Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for May 23, 2013

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

UWMC Presentation

UWMC Proposals
Union Reports
UWMC proposed updates to language surrounding administrative processes such as dues deduction and the transmission of employee rosters in order to better reflect current practices.
Missed Rest Breaks
UWMC proposed requiring nurses to inform management immediately when they do not receive a break so that efforts can be made to reschedule the break on the same shift.
UWMC also proposed that after KRONOS’ August implementation date, any missed rest breaks not documented in KRONOS be considered taken.
Layoff Units
UWMC proposed updates to the clinical clusters pertaining to layoff in order to better reflect the current organizational structure.
Innovative Work Schedule Agreement Form
UWMC proposed that beginning July 1, 2013, nurses may only submit changes to their work period once per year or when transferring to a new unit.
General Wage Increases
UWMC proposed an across-the-board wage increase, contingent upon the Washington State Legislature approving and appropriating the funds requested by the UW through the biennial budget process.
UWMC Compensation Presentation

UWMC presented 2012 and 2013 wage data comparing the average base pay of nurses at UWMC and Harborview to that of their peers: nine of Puget Sound’s top health care organizations. UWMC and Harborview nurses are paid at 95.7 percent of the surveyed market median.

UWMC explained that the median – or market 50th percentile – is the value at which half of its peer hospitals pay above and half pay below, which is a common reference point used by organizations to remain competitive in their market.

On-Call Staffing Discussion

Gigi Jurich, Perinatal Services nurse manager and Cynthia Brazell, Emergency Department nurse manager, illustrated the need for a system of scheduled on-call in their departments.

Fluctuating patient census and other unpredictable factors in both departments can result in added burden to nurses at work, and recent trial-runs of a voluntary on-call system for the Labor and Delivery unit showed low participation.

Both Ms. Jurich and Ms. Brazell emphasized that their nurses are regularly willing to help out and fill in, but the process of finding and arranging for available nurses to come in takes too much time away from patient care.

Further Dialogue

WSNA questioned why UWMC, as a community leader in the care it provides, would not lead the market in wages.

UWMC explained that aside from paying wages that are competitive in the market, its nurses enjoy access to generous benefit and pension plans – at a time when many competitors are cutting back on costs of their health insurance and retirement plans.

Next Steps

The next UWMC-WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for May 29.