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.
This recap details the 12th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
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.
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Article 27: Union-Management Committee – The parties agreed to deletions to outdated contract language.
The parties tentatively agreed to maintain existing contract language on the following provisions:
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 25.
This recap details the 11th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
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.
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.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 19.
This recap details the 10th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
Several subject matter experts attended bargaining from across the University to help facilitate conversations on the topics of undocumented graduate students and micro-aggressions.
Cynthia Morales, Director of GO-MAP (Graduate Opportunities & Minority Achievement Program), attended bargaining in response to several union questions related to undocumented graduate students. GO-MAP works on recruitment and outreach to undergraduate students of color and other underrepresented groups nationally who are interested in pursuing graduate school.
UW is in the early stages of addressing issues surrounding undocumented graduate students, as policies on undocumented undergraduate students are more common. GO-MAP has focused on creating a safe space for undocumented graduate students, and is currently working on informational materials and focus groups to help departments better understand the issues and federal immigration policies.
A panel of representatives from across the University, including the Ombud's Office, the Risk Management/Title IX Office, the Violence Prevention and Response Program, and Campus HR Operations, attended bargaining to participate in a discussion on micro-aggressions.
Union Testimonials – In support of its proposals to curb and prevent micro-aggressions UAW recounted several instances of conduct to illustrate the characteristics and impact of micro-aggressions, and explained that most cases occur between ASEs with faculty not intervening. UAW emphasized its desire to have a mechanism for reporting such issues.
Existing Mechanisms – Panelists noted that many of the examples cited by the union as examples of "micro-aggression" would likely be actionable under existing policies for reporting, investigating, and resolving complaints of sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and other forms of discrimination.
Panelists recognized the power dynamic that exists between ASEs and faculty, but underscored the importance of reporting such instances and utilizing the mechanisms that have been established to address these very problems. UAW acknowledged that several of these examples were handled through the grievance process.
Implementation – When asked how other universities address the issue of micro-aggressions, the union reported difficultly finding information. UW expressed alignment with UAW's underlying concerns, while noting that the scope of the union contract is somewhat limited to the student employment relationship.
In support of continuing the dialogue and disseminating these concerns, UW suggested the parties invite several UW administrators to a future meeting who could better speak to this issue in the context of an academic career path.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 18.
This recap details the ninth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
UW delivered a series of proposals and responses addressing provisions throughout the collective bargaining agreement, proposing current contract language for several articles. UW's proposals also included:
Appointment and Reappointment Notification – UW proposed that the parties convene a union management committee meeting to discuss the union's 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 – UW proposed language aimed at clarifying and streamlining the corrective action process, including requiring ASEs who wish to request a conference with their supervisor and the union regarding a corrective action to do so within five calendar days of its issuance.
Leave Without Pay for Reasons of Faith or Conscience – UW proposed clarifications to UAW's proposal, such that ASEs would be eligible for up to two workdays of leave without pay per calendar year for reason of faith or conscience, to which they could apply personal holiday (in whole day increments) or vacation leave. Per WAC 82-56, such requests could only be denied if the employee's absence would create undue hardship or if the employee is necessary to maintain public safety.
Union Management Committee – UW proposed deletions to outdated contract language.
Micro-aggressions – UW proposed incorporating the union's proposed definition of micro-aggressions into an MOU, and that the parties meet twice yearly to discuss plans and evaluate progress on the joint goal of eliminating micro-aggressions against ASEs as previously defined.
Bathroom Equity – UW proposed memorializing the parties' commitment to ensuring that ASEs have adequate access to all-gender bathrooms, and that the parties meet twice yearly to discuss plans and actions in support of this goal. UW also proposed language committing the University to publish online the location of every all-gender bathroom on campus.
Childcare – UAW changed its previous proposal that sick child care be provided to all ASEs for a $5 one-time enrollment fee and proposed that sick child care services be provided at no cost to ASEs. UAW also proposed that any ASE receiving a subsidy through the UW Child Care Assistance program that is less than the amount provided to eligible ASEs through the contract be automatically paid the difference.
UAW committed to clarify the language it proposed, as further discussion revealed that such language would unintentionally make ASEs eligible to collect both the UW Child Care Assistance subsidy and the maximum contractual benefit, which the union proposed be increased from $700 per quarter to $1500.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 12.
This recap details the eighth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
Sarah Hall, Assistant Vice Provost for the UW Office of Planning and Budgeting, attended bargaining to discuss the International Student Fee and the topic of ASEs in fee-based programs.
UAW reiterated its view that the International Student Fee is discriminatory and suggested that it is a dangerous precedent, highlighting other universities where similar fees exceed $1,000 per year.
UW explained that the International Student Fee stemmed from concerns about providing adequate services to international students. UW described how the fee came in response to a dramatic increase in international student enrollment, which in turn increased the need for additional and more tailored services. In addition to supporting the increased volume of work involving compliance with visa requirements and federal laws, the fee aimed to support orientation as well as teaching and learning services.
The Board of Regents approved the fee with support from the UW's student government group, ASUW, although ASUW reversed its position some months later. UW pointed out this model of collecting fees in order to make possible certain services is not uncommon across the institution.
UAW raised concerns over a policy change whereby after June 30, 2015, departments employing TAs on state budgets who are matriculated in fee-based degree programs will no longer be subsidized from central funds. UAW voiced that by making the employing department cover the TA's full course fee payments, fewer ASEs enrolled in fee-based programs will be hired to work in programs relying on state-based tuition.
UW explained that the central funding that long subsidized these programs was a discrete budgetary decision that diverted potential funding from other areas, such as financial aid or facilities maintenance. UW explained that continuing to subsidize relatively few programs at the expense of other areas creates an inequity in itself, not to mention the many other state-based degree programs that received no subsidy.
Childcare – UW proposed language updates reflecting the closure of the Virginia Mason TLC sick child care service and establishing that to the extent UW has an active contract for sick child care services, qualifying ASEs will be eligible to participate. UW also proposed deleting outdated language.
Job Titles and Classifications – UAW proposed increasing the minimum wage for hourly ASEs to $15 per hour, effective July 1, 2015.
UAW also proposed dividing several hourly ASE job classifications into distinct pay tiers, each providing for a 7.5% increase from the previous tier. UAW proposed that these employees advance to at least the next tier each year, and that hourly pay scale rates increase annually by at least the same percentage as GSSA appointments in the same department.
Non-Discrimination and Harassment – UAW proposed adding "gender expression or identity" to the contract's list of statuses protected from discrimination.
Article 19: Non-Discrimination and Harassment – The parties tentatively agreed to UAW’s proposal to add "gender expression or identity" to the contract's list of statuses protected from discrimination.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 11.
This recap details the seventh session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
UAW and several students provided testimonials opposing the International Student Fee. The union complained that the fee focuses on compliance with visa requirements and federal laws, but does not feel like it improves the lives of international students themselves.
UAW suggested that the fee is discriminatory, asserting that other fees at UW are socialized across all students or all union members. The union described a perception of unfairness when the fee applies to students from nearby places like British Columbia, while not applying to students from more geographically distant parts of the US.
UAW requested more information on the services supported by the fee. UW notified the union that it arranged for representatives from the UW's Office of Planning and Budgeting to attend the parties' upcoming bargaining session and provide further details regarding the fee.
Grievance Procedure – UAW proposed language to make Step One of the current grievance procedure optional, and to allow grievances to be filed to Step Two. UAW also proposed that the parties establish standing arbitration hearings during November, February, May, and August of each year of the contract, with the goal of consolidating and expediting hearings.
UAW withdrew its proposal for any missed deadline on the UW's part to automatically award the union's proposed remedy.
Unpaid Holidays for Reasons of Faith or Conscience – UAW proposed a memorandum to codify and supplement recently enacted legislation. UAW proposed that leave without pay be granted for up to two workdays per year for reason of faith or conscience, to which ASEs could apply paid leave in lieu of leave without pay.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 4.
This recap details the sixth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
Amy Hawkins, Director of WorkLife and Childcare Access, provided an overview of current benefits and discussions around childcare at the UW. UW currently has four onsite programs with large wait-lists. Other benefits include priority access to Puget Sound Bright Horizons centers, but UW recognizes the need to expand childcare access and options. UW also informed the union that Virginia Mason will be ending its TLC sick child care service in March, and that the University is searching for viable alternatives.
UW is currently researching various potential short-term solutions to increase childcare access this year, including nanny-share and babysitter options. UW is also exploring long-term solutions such as building another childcare center on or near campus.
In response to UAW's proposal for ASEs to be eligible for CareLink, Amy Hawkins spoke about the program. CareLink is an advisory program available to UW employees eligible for Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) benefits.
While CareLink's primary focus is counseling services, other components include 30 minutes of free legal or financial consultation over the phone, childcare and eldercare referral, and departmental trainings and workshops. Such trainings are often contracted through an outside organization and are topical, rather than customized for specific situations at UW.
Grievance Procedure – UW proposed language to support UAW's goal of a more efficient grievance process. UW proposed accelerating what is currently Step 2 (involving the Dean of the Graduate School or designee) to occur at Step 1, and adding to Step 2 the option for mediation, a non-binding service whereby a third party helps to facilitate understanding. UW's language would allow the parties to skip Step One or Two upon mutual agreement.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 26.
This recap details the fifth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
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.
UAW presented several questions related to GAIP, renewing and supplementing elements of the union's pending information requests.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 25.
This recap details the fourth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
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.
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.
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).
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 19.
This recap details the third session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
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.
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.
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.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 18.
This recap details the second session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
UW Benefits and the UW insurance brokers Parker, Smith, and Feek delivered a draft request for proposals (RFP) regarding the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) for UAW to review. UAW delivered initial feedback and questions, and a meeting was set for the following week to continue the evaluation and discussion. UAW agreed to submit all comments by close of business on January 29 so the RFP can be finalized.
UW presented UAW with an updated GAIP utilization report showing claims incurred since the beginning of the current plan year (October 1, 2014) paid through December 31, 2014. The plan's loss ratio is now at 99.5 percent, and an analysis of claims by service type showed increases in the in- and outpatient hospital, professional, and dental categories.
UW offered to send utilization reports to UAW on a monthly basis rather than quarterly, to which UAW agreed.
UW delivered a presentation presentation summarizing the scope and potential implications of UW's impending transition to a new HR/payroll (HR/P) system. Through the HR/Payroll Modernization project, the UW is replacing its 32-year-old payroll system with a modern HR/P system called Workday. Workday will offer a more uniform, streamlined, and reliable experience for employees across the University, and is planned to launch on December 20, 2015.
UW walked through key components of the new HR/P system, including more robust data tracking abilities, a biweekly pay cycle, and enhanced reporting of work, earnings, and accruals.
UW proposed a memorandum of agreement highlighting the core elements of the transition to a new HR/P system based on what the parties know to date.
The language would memorialize the parties' mutual understanding of the anticipated impacts, while ensuring that discussions may resume if needed, and that no union will come away with a "better deal" than any other.
The parties further discussed some of the intricacies and goals underlying UAW's bargaining demands related to inclusivity, including mitigation of microaggressions, opposition to the International Student Fee, and expanded access to genderless bathrooms.
The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for January 29.
This recap details the first session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.
UAW put forth a list outlining its bargaining demands and priorities, structured around several themes for bargaining:
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.