Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for June 11, 2016

This recap summarizes the 13th session between the UW and SEIU 925 to incorporate UWMC physical therapists into the SEIU 925-UW collective bargaining agreement. This was the second session to be facilitated by a State-appointed mediator.


SEIU 925 delivered a package counter-proposal in which it conceptually agreed with UW’s expanded education funding proposal, but maintained its previous position on pay range placements. The union also maintained many elements of its previous weekend scheduling proposal, rejecting UW’s efforts to limit the amount of time that new/recent hires would need to spend in a fixed weekend schedule.

SEIU 925 Package Proposal

SEIU 925 delivered the following proposals as a package, in which all provisions would need to be accepted in their entirety.

Pay Range Placements – SEIU 925 maintained its proposed pay table placements for physical therapists:

  • Physical Therapist 1: BG 93.

  • Physical Therapist 2: BH 4.

  • Physical Therapist 3: BH 8.

  • Physical Therapist Specialist: BH 15.

Scheduling Weekend Work – SEIU 925 proposed that UW Medical Center schedule physical therapists such that at least 31 rotate and work every fourth weekend, and 14 work a fixed weekend schedule, establishing a staffing ratio of at least 2.2:1 for rotating to fixed shifts.

  • Assigning Fixed Schedules: The fixed weekend schedules would first be offered to volunteers, following which, those remaining would be assigned in order of reverse departmental seniority. Physical therapists on fixed weekend schedules could opt in pairs to have every other weekend off.

  • Consecutive Rotations: Physical therapists hired prior to July 1, 2016, would not be required to work a fixed schedule in consecutive rotations. However, those hired on or after July 1 would be hired into a fixed weekend schedule where they work one weekend day every week, or both weekend days every other weekend, and in either case would bid based on seniority.

  • Variable Shift Lengths: Four physical therapists in two pairs working weekend schedules could choose to work nine-hour shift schedules, and four employees in two pairs would have the option of a 10-hour shift schedule and working every other weekend. If this program was successful it would be expanded to all physical therapists.

  • Bidding Cycles: Physical therapists would bid for fixed/rotating schedules. The length of time to be bid would be four, six, eight, or 12 months, as determined by a vote of all physical therapists.

  • Trial Period: This proposed schedule would be in place for at least two years, after which it would remain if it met operational and staffing needs. If such needs were not met, the union proposed that the parties return to bargaining to develop an alternative solution.

Clinic Schedules – SEIU 925 added language specifying that no changes would be made to clinic schedules without prior negotiations with the union.

Education Support Funds – SEIU 925 conceptually agreed to UW’s proposed funding amounts for education and training expenses, as follows:

  • Hospital Physical Therapists: Up to $500 per year, prorated per full-time equivalent (FTE).

  • Clinic Physical Therapists: Up to $1,500 for physical therapists hired in the clinics prior to the effective date of the agreement, and up to $500 per year for those after the effective date (all prorated per FTE).

    These amounts would apply from the effective date of the agreement until June 30, 2019. UW has been clear that a long term goal is to work toward more uniformity among work sites.

Hiring Process – SEIU 925 proposed language allowing the union to designate two or three physical therapists to participate in physical therapist interviews (one per interview) in an informational and advisory capacity.

Reopener Language – SEIU 925 maintained its proposal to allow for negotiations to be reopened mid-contract regarding wages, scheduling, and premium pay if either party decided that any of these subjects represent an impediment to hiring.

Movement between Job Classes – SEIU 925 accepted UW’s language to memorialize that it will not withhold work that a physical therapist is qualified to perform for the purpose of avoiding reclassification. The union proposed additional language stating that UW will create opportunities for employees to demonstrate competencies associated with higher level positions.

Joint Labor-Management – SEIU 925 maintained its proposal for the parties to hold union-management meetings every month to monitor scheduling, staffing, productivity, and other issues of concern, and incorporated new language on permissible subjects.

Next Steps

The next UW-SEIU 925 bargaining session is scheduled for June 22.