Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for June 18, 2015

This recap details the 12th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and SEIU 1199.

UW Proposals

Skills Day – In response to SEIU 1199’s proposal for an annual paid skills day for respiratory therapists, UW proposed a paid skills day for respiratory therapists comprised of internal education focused on job specific competency training.

Corrective Action – UW reasserted and altered elements of its last proposal, including:

  • Coaching: UW proposed that informal coaching precede the corrective action process. UW accepted SEIU 1199’s language memorializing that coaching is part of the ongoing role of management, and that the corrective action process may be implemented in cases where coaching has not resulted in an employee’s success or where there is a specific behavior issue.
  • Corrective Action: UW would make clear when formal or final counseling is being conducted and inform employees of their representation rights. UW would determine the step at which corrective action begins based on the nature and severity of problem, and formal counseling could only be grieved through Step Two of the grievance procedure.
  • Process: In response to the union’s concerns, UW reincorporated the practice of assigning letters to each step of the corrective action process.
  • Administrative Leave: UW proposed that if management elects not to take corrective action after an investigation involving an employee on administrative leave, the employee will be notified that the investigation is complete and no corrective action will be imposed. For administrative leaves lasting longer than 90 days, the union could request an update on the investigation status, next steps, and approximate timeframe for completion.

Job Posting and Transfer – UW reasserted elements of its last proposal, with adjustments based on union feedback. Before referring candidates to a vacant position or shift, UW would provide seven calendar days’ notice to employees within the unit seeking a different shift. Employees would submit requests in writing, and must have permanent status in the job class and work in same unit. Eligible employees would have no corrective action in their file for past 12 months, and would have the skills and abilities necessary for the vacant shift.

Seniority would act as a tiebreaker if two comparably-qualified employees requested the same shift. Employees refusing an offer that they requested would be unable to submit another such request for 12 months.

Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace – UW amended its proposal to memorialize the expectation that employees report to work unimpaired by alcohol or drugs, and to allow for drug testing in cases where reasonable suspicion exists. UW withdrew its language requiring that employees inform their supervisor if their medication is likely to affect job safety.

SEIU 1199 Proposals

General Wage Increases – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for general wage increases of 5 percent on July 1, 2015, and another 5 percent on July 1, 2016. UW reminded the union that wage increases will not be applied retroactively, and rather will only be applied prospectively after the contract is ratified.

New Top Steps – SEIU 1199 proposed the creation of two new steps at the top of all applicable pay tables, each one 3 percent greater than the step prior. The union proposed that any employee who has been at a top step for more than three years be placed on the newly-proposed top step, and employees with more than two years at a top step be placed on the penultimate of the newly-proposed steps.

Targeted Wage Increases – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposals for the following wage adjustments specific to individual job class series:

  • Anesthesiology Technician Series: 5 percent wage increase.
  • Social Work Series: 10 percent wage increase.
  • Electroneurodiagnostic (END) Technologist Series: 15 percent wage increase.
  • Vascular and Cardiac Lead Sonographers: Move from pay range 96 to range 99.

Standby Pay – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to increase the premium for time spent on call to $6 per hour for all eligible employees.

Certification Pay – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to expand eligibility for certification premium pay to include healthcare specialists as well as cardiac and vascular sonographers.

Filler Steps – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for 1 percent pay step adjustments from the previous step for steps that currently do not result in a pay increase, applicable to all SEIU 1199-represented job titles.

Training Fund – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for UW to pay an amount equaling 1 percent of all nurses’ gross pay as a contribution to the SEIU 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund (“Training Fund”).

BSN Premium – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposed pay premium for nurses holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree premium as an “all-or-nothing” package with the Training Fund.

Hire-in Rates – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for social work hire-in rates to be based on year-for-year credit for applicable experience, to be developed through the joint labor-management process.

Research/Hall Health Nurse Pay Tables – SEIU 1199 proposed that the Research Nurse 1 job class be placed on the BW pay table such that it aligns with the Hall Health Nurse 2 job class. The union proposed establishing a 6 percent pay differential between the Research Nurse 1 and Research Nurse 2 job classes.

Credit for Past Experience – SEIU 1199 proposed that UW adjust wage rates for the entire Research/Hall Health Nurse bargaining unit to reflect year-for-year credit within 30 days of contract ratification.

Contract Distribution – SEIU 1199 proposed that the parties maintain the current practice of printing paper contracts.

Trial Service Period – SEIU 1199 proposed a six month trial service period for permanent employees who transfer into a job class for which they previously have not attained permanent status. Employees could voluntarily revert to their former permanent position within six weeks of the appointment, provided that the position had not already been filled or offered, and reversion of employees who are unsuccessful during their trial service period would not be subject to grievance.

An employee who voluntarily moved positions within the bargaining unit (excluding shift changes within a work unit) would have a six week trial service period, in which employee or the employer could elect for the employee to return to their prior position without notice or grievance recourse. If their prior position was filled with a permanent employee, the employee would be placed on the rehire list.

Per Diem Probationary Period – SEIU 1199 proposed that up to six months of service as a per diem nurse 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.

Overtime – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for sick leave to count toward the calculation of overtime except in the case of prescheduled overtime.

Rest Between Shifts – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to expand eligibility for rest period premium pay to include cardiac and vascular sonographers as well as respiratory therapists.

Meal and Rest Breaks – SEIU 1199 proposed expanding UW’s language regarding uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for Harborview nurses such that it would apply to SEIU-1199 employees across UW. The union proposed language committing employees and managers to attend joint training concerning the importance of taking breaks, how to record missed breaks, and non-retaliation policies.

Break Relief Nurses – Rather than conduct a finite evaluation, SEIU 1199 proposed that Harborview provide break relief nurses with no permanent patient assignments to all acute care units on the day shift.

SEIU 1199 Airlift Northwest Proposals

Union Delegates – SEIU 1199 proposed that the Seattle base have two union delegates, and that each other Airlift Northwest base have one.

Part-Time Employees – SEIU 1199 declined UW’s proposal to revise the threshold of hours worked in a six week period to be considered a “part-time employee” for the Airlift Northwest bargaining unit from 120–240 hours to 144–240 hours.

Flight Nurse Premium – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for a flight nurse premium of $5 per hour.

Juneau-based Flight Nurses – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposed 15 percent wage increase for flight nurses based in Juneau.

Float Pay – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for flight nurses to receive float pay for time assigned to work outside their official duty station.

Mileage – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for all mileage to and from a flight nurse’s reporting station to be paid in cases where they report to work at a station other than their official duty station. The union maintained its proposal for mileage to be paid for any travel required for clinical work or education that is not provided at a flight nurse’s official duty station.

The union accepted UW’s proposal for mileage to be paid to and from a flight nurse’s home rather than to and from their official duty station in the event their home is closer to their reporting station than their official duty station is, with minor clarifications.

Aircraft out of Service – SEIU 1199 proposed that there must be a staffing need in order for management to require a flight nurse to work at another Airlift Northwest facility in cases where the aircraft at their official duty station is out of service.

The union maintained its proposal to allow flight nurses to be paid at an overtime rate for time spent driving back to their official duty station from a different facility in cases where they must begin their return trip after their shift was scheduled to end. The union proposed language establishing the expectation that flight nurses will end duty shifts on time.

Job Posting and Transfer – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal to allow flight nurses who do not fulfill a two year commitment at the Juneau base to repay a prorated amount of the moving cost incentive paid to them, rather than the whole thing.

Official Duty Station – SEIU 1199 proposed payment of lodging and food per diem for flight nurses attending training more than 80 miles from their official duty station, rather than UW’s proposal for 100 miles.

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 12th consecutive session, SEIU 1199 declined to utilize a sign-in sheet.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for June 24.