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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 September 11, 2014

This recap details the 10th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

UW Proposals

Grievance Procedure – UW accepted WFSE's proposal to remove contract language that waives the right to bring a claim to additional legal forums after arbitrating it, and vice versa.

Domestic Violence Leave – UW accepted WFSE's proposal to memorialize the University's adherence to the Domestic Violence Leave Act.

HR/Payroll Modernization Bargaining – UW proposed a memorandum of understanding affirming the parties' commitment to bargain impacts associated with the UW's implementation of a new HR/payroll system. Such bargaining would begin in October of 2014, with the goal of concluding by December of 2014.

UW Compensation Discussion

Market Survey Statistics

UW presented a visual market survey reference to further illustrate how the University views the market and its compensation philosophy.

WFSE 2013-2015 Compensation

UW presented data on the base wages of WFSE-represented employees during the current 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement to date, including:

  • A pie chart summarizing changes to base wages during the current contract.
  • A table detailing changes during the current contract for specific job titles.

Having received general wage increases of 2 percent per contract year as well as incremental pay steps, the average base pay increase per WFSE-represented employee was 5.8 percent during the 2013-2015 contract. Of these employees:

  • Roughly 31.6 percent received a 4 percent increase over the biennium.
  • Roughly 61.3 percent received between a 4 and 10 percent increase over the biennium.
  • Roughly 5.8 percent received between a 10 and 20 percent increase over the biennium.
  • Roughly 1.3 percent received an increase of 20 percent of greater over the biennium.

UW Compensation Proposal

General Wage Increase – UW proposed general wage increases of 1.25 percent effective July 1, 2015, and a 1.75 percent effective July 1, 2016.

Minimum Pay Step Adjustment – UW proposed that any regular, non-hourly employee whose salary is less than $12 per hour be placed on a pay step that is at least $12 per hour.

Step Structure – UW's proposal would allow for the existing step structure to remain as it is currently configured.

Market Wage Adjustments – UW proposed that several job titles receive pay range adjustments up to 80 percent of the market median.

WFSE Responses

General Wage Increase – WFSE countered UW's proposal on general wage increases only, proposing increases of 8.5 percent effective July 1, 2015, and 5.5 percent effective July 1, 2016.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for September 15.


Negotiations Recap for September 5, 2014

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

UW Market Wage Data Presentation

A compensation expert from Milliman delivered a presentation to the parties explaining the compensation survey process, and detailing current data on how base pay at UW compares to that of the organizations that comprise UW’s labor market. The analysis only compares base wages, and does not factor in the variety of benefits and premiums provided to UW employees.

Key Takeaways

Purpose of a Survey – An organization participates in a compensation survey to see how its compensation compares to that of its market. This information helps an organization to remain competitive, identify problems, and effectively carry out its compensation philosophy.

Conducting a Quality Survey – A quality compensation survey must be administered by an independent third party and must use consistent criteria in determining peers. The data must be current, with clear compilation practices, and it must be aggregated rather than individually reported.

Defining the "Market" – An organization's market is the group of employers with which it competes for labor. Geography, industry, function, and size are critical factors in determining which organizations constitute an appropriate market.

UW’s Philosophy – UW's compensation philosophy is to ensure that its pay is closely aligned with the middle of its market – the point at which half of its comparators pay more and half pay less (known as the market median, or the market 50th percentile). Pay falling between 80 and 120 percent of the market median is considered to be within a "normal," acceptable range.

Summary of Findings – Actual pay for UW’s non-healthcare jobs falls generally within the "normal" range between 80 and 120 percent of the market median, with some jobs falling below 80 percent. Actual pay for most of UW’s healthcare jobs falls within the "normal" range of the market median.

Scope of Negotiations

Neither party delivered new proposals. UW informed WFSE that it had just received the compensation data, and that an economic proposal would be forthcoming. WFSE concluded bargaining abruptly, leaving the premises unannounced.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for September 11.


Negotiations Recap for August 27, 2014

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

WFSE Package Proposal

WFSE put forth a package proposal in which all provisions would need to be accepted in their entirety. Provisions included:

Monthly Reporting – WFSE would withdraw its proposal to standardize the transmission date of the monthly bargaining unit report.

Union Activities – WFSE would withdraw its proposals to allow stewards time off to investigate grievances, to increase the time granted for stewards to confer with employees prior to grievance meetings, and to require that orientation occur in multiple languages.

WFSE maintained its proposals to increase the time granted for the union to meet with employees at orientation and to guarantee time for the union to meet with those participating online, as well as its proposed requirement that management provide the union with new employee information monthly.

Corrective Action – WFSE would withdraw its proposal requiring management to provide a letter before any investigatory meeting explaining allegations of misconduct, but maintained its proposal to require at least one day of notice prior to an investigatory meeting. WFSE maintained its proposal to allow formal counseling to be taken to arbitration.

Grievance Procedure – WFSE maintained its proposal to remove existing contract language that waives the right to bring a claim to additional legal forums after arbitrating it, and vice versa.

UW Response

UW expressed willingness to further discuss some of the ideas contemplated in WFSE's proposals, but informed WFSE that it could not accept the proposed package in its entirety.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for September 5.