Minimum Wage Meeting with Unions: September 18, 2015
UW met with representatives from several unions to discuss compensation for UW’s contract classified employees in relation to Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. The unions in attendance were SEIU Local 925, WFSE Local 1488, UAW Local 4121, and AFT Local 6486. A representative from the Graduate & Professional Student Senate attended as well.
Although the institution has not reached a definitive conclusion on whether the city ordinance applies to the University as a State employer, UW recognizes the importance of ensuring that its compensation remains competitive.
UW is taking an affirmative step to phase in an increased minimum wage such that all contract classified employees are paid at least $15 per hour by January 1, 2017. UW proposed the following phase-in schedule:
- January 1, 2016: Any contract classified employee whose wages are less than $13 per hour will be placed on a pay step that is at least $13 per hour.
- January 1, 2017: Any contract classified employee whose wages are less than $15 per hour will be placed on a pay step that is at least $15 per hour.
UW made clear that this applies only to contract classified, union-represented staff at the UW (including UW’s campuses at Bothell and Tacoma), and does not apply to student employees.
Union representatives expressed concern over potential wage compression issues that could result from the proposed increases, and conveyed strong support for such a proposal to be applied universally across the institution, and to therefore include student employees.
Union Proposal: The union coalition proposed that effective January 1, 2016, the minimum pay for all employees (including student workers) become $15 per hour at all locations, and that all pay ranges and scales be adjusted proportionately to the effect of this increase on the lowest range.
UW Response: UW noted at this session that there is an evolving institutional consensus around the issue of student employees, but the University’s proposal delivered today would only affect contract classified staff. UW expressed support for discussing potential wage compression issues as a part of the parties’ next round of contract negotiations.
UW committed to provide information on impacts specific to each union. The parties scheduled a follow-up meeting for October 8.