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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 February 19, 2015

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

Union Proposals

Appointment and Reappointment Notification – UAW proposed expanding the contents required in an ASE's job description to include a list of required tasks with corresponding time estimates, and the curricular purpose of the assignment when applicable. UAW proposed a requirement that policies outlining the criteria and decision process governing ASE appointment, work, and evaluation be provided to ASEs and made publically available, and to require ASE input for changes to such policies.

Training – UAW proposed adding language to guarantee training related to any mentorship or supervisory work expected of an ASE, and, when applicable, to clarify a work assignment's role in the curriculum.

Workspace and Materials – UAW proposed expanding the list of services and resources that must be made accessible to ASEs to include necessary time with equipment to perform required research.

Academic Excellence – UAW proposed incorporating the parties' provision on academic excellence (Letter of Understanding H) into the main body of the contract, and proposed an avenue for ASEs to raise concerns regarding access to research equipment and facilities as well as alterations to ASE mentor or supervisory responsibilities.

UAW proposed that UW provide TAs with rationales for course enrollment limits and allow for TA input. UAW proposed that UW monitor the aggregate TA-to-undergraduate ratio, and work to maintain a ratio of 21 undergraduates per TA.

Health Benefits Discussion

UAW presented several questions related to GAIP, renewing and supplementing elements of the union's pending information requests.

Next Steps

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

Negotiations Recap for February 18, 2015

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

UW Responses

UW shared initial thoughts on several of the union's proposals, including:

International Student Fee – UW explained that the International Student Fee is an institution-wide initiative that affects populations well beyond UAW's membership, and that to change such a broad-based policy is likely outside of the parties' scope in contract negotiations. UW committed to bring more information to a future bargaining session.

Bathroom Equity and Lactation Facilities – UW expressed a philosophical agreement with the union's desire to make genderless bathrooms and lactation facilities as accessible as possible, but raised concern over the UAW contract's ability to enforce construction and building plans institution-wide. UW committed to bring more information to a future bargaining session.

Grievance Procedure – UW expressed concern over UAW's proposal for any missed deadline on the UW's part to automatically award the union's remedy, rather than the current practice of automatically advancing to the next step of the grievance procedure.

Union Proposals

Intellectual Property – UAW proposed a requirement that the UW notify ASEs of their right to consult with a union representative prior to deciding whether to consent to a policy relating to assignment of intellectual property.

UAW proposed eliminating language recognizing UW's right to change applicable policies in the University Handbook, and proposed to grant the union a position on any UW committee on intellectual property and commercialization issues.

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

Union Request for Information

UAW delivered an extensive information request mirroring the themes presented in the union's list of initial bargaining demands, including information on hourly ASEs, fee waivers, micro-aggressions, and the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP).

Next Steps

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

Negotiations Recap for January 29, 2015

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

Union Initial Proposals

UAW delivered several proposals, including:

Leaves of Absence – UAW proposed that ASEs receive 90 days of paid leave and up to six months of unpaid leave per year, with a guarantee of reinstatement in the same or equivalent position upon return. UAW proposed that such provisions be extended to hourly ASEs as well.

Childcare – UAW proposed that UW guarantee on-campus childcare services for all children of ASEs, and that UW increase the childcare subsidy for each eligible ASE from $700 per quarter (up to $40,000 union-wide) to $1,500 per quarter with no collective limit.

Tuition and Fees in Fee-based Programs – UAW proposed that ASEs enrolled in fee-based programs be subject to the same rate of tuition and fees and the same tuition waivers as those enrolled in state-supported programs.

International Student Fee – UAW proposed that UW eliminate the International Student Fee.

Grievance Procedure – UAW proposed that any failure on the part of UW to address a grievance within established time limits or respond to a grievance-related information request within seven days will automatically result in the grievance being resolved in the union's favor and will guarantee implementation of the union's requested remedy. Currently grievances that are not addressed within such time limits automatically advance to the next step of the grievance procedure.

Micro-aggressions – UAW proposed language requiring the UW to curb and prevent instances of micro-aggressions, defined as everyday exchanges that denigrate and exclude individuals based on their membership in a group or class of individuals.

UAW proposed a requirement that the UW provide training on micro-aggressions and inclusivity for incoming ASEs and faculty, as well as for existing ASEs, faculty, and staff as desired. UAW proposed that UW require such training for departments in which micro-aggressions have occurred.

Bathroom Equity – UAW proposed that UW guarantee that all ASE workplaces have access to all-gender bathrooms as well as equal access to gender-specific bathrooms.

Lactation Facilities – UAW proposed that UW guarantee ASEs safe, private, and clean lactation facilities, equipment, refrigeration, storage, and services.

Career and Job Placement Services – UAW proposed that the UW extend career and job placement services to all ASEs and ASE alumni. UAW proposed language to enable ASEs to create an Individual Development Plan with their faculty mentors or supervisors.

Debt Management and Individual Assistance Programs – UAW proposed extending access to UW Carelink employee assistance programs to ASEs, and ensuring that ASEs enrolled in fee-based programs have the same access to all forms of financial aid that are available to those enrolled in state-supported programs.

HR/Payroll Modernization Discussion

In response to UW's presentation on the upcoming HR/Payroll system transition, UAW voiced questions regarding how the academic calendar will be reconciled with the new system's biweekly payroll calendar based on actual time reporting. UW noted that the HR/P team is currently using ASE data to model the potential implications of this transition, and committed to providing the union with further details as they emerge. UW also explained its intent to utilize Workday to generate more robust data reporting that is standardized across unions.

Benefits Discussion

The parties discussed ways to characterize the GAIP plan benefits in an RFP as well as the context surrounding UAW's pending unfair labor practice allegation against the UW. UW committed to analyze and share with the union changes to plan benefits, and continue to work toward a mutually acceptable resolution.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 18.