality
Assurance that workplace quality for ASEs will not be affected by changes in staffing or resource allocation.

UW pointed out that any changes to health benefits will inevitably be influenced by the current ambiguity around the future of federal healthcare reform, but agreed to look into each of these provisions and their implications.

The next UW/UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 12.