Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for May 15, 2013

This recap details the second session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UWMC and WSNA.

UWMC Proposals

UWMC made several proposals addressing leave usage, hours of work, and scheduling, including:

Changes in Shift Length
UWMC proposed changes to allow managers more flexibility in determining the appropriate shift length for nurses in their unit.
Compensatory Time Off
UWMC proposed to eliminate compensatory time accumulation for extra “straight-time” hours worked, and proposed returning to the previous limit of 24 hours of accumulated compensatory time for overtime hours worked.
Rest Between Shifts
UWMC proposed to align its rest between shifts premium with community standards, such that a nurse receiving less than their scheduled time off between shifts be paid a premium for the time off that was lost.
On-Call Staffing
UWMC proposed a memorandum to establish a system of on-call scheduling in the Labor and Delivery Unit and in the Emergency Department.
Each nurse would have a minimum number of required on-call shifts per scheduling period, and would select such shifts as part of the self-scheduling process. The language also allows for a volunteer-based on-call system to be implemented by mutual agreement between the unit manager and the union.

Further Dialogue

UWMC Financial Response

WSNA stated that its analysis of UWMC’s financials demonstrated higher operating margins in recent years than those presented by UW Medicine’s finance experts at the previous bargaining session.

UWMC explained that as a state employer, it must adhere to different accounting standards than its peer hospitals that are private as well as public hospital districts. One key difference for UWMC is that interest expense, like a mortgage payment, is classified as a non-operating expense. For all UWMC’s peers (except Harborview), interest expense is considered an operating expense, and is deducted from the hospitals’ operating margins. Because UWMC interest expense represented nearly $4 million in fiscal year 2012 alone, UWMC’s operating margin appears higher relative to its peers than it really is.


UWMC addressed questions and concerns raised by WSNA at the previous bargaining session surrounding employee parking that has been impacted by construction in recent years. Patricia Riley, UWMC associate administrator, explained in detail how parking is managed by UW Transportation Services across the campus.

She clarified that the light rail station construction will not result in a public park-and-ride lot. When this construction is completed in 2016, the affected lots are scheduled to return to their pre-construction number of parking spaces.

Next Step

The next UWMC-WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for May 23.