Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for June 11, 2015

This recap details the 10th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and SEIU 1199.

Compensation Discussion

Milliman Study – UW presented an analysis of how compensation for UW/Harborview employees compares to that of employees in Harborview’s market of competing organizations, including Swedish, Valley, MultiCare, and Virginia Mason. The analysis was derived from a classified staff salary study conducted for UW HR by third-party compensation experts at Milliman in fall of 2014.

Philosophy – UW HR’s general compensation philosophy for the broader University is to pay at 80 percent of the market median, in part because UW’s robust benefits package exceeds the market. However, for nurses and other healthcare workers UW targets to pay at 90 percent of the market median. The market median, or “market,” for UW is the point at which half of UW’s comparators pay below UW and half pay above.

Findings – Several UW/Harborview job classifications are paid very near the market, including nurses at 97.8 percent of the market, healthcare specialists at 102.7 percent of the market, and respiratory care employees at 97.7 percent of the market. This does not factor in UW’s above-market benefits such as healthcare and retirement.

UW Proposals

UW delivered proposals and provided responses on all outstanding matters. Provisions included:

Union Delegates – UW withdrew its proposal for the union to send an up-to-date list of union delegates to the Labor Relations office quarterly, rather than once per year.

Contract Distribution – UW maintained its proposal for the parties to utilize the electronic version of the contract rather than printing paper copies, with each department maintaining a paper copy accessible to all employees.

Per Diem Probationary Period – UW accepted SEIU 1199’s proposal for up to six months of service as a union-represented per diem nurse to count toward a nurse’s probationary period in the event they are hired into a permanent position in the same job class without a break in service. Such a decision would be at management’s discretion.

Work Day – UW accepted SEIU 1199’s language stating that all employees are to be compensated at the appropriate pay rate for each missed rest period. UW added that employees are expected to make good faith effort to communicate with the appropriate shift charge or lead to problem solve in order to help facilitate a meal or rest break.

Overtime – UW proposed that vacation leave and compensatory time not count toward the calculation of overtime, withdrawing its proposal to not count personal holiday as well.

Rest Between Shifts – UW proposed a compromise in which it would agree to the union’s proposed expansion of rest period premium pay eligibility to include imaging technologists and sonographers as well as respiratory care and anesthesiology technicians, provided that the union agreed to standardize the rest between shifts pay practice for nurses to align with that of all other eligible groups.

Elective Educational and Professional Leave Use – UW withdrew its proposed requirement that mandatory education be completed prior to approval of elective education.

Wage Increases – UW put forth an initial wage proposal comprised of a 1 percent general wage increase effective July 1, 2015, and a 1 percent general wage increase effective July 1, 2016. UW declined SEIU 1199’s proposals for several individualized and general adjustments to wage scales and pay premiums.

Call Back – UW maintained its proposal clarifying that the two and one-half hours of guaranteed premium pay for employees called back, from standby or not, only applies once during the same two and one-half hour period of time. UW also maintained its proposal for the minimum callback hours to not apply for employees who are called in from standby prior to their scheduled shift and continue working into their scheduled shift.

Vacation Leave – UW declined SEIU 1199’s proposed adjustments to vacation leave accruals.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – UW proposed that for leave under FMLA, employees must use a portion of their accrued paid leave, but may retain 100 hours of accrued vacation leave.

Layoff – UW maintained its proposed language updates to establish a clear process in the event of a layoff, spelling out an ordered list of distinct employment options for employees subject to layoff.

Meal and Rest Breaks – UW proposed a memorandum of understanding to capture the parties’ joint goal of ensuring that nurses at Harborview receive uninterrupted meal and rest breaks. The language memorialized the responsibility of Harborview to create an environment that allows and encourages uninterrupted breaks, and the responsibility of nurses to take such breaks.

  • Process: Nurses would notify their supervisor if they anticipate being unable to take a meal or rest break, and supervisors would make every effort to provide a break. Nurses would be compensated at the appropriate rate of pay in the event they miss a meal or rest break, or if they are required by Harborview to be available for duty on premises.
  • Tracking: Applicable processes would be determined by Harborview in collaboration with the joint labor-management committee, and would incorporate data and feedback from nurses. Harborview would track data on breaks not taken in each department/unit and shift and report to the joint labor-management committee. Retaliation for reporting missed breaks or related concerns would continue to not be tolerated.
  • Break Relief: Harborview would conduct a finite assessment of the efficacy of break relief nurses on day shift on each acute care unit, considering unit-specific requirements and acuity, fiscal responsibility, and quality indicators. Break relief nurses generally would not have permanent patient assignment.

END Technologist Job Descriptions – UW proposed a memorandum of understanding whereby the UW Compensation Office would undertake the union’s proposed review of the Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist series job descriptions, and provide a response within 90 days of the contract’s ratification.

Negotiations for a Successor Contract – UW proposed 960 hours of paid release time for union designated bargaining team members for negotiations for the 2017-2019 contract.

Sheet

UW again delivered a sign-in sheet for both bargaining teams to sign, in order to help facilitate payment of release time to employees. For the 10th consecutive session, SEIU 1199 declined to utilize a sign-in sheet.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for June 16.