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Washington Federation of State Employees Contract Negotation Updates

WFSE represents a wide range of UW employees on the UW's Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses and at both Harborview and UW Medical Centers. The five bargaining units covered by the master agreement include positions in administrative support, food services, custodial services, and skilled trades, as well as many health care workers.

Peter Denis
Assistant Vice President, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Nola Balch
HR Consultant, UW Medicine HR
Patti Colaizzo
Director, Facilities Services Organization Resources and Relations
Lynn Diaz
HR Consultant, UW Medicine HR
Cheryl Ewaldsen
Assistant Director for HR, Housing and Food Services
Damon Fetters
Director, Facilities Services: Maintenance and Construction
Stephanie Godwin-Austen
Sr. Compensation Consultant, UW Compensation
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, Labor Relations
Pam Jorgensen
Administrative Director, Harborview Medical Center
Patrick Osby
HR Director, UW Libraries
Toby Purvis
Director, UW Medical Center Environmental Services
Reggie Taschereau
Human Resources Consultant, Campus HR Operations
Walter Thurnhofer
Assistant Administrator, UW Medical Center
Randy West
Director, HR Compensation
Gene Woodard
Director, Facilities Services: Building Services

Negotiations Recap for July 21, 2014

This recap details the fifth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

Scope of Negotiations

WFSE did not present any proposals at this session, but the parties met briefly to discuss the status of bargaining and next steps. WFSE committed to delivering proposals for the contract provisions on which it currently has placeholders, including compensation, at the next bargaining session. UW noted that it would provide additional proposals at the next session as well.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for July 30.


Negotiations Recap for July 9, 2014

This recap details the fourth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

Contracting Out Discussion

WFSE Contract Language

WFSE contended that language in this article that simply codifies existing law is redundant and unnecessary. WFSE also reiterated its belief that certain justifications for contracting work under this article violate the union's statutory rights, and suggested the parties rely more heavily on in-house employee business units (EBUs).

UW maintained its position that the contract language does not violate the law, and expressed openness to the idea of exploring a pilot EBU scenario.

Harborview Contract

UW raised further concern regarding recent presentations to the King County Council by WFSE's executive director and staff urging the Council to reconsider UW's contract to administer Harborview, which expires within a year. UW noted that it takes this lobbying very seriously in the context of the parties' current bargaining, pointing out that nonrenewal of the Harborview agreement could have tangible implications for employee status, layoff, bumping rights, and other provisions contemplated in the current contract. UW voiced its belief that the parties share a mutual interest in working together to preserve a healthy dynamic.

WFSE Counter-proposals

Employee Rights – WFSE maintained its previous proposal, which includes paid release time for union stewards to investigate a grievance, as well as a requirement that management provide a letter before any investigatory meeting explaining any allegations of misconduct or work rule violations.

Union Activities – WFSE maintained its previous proposal from May 20, while agreeing in concept to provide the University with a current list of shop stewards once per month. The parties agreed to remove unused language surrounding shop steward elections.

Performance Evaluation – WFSE declined UW's proposal, and instead proposed allowing employees to provide a rebuttal to their performance evaluation at any time.

Personnel Files – WFSE proposed that the contract's language on the removal of documents from an employee's personnel file apply to records of any corrective action, not just formal counseling.

Corrective Action – WFSE withdrew its proposal to add suspensions and temporary reductions in pay to the corrective action process, and maintained its proposal to allow formal counseling to be taken to arbitration. WFSE maintained its proposal to duplicate its Employee Rights language in the Corrective Action article, which would require management to provide a letter before any investigatory meeting explaining any allegations of misconduct or work rule violations.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for July 21.


Negotiations Recap for June 23, 2014

This recap details the third session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

UW Proposals

Union Activities – UW proposed that WFSE send updated shop steward lists as changes in shop stewards occur. Also proposed is that the University stop paying to release employees from a full work day to attend the union's steward training program, as very few stewards are currently being utilized to represent their coworkers.

Employee Rights – UW proposed that the University no longer provide paid release time for employees to prepare for hearings. UW cited situations where employees expect to be paid to meet with union attorneys before arbitrations, noting that this conflicts with the grievance procedure section whereby each side is responsible for its own case preparation.

Skilled Trades Shop Stewards – UW proposed deleting existing language delineating skilled trades shop steward numbers and zones, in favor of the parties working together through the joint labor-management process to determine more effective and mutually agreeable geographic areas.

Corrective Action – UW proposed restoring historical contract language about the University's decision to determine which step corrective action begins, based on the nature and severity of the problem. UW proposed renaming "final counseling" to "final notice" in an effort to address WFSE's confusion over the severity of final counseling.

Unpaid Holidays for Reason of Faith or Conscience

WFSE Proposal – WFSE proposed a memorandum to codify and supplement recently enacted legislation such that employees could apply paid leave during the two unpaid days off per year granted by the legislation.

UW Counter-proposal – UW proposed using language from WFSE's other higher education contracts, citing the legislation that provides two unpaid holidays for reason of faith or conscience, and memorializing the parties' commitment to follow the applicable law and University policy.

Contracting Out Conversation

UW provided further context to the parties' ongoing discussion on contracting out, reporting on recent discussions regarding the UW's long-standing contract with King County to administer Harborview. UW cited the April 16 King County Council meeting at which WFSE Executive Director Greg Devereux supported exploring alternatives to the UW-Harborview relationship and looking at contracting out to another health care employer who could do it better.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for July 9.