Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for November 19, 2015

This recap summarizes the third session between the UW and SEIU 925 to incorporate UWMC physical therapists into the SEIU 925-UW collective bargaining agreement.

UW Proposals

Pay Range Placements – UW proposed moving physical therapists to SEIU 925 pay tables at the following pay range placements:

  • Physical Therapist 1: BG 91.
  • Physical Therapist 2: BG 98.
  • Physical Therapist 3: BH 5.
  • Physical Therapist Specialist: BH 12.

Transitioning physical therapists to the SEIU 925 pay tables in this way would automatically trigger a 1-3 percent wage increase, and would put physical therapist wages at roughly 95% of the market.

Certification Premium – UW proposed a pay premium of $0.75 per hour for every hour worked by physical therapists who have submitted documentation of qualifying certifications (each employee could receive pay for a maximum of one certification).

Weekend Differential – UW proposed that physical therapists be paid $1.50 per hour for all hours worked on the weekend, as defined in the existing UW-SEIU 925 contract.

Float Pool Differential – UW proposed a premium of $1.50 per hour for all permanent Physical Therapists assigned to the PT Float Pool.

Expedited Job Class Review – UW proposed an expedited classification review process, in which employees in the Physical Therapist 2 job classification would be reclassified to a Physical Therapist 3 if their work and skills qualify them. UW declined SEIU 925’s proposal for employees who have worked for one year in the Physical Therapist 2 job class to automatically become a Physical Therapist 3, explaining that the work and skills drive such a decision, not tenure.

Education Support – Given the continuing education requirements of the position, UW proposed funding and paid leave for physical therapists to attend training that is related to their area of clinical practice, provided it would not create undue hardship in the department, as follows:

  • Education Support Funds: $200 per year for education and training expenses (prorated per full-time equivalent). UW could approve reimbursement above $200 for specific clinical needs or required training.

  • Paid Education Leave: Three days of paid educational leave per year.

Schedules and Hours of Work

  • Schedule Flexibility: UW maintained its proposal to continue the practice of not requiring physical therapists to clock in and out, reinforcing that physical therapists’ status as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act allows for a degree of flexibility depending on patient and departmental needs.

  • Scheduling and Hours of Work: UW maintained its proposal for physical therapists to remain on the schedule of 80 hours over 14 days as outlined in the existing UW-SEIU 925 contract.

  • Scheduling Committee: UW proposed a committee with representation from both UW management and the union, from which the parties would jointly make a scheduling recommendation to address concerns about weekend scheduling. UW would adopt the recommendation provided that it addresses all reasonable staffing and operational needs.

Contract Format – UW maintained its proposal for the parties to house provisions that are unique to physical therapists in a tailored memorandum. The parties would defer to the SEIU 925 master contract for all other provisions that are not specifically called out in the memorandum.

Fixed Duration Employees – UW maintained its proposal to align the terms of fixed duration physical therapist assignments with those of fixed duration employees covered by the SEIU 925 contract.

Layoff Language – UW maintained its proposal to incorporate physical therapists into the SEIU 925 contract provision regarding process in the event of a reduction in force.

Resolution of Litigation – UW proposed that the unfair labor practice allegations filed by the union be resolved upon reaching agreement on the contract.

Scheduling Considerations

UW presented the union with the parameters utilized by hospital and clinic management when creating schedules.

SEIU 925 Proposals

Vacation Scheduling – SEIU 925 proposed language related to vacation requests and scheduling, including:

  • Vacation Requests: SEIU 925 proposed language allowing employees to make vacation requests as far in advance as they desire, and requiring management to provide notice of approval/denial no later than 14 calendar days after the request.

  • Vacation Denials: SEIU 925 proposed allowing employees to continue accruing vacation leave beyond the 240 hour maximum balance in the event that management cancels an employee’s scheduled vacation without enough lead time for the employee to reschedule before hitting the 240 hour limit.

Parental Leave – SEIU 925 proposed memorializing that physical therapists are eligible to receive six months of parental leave.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 925 bargaining session is scheduled for December 3.