Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for March 23, 2016

This recap summarizes the 23rd bargaining session between the UW and the UWHA to form the first union contract for UW medical and dental residents and fellows (collectively called “Residents” below). This was the ninth session to be facilitated by a State-appointed mediator.


UWHA delivered counter-proposals on stipends, childcare, transportation, and professional development, asking for less in some areas while asking for more in other areas. UWHA’s latest proposal puts the parties roughly $60 million apart over a three year contract. UW expressed concern that the parties’ distance remains so great after over a year of negotiations, despite the many gains for Residents that have been achieved, and stated clearly that UW does not have much more financial room to move.

Union Proposals

Stipend Increases – UWHA proposed increases to the stipends of all Residents, as follows:

  • Upon Ratification: 8 percent across-the-board increase.
  • Year 2: 5 percent across-the-board increase.
  • Year 3: 5 percent across-the-board increase.

Housing Supplement – UWHA proposed that each Resident receive an additional $6,000 per year to assist with the cost of housing. UW again reiterated that this is a non-starter, both given the cost and equity implications. UW again referenced the number of other UW employee groups with conditions such as odd work hours and the need to live within call-back distance to work, all of whom are confronted with rising local housing costs.

Signing Bonus – UWHA introduced a proposal for UW to pay each Resident $2,000 immediately upon signing an annual contract.

Business Expenses – UWHA introduced a proposal for UW to pay each Resident $1,000 per year to pay for cell phones, laptops, and home internet.

Childcare – UWHA proposed $500 per month for childcare to each qualifying Resident. The union would determine the eligibility criteria each year. The union estimated that this would cost roughly $1,080,000 per year, which is more expensive than its previous childcare proposal.

Transportation and Travel Expenses – UWHA increased UW’s proposed travel allowance to $1,190 per year per Resident. The union based this on every Resident driving nine miles between Seattle Children’s and the VA every day.

Professional Development – UWHA bifurcated UW’s professional development proposal, such that $600 per Resident per year would support costs such as attending professional meetings or professional membership fees, and Residents’ licensure fees would be covered in full independent of this funding.

The union added that the $600 should be provided in addition to money that programs already typically spend on professional development, and that unspent funds roll over such that Residents could use up to $1,000 per year.

UW Response

UW expressed concern with UWHA’s latest proposal, noting that the parties are still roughly $60 million apart over a three-year contract period after over a year of negotiations. UW reaffirmed its commitment to reaching a deal, but expressed that the union’s proposals seemingly continue to ignore the financial and policy-related realities faced by the hospitals and the University.

UW again highlighted all the gains for Residents that have been achieved during negotiations, and made clear that financially the University is nearing the maximum it can commit to this contract. The union acknowledged the gains and the movement UW has made during this process, but expressed its opinion that UW’s proposals are still not enough.

Next Steps

The next UW-UWHA bargaining mediation session is currently being determined by the parties.