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SEIU 1199 Contract Negotiation Updates

SEIU 1199 represents technical and social workers, healthcare specialists, and registered nurses at Harborview Medical Center (Harborview), as well as the airborne flight nurses of Airlift Northwest.

Compensation: New compensation provisions went into effect on July 1, 2013, including 2 percent across-the-board increases for all employees in the bargaining units. 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 SEIU 1199 Contract.

Peter Denis
Assistant Vice President, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Bonnie Conley
Director, Social Work, Harborview Medical Center
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, Labor Relations
Julie Hoffman
Regional Manager, Airlift Northwest
Darcy Jaffe
Chief Nursing Officer, Harborview Medical Center
Pranika Laing
HR Consultant, UW Medical Centers
Joe Marotta
Administrative Director, Radiology, Harborview Medical Center
Chris Martin
Executive Director, Airlift Northwest
Kathy Mertens
Director, Clinical Care Systems, Harborview Medical Center
Paula Minton-Foltz
Assistant Administrator, Patient Care Services, Harborview Medical Center
Neal Pember
Assistant Director, HR Compensation
Becky Pierce
Associate Administrator, Patient Care Services , Harborview Medical Center

Negotiations Recap for October 15, 2012

This recap details the tenth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW/Harborview and SEIU 1199, and the first session to be facilitated by neutral mediators.

UW/Harborview Presentation

UW/Harborview Proposals
Hours of Work and Overtime
Establish two work period options for health care specialists and social workers for the purpose of calculating overtime payment.
A "Fixed shift" option would allow for an employee to accrue overtime pay for hours worked in excess of their scheduled shift, but any flexing of scheduled hours would be subject to supervisory approval. A "Flex shift" option would allow for flexible hours within an 80 hour work period, but overtime would only be accrued for hours worked beyond 80 hours in this work period.
Union Delegates
Establish one union delegate representing electroneurodiagnostic (END) technicians.
Joint Labor/Management Committees
Allow for one END technician representative to attend such meetings.

Tentative Agreement

Article 13.13: Staffing Practices
The parties tentatively agreed that for health care specialists, the collection of available data regarding relative value units - a measure used to compare the cost of performing certain services - will be discussed at joint labor-management meetings.
Articles 15.13 and 15.14: Leaves of Absence
The parties tentatively agreed to integrate language from the Washington State Nurses Association contract regarding domestic violence leave and military spouse leave, which both outline applicable state law.

SEIU Presentation

SEIU 1199 Counter Proposals
Union Delegates
SEIU 1199 proposed allowing for two union delegates representing END technicians, as opposed to UW/Harborview's proposed one.
Education Support Funds
SEIU 1199 countered UW/Harborview's October 4 proposal, requesting that the education support funds available to each registered nurse not be prorated according to their full-time equivalent (FTE).
SEIU 1199 also proposed that the education support funds guaranteed to respiratory therapists be increased from $200 to $500, and not prorated according to FTE.
Joint Labor/Management Committees
SEIU 1199 countered UW/Harborview's October 4 proposal, voicing that of the three health care specialist representatives present at such meetings, the union should determine which department each comes from.

Further Dialogue

SEIU 1199 cancelled the bargaining session scheduled for October 24, indicating that after the October 19 bargaining session it will put the contract in its existing form to a membership vote.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for October 19.

Negotiations Recap for October 4, 2012

This recap details the ninth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW/Harborview and SEIU 1199.

Scope of Negotiations

As the parties had previously agreed, today's discussion focused on proposals and issues specific to Airlift Northwest, and primarily involved representatives from Airlift Northwest on both the management and union bargaining teams.

Airlift Northwest Market Wage Data

UW/Harborview presented pay data comparing wages for Airlift Northwest flight nurses to that of flight nurses on a regional and national scale. UW/Harborview explained that the data, derived from the 2011 "Critical Care Transport Workplace and Salary Survey" published in Air Medical Journal, measures earnings based on 100 percent full-time equivalent (FTE).

At a 100 percent FTE, the average total earnings (salary plus premiums) for an Airlift Northwest flight nurse is $112,770, and average base salary (without premiums) is $89,196. UW/Harborview explained that each of these metrics is above the 90th percentile of the market on both the regional and national scale.

SEIU 1199 Response

SEIU 1199 expressed that the numbers seem too high, and pointed out that most Airlift Northwest flight nurses are 90 percent FTE.

UW/Harborview acknowledged this, and reiterated that all Airlift Northwest wages were calculated based on what they would be as 100 percent FTEs in order to accurately compare the wages relative to market averages. UW/Harborview explained that these calculations were based upon Airlift Northwest's actual payroll data.

UW/Harborview Counter-Proposals

Airlift Northwest management offered a comprehensive counter-proposal in response to SEIU 1199's proposals that were specific to Airlift Northwest. Among the topics discussed were float pool usage, protocol surrounding "day basing," and reimbursement for mileage traveled between bases.

Key Points of Airlift Northwest Management's Response
Airlift Northwest management declined SEIU 1199's proposal for a 4 percent wage increase and raising pay premiums for all Airlift Northwest flight nurses during the 2012-2013 contract year.
Airlift Northwest management also declined SEIU 1199's proposal to double the Alaska assignment pay differential to 10 percent, and proposed eliminating shift differentials to more closely align with regional and national industry standards.
Educational and Professional Development
Airlift Northwest management proposed increasing individual educational support funds from $300 to $500 per flight nurse FTE, and eliminating the pooling of such funds.
Airlift Northwest management declined paying for an additional round-trip flight from Juneau to Seattle, but instead proposed that management work to schedule the existing annual trip to Seattle, which Airlift Northwest provides each nurse for training purposes, to coincide with a conference that the nurse wants to attend.
Stuck Out of Town
Airlift Northwest management would pay employees who are stuck out of town on a day they are not scheduled to work at their regular rate of pay on an hourly basis until 240 hours are reached, at which point they will be paid at the overtime rate.
Travel Pay
In addition to being provided quarters that include a kitchen, flight nurses assigned to work outside of their official duty station would be paid $52 per day, consistent with what is paid to pilots.
Current Practice
UW/Harborview proposed maintaining current practices surrounding pay for attending staff meetings, paid bereavement leave, and passport reimbursement.
SEIU 1199 Response

SEIU 1199 expressed dissatisfaction with Airlift Northwest management's proposals, and committed to preparing counter-proposals. SEIU 1199 voiced its belief that many of these issues should be "large table" discussions that involve the entire union negotiations team, not just those directly associated with Airlift Northwest.

"Large Table" Discussion

Following the Airlift Northwest discussion, UW/Harborview met with the entire union negotiations team to respond to certain union proposals beyond those specific to Airlift Northwest.

Key Points of UW/Harborview's Response
Registered Nurse Educational Development
UW/Harborview proposed increasing educational support funds for Harborview registered nurses from $200 to $500, and eliminating the pooling of such funds.
Joint Labor/Management Committees
UW/Harborview proposed increasing the amount of health care specialist bargaining unit representatives at such meetings to three - one from inpatient, one from outpatient, and one from the emergency department.
Employees Injured Due to Workplace Injury or Assault - UW/Harborview declined SEIU 1199's proposal to compensate such employees for loss of pay for hours deducted by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), explaining that this is an L&I policy.
UW/Harborview also declined SEIU 1199's proposal to add language into the contract about the provision of "light duty" work, pointing out that Harborview already has a successful and growing light duty program.

Further Dialogue

SEIU 1199 expressed frustration over having not yet received UW/Harborview's comprehensive economic proposal for the 2012-2013 contract year.

UW/Harborview replied that it only received the union's 2012-2013 economic proposal two meetings prior, which its costing analysis revealed would altogether cost Harborview roughly $7.9 million. UW/Harborview confirmed that its overall economic proposal for the 2012-2013 contract year will be presented at the next bargaining session.

UW/Harborview explained that its economic counter-proposals to Airlift Northwest for the 2012-2013 contract year reflect the current economic realities across the institution, and are indicative of what can be expected for the remainder of the current contract year.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview bargaining session is scheduled for October 10.

Negotiations Recap for October 1, 2012

This recap details the eighth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW/Harborview and SEIU 1199.

UW/Harborview Presentation

Cost Analysis - SEIU 1199 Proposal

UW/Harborview calculated the cost of SEIU 1199's proposals to date for the 2012-2013 contract year, and explained that implementing the union's proposals, including marginal benefit cost, would cost Harborview roughly $7.9 million.

UW/Harborview presented findings from the new Classified Staff Compensation Study, demonstrating how UW wages in both health care and non-health care settings compare against market averages.

UW/Harborview pointed out that overall, most pay for positions in UW's health care system is closely aligned with the market 50th percentile. UW/Harborview explained that collaborative efforts between the UW and several unions toward targeted recruitment and retention adjustments have helped produce substantial results, despite the economic climate.

UW/Harborview noted that wages for non-health care UW jobs, while still within what is considered a "normal" range of the market average, show more room for improvement relative to the market. UW/Harborview explained that this information demonstrates where great need still remains, and reinforces the value of emerging from the recession in a way that helps employees across the institution.

SEIU 1199 Response

SEIU 1199 questioned why the UW and Harborview would strive to align with the market average instead of paying their employees at the top of the market.

UW/Harborview explained the importance of recognizing that both institutions are stewards of state funds, and therefore must strike a responsible balance in their allocation of resources. UW/Harborview also pointed out that using the market 50th percentile as a benchmark for setting competitive wages is a common practice for many employers.

SEIU 1199 announced its intent to propose across-the-board wage increases of 4 percent per year for the term of the 2013-2015 contract.

Key Points of UW/Harborview's Proposals
Hours of Work and Overtime
Establish that for health care specialists and social workers, an overtime premium of time and one-half would be paid for time worked beyond 80 hours in their scheduled 14-day work period. Sick leave used would not count toward the calculation of overtime.
Float Premium
Registered nurses would be compensated with a $3.75 per hour float premium when assigned to work outside their clinical group for a defined shift of at least four hours.
UW/Harborview Counter-Proposals
Preceptor Pay
UW/Harborview accepted SEIU 1199's proposal to extend preceptor eligibility to Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists, and proposed language memorializing the expectation that staff will assist in preceptor activities.
The language also explained that a preceptor may be assigned to a student when considered appropriate by Harborview, and when no instructor is on site.
Just Culture Surrounding Medical Errors
UW/Harborview proposed language memorializing the importance of addressing medical errors, and recognizing that investigations of such events will consider system issues as well as staff actions and patterns.

SEIU 1199 Presentation

Key Points of SEIU 1199 Proposals
Employees Injured due to Workplace Injury or Assault
UW/Harborview would compensate such employees for loss of pay for hours deducted by the Department of Labor & Industries, and would provide them access to "light duty" work.
Market Adjustments
The parties would commit to meeting at least quarterly to address wage issues, including issues based on market adjustments and matters of recruitment and retention.
SEIU 1199 Counter-Proposals
Personnel File
In response to UW/Harborview's counter-proposal to maintain current contract language, SEIU 1199 proposed that employees be able to request the removal of documents in their personnel file after two years instead of three.
Layoff Notice
SEIU 1199 proposed that in the event of a layoff, the number of full-time equivalents being reduced be sent to the union along with material regarding the employees identified for layoff.
Leaves: Military and Domestic Violence
SEIU 1199 changed its original proposal on leave for victims of domestic violence and leave for military spouses, instead proposing that the contract utilize the same language found in the Washington State Nurses Association contract to memorialize current State policies on such leaves.
Corrective Action Process
SEIU 1199 proposed integrating elements of its original proposals on the corrective action process and written action plans throughout Article 21 of the contract.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for October 4.