Negotiations Recap – July 13, 2012
This recap details the third session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE.
Key Points of WFSE’s Proposal
- Paid release time for future negotiations
- WFSE proposed that UW pay for release time for half of WFSE’s bargaining team for the first 10 negotiation sessions for the next round of contract negotiations.
- After the first 10 negotiation sessions, additional paid release time would remain open for discussion.
- Matching pay across job classes
- WFSE presented a list of 64 job classes from the WFSE Master Contract with lower pay ranges than the same job classes outside the WFSE contract. These non-WFSE jobs are either not union-represented, or are represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 925 (SEIU 925).
- WFSE proposed that wages for all of the identified jobs be increased to match their non-represented and/or SEIU 925-represented counterparts.
UW explained that contract negotiations are always a tradeoff of the issues and priorities between the UW and each union. As such, WFSE cannot simply adopt “me too” economic benefits that SEIU 925 has negotiated over the years without more comprehensive consideration and potential adoption of SEIU 925’s contract language.
Key Points of UW’s Proposal
- Standardize union-related leave requests
- Require that employees submit appropriate leave requests prior to union-related leaves of absence. For shop stewards, this would apply to attending the steward training program, and for all union members, this would apply to attending union business functions or programs.
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) use
- UW supplemented its initial FMLA proposal to establish a standard order for which an employee’s accrued leave would be used while absent on FMLA leave, starting with sick leave, followed by compensatory time, and then vacation time (though the employee could choose to retain up to 80 vacation hours).
- Adjusting assignment pay
- Remove assignment pay eligibility for employees required to wear fitted respirator masks as part of their job (this current proposal does not include skilled trades employees).
- UW explained that an assignment pay premium for wearing such masks is not community practice in healthcare settings. UW presented a chart listing the number of hours of assignment pay earned by WFSE-represented employees during calendar year 2011. The chart demonstrated that out of more than 26,000 hours paid in assignment pay in 2011, only 511 were earned by medical centers staff.
- Corrective action process
- Restore a past contract provision that would enable management to determine the specific step at which the corrective action process begins, based on the nature and the severity of the problem that is being addressed. This is consistent with other UW labor agreements.
- UW also proposed a requirement that employees be notified of their rights to have a union representative present during certain corrective action meetings, but that coordinating the attendance of a union representative will not cause an undue delay of the disciplinary process.
UW expressed frustration over the frequency in which disciplinary counseling meetings are delayed and rescheduled.
UW voiced that such meetings are regularly postponed, sometimes for multiple weeks, due to the lack of an available union representative or steward to attend with the employee in question. UW pointed out that it has routinely subsidized steward training for approximately 30 people per year, and that given the amount of WFSE stewards, there should not be undue delays associated with arranging for one to attend a meeting.
WFSE replied that it will try to arrange for one or more council representatives to attend an upcoming negotiation session and speak to this issue.
The next UW/WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for July 27.