Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for April 20, 2015

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

Introductions and Ground Rules

Both parties made introductions, and several union members explained their bargaining priorities. The parties discussed process and general expectations for bargaining, and exchanged proposals on ground rules.

Paid Bargaining Release Time – SEIU 1199 proposed that UW pay for all of the union’s 37-member bargaining team to attend bargaining. UW pointed out that the parties had previously agreed that UW would pay for 13 members of the union’s team, and memorialized this in the contract.

UW cited unions representing twice as many UW employees as SEIU 1199 that guarantee paid release for four members, and in some cases share the cost with the employer.

Sign-in Sheet – UW proposed that the parties circulate sign-in sheets at the beginning of each session to help facilitate payment of release time to employees. SEIU 1199 declined this request and did not utilize the sign-in sheet, asserting that it would consider circulating a sign-in sheet if UW agreed to pay for the union’s entire 37-member team to attend bargaining.

Union Proposals

Premium Pay – SEIU 1199 proposed to limit scheduled call and standby hours in each department to 72 hours per employee per month, and to create on-call staffing committees for every unit and a call oversight committee covering all the units. SEIU 1199 proposed that employees be paid at double their normal rate after 12 hours on call-back from standby.

The union proposed to add language about no mandatory call for nurses, and that such call be prohibited except in cases where the government declares and emergency or if the medical center activates its disaster plan.

Extra Shift Incentive – SEIU 1199 proposed introducing an “extra shift incentive” pay to attract employees into work in cases of short-staffing or when census flexes up. Full-time employees would be paid at double their normal rate, and part-time employees would be paid at time and one-half or double-time if they have worked full-time in the pay period.

Staffing – SEIU 1199 proposed entirely rewriting the parties’ appendix that memorializes compliance with Washington State nurse staffing law. SEIU 1199 proposed the development of a nurse staffing plan, to be reviewed twice per year. Data from every unit and shift would be reported on a monthly basis to the Nurse Staffing Committee, comprised of eight members appointed by the union and eight appointed by Harborview.

The union also proposed unit-based staffing committees, and put forth unit-specific employee-to-patient staffing ratios ranging from 1:1 to 4:1. Charge nurses would have the authority to add staff to matrices, and this contract provision would be enforceable by expedited arbitration.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for April 29.