Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for October 19, 2011

This recap details the fifth session of the negotiations that began earlier this summer.

UWMC Presentation

In response to WSNA’s request for detailed information about salary increases or other compensation received by management and other groups of employees between 2008-2011, UWMC presented the following information:

  • A timeline of the ongoing professional staff salary restrictions imposed by the state.
  • A list of the select few classified non-union positions that have received pay adjustments based on recruiting and retention since the start of the economic downturn in September 2008, as approved by the Director of the Washington State Department of Personnel.
  • A review of how the salary restrictions have affected professional staff positions. 90% of UWMC’s professional staff have received no permanent base wage increase since September 2008. Limited “critical retention increases” as authorized by the Legislature in May 2009 are permitted and fifty highly skilled individuals at UWMC have received increases in pay under that provision.
  • A review of how the salary restrictions have affected other classified staff at UWMC. The 2007-09 collective bargaining agreements included across-the-board increases ranging between 2 and 3% that were implemented in July 2007 and 2008. These increases were in addition to longevity step raises. Except for RNs and a few select classified professional/technical clinical staff, UWMC contract classified staff have not seen across-the-board raises since July 2008.
  • An overview of the UWMC total payroll and the percentages dedicated to nurse, director, and executive salaries. Between FY2007 and FY2012, UWMC nurses payroll increased by 40%, while director and associate payroll has declined by 16.6%. In total, UWMC payroll has risen 28.8% (35% if benefits are included) over this time period. UWMC nurses’ share of total payroll has continually increased, while salaries for directors have remained relatively flat.

Proposals & Counter Proposals

UWMC requested further clarification on several previous WSNA proposals, including:

  • allowing mandatory union membership,
  • disclosing nurses’ home phone numbers to the union,
  • including per diem nurses in the bargaining unit,
  • introducing a cap on parking fees,
  • scrubbing personnel files after two, rather than the current three-year period,
  • increasing vacation accrual rates by three days a year, and
  • paying nurses for putting on and taking off their scrubs when required to do so at the hospital.

WSNA proposed increases to seven existing premiums and the creation of two new premiums for:

  • nurses who hold a BSN and/or MSN degree.
  • nurses who perform dialysis or vascular access/PICC insertion.
UWMC Response

UWMC estimates that these premium proposals amount to $3,136,000 a year in additional compensation. In response to the new premium request for nurses who perform dialysis or vascular access/PICC insertion, UWMC explained that because nurses hold a wide range of clinical skills-some generalized and others specialized-linking premium pay to specific clinical tasks would be a significant philosophical departure and one that cannot be supported.

WSNA provided a chart on local hospital nurse pay rates that will be in effect by July 2012 and reiterated its position that UWMC nurses are going to lag behind this market without pay raises next year.

The next UW/WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for November 15, 2011.