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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 August 24, 2012

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

Opening Discussion

Contract Term

SEIU 1199 accepted UW/Harborview's proposal to extend the current contract until October 31, 2012, and noted that it is now willing to hold bargaining sessions on the UW campus in addition to Harborview to increase the availability of meeting spaces.

UW/Harborview reiterated its question of whether the contract currently being bargained is intended to cover the remainder of the current 2011-2013 biennium or the upcoming 2013-2015 biennium.

SEIU 1199 replied that it intends for the contract currently being negotiated to cover the remainder of the current biennium, until June 30, 2013. SEIU 1199 explained that it plans to finish negotiating this current contract and then negotiate the entirety of the 2013-2015 contract, all by the end of October.

SEIU 1199 Presentation

SEIU 1199 Economic Presentation

SEIU 1199 announced having completed its economic proposal, which it introduced by presenting its own analysis of Harborview's financials.

SEIU 1199 referenced the financial presentation delivered by UW Medicine's financial planning officer Paul Ishizuka on August 8, 2012, and disagreed with the methodology used to calculate Harborview's budgetary metrics. SEIU 1199 expressed that revenue was better than expenses in 2012, and that while revenue growth was slow, at less than 1 percent, it was still positive.

SEIU 1199 highlighted Harborview's capital spending, suggesting that this reflects Harborview's overall spending capacity. The union admitted that there have been substantial budgetary deficits, but pointed out that Harborview has not gone bankrupt.

Review of Existing SEIU 1199 Proposals

SEIU 1199 again provided a review of all the proposals it has delivered to date.

New SEIU 1199 Proposals
Economic Proposal
SEIU 1199 proposed 4 percent across-the-board wage increases for all employees and increases to existing pay premiums for all employees.
SEIU 1199 also proposed establishing wage increases for steps on certain wage scales that currently do not provide an increase from the previous step, and to add new steps to the wage scales for selected positions.
Airlift Northwest Proposal
SEIU 1199 presented a comprehensive proposal for Airlift Northwest nurses, which included increasing educational support funds for nurses, allowing for overtime accrual at staff meetings, and guaranteeing that the current number of on-call shifts or hours will not be increased.
SEIU 1199 also proposed expansions to what qualifies for preceptor pay and travel mileage reimbursement.
Proposals for Juneau-based nurses included establishing a standard 24-hour shift, increasing the Alaska assignment pay differential from 5 percent to 10 percent, and covering the cost of a round-trip flight to Seattle each year for continuing education purposes, which would be added to the existing Juneau-Seattle flight that is already covered for training.

UW/Harborview Presentation

UW/Harborview Proposals
Leave Due to Childcare Emergencies
UW/Harborview proposed that absences due to a childcare-related emergency be charged to an employee's vacation leave, sick leave, or leave without pay, with an annual maximum of three days total and 24 hours for each leave type, unless otherwise approved by management.
UW/Harborview explained that this proposal aligns the contract language with the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).
Airlift Northwest

UW/Harborview proposed an additional small table meeting where it will deliver and discuss its proposals specific to Airlift Northwest. The proposal was accepted, and a meeting scheduled for October 4, 2012.

UW/Harborview indicated that its proposal will acknowledge and reflect the operational and organizational uniqueness of Airlift Northwest.

UW/Harborview Comprehensive Proposal

UW/Harborview committed to offering a comprehensive package of its proposals and counter proposals at the next large table meeting.

UW/Harborview explained that because SEIU 1199 has now delivered its economic proposal, it can finally cost out the union's overall package proposal and formulate realistic counter proposals.

Further Dialogue

SEIU 1199 asserted that it will not agree to any UW/Harborview proposals that it perceives as a "takeaway," noting that its membership feels strongly about coming away from these contract negotiations with only gains.

Next Steps

The next bargaining session will be focused on Airlift Northwest, and is scheduled for October 4.


Negotiations Recap for August 13, 2012

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

Opening Discussion

Bargaining Dates and Delays

UW/Harborview acknowledged having received a petition from the SEIU 1199 bargaining team written to the UW Medicine administration, promoting its desire for more bargaining dates.

UW/Harborview referenced the University's response letter and supporting documentation. The letter confirmed UW/Harborview's earlier assertion that SEIU 1199 did not officially request to bargain until May, and that most of SEIU 1199's package proposal for the first two bargaining sessions were simply placeholders for future proposals.

SEIU 1199 admitted that the number of placeholders had increased from the first bargaining session to the second, but reasoned that the parties have not bargained together in four years.

UW/Harborview committed to exploring possible bargaining dates in October.

UW/Harborview Presentation

UW/Harborview Proposals
Leave Policies
UW/Harborview offered a counter proposal to SEIU 1199's proposed integration of Washington state leave policies for military reasons or victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking into the contract.
UW/Harborview proposed that the contract articles simply refer employees to the current UW and state policies on each, which are detailed on the UW Human Resources website.
Rest Between Shifts
Align rest between shifts policies with community standards, such that eligible employees receiving less than 10 hours off between shifts would be paid for the time worked within their 10-hour rest period at a rate of time and one-half.
Representation During Corrective Action
Entitle employees to have a representative during the corrective action process at a "Step B" or higher counseling. UW/Harborview would also notify all such employees of their right to union representation.
UW/Harborview pointed out that SEIU 1199 is the only contract that allows for union representatives to be present at "Step A" counseling sessions.
Responses to SEIU 1199 Proposals
Personnel Files
UW/Harborview voiced its intent to maintain the existing contract language on the timeline for removing documents from employees' personnel files.
Tentative Agreements
Health Care Specialist Labor-Management Meetings
UW/Harborview tentatively agreed to SEIU 1199's proposal to memorialize both parties' commitment to participate in joint labor-management meetings on health care specialist issues as often as once a month.

SEIU 1199 Presentation

Review of Past SEIU 1199 Proposals

SEIU 1199 revisited its proposed memoranda of understanding on meal and rest breaks, commitment to staff, and break relief nurses, which it had presented in detail at the July 20 bargaining session, and provided thorough recaps of its arguments for each.

New SEIU 1199 Proposals
KRONOS for Health Care Specialists
Provide health care specialists with three options for how they record and account for their time worked, adding options to log in once daily or once weekly, while maintaining all options for overtime and compensatory time.
Health Care Specialist Bargaining Team
Make health care specialists eligible for a "preceptor" pay premium for working with new hires and students, create a minimum one-day preceptor training program, and double the number of health care specialists on the joint labor-management committee.
SEIU 1199 also proposed establishing a hire-in rates practice for health care specialists, whereby incoming health care specialists with past applicable experience could get hired on at a higher pay rate.
Representation at Investigatory Meetings
Allow employees to bring representatives to investigatory meetings that may lead to a "Step A" counseling session.

Further Dialogue

SEIU 1199 voiced frustration over having not received more responses from UW/Harborview, and suggested that the Harborview administration's budgetary concerns detract from the quality of patient care its employees are able to provide.

UW/Harborview explained that the budgetary concerns are not only an issue for Harborview administration, but rather are an issue for all the parties, with implications for Harborview's administration as well as its employees and the unions representing them.

UW/Harborview noted that it is a jointly shared responsibility to be mindful of the institution's financial realities.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for August 24.


Negotiations Recap for August 8, 2012

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

Opening Discussion

Bargaining Dates

Through testimonials from seven members, SEIU 1199 expressed frustration over the current state of bargaining, and reiterated the question of why it has fewer bargaining dates in the coming months than other unions.

UW/Harborview explained that Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and Service Employees International Union, Local 925 (SEIU 925), the unions occupying the most bargaining time in the coming months, had agreed to their current rounds of bargaining roughly one year ago.

Initiating Negotiations

SEIU 1199 voiced that its members are of the understanding that the union had tried in vain for five months to bring UW/Harborview to the bargaining table and initiate negotiations before bargaining actually began.

UW/Harborview replied that this is inaccurate, clarifying that roughly five months before this round of bargaining, SEIU 1199 simply informed the UW/Harborview that it intended to reopen the contract at some point during the 2012 year. It was not until May that SEIU 1199 formally requested to bargain and suggested bargaining dates, and negotiations subsequently began in June.

UW/Harborview Presentation

Harborview Financial Presentation

Paul Ishizuka, UW Medicine Health System's financial planning officer, delivered a presentation detailing Harborview Medical Center's finances. Paul explained that in keeping with its mission, uncompensated care dominates Harborview's economics. Since 2008, Harborview's charity care has grown from $120 million per year to $189 million.

Paul presented a chart comparing the charity care provided by major hospitals in the region, demonstrating the disproportionate amount Harborview provides to the community, and the impacts this has on net income. In FY 2010, Harborview provided $186.7 million in charity care, and suffered a net loss of $10.4 million.

Paul reported that Harborview is forecast to end the year at $1.4 million above breakeven, but emphasized that this represents a very small margin for a medical center with $2 million in operating expenses per day. He pointed out that this year's positive income was made possible by an uncommonly high number of unbudgeted and nonrecurring income items, including cost report settlements from past years and unanticipated state trauma funding.

Without the extraordinary $18.9 million brought in from these unanticipated sources, Harborview would have suffered a net loss of more than $15 million.

UW/Harborview Responses to SEIU 1199 Proposals
Leaves of Absence
UW/Harborview proposed a small table to have further discussion on all leave of absence related articles, including those on disability leave, parental leave, and bereavement leave.
Parental Leave
UW/Harborview tentatively agreed to allow SEIU 1199 members to apply up to 10 days of sick leave toward parental leave.
Bereavement Leave
UW/Harborview tentatively agreed to guarantee SEIU 1199 members three days of bereavement leave.
UW/Harborview Proposals
Corrective Action Process
Based on SEIU 1199's previous input, UW/Harborview proposed establishing that employees will be given a draft action plan before a counseling session. UW/Harborview also agreed to define "Step A" counseling as informal, and require the use of a jointly developed action plan general template for formal counseling.
UW/Harborview proposed a small table to have a discussion related to corrective action.
Layoff Notice
Establish that all layoff notices will be sent to the SEIU 1199 office, as well as the employee.

SEIU 1199 Presentation

Key Points of SEIU 1199's Proposals
KRONOS Committee Side Letter
The parties would convene a joint committee to discuss and monitor KRONOS implementation.
Electroneurodiagnostic (END) Technologist Proposal Update
SEIU 1199 amended its original proposal to guarantee that two END representatives will be paid to attend 2012 contract negotiations.
Medical Errors MOU
Memorialize the notion that errors are part of human nature, and prescribe criteria to foster a culture that minimizes the potential blame associated with medical errors.
Extended Leave Criteria
Nurses on extended leave could maintain their healthcare coverage by using eight hours of accrued leave, or by directly paying premiums to the University.
Clinic Nurse and Social Work Staffing
For both groups, UW/Harborview would commit to increase staffing in outpatient clinics, offer opportunities to increase full-time equivalencies of staff, and commit to develop staffing plans.
Educational and Professional Development
Increase the annual professional and educational development funding available for nurses (from $200 to $500 per full-time equivalent) and for health care specialists (from $1,500 to $3,000 per full-time equivalent).
SEIU 1199 also proposed that Harborview add $35,000 to a pooled hospital-wide professional and educational development fund for nurses.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for August 13.