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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 March 25, 2015

This recap details the 13th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Proposals

Discipline or Dismissal – UW proposed allowing ASEs who wish to request a conference with their supervisor and the union regarding a corrective action to do so within 10 days of its issuance.

In response to UAW's proposed administrative leave timelines, UW proposed that for administrative leaves lasting longer than 90 days, the union could request an update on the investigation status, next steps, and approximate timeframe for completion. In cases where no disciplinary action is taken, the ASE would be notified accordingly.

Non-Discrimination and Harassment – In response to UAW's micro-aggressions proposals, UW proposed incorporating language outlining workplace behavior expectations while guiding employees who feel subject to inappropriate behavior toward appropriate avenues.

Using language proposed by the union, UW's proposal would memorialize the parties' commitment to an environment of mutual respect and professionalism that does not denigrate or exclude individuals based on their membership in a group or class.

Training – UW proposed language encouraging ASEs and supervisors to discuss training needs, and proposed the deletion of language that appeared to be redundant based on language elsewhere in the contract.

Workload – UW proposed language clarifying the policy basis for hourly ASE appointments and schedules. In response to UAW's proposed ratio of 21 undergraduates per TA, UW proposed language to foster discussion of workload issues, including class size, at the Union-Management Committee.

UW also proposed moving the parties' academic excellence language from Letter of Understanding H into Article 33, in accordance with UAW's aim to integrate such language into the body of the contract.

Lactation Support – UW proposed language describing ASE rights related to lactation support under the law, including that ASEs receive reasonable break time to express breast milk, have adequate equipment storage space, and that the UW provide a non-restroom space that is clean, shielded from view, free from intrusion, and within reasonable proximity to the ASE's work location.

UAW Proposals

Childcare – UAW maintained its proposal for UW increase the childcare subsidy for each eligible ASE from $700 per quarter to $1,500 per quarter, and proposed increasing the annual union-wide usage limit from $40,000 to $250,000.

Grievance Procedure – UAW declined UW's proposed language spelling out the parties' ability to request optional grievance mediation if settlement is not reached at Step Two, before advancing to arbitration.

Arbitration Hearing Pilot – UAW maintained its proposal for standing arbitration hearings to occur four times per year, rather than the UW's proposed three hearings. UAW rejected UW's proposed expiration date for the pilot, instead proposing an indefinite pilot program.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for April 1.


Negotiations Recap for March 19, 2015

This recap details the 12th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

Review of Proposals

The parties walked through the status of several proposals and contract provisions that are still open. The parties also discussed and clarified components of the various requests for information submitted by UAW.

Tentative Agreements

New Contract Language

The parties tentatively agreed to the following new or altered provisions:

HR/Payroll Modernization – The parties tentatively agreed to a memorandum of agreement regarding the 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.

Article 27: Union-Management Committee – The parties agreed to deletions to outdated contract language.

Current Contract Language

The parties tentatively agreed to maintain existing contract language on the following provisions:

  • Preamble
  • Article 1: Purpose and Intent
  • Article 2: Recognition
  • Article 3: Definitions
  • Article 9: Health and Safety
  • Article 10: Holidays
  • Article 13: Job Posting
  • Article 15: Layoff
  • Article 20: Parking/Transit
  • Article 21: Personnel Files
  • Article 22: Severability
  • Article 23: Subcontracting
  • Article 24: Summer Non-registered Graduate Research Student Assistants
  • Article 26: Travel
  • Article 28: Union Rights
  • Article 30: Voluntary Community Action Program
  • Article 31: Vacation

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 25.


Negotiations Recap for March 18, 2015

This recap details the 11th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Proposals

Grievance Procedure – UW accepted UAW's proposal to make Step One of the grievance procedure optional, and accepted UAW's proposed enumeration of required grievance contents.

UW maintained its proposed notion of allowing the parties to request optional grievance mediation if settlement is not reached at Step Two before advancing to arbitration.

Arbitration Hearing Pilot – UW proposed a pilot of the union's idea to establish standing arbitration hearings, whereby hearings would be scheduled for November of 2015 and March and July of 2016.

UW's proposal would allow the parties to expedite the proceedings by mutual agreement, and memorialized the parties' intent to include in each of these hearings any grievance that was moved to arbitration at least 90 days prior to the hearing.

Duration – UW proposed a three-year contract term, to expire on April 30, 2018.

UAW Proposals

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.

Discipline or Dismissal – UAW proposed allowing ASEs who wish to request a conference with their supervisor and the union regarding a corrective action to do so within 21 days of its issuance, and that notice of any corrective action be provided to the union and the affected ASE simultaneously.

UAW also proposed that for ASEs who are placed on administrative leave, an investigation begin within one day of the ASE being notified and conclude within 10 days.

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 to extend such provisions to hourly ASEs.

UAW also proposed allowing for ASEs to request leaves of absence for safety reasons, and withdrew its proposal for ASEs to qualify for up to six months of unpaid leave per year. UAW struck UW's proposed language outlining that personal holiday must be used in whole day increments.

Micro-aggressions – UAW maintained its original proposal on micro-aggressions and added several new provisions, including a requirement that UW conclude applicable training within 12 months of contract implementation, maintain records of departmental compliance, and advertise available resources.

UAW's new language would direct grievances related to micro-aggressions to the Graduate School, and require the parties to meet four times per year to evaluate progress on the goal of eliminating micro-aggressions against ASEs.

Bathroom Equity – UAW supplemented its original proposal on bathroom equity with UW's proposals that the parties meet twice yearly to discuss applicable plans and that the University publish online the location of every all-gender bathroom on campus.

Academic Excellence – UAW maintained its original proposal on academic excellence, and relocated into this provision its proposed requirement that UW publish and provide ASEs with policy statements related to hiring, evaluation, and assignment of work.

Union-Management Committee – UAW maintained UW's proposed deletions to outdated contract language.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 19.