Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for June 14, 2016 (SEIU 925-WFSE Coalition Session)

This recap summarizes the first session for the renewal of UW’s collective bargaining agreements with SEIU 925 and WFSE for the 2017-19 contract term. This was also the first session where SEIU 925 and WFSE negotiated together as a coalition.


The parties reached agreement on ground rules and discussed goals and logistics for negotiations. UW affirmed its commitment to a collaborative relationship with the unions during bargaining and beyond. SEIU 925 and WFSE outlined their primary themes and priorities for this round, including safety and staffing, greater involvement in management decision-making, and professional development.

The unions also laid out a broad vision for their bargaining goals related to economics, which included achieving pay parity across job titles in both unions, restructuring the compensation plan, focusing on movement in job series, and updating job descriptions and classification specifications.

Union Coalition Proposals

SEIU 925 and WFSE delivered the following proposals as a coalition, intended to apply to both groups.

Workplace Behavior – The unions proposed requiring all supervisors, managers, and human resources staff to be trained in identifying and investigating inappropriate workplace behavior. The procedural aspects of this new provision would be subject to every step of the grievance procedure.

Management Rights – The unions proposed incorporating language from the operations agreement between King County and Harborview, which restates several existing legal obligations. The unions clarified their intent to use this language to strengthen the Labor Relations Office’s internal authority with regard to contract enforcement.

Affirmative Action – The unions previewed their plans to expand the parties’ language on affirmative action.

Nondiscrimination – The unions proposed expanding the list of statuses protected from discrimination. The unions also proposed that if an employee files both a grievance and a complaint on the same allegation of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, the grievance would be suspended until completion of the complaint process.

Student Debt – The unions proposed that UW and each union appoint representatives dedicated to assisting employees identify options for tuition assistance and minimizing student debt, and allow for employees to complete required forms on work time. The unions proposed that UW facilitate payroll deductions and remittances for repayment of student loans.

Childcare – The unions proposed that employees receive up to $900 per quarter for childcare expenses, and that the parties continue to discuss childcare-related improvements for employees.

Classified Staff Regent – The unions proposed that a UW classified employee be elected by UW classified staff to serve on the UW Board of Regents.

Coalition Joint Labor-Management (JLM) Committee – The unions proposed holding coalition JLM meetings together with UW every two weeks. Attendance at these meetings would comprise 14 union members, four union staff representatives, and eight management representatives, not including additional subject matter experts from both sides. The unions proposed language that would enable the parties to engage in negotiations and decision-making at these meetings.

Planning for Change – The unions proposed requiring UW to notify the union via the coalition JLM process prior to developing any plans to reorganize work, implement new systems, or make changes to work processes or work life.

Training for Managers – The unions proposed that UW create a management training program with union input that is mandatory for all current and future managers, focused on topics including contract compliance, effective coaching, and respect.

Next Steps

The next bargaining session with SEIU 925 and WFSE as a coalition is scheduled for June 15.