Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap

This recap summarizes the fifth 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 maintained its proposal to move 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 percent of the market.

Certification Premium – UW proposed an increased certification pay premium of $1 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). The union indicated agreement with this proposal.

Weekend Differential – UW maintained its proposal for physical therapists to 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 maintained its proposed premium of $1.50 per hour for all permanent Physical Therapists assigned to the PT Float Pool. The union indicated agreement with this proposal.

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: UW proposed an increased amount of $250 per year for education and training expenses (prorated per full-time equivalent). UW could approve reimbursement above $250 for specific clinical needs or required training.

  • Paid Education Leave: UW maintained its proposal for physical therapists to qualify for three days of paid educational leave per year. UW added that physical therapists who attend approved educational opportunities on a day they are not scheduled to work would receive the equivalent of a day of pay or a day of accrued leave.

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. The union indicated agreement with this proposal.

  • 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 Weekend Work – UW proposed language memorializing the current weekend work obligation of physical therapists (one in every three weekends), as well as a commitment to exhaust a list of alternatives before changing the weekend work ratio:

  1. UW would provide the union with at least two weeks’ advance notice;
  2. Newly-hired physical therapists would be offered schedules that require working both weekend days (and would have the right to decline);
  3. UW would solicit volunteers among hospital physical therapists to work weekends;
  4. UW would evaluate case index and consultation data to determine whether patient care needs allow different staffing levels on any day;
  5. UW would approach the union about permissible ways to use per diem staff to maintain the weekend ratio.

UW reminded the union that the University has made multiple proposals on weekend staffing, and that the union’s counter-proposals to date would result in only a fraction of the necessary weekend shifts being filled. UW emphasized that weekend shifts are necessary to best meet patients’ needs, and thus the University cannot bargain away the number of shifts that need to be worked on the weekends.

Expedited Job Class Review – UW maintained its proposal to explore 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 presented a draft expedited classification review form for the union’s review. UW explained that with the upcoming implementation of the University’s HR/Payroll system such a form could be subject to change, and clarified that this type of form would still not bypass the review process conducted by the Compensation office.

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. The union indicated agreement with this proposal.

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.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 925 bargaining session is scheduled for January 20.