In April of 2012, University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) management and the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) agreed to terms for the 2012-2013 contract year of the parties' collective bargaining agreement, which expires on June 30, 2013. Contract negotiations for a successor agreement are now underway. WSNA represents more than 1400 registered nurses at UWMC.
Compensation: New compensation provisions went into effect on July 1, 2013, including 2 percent across-the-board increases for all employees in the bargaining unit. This and other applicable compensation provisions that are effective July 1, 2013 will be first reflected on the July 25, 2013 paycheck, for the pay period ending July 15, 2013.
Contract Publication: The 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement has been published to the Labor Relations website. View the 2013-2015 Washington State Nurses Association Contract.
This recap details the fourth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UWMC and WSNA.
WSNA presented a comprehensive counter-proposal and response, which included:
The next UWMC-WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for June 6.
This recap details the third session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UWMC and WSNA.
UWMC presented 2012 and 2013 wage data comparing the average base pay of nurses at UWMC and Harborview to that of their peers: nine of Puget Sound's top health care organizations. UWMC and Harborview nurses are paid at 95.7 percent of the surveyed market median.
UWMC explained that the median - or market 50th percentile - is the value at which half of its peer hospitals pay above and half pay below, which is a common reference point used by organizations to remain competitive in their market.
Gigi Jurich, Perinatal Services nurse manager and Cynthia Brazell, Emergency Department nurse manager, illustrated the need for a system of scheduled on-call in their departments.
Fluctuating patient census and other unpredictable factors in both departments can result in added burden to nurses at work, and recent trial-runs of a voluntary on-call system for the Labor and Delivery unit showed low participation.
Both Ms. Jurich and Ms. Brazell emphasized that their nurses are regularly willing to help out and fill in, but the process of finding and arranging for available nurses to come in takes too much time away from patient care.
WSNA questioned why UWMC, as a community leader in the care it provides, would not lead the market in wages.
UWMC explained that aside from paying wages that are competitive in the market, its nurses enjoy access to generous benefit and pension plans - at a time when many competitors are cutting back on costs of their health insurance and retirement plans.
The next UWMC-WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for May 29.
This recap details the second session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UWMC and WSNA.
UWMC made several proposals addressing leave usage, hours of work, and scheduling, including:
WSNA stated that its analysis of UWMC's financials demonstrated higher operating margins in recent years than those presented by UW Medicine's finance experts at the previous bargaining session.
UWMC explained that as a state employer, it must adhere to different accounting standards than its peer hospitals that are private as well as public hospital districts. One key difference for UWMC is that interest expense, like a mortgage payment, is classified as a non-operating expense. For all UWMC's peers (except Harborview), interest expense is considered an operating expense, and is deducted from the hospitals' operating margins. Because UWMC interest expense represented nearly $4 million in fiscal year 2012 alone, UWMC's operating margin appears higher relative to its peers than it really is.
UWMC addressed questions and concerns raised by WSNA at the previous bargaining session surrounding employee parking that has been impacted by construction in recent years. Patricia Riley, UWMC associate administrator, explained in detail how parking is managed by UW Transportation Services across the campus.
She clarified that the light rail station construction will not result in a public park-and-ride lot. When this construction is completed in 2016, the affected lots are scheduled to return to their pre-construction number of parking spaces.
The next UWMC-WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for May 23.