Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for June 23, 2014

This recap details the third session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WFSE for the 2015-17 contract term.

UW Proposals

Union Activities – UW proposed that WFSE send updated shop steward lists as changes in shop stewards occur. Also proposed is that the University stop paying to release employees from a full work day to attend the union’s steward training program, as very few stewards are currently being utilized to represent their coworkers.

Employee Rights – UW proposed that the University no longer provide paid release time for employees to prepare for hearings. UW cited situations where employees expect to be paid to meet with union attorneys before arbitrations, noting that this conflicts with the grievance procedure section whereby each side is responsible for its own case preparation.

Skilled Trades Shop Stewards – UW proposed deleting existing language delineating skilled trades shop steward numbers and zones, in favor of the parties working together through the joint labor-management process to determine more effective and mutually agreeable geographic areas.

Corrective Action – UW proposed restoring historical contract language about the University’s decision to determine which step corrective action begins, based on the nature and severity of the problem. UW proposed renaming “final counseling” to “final notice” in an effort to address WFSE’s confusion over the severity of final counseling.

Unpaid Holidays for Reason of Faith or Conscience

WFSE Proposal – WFSE proposed a memorandum to codify and supplement recently enacted legislation such that employees could apply paid leave during the two unpaid days off per year granted by the legislation.

UW Counter-proposal – UW proposed using language from WFSE’s other higher education contracts, citing the legislation that provides two unpaid holidays for reason of faith or conscience, and memorializing the parties’ commitment to follow the applicable law and University policy.

Contracting Out Conversation

UW provided further context to the parties’ ongoing discussion on contracting out, reporting on recent discussions regarding the UW’s long-standing contract with King County to administer Harborview. UW cited the April 16 King County Council meeting at which WFSE Executive Director Greg Devereux supported exploring alternatives to the UW-Harborview relationship and looking at contracting out to another health care employer who could do it better.

Next Steps

The next UW-WFSE bargaining session is scheduled for July 9.