Negotiations Recap for July 6, 2015
This recap details the 16th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and SEIU 1199, which expired as of July 1, 2015.
Status of Negotiations
Payroll Cutoff for July 1 Wage Increases
UW again reminded SEIU 1199 that in order for wage increases to be effective as of July 1, 2015 (for employees’ July 25 paychecks), the contract must be ratified by July 14, 2015, which is the date that payroll closes for the July 1 pay period. UW again reminded the union that pay increases will not be applied retroactively.
Bargaining Cancelled by Union
SEIU 1199 cancelled the parties’ July 8 bargaining session, leaving the parties with one remaining scheduled bargaining date on July 13.
SEIU 1199 Proposals
Charge Nurses and Staffing Concerns – SEIU 1199 proposed several changes to UW’s language regarding charge nurses and staffing concerns, including:
- Staffing Matrices: The union maintained its proposal to allow charge nurses to add staff to matrices, and proposed that trends related to census, acuity, and ratios that continue for six months be used as a basis for changing the staffing matrix.
- Emergent Situations: The union proposed allowing charge nurses to declare a staffing emergency if a unit is not staffed to the matrix, and requiring Harborview to delay elective admissions and surgeries in order to bring the workplace into adherence with the matrix.
- Committees and Process: The union proposed that information be collected using a new form developed by the staffing committee, to be reviewed on a monthly basis. The union’s language would require that the parties utilize the joint labor-management process in 2015 to determine a process for charge nurses to escalate staffing concerns, to define “staffing alert,” and to establish training options for charge nurses related to staffing.
Pre-scheduling Overtime Shifts for Nurses – SEIU 1199 revised UW’s proposal to establish that Harborview may offer pre-scheduled overtime to be paid (at the appropriate rate of pay) after the initial schedule bid is posted and once Harborview has sent out notice for employees interested in taking additional shifts at straight time. The union added that failure to attempt to notify staff of cancellation at least two hours in advance would result in payment for up to two hours of work.
Negotiations for a Successor Contract – SEIU 1199 proposed paid release time for 17 union designated bargaining team members for all sessions during negotiations for the 2017-2019 contract, and that UW provide paid release time for three bargaining team members to attend statewide Healthcare Coalition bargaining.
SEIU 1199 Proposals: Per Diem Registered Nurses
SEIU 1199 delivered several counter-proposals regarding per diem nurses, which included:
Per Diem Wage Differential – SEIU 1199 proposed that per diem nurses without UW-provided medical benefits be paid a 12 percent wage differential, and those with UW-provided medical benefits receive a 10 percent differential.
Per Diem Step Increases – SEIU 1199 proposed that per diem nurses receive annual step increases upon reaching 1,872 hours.
Per Diem Hire-in Rates – SEIU 1199 proposed that hire-in rates for per diem nurses be based on year-for-year credit for applicable experience.
Per Diem Hours of Work – SEIU 1199 declined UW’s proposed language memorializing that assignment of hours and continuation of employment are at management’s discretion.
Per Diem Minimum Work Availability – SEIU 1199 accepted UW’s proposal for per diem nurses to be available to work at least four shifts per four-week period. The union declined UW’s proposal that once a nurse agrees to work a scheduled shift, they must work or find a replacement such that no overtime is incurred.
The union proposed a requirement that per diem nurses provide notice of an absence at least two hours prior to the beginning of a shift, and that failure to attempt to notify a per diem nurse of a shift cancellation at least two hours in advance would result in payment for up to two hours of work.
Per Diem Seniority and Accruals – SEIU 1199 maintained its proposal for seniority to accrue based on all hours worked, while not applying while a nurse is still in per diem status. Upon acquiring regular status, this seniority would be applied to determine the nurse’s benefit accrual rates.
Per Diem Classification Review – SEIU 1199 proposed that if the union believes a per diem nurse has been working regular full- or part-time hours over a 12-month period, the union may request to have their hours reviewed by the employer.
Per Diem Training – SEIU 1199 proposed language establishing that hourly staff are required to schedule and participate in annuals skills validation and select other pertinent education. Required class time would be compensated at the appropriate rate of pay, and in-house education offered by Harborview would be attended at no cost.
UW put forth a series of potential trade-offs in an attempt to close several outstanding contract provisions:
Education Funds and Skills Day
- Education Support Funds – UW proposed that SEIU 1199 withdraw its proposal to increase the annual education support funds for healthcare specialists from $1,800 per FTE (full-time equivalent) to $2,500 per FTE.
- Skills Day – UW proposed a paid skills day for respiratory therapists comprised of internal education focused on job specific competency training, accepting SEIU 1199’s proposal for payment to be dictated by contract’s language on mandatory inservice education.
Leaves of Absence
- Vacation Leave – UW proposed that SEIU 1199 withdraw its proposed adjustments to vacation leave accruals in favor of the parties maintaining current contract language.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – UW would withdraw its proposal to require employees to use a portion of their accrued paid leave for leave under FMLA, only maintaining its proposed formatting updates to the article.
- Charge Nurses and Staffing Concerns – UW revised its previous proposal such that the parties would develop a process for charge nurses to escalate staffing concerns at a joint labor-management meeting within six months. New language established that the charge nurse would assess patient and unit needs, and adjust resources as necessary in conjunction with the unit manager or designee and/or nursing supervisor. Trends related to census, acuity, and unit activity that continue for six months would be assessed and discussed at the nurse staffing committee.
- Pre-scheduling Overtime Shifts for Nurses – UW maintained its proposed memorandum of understanding whereby Harborview could offer pre-scheduled overtime to be paid (at the appropriate rate of pay) after the initial schedule bid is posted and once Harborview has sent out notice for employees interested in taking additional shifts at straight time. UW included additional language from the nurse staffing policy already cited by its proposal to provide further context.
- Staffing – UW maintained its previous proposal for the consolidation and incorporation of nurse staffing policy as well as the contract’s existing appendix regarding nurse staffing into the body of the contract.
UW Sixth Package Proposal
UW put forth a package proposal in which all provisions would need to be accepted in their entirety. Provisions included:
Meal and Break Relief
- Meal and Rest Breaks – UW maintained its proposal to memorialize the parties’ joint goal of ensuring that nurses at Harborview receive uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, including the responsibility of Harborview to create an environment that allows and encourages uninterrupted breaks, and the responsibility of nurses to take such breaks. UW accepted SEIU 1199’s 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 – UW proposed the creation of break relief nurses on the day shift of all acute care units to relieve nurses with permanent patient assignments for meal and rest breaks. UW proposed a phase-in schedule whereby Harborview would provide break relief nurses on the day shift to five acute care units (maintaining in two current units and adding to three units) by June 30, 2016, and to all acute care units by June 30, 2017.
Education and Tuition Support
- Harborview Scholarships – Harborview would grant scholarships of up to $10,000 each to up to 11 Harborview nurses accepted into the UW Bothell RN-to-BSN degree program offered on-site at Harborview. To be eligible, nurses would have worked at Harborview for at least one year, and nurses completing the program would commit three years to Harborview. In addition to the UW Bothell program, UW would provide up to $10,000 per year (total) for Harborview nurses to attend a program to complete their BSN, MSN, or other advanced nursing practice degrees.
- Training Fund and BSN Premium – UW proposed that SEIU 1199 withdraw its proposal for UW to pay into the SEIU 1199NW Multi-Employer Training and Education Fund (“Training Fund”), including the union’s proposed pay premium for nurses holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
- General Wage Increases – UW proposed a 2 percent general wage increase effective the first available pay period after ratification, and a 1 percent general wage increase effective July 1, 2016. As part of this package, SEIU 1199 would withdraw its other economic proposals, including those for several individualized and general adjustments to wage scales and pay premiums.
- New Top Step – UW proposed the creation of an additional salary step for all non-nurse job classifications, effective July 1, 2016. Upon implementation, employees who have been at the top step for more than five years would immediately advance to this new top step.
Targeted Wage and Class Adjustments
- Social Work Wage Increases and Consolidation – In response to the union’s concerns, UW withdrew its proposal to consolidate the Social Worker 1 and 2 job classes and provide wage increase of roughly 8 percent to employees in the current Social Worker 1 job class.
- Healthcare Specialist Consolidation – UW maintained its proposal to merge the job classes and pay ranges of outpatient and inpatient healthcare specialists, effective July 1, 2016, which would provide for an average wage increase for outpatient healthcare specialists of roughly 2 percent.
- Healthcare Specialist Compensation – UW proposed that SEIU 1199 withdraw its outstanding proposals related to healthcare specialist compensation, including its proposal to add new steps to the top of the pay scale and to build in increases between “flat” steps.
Call Back and Prescheduled Standby Assignments
- Mandatory Standby Assignments – UW proposed language memorializing that the parties follow Washington State law (RCW 49.28.140) regarding mandatory standby assignments.
- 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.
Hall Health Nurse Salary Steps
Salary Step Analysis – UW proposed a memorandum of understanding whereby upon ratification the union would provide UW with a list of Hall Health Nurses in the Research/Hall Health Bargaining unit who it believes are placed on a salary step that does not appropriately reflect their years of experience.
UW would evaluate the experience and placement of these nurses within 60 days, and for any nurses deemed to be on an improper salary step, UW would provide an additional step increase for their next periodic increment date.
Appendix XIII: Compliance with Washington State Nurse Staffing Committee Law – The parties tentatively agreed to strike Appendix XIII in favor of housing nurse staffing language in the body of the contract.
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 16th consecutive session, SEIU 1199 declined to utilize a sign-in sheet.
SEIU 1199 cancelled the parties’ July 8 bargaining session. The next UW-SEIU 1199 bargaining session is scheduled for July 13. Since the contract has expired, the previous contract will remain in effect until the parties negotiate a successor agreement.