Labor Relations

UW – SAG-AFTRA Negotiations Recap for April 16, 2019


This recap details the April 16 sessions for the negotiation of the first collective bargaining agreement between the University of Washington (UW) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA, also known as “the union”). Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.


Several KUOW employees shared their thoughts regarding the UW’s economic proposal, discussing their experience, contributions to the station and the high cost of living in Seattle. In response to the UW’s comprehensive initial economic proposal presented to the union on April 11, the union delivered counter-proposals on cell phone policy, compensation, holidays, meal policy, overtime, rehire, rest between shifts, temporary pay increases, and vacation. The union is still drafting counter-proposals on temporary hourly fill-in employees and management’s proposal for weekly shift rotation which was presented as a counter/alternative idea to the union’s on call proposal. In addition, the UW is awaiting the union’s response on sick leave and layoff. The UW offered counter-proposals on cell phone policy, overtime, rehire, temporary pay increases, and vacations.

Tentative agreements were reached on holidays, meal policy, and rest between shifts.

SAG-AFTRA’s Compensation Counter-Proposal

The union’s initial compensation proposal for first year was to set minimum salaries by job title and level effective September 1, 2018 followed by eight percent (8%) across-the-board increases in 2019 and 2020, with minimum percentage increases of eight percent (8%) for promotions/reclassification and temporary pay increases.

In response to the UW’s initial economic proposal given to the union on April 11, the union countered with a proposal for a retroactive adjustment to minimum salaries by job title and level in 2018—based on their initially proposed minimum salaries—or an eight percent (8%) increase, whichever was higher, as well as across-the-board increases of eight percent (8%) in 2019 and four percent (4%) in 2020 and 2021. The union’s counter proposal also included a minimum of seven percent (7%) increase for any promotion or reclassification and for temporary pay.

The overall cost of the union’s counter-proposal was $166,811 less than their initial proposal, reduced from $4,275,053 to $4,108,242. The estimated cost of the union’s initial economic proposal may be viewed here and the union’s counter proposal may be viewed here. The UW’s initial economic proposal was $814,234, the details of which may be viewed here.

The UW did not deliver a counter to the union’s proposal, but shared some of the philosophy behind their initial offer and the counter they are drafting. The Milliman study lays the market-based foundation for not only the union’s members but all of KUOW employees’ salaries. The UW’s proposals seek to set pay levels that will allow the station to recruit and retain excellent employees while reflecting the realities of the relevant labor market.

UW Counter-Proposals

In response to SAG-AFTRA’s proposals, the UW offered counters on the following articles:

Cell Phone Policy: The UW rejected the union’s language regarding cell phone reimbursement, maintaining its proposal that KUOW will provide new cell phones based on specifications provided by the bargaining unit for content creators.

Overtime: This article defines overtime for overtime-eligible employees as work in excess of eight (8) hours per day or forty (40) hours in one (1) workweek or when one work shift occurs less than 12 hours after the preceding work shift, as provided in the “Rest Between Shifts” article. The UW rejected the union’s proposed addition to this definition that overtime include work on the sixth consecutive day in a workweek. The UW further proposed that overtime work must be pre-approved by a supervisor and clarified that overtime exempt positions are not eligible for overtime.

Rehire: This article states that employees who are laid off shall be placed on the Employer’s rehire list and that the Employer shall make a concerted effort to re-employ people on the list. The UW further proposed that in the event that the Employer pays the layoff period in lieu of notice, the laid off employee shall not be placed on the rehire list. In addition, this article states that employees placed from the rehire list into positions with a lower minimum salary than held at the time of layoff shall be placed at a salary not to exceed 115% of the minimum salary for the position to be filled.

Temporary Pay Increase/Assignment in a Higher Position: This counter maintained the UW’s proposal that regular, full-time employees temporarily assigned work from a position with a higher minimum salary for at least ten (10) working days will receive a temporary pay increase (TPI). The UW proposed that temporary pay increase shall be seven percent (7%), as opposed to the UW’s initial offer of five percent (5%).

Vacation:  This article outlines the UW’s proposal to let SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit employees keep their current vacation leave accrual, with an 11 year accrual schedule beginning at 15 days per year and maxing out at 25 days per year for non-exempt employees and 26 days per year for exempt employees. The UW accepted the union’s proposal to withdraw detailed language regarding process details on vacation scheduling, vacation denial, and vacation payout.

Tentative Agreements

The parties signed tentative agreements on the following articles:

Holidays: This article outlines the holiday schedule, holiday credit, and personal holidays. The parties agreed that at the employee’s request, the Employer may designate other days or shifts to be observed in lieu of the holiday schedule.

Rest Between Shifts: The parties agreed that the assigned work shift of any bargaining unit employee on any day shall begin not sooner than twelve (12) hours after the conclusion of his/her last work shift of a prior day. The article further states that if an employee has less than twelve (12) hours’ time off between continuous assigned work shifts, the work time falling within the (12) hour period shall trigger Overtime as set forth herein.

Meal Policy: This article states that in the event of breaking news that prevents working employees from taking meal breaks, the Employer, at its discretion, will provide meals for working staff, and that in the event of breaking news or extended new coverage an employee who is working in the field shall be entitled to a reimbursement of no more than twenty dollars ($20).

Next Steps

The next SAG-AFTRA bargaining session is scheduled for Monday, April 22 at Roosevelt Commons West.