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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

Comprehensive UW-WFSE Tentative Agreement Reached

The parties reached a comprehensive tentative agreement for the 2015-2017 contract after meeting on September 23 and 25, which has been ratified by WFSE's membership.

Summary of the 2015-2017 Agreement

For an overview of the agreement, please find the Summary of the WFSE–UW 2015-2017 Comprehensive Tentative Agreement, or continue reading below.

Wages

  • General Wage Increases:
    • 3% across the board increase effective July 1, 2015.
    • 2% across the board increase effective July 1, 2016.
  • Minimum Pay Step Adjustment: Effective July 1, 2015, any regular, non-hourly employee whose salary is less than $2080 per month ($12/hour) will be placed on a pay step that is at least $2080 per month.
  • Market Wage Adjustments: Effective July 1, 2015, several job titles will receive pay range adjustments up to 80% of the market median.

Article 3: Reasonable Accommodation

  • Disability Leave: Interspersed paid leave used for continuity of benefits will be applied to the first working day of the month.

Article 6: Joint Union/Management Committees

  • Pre-meeting Time: Employees will not experience a loss in salary for Joint Union/Management Committee pre-meeting time.

Article 9: Union Activities

  • Union Stewards: WFSE will send steward lists once per month (previously "periodically"), and the parties agreed to remove unused language on shop steward elections.

Article 10: Employee Rights

  • Investigatory Meetings: New language clarifies that employees will be provided reasonable time to secure a representative prior to an investigatory meeting.
  • Paid Release: Employees will be granted paid release time during normal working hours for the purpose of attending (not preparing for) meetings or hearings scheduled by management pertaining to the grievance, corrective action, or negotiations processes.
  • Time off for Union Activities: Travel time will be included in leave without pay to attend union-sponsored activities.

Article 22: Personnel Files

  • Removal of Documents: Removal of documents language will be expanded to apply to record of any corrective action, not just formal counseling.

Article 23: Corrective Action

  • Corrective Action Process: New language clarifies that management may determine the step at which the corrective action begins based on the nature and severity of the problem.
  • Representation Rights: Management will inform an employee of their representation rights under the contract when conducting a formal or final counseling.
  • Meeting before Formal Counseling: Before a formal counseling is issued, a meeting may be scheduled by management or requested by the employee to provide a chance for the employee to make their case before the final decision is made. Employee requests for such a meeting will be granted, and employees are entitled to representation at this meeting.
  • Removal of Records: Once corrective action is removed from an employee's file, the information will not be used in subsequent action unless by mutual agreement.

Article 27: Holidays

  • Faith/Conscience Holiday: Leave without pay will be granted for up to two workdays per calendar year for reason of faith or conscience, to which employees may apply compensatory time, personal holiday, or vacation leave. Such requests may only be denied if the employee's absence would create undue hardship (per WAC 82-56) or the employee is necessary to maintain public safety.

Article 31: FMLA and Parental Leave

  • Workers' Compensation: Employees receiving workers' compensation time-loss benefits may elect to receive time-loss exclusively or a combination of time-loss and accrued leave (in the order of sick leave, then compensatory time, then vacation time before leave without pay).

Article 35: Miscellaneous Paid Leaves

  • Bereavement: Bereavement leave may be taken in continuous or non-continuous days.
  • Domestic Violence Leave: New language cites the Domestic Violence Leave Act (RCW 49.76).

Article 36: Military Leave

  • Military Leave: New language cites the Military Family Leave Act (RCW 49.77).

Article 37: Leave without Pay

  • LWOP Requests: New language establishes that employees must submit written requests for leave without pay prior to the leave being used when feasible.

Article 48: Classification

  • Update: Outdated language regarding the implementation of a classification system was removed.

Article 53: Commute Trip Reduction and Parking

  • Flexible Schedules: Departments with continuous and/or public responsibility may establish independent work schedules, and are encouraged to consider employee requests for flexible schedules for commute trip reduction purposes. Such requests may be approved by the employing official depending on operating, business, and customer needs.

MOU: SEIU 925 "Me-Too" and Wage Discussions

  • Update: Outdated language linking WFSE wage increases to those negotiated by SEIU 925 was removed, as was language committing the UW and WFSE to meet at least quarterly to discuss wage issues.

MOU: HR/Payroll System

  • HR/Payroll System: New MOU acknowledges that the UW's new HR/Payroll system is scheduled to be implemented on January 1, 2016, and that the parties will begin bargaining in October of 2014.

MOU: Medical Assistant Wages

  • MA Wages: UW will move Medical Assistants to a healthcare pay table on a range that results in a pay increase and that is competitive with the peer labor market, effective January 1, 2015.

Negotiations Recap for September 17, 2014

This recap details the 12th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

UW Proposals

UW provided counter-proposals and reiterated its position on several of WFSE's proposals.

General Wage Increase – UW proposed general wage increases of 2 percent effective July 1, 2015, and a 2 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 pay table 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.

Article 19: Training and Professional Development – UW declined WFSE's proposal to expand applicability of the contract's educational/professional leave language, in favor of current contract language.

Article 20: Licensure and Certification – UW declined WFSE's proposal to allow for employees to fulfill continuing education unit requirements on work time at UW's expense, in favor of current contract language.

Article 27: Holidays – UW declined WFSE's proposal and withdrew its proposal to cite the legislation that provides two unpaid holidays for reason of faith or conscience, in favor of current contract language.

Article 28: Vacations – UW declined WFSE's proposed expansion of the vacation accrual schedule and revisions to the vacation bidding process, in favor of current contract language.

Article 31: FMLA and Parental Leave – UW proposed language whereby employees receiving workers' compensation time-loss benefits may elect to receive time-loss exclusively or a combination of time-loss and accrued leave (in the order of sick leave, then compensatory time, then vacation time before leave without pay).

Article 34: Inclement Weather and Suspended Operations – UW declined WFSE's proposed revisions in favor of current contract language.

Article 40: Overtime – UW withdrew its proposal for overtime to be calculated only on time worked, in favor of current contract language.

Article 53: Commute Trip Reduction and Parking – In response to WFSE's proposal, UW proposed language encouraging departments with continuous and/or public responsibility to consider employee requests for flexible schedules for commute trip reduction purposes. Approvals would be at the discretion of the employing official, and would depend on operating, business, and customer needs.

Tentative Agreements

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

  • Article 26: Health & Safety
  • Article 39: Hours of Work and Work Schedules
  • Article 45: Promotions/Transfers
  • Article 59: Trades Shop Stewards

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for September 23.


Negotiations Recap for September 15, 2014

This recap details the 11th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

UW Proposals

UW put forth a package proposal addressing several outstanding provisions.

Article 3: Disability Leave – UW maintained its proposal for interspersed paid leave used for continuity of benefits to be applied to the first working day of the month.

Article 6: Joint Union-Management Committees – UW would accept WFSE's proposal to include joint labor-management pre-meeting time as time for which employees would not experience loss in salary.

Article 7: Union Dues Deduction and Union Security – UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

Article 9: Union Activities – UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language for any outstanding sections, declining WFSE's proposal to increase the time guaranteed to the union at new employee orientation and WFSE's proposal to grant time for the union to meet with employees participating in online orientation.

Article 10: Employee Rights – UW proposed new language to clarify that employees will be provided reasonable time to secure a representative prior to an investigatory meeting. UW maintained its proposed language whereby employees would be granted paid release time during normal working hours for the purpose of attending (not preparing for) meetings or hearings scheduled by management pertaining to the grievance, corrective action, or negotiations processes.

Article 12: Uniforms/Special Clothing – UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

Article 17: Contracting – UW proposed that the parties maintain current contract language.

Article 21: Performance Evaluation – UW would withdraw its proposal for a less prescriptive evaluation format and its proposal to remove language denoting that lack of a performance evaluation indicates satisfactory performance, in favor of maintaining current contract language.

Article 22: Personnel Files – UW would accept WFSE's proposal to expand removal of documents language to apply to record of any corrective action, not just formal counseling.

Article 23: Corrective Action – UW maintained its proposal for management to determine the step at which corrective action process begins based on the nature and severity of the problem. UW would accept WFSE's language memorializing that management will inform the employee about their right to representation under the contract when formal or final counseling is being conducted.

Article 35: Miscellaneous Paid Leaves – UW would accept WFSE's proposal to allow employees to use their bereavement leave non-continuously.

Article 36: Military Leave – UW would agree to WFSE's proposal to memorialize the parties' obligation to follow the Military Family Leave Act.

Article 37: Leave without Pay – UW would accept WFSE's proposed language establishing that employees must submit written requests for leave without pay prior to the leave being used, when feasible.

Article 56: Mandatory Subject – UW withdrew its proposal to remove the article, in favor of maintaining current contract language.

WFSE Response

WFSE proposed modifications to UW's package proposal:

Article 23: Corrective Action – WFSE proposed allowing for formal counseling to be taken to arbitration for a finite period, from July 1, 2015, through June 29, 2017.

Article 53: Commute Trip Reduction and Parking – WFSE maintained its proposed language to enable and encourage departments with continuous or public responsibility to establish independent work schedules according to employee requests.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for September 17.