Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for June 4, 2015

This recap details the fourth session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and WSNA.

UW Proposals

Work Period — UW withdrew its proposal to eliminate the option to schedule over a 160-hour work period.

Overtime — UW maintained its proposal to memorialize that overtime will go into effect if eight minutes or more are worked after the end of the scheduled shift (currently 15 minutes), and be calculated to the nearest quarter of an hour (currently 30 minutes).

Time Paid but not Worked — UW withdrew its proposed language to establish that an employee would not earn overtime for hours worked over their scheduled shift if on the day immediately before or after they took sick leave for a period of time equal to or greater than the extra time worked.

Rest Between Shifts — UW maintained its proposal to standardize the rest between shifts requirement, such that regardless of shift length, nurses not receiving unbroken rest 10- and one-half hours before the start of their next regularly scheduled shift would trigger the rest between shift premium.

Rest Breaks — UW proposed incorporating the parties’ existing memorandum of agreement regarding rest breaks into the body of the contract.

Low Census — UW maintained its proposal to enable UWMC to implement reduced staffing during temporary periods of low patient census. UW proposed additional language to clarify that nurses sent home due to low census may volunteer to use leave without pay or may be required to use accrued leave to cover the time they are sent home. Nurses without enough accrued leave who opt not to use leave without pay would not be required to leave work, and the department would proceed to the next nurse in the rotation.

Mandatory On-call – UW revised its previous proposal, such that scheduled call would be mandatory for Labor and Delivery, Emergency Department, Intensive Care Units, and units on which scheduled call is already in place, rather than all units on which call is needed. Call would still be assigned on a voluntary basis, and if there are not enough volunteers, call would be assigned on an equitable rotational basis.

Acute Care Units – UW maintained its proposal for UWMC to assess whether the current staffing model in each acute care unit is meeting the unit’s staffing needs, and for UWMC management to meet to pursue alternative methods if it is determined that staffing needs are not being met. UW revised its previous proposal, such that the employer would notify the union and offer to bargain the implementation (rather than only the impacts) of an on-call system in the unit in the event that the above efforts are not successful within three months.

Staffing — In response to WSNA’s proposal, UW proposed language committing UWMC to make a good faith effort to meet several goals, including that the staffing committee will include bargaining unit members, and that information from staffing committee meetings will be made available to the union in a timely manner. UWMC would make a good faith effort to ensure that staffing levels enable nurses to receive rest and meal breaks and use accrued leave, and UWMC would endeavor to not regularly assign nurses to care for more patients than anticipated by the staffing matrix.

WSNA Wage Comparisons

WSNA presented wage data it collected comparing UW wages and pay premiums to those of seven other local medical centers, arguing that UW’s pay is lower. UW pointed out that WSNA’s analysis compared UW’s pay in 2014 to the 2015 pay rates at other organizations, and did not factor in a likely UW wage increase in 2015.

Next Steps

The next UW-WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for June 9.