Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for December 21, 2012

This recap details the 15th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW/Harborview and SEIU 1199, and the sixth session to be facilitated by neutral mediators.

SEIU 1199 Counter-Proposals

In response to UW/Harborview’s latest counter, SEIU 1199 supported the language to expand preceptor eligibility to healthcare specialists, social workers, electroneurodiagnostic (END) technologists, and Airlift Northwest nurses, and to add students and emergency department residents as eligible recipients.
However, SEIU 1199 rejected UW/Harborview’s proposed language to clarify that employees for whom such preceptor activity is a distinguishing characteristic of their job are not eligible for preceptor pay.
Worker’s Compensation, Light Duty, and Return to Work
SEIU 1199 proposed a memorandum explaining Harborview’s existing practices and services surrounding workplace injury.
Commitment to Staff
SEIU 1199 put forth an amended version of its proposed memorandum. The proposed language affirms Harborview’s commitment to staff safely and according to staffing plans, and recognizes that for significant and ongoing changes in patient census, staffing adjustments may be required.

UW/Harborview Counter-Proposals

Rest Between Shifts
UW/Harborview maintained its previous proposal to extend rest between shifts premium eligibility to anesthesiology technicians and END technologists, in exchange for aligning the nurse policy with community standards.
Currently nurses receiving anything less than their full designated time off between shifts will automatically be paid at a time-and-one-half rate for eight hours of their next shift. In contrast, the practice for nurses at most of Harborview’s peer hospitals – and for healthcare specialists and social workers at Harborview – is to pay this premium only for the time worked within their designated time off.
Educational and Professional Development
UW/Harborview maintained its previous proposal to increase education support funds to nearly all workgroups, in exchange for no longer pooling the unused funds.
UW/Harborview also proposed language clarifying that mandatory participation in an in-service education is considered work time, and will be paid accordingly.
UW/Harborview proposed language specifying that to qualify for float pay, employees must be assigned to work outside the department(s) to which they were hired for a defined shift of at least four hours. Staff employed in more than one department would not be eligible for float pay when working in those departments.
Layoff Units
UW/Harborview proposed changes to the social work layoff units to better reflect current practices.

Conceptual Proposal Packages

The parties proceeded to discuss several conceptual proposal packages introduced by the mediators, pertaining both to the Harborview bargaining units and to Airlift Northwest, in an effort to move closer to agreement on certain outstanding issues. Provisions discussed included general wage increases, rest between shifts, and educational and professional development, among others.

Further Dialogue

Rest Between Shifts Community Standards

UW/Harborview presented the rest between shifts policies for nurses at many of Harborview’s peer healthcare organizations. These provisions demonstrate that the standard among comparable hospitals is to pay a premium to nurses for any time worked within their designated time off between shifts. In contrast, Harborview’s contractual obligation is to automatically pay nurses at a premium rate for eight hours, regardless of the amount of time worked during their rest period.

Next Steps

The next UW/Harborview bargaining session is scheduled for January 24.