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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 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.


Negotiations Recap for August 6, 2014

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

Status of Proposals

The parties walked through an updated status chart summarizing the proposals put forth to date and the status of each.

Compensation Discussion

UW explained that it is currently calculating the cost of the union's compensation proposals, and noted that it is a very expensive package. UW explained that this contract must ultimately be deemed financially feasible and approved by the Office of Financial Management, the Governor, and the state Legislature, and emphasized the importance of investing in employees in a way that also supports the health, productivity, and direction of the University.

UW is currently awaiting finalized compensation data in order to provide counter-proposals to economic provisions, which will be ready by early September. UW cited past examples of working together with the union to avoid employee reductions in pay during the recession, and subsequently to secure wage increases that were both meaningful and realistic. UW affirmed its commitment to pay its employees appropriately while ensuring responsible stewardship of public and taxpayer money.

UW Responses

UW responded to all of WFSE's predominantly non-economic proposals, proposing to uphold current contract language for several. UW maintained its previous proposals for the following provisions:

  • Article 9: Union Activities
  • Article 10: Employee Rights
  • Article 21: Performance Evaluation
  • Article 23: Corrective Action
  • Article 27: Holidays

Tentative Agreements

The parties tentatively agreed to maintain current contract language for the following unopened articles:

  • Preamble
  • Article 1: Union Recognition
  • Article 2: Non-Discrimination Disabled Employees
  • Article 4: Affirmative Action
  • Article 5: Management Rights & Responsibilities
  • Article 8: Contract Publication
  • Article 11: Employee Facilities
  • Article 13: Employee Assistance Program
  • Article 14: Privacy
  • Article 15: Polygraph Testing
  • Article 16: Drug Testing
  • Article 18: Tuition Exemption Program
  • Article 25: Staffing Concerns
  • Article 29: Sick Leave
  • Article 32: Child & Dependent Care
  • Article 33: Shared Leave
  • Article 38: Employee Leave Records
  • Article 42: Appointments & Positions
  • Article 43: Vacancies
  • Article 44: Probationary Period
  • Article 46: Inter-System Movement
  • Article 47: Allocation/Reallocation
  • Article 49: Seniority, Layoff, Rehire
  • Article 50: Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
  • Article 51: Resignation & Abandonment
  • Article 52: No Strike/Lockout
  • Article 54: Board of Regents
  • Article 55: Subordination of Agreement & Saving Clause
  • Article 58: Trades Apprenticeship Program

Next Steps

The parties agreed to cancel the August 18 bargaining session in favor of adding another bargaining session in September. The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for August 27.