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.
Negotiations Recap for December 5, 2014
This recap details the first session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
UAW Initial Bargaining Demands
UAW put forth a list outlining its bargaining demands and priorities, structured around several themes for bargaining:
- Compensation: UAW's demands included that the UW lead in compensation among peer institutions in the Global Challenge States, and that UW expand on the existing tuition and fee waivers for academic student employees (ASEs).
- Job Classifications: UAW's demands included that UW redefine job classifications to ensure an accurate reflection of duties.
- Health Care: UAW's demands included that UW integrate the union into health care decision making and plan administration, as well as evaluate all plan options for the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) and restructure the plan to drive down costs.
- Inclusivity: UAW's demands included forming a process to address microaggressions campus-wide and opposing the International Student Fee.
- Childcare: UAW's demands included improving access to childcare facilities for ASEs and increasing the existing ASE childcare subsidies.
- Academic Quality: UAW's demands included incorporating the academic excellence language currently in one of the contract's appendices into the body of the contract itself.
- Intellectual Property and Commercialization: UAW's demands included increasing resources available for ASEs wishing to commercialize their research or instructional materials.
- Information Requests: UAW's demands included that UW respond to all union information requests within one week.
- Job Placement: UAW's demands included extending job placement services to alumni.
UW Benefits Presentation
Representatives from the UW Benefits Office and the consultancy Parker, Smith, and Feek attended the bargaining session to discuss the administration and utilization of the GAIP plan, and to offer a variety of healthcare coverage options for consideration. UW Benefits also reviewed the effect of current federal and state regulation on GAIP benefits.
UW Benefits reported that claims this year were largely consistent with the prior year, but that utilization numbers decreased notably in October of 2014. UW is currently looking into why this could be, and committed to report its findings to UAW. UW expressed its interest in conducting a request for proposals (RFP) to evaluate current options in the student insurance marketplace, which UAW supported. UW has requested that Parker, Smith, and Feek perform the RFP, with input from the union.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is currently being determined by the parties.