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United Auto Workers Contract Negotiation Updates

United Auto Workers Local 4121 (UAW) represents University of Washington (UW) research assistants, teaching assistants, readers, graders, and tutors, known collectively as academic student employees (ASEs). UAW and UW have entered negotiations for a successor agreement to the 2012-2015 collective bargaining agreement, which expires on April 30, 2015.

Peter Denis
Assistant Vice President, Labor Relations (Lead Negotiator)
Rebecca Aanerud
Associate Dean, UW Graduate School
Banks Evans
Assistant Director, Labor Relations
Marilyn Gray
Assistant Director, Fellowships and Awards, Graduate School
A.J. Hartman
Communications Specialist, Labor Relations
Jennifer Mallahan
HR Specialist, Labor Relations
Kevin Mihata
Associate Dean for Educational Programs, College of Arts and Sciences
Linda Nelson
Director of Finance and Administration, College of Arts and Sciences
Helene Obradovich
Director, UW Graduate School
Lynn Perry
Senior HR Consultant, UW Human Resources

Negotiations Recap for February 25, 2015

This recap details the sixth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

Childcare Discussion

Amy Hawkins, Director of WorkLife and Childcare Access, provided an overview of current benefits and discussions around childcare at the UW. UW currently has four onsite programs with large wait-lists. Other benefits include priority access to Puget Sound Bright Horizons centers, but UW recognizes the need to expand childcare access and options. UW also informed the union that Virginia Mason will be ending its TLC sick child care service in March, and that the University is searching for viable alternatives.

UW is currently researching various potential short-term solutions to increase childcare access this year, including nanny-share and babysitter options. UW is also exploring long-term solutions such as building another childcare center on or near campus.

CareLink Discussion

In response to UAW's proposal for ASEs to be eligible for CareLink, Amy Hawkins spoke about the program. CareLink is an advisory program available to UW employees eligible for Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) benefits.

While CareLink's primary focus is counseling services, other components include 30 minutes of free legal or financial consultation over the phone, childcare and eldercare referral, and departmental trainings and workshops. Such trainings are often contracted through an outside organization and are topical, rather than customized for specific situations at UW.

UW Proposals

Grievance Procedure – UW proposed language to support UAW's goal of a more efficient grievance process. UW proposed accelerating what is currently Step 2 (involving the Dean of the Graduate School or designee) to occur at Step 1, and adding to Step 2 the option for mediation, a non-binding service whereby a third party helps to facilitate understanding. UW's language would allow the parties to skip Step One or Two upon mutual agreement.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 26.

Negotiations Recap for February 19, 2015

This recap details the fifth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

Union Proposals

Appointment and Reappointment Notification – UAW proposed expanding the contents required in an ASE's job description to include a list of required tasks with corresponding time estimates, and the curricular purpose of the assignment when applicable. UAW proposed a requirement that policies outlining the criteria and decision process governing ASE appointment, work, and evaluation be provided to ASEs and made publically available, and to require ASE input for changes to such policies.

Training – UAW proposed adding language to guarantee training related to any mentorship or supervisory work expected of an ASE, and, when applicable, to clarify a work assignment's role in the curriculum.

Workspace and Materials – UAW proposed expanding the list of services and resources that must be made accessible to ASEs to include necessary time with equipment to perform required research.

Academic Excellence – UAW proposed incorporating the parties' provision on academic excellence (Letter of Understanding H) into the main body of the contract, and proposed an avenue for ASEs to raise concerns regarding access to research equipment and facilities as well as alterations to ASE mentor or supervisory responsibilities.

UAW proposed that UW provide TAs with rationales for course enrollment limits and allow for TA input. UAW proposed that UW monitor the aggregate TA-to-undergraduate ratio, and work to maintain a ratio of 21 undergraduates per TA.

Health Benefits Discussion

UAW presented several questions related to GAIP, renewing and supplementing elements of the union's pending information requests.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 25.

Negotiations Recap for February 18, 2015

This recap details the fourth session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

UW Responses

UW shared initial thoughts on several of the union's proposals, including:

International Student Fee – UW explained that the International Student Fee is an institution-wide initiative that affects populations well beyond UAW's membership, and that to change such a broad-based policy is likely outside of the parties' scope in contract negotiations. UW committed to bring more information to a future bargaining session.

Bathroom Equity and Lactation Facilities – UW expressed a philosophical agreement with the union's desire to make genderless bathrooms and lactation facilities as accessible as possible, but raised concern over the UAW contract's ability to enforce construction and building plans institution-wide. UW committed to bring more information to a future bargaining session.

Grievance Procedure – UW expressed concern over UAW's proposal for any missed deadline on the UW's part to automatically award the union's remedy, rather than the current practice of automatically advancing to the next step of the grievance procedure.

Union Proposals

Intellectual Property – UAW proposed a requirement that the UW notify ASEs of their right to consult with a union representative prior to deciding whether to consent to a policy relating to assignment of intellectual property.

UAW proposed eliminating language recognizing UW's right to change applicable policies in the University Handbook, and proposed to grant the union a position on any UW committee on intellectual property and commercialization issues.

Union Security – UAW proposed language updates surrounding the dues deduction authorization process as well as expansions to the employee data that is regularly reported to the union.

Union Request for Information

UAW delivered an extensive information request mirroring the themes presented in the union's list of initial bargaining demands, including information on hourly ASEs, fee waivers, micro-aggressions, and the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP).

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for February 19.