Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap – June 6, 2012

This recap details the second session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE.

UW Presentation

WFSE Profile Report

UW presented the WFSE Profile Report, a detailed summary of the WFSE-represented workforce at the UW campuses and medical centers in 2011.

The report shows that WFSE represents more than 2,800 employees across 49 departments at the University of Washington, with an annual payroll of nearly $100 million.

Cost of WFSE Economic Proposal

UW presented an initial cost estimate for the compensation portion of WFSE’s proposal, based on certain assumptions about the number of employees affected. The estimate valued the proposal at $16.8 million over two years, which would equate to an additional $8.4 million per year.

UW pointed out that this estimate does not reflect the additional costs of the benefit loads that will be applied. These will increase the total price by at least 16 or 17 percent, which still will not include the added costs of insurance and pension benefits.

UW Proposal

Key points of UW’s proposal:
Performance Evaluations
Remove language indicating that if an employee does not receive an annual performance appraisal, it can be assumed that they performed satisfactorily.
Sick Leave Notification
Set a default requirement that employees calling out sick must provide at least two hours’ notice prior to their scheduled shift, unless their department decides otherwise, or risk losing paid sick leave for that day.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Usage
Allow for the UW to calculate FMLA eligibility using a rolling 12-month leave period, aligning the leave period with each employee’s actual usage, instead of defining the period according to the calendar-year.
Also proposed is a requirement for employees on FMLA leave to use all but 80 hours of their accrued paid leave while absent before taking unpaid leave, which is common in many UW-union contracts.
Mandatory Subjects of Bargaining
Remove Article 56 from the contract, because state law already mandates negotiations of changes to the mandatory subjects of bargaining: wages, hours, and working conditions.

Further Dialogue

WFSE voiced concern that UW’s performance evaluation proposals would allow for management to punish employees by retroactively giving a negative appraisal.

UW maintained that the lack of a performance evaluation makes no value judgments, either positive or negative, about an employee’s performance. Both parties discussed the possibility of allowing employees to request a performance evaluation, or to grieve a lack thereof.

WFSE requested clarification on the reasoning behind a standard sick leave notification requirement.

UW explained that certain areas have critical staffing needs and cannot operate short-staffed, such as patient care units. In the case of an unexpected absence, such units need at least two hours to find a replacement.

UW clarified that the contract language is only meant to establish an expectation, and that each department would remain free to implement its own notification requirement according to its needs.

Next Steps

The next UW/WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for June 13 (session cancelled). The next UW/WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for July 13.