Negotiations Recap for July 27, 2012
This recap details the fourth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE.
WFSE Council Representative James Dannen attended to address UW’s frustration over the frequency in which counseling meetings are delayed and rescheduled. WFSE explained that stewards hold different roles, and that not all stewards are appropriately trained to accompany employees during disciplinary counseling meetings.
UW asked if James could provide training to help other stewards provide appropriate counsel, which WFSE said it would consider.
UW voiced concern over stewards crossing to other locales, such as driving from UW Bothell to UW Medical Center, during work hours.
UW believes stewards in the local jurisdiction must be utilized first, and only if they are unavailable would a steward from another jurisdiction be utilized.
WFSE asked if UW could provide notice to the union when it schedules a meeting with an employee.
WFSE explained that with such notice, it could ask the employee if they would like representation. UW responded that it would consider this request, but noted that it is an employee right and responsibility to decide whether they want union involvement.
UW pointed out that this could infringe on an individual’s right to privacy, and that many employees prefer to meet individually with their managers on disciplinary matters.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Parental Leave
- WFSE proposed amending UW’s FMLA leave proposal so that employees would not be required to use FMLA leave for work-related illness or injuries covered by Workers’ Compensation.
UW noted that the federal law is very clear that FMLA leave can run concurrently with leave for an on-the-job injury. UW explained that all other contracts require the use of FMLA leave for illnesses and injuries covered by Workers’ Compensation, and that given the volume of absences covered by the FMLA, having inconsistent rules is very problematic.
New WFSE Proposals
- Reclassification of Medical Center Custodians
- WFSE proposed changing the job class of custodians working at Harborview and UW Medical Centers to “Custodian – Hospital.” WFSE noted that the MOU and its appendix, which raises salary ranges for these positions, are based on the average minimum and maximum hourly wages at surrounding hospitals.
UW raised a number of questions about how responsibilities between custodians differed, and explained that it would need time to review the concept before it could respond further.
New UW Proposals
- Union Activities
- UW proposed revising the language about jurisdictions in Article 9.2 (Union Stewards) to be consistent with the jurisdictions already established in the contract for skilled trades shop stewards, and specified that the union update its list of stewards on a semi-annual basis. UW also proposed discontinuing its financial participation in steward training unless the training is more collaborative.
- Health and Safety
- UW proposed amending Article 26 to clearly distinguish cases of non-binding consultation and unannounced inspections by the Labor and Industries (L&I) Department of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH). The University would give the union an opportunity to participate in the worksite visit by L&I, but consistent with state and federal law, cannot allow the lack of union participation to delay an inspection.
- Wages and Other Pay Provisions
- UW proposed adding a new section to Article 41 regarding lead assignment pay. Management could assign employees lead duties for an indefinite period, which would have a 5-10 percent increase in pay above the contract rate for designated classifications. This option would not affect existing employees in lead job classes.
- Seniority, Layoff, and Rehire
- UW proposed a return to the original definition of layoff seniority, whereby it is based on how long an employee has worked continuously for the UW, not just how long they have worked continuously in a WFSE-represented job at the UW.
UW also proposed returning to 24-month rehire period, consistent with other UW contracts.
UW and WFSE confirmed their agreement to engage a neutral mediator to facilitate the remaining negotiations.
The parties agreed to provide proposals and a summary of issues to the mediator before the next bargaining session, which will be the first meeting during these negotiations to be administered by a mediator.
The next UW/WFSE bargaining session, and first session of mediation, is scheduled for August 9.