Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for October 4, 2012

This recap details the ninth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW/Harborview and SEIU 1199.

Scope of Negotiations

As the parties had previously agreed, today’s discussion focused on proposals and issues specific to Airlift Northwest, and primarily involved representatives from Airlift Northwest on both the management and union bargaining teams.

Airlift Northwest Market Wage Data

UW/Harborview presented pay data comparing wages for Airlift Northwest flight nurses to that of flight nurses on a regional and national scale. UW/Harborview explained that the data, derived from the 2011 “Critical Care Transport Workplace and Salary Survey” published in Air Medical Journal, measures earnings based on 100 percent full-time equivalent (FTE).

At a 100 percent FTE, the average total earnings (salary plus premiums) for an Airlift Northwest flight nurse is $112,770, and average base salary (without premiums) is $89,196. UW/Harborview explained that each of these metrics is above the 90th percentile of the market on both the regional and national scale.

SEIU 1199 Response

SEIU 1199 expressed that the numbers seem too high, and pointed out that most Airlift Northwest flight nurses are 90 percent FTE.

UW/Harborview acknowledged this, and reiterated that all Airlift Northwest wages were calculated based on what they would be as 100 percent FTEs in order to accurately compare the wages relative to market averages. UW/Harborview explained that these calculations were based upon Airlift Northwest’s actual payroll data.

UW/Harborview Counter-Proposals

Airlift Northwest management offered a comprehensive counter-proposal in response to SEIU 1199’s proposals that were specific to Airlift Northwest. Among the topics discussed were float pool usage, protocol surrounding “day basing,” and reimbursement for mileage traveled between bases.

Key Points of Airlift Northwest Management’s Response
Airlift Northwest management declined SEIU 1199’s proposal for a 4 percent wage increase and raising pay premiums for all Airlift Northwest flight nurses during the 2012-2013 contract year.
Airlift Northwest management also declined SEIU 1199’s proposal to double the Alaska assignment pay differential to 10 percent, and proposed eliminating shift differentials to more closely align with regional and national industry standards.
Educational and Professional Development
Airlift Northwest management proposed increasing individual educational support funds from $300 to $500 per flight nurse FTE, and eliminating the pooling of such funds.
Airlift Northwest management declined paying for an additional round-trip flight from Juneau to Seattle, but instead proposed that management work to schedule the existing annual trip to Seattle, which Airlift Northwest provides each nurse for training purposes, to coincide with a conference that the nurse wants to attend.
Stuck Out of Town
Airlift Northwest management would pay employees who are stuck out of town on a day they are not scheduled to work at their regular rate of pay on an hourly basis until 240 hours are reached, at which point they will be paid at the overtime rate.
Travel Pay
In addition to being provided quarters that include a kitchen, flight nurses assigned to work outside of their official duty station would be paid $52 per day, consistent with what is paid to pilots.
Current Practice
UW/Harborview proposed maintaining current practices surrounding pay for attending staff meetings, paid bereavement leave, and passport reimbursement.
SEIU 1199 Response

SEIU 1199 expressed dissatisfaction with Airlift Northwest management’s proposals, and committed to preparing counter-proposals. SEIU 1199 voiced its belief that many of these issues should be “large table” discussions that involve the entire union negotiations team, not just those directly associated with Airlift Northwest.

“Large Table” Discussion

Following the Airlift Northwest discussion, UW/Harborview met with the entire union negotiations team to respond to certain union proposals beyond those specific to Airlift Northwest.

Key Points of UW/Harborview’s Response
Registered Nurse Educational Development
UW/Harborview proposed increasing educational support funds for Harborview registered nurses from $200 to $500, and eliminating the pooling of such funds.
Joint Labor/Management Committees
UW/Harborview proposed increasing the amount of health care specialist bargaining unit representatives at such meetings to three – one from inpatient, one from outpatient, and one from the emergency department.
Employees Injured Due to Workplace Injury or Assault – UW/Harborview declined SEIU 1199’s proposal to compensate such employees for loss of pay for hours deducted by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), explaining that this is an L&I policy.
UW/Harborview also declined SEIU 1199’s proposal to add language into the contract about the provision of “light duty” work, pointing out that Harborview already has a successful and growing light duty program.

Further Dialogue

SEIU 1199 expressed frustration over having not yet received UW/Harborview’s comprehensive economic proposal for the 2012-2013 contract year.

UW/Harborview replied that it only received the union’s 2012-2013 economic proposal two meetings prior, which its costing analysis revealed would altogether cost Harborview roughly $7.9 million. UW/Harborview confirmed that its overall economic proposal for the 2012-2013 contract year will be presented at the next bargaining session.

UW/Harborview explained that its economic counter-proposals to Airlift Northwest for the 2012-2013 contract year reflect the current economic realities across the institution, and are indicative of what can be expected for the remainder of the current contract year.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview bargaining session is scheduled for October 10.