Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for September 17, 2012

This recap details the first session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and Teamsters.

Opening Dialogue

UW acknowledged that substantial financial uncertainty persists in Washington State, and that many recently settled contracts throughout the state have yielded economic provisions that are conservative at best.

UW suggested that the parties could roll over the existing contract into the 2013-2015 biennium. In doing so, UW proposed that the parties address any outstanding contract issues through regular joint labor-management meetings, and that the parties would negotiate economics during the contract term if the State of Washington were to appropriate general wage increases.

Teamsters’ Response

Teamsters declined the proposal to roll over the existing contract, voicing its preference to open the contract and bargain for changes.

Contract Proposals

The parties exchanged and discussed comprehensive contract proposals that address several different issue areas, including leaves of absence, corrective action, and grievance procedures.

Key Points of Teamsters’ Proposal
Personnel Files
Allow for verbal and written reprimands to be removed from personnel files after two years instead of three, and allow for records such as suspensions and demotions to be removed after five years instead of seven.
Teamsters also proposed requiring UWPD to provide each employee copies of all materials placed in their supervisory file.
Sick Leave
Guarantee that an employee who has exhausted all sick leave will be permitted to use other forms of accrued leave when ill, and remove management from the approval process.
Holiday Pay
Increase the amount of premium pay granted to officers working on a holiday from eight to 10 hours.
Compensatory Time
Increase the maximum annual accrual for compensatory time off from 200 to 480 hours, and allow all 480 hours to be carried over from one year to the next.
Key Points of UW’s Proposal
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Usage
Allow for the UW to calculate FMLA eligibility using a rolling 12-month leave period, instead of defining the period according to the calendar year.
Compensatory Time
Eliminate the accrual of compensatory time off.
Corrective Action
Enable UW to determine the specific step at which the corrective action process begins according to the severity of the case, and establish that written reprimands may only be grieved through step two of the grievance process.
Resignation and Abandonment
An employee who neither appears for work nor reports their absence to their supervisor on three consecutive workdays would be recommended for termination.
Employees with proof that their absence could not reasonably have been avoided could submit a written petition for reinstatement within 10 days of the mailing of their separation notice.

Tentative Agreements

The parties verbally acknowledged tentative agreements on various contract provisions, which include moving away from printing contracts in favor of utilizing an online version, as well as no longer requiring employees to reimburse the UW for compensation received while absent due to civil duties such as jury duty.

The parties also tentatively agreed that the union must initiate the movement of a grievance from step one to step two of the grievance process, rather than such movement occurring automatically.

Further Dialogue

UW pointed out that due to this contract’s reliance on state funding, it is subject to the state-mandated deadline of October 1. UW voiced that while much economic uncertainty remains, it intends to work creatively toward financial solutions for its employees.

UW voiced the importance of emerging from the economic recession in a way that is smart and cognizant of the state’s financial situation, while benefiting all UW employees.

Next Steps

The next UW/Teamsters bargaining session is scheduled for September 21.