Minimum Wage Meeting with Unions: October 20, 2015
UW and representatives from several unions reconvened for a third meeting to discuss establishing a new minimum hourly wage for UW’s union-represented employees (the parties previously met on September 18 and October 8). The unions in attendance were WFSE Local 1488, SEIU Local 925, and UAW Local 4121.
UW Response to Union Proposals
UW declined the unions’ proposals to alter the phase-in schedule and to create a new committee. UW explained that the next round of contract negotiations will occur before the $15 minimum would go into effect, and is an ideal venue for the parties to discuss and work to preempt potential compression issues.
UW Proposal: UW maintained its proposals to phase in an increased minimum wage such that all union-represented employees are paid at least $15 per hour by January 1, 2017. UW’s proposals included the following:
- January 1, 2016: Any union-represented employee whose wages are less than $13 per hour will be placed at a pay step/rate that is at least $13 per hour.
- January 1, 2017: Any union-represented employee whose wages are less than $15 per hour will be placed at a pay step/rate that is at least $15 per hour.
- Compression: UW committed to discuss any resulting issues related to wage compression as part of contract negotiations with each union.
UW’s Plan: UW’s proposal would provide increases in advance of the City of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance, reaching $15 a full year before the City’s plan. UW emphasized that its immediate priority is to reach broad agreement with the unions in order to set these proposed increases in motion for employees.
Future Meetings: The unions proposed that the parties schedule more coalition meetings before finalizing any minimum wage plan for the employees they represent. Since the broad issues have now been discussed over the course of three meetings, UW verbally proposed that follow-up meetings be conducted with unions individually to drill down and discuss issues unique to each.
Commitment to Discuss Wages: WFSE highlighted that the SEIU 925 contract contains language that WFSE does not have, which commits UW and the union to meet regularly throughout the year to discuss issues related to market wages and compression.
In response, UW offered this same commitment to WFSE.
The parties are currently working to determine if future meetings are necessary.