Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for November 12, 2015

This recap details the 14th session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between UWMC and WSNA, which expired as of July 1, 2015. This was the fourth session to be facilitated by a State-appointed mediator.

Union Security (“Fair Share”) Discussion

The parties worked through the mediator to discuss the outstanding issue of requiring UWMC nurses (or all newly-hired nurses, under another proposal) to pay member dues or “fair share” fees to the union. UWMC maintains that the nurses should continue to have a choice about whether or not they pay dues or a “fair share” fee to the union.

Under the current system, nurses join the union after being hired and have the right to opt out each year. The current ability to opt out provides a level of choice for nurses that we feel supports the professional autonomy that is so valued at UWMC.

UWMC management supports the right of nurses to join WSNA and participate with the union, as well as the right to opt-out for those who exercise that choice. During these negotiations UWMC has agreed to double the amount of time guaranteed for the union’s new-hire orientation, to further support WSNA’s ability to reach and inform prospective members.

Other Outstanding Issues

Matters of staffing, mandatory on-call, and wages also remain unresolved. UWMC has delivered responses on all outstanding subjects, which the parties are working to resolve through package proposals.

UWMC’s most recent wage package calls for a $200 lump sum payment upon contract ratification, a 3 percent across-the-board wage increase upon ratification, and a 2.5 percent across-the-board increase in fiscal year 2017 (split across two dates). WSNA has not yet delivered a response to UW’s “what-if” package from November 3.

Next Steps

The parties agreed to meet again to continue negotiations on December 2. Since the contract has expired, the previous contract will remain in effect until the parties negotiate a successor agreement. Similar to the approach used across the University and in prior contract negotiations, UW has proposed not to make wage increases apply retroactively, meaning wage increases would not begin before the new contract goes into effect.