Labor Relations

UW – WFSE Negotiations Update for September 21


This update contains the current state of negotiations for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and Washington Federation of State Employees. Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.

Due to the unprecedented economic crisis facing the state of Washington and the UW as a result of the pandemic, the parties have exchanged proposals to extend the 2019 – 2021 agreement to include the upcoming 2021 – 2023 contract cycle. The parties have tentatively agreed to current contract language on 56 provisions and agreed to strike 10 Memoranda of Understanding that no longer apply. Many other provisions have been opened for house-keeping edits only, including terminology updates, clarifications to existing language, and edits to reflect current law and policy. Only a few outstanding issues remain, for which the Employer made its last, best and final proposal on September 21.

Employer’s Last, Best, and Final

The Employer presented a Last, Best and Final Package Proposal in which all provisions would need to be accepted in their entirety.  Package highlights include:

    • U-PASS
      • Through June 30, 2023, the Employer would continue to provide a fully subsidized U-PASS.
    • Diversity and Inclusion
      • The parties agreed to incorporate the contents of an existing CBA side letter into the contract regarding diversity and inclusion, continuing the established practices (e.g. the Staff focused Council EDI Workgroup at HMC, and the Union’s ability to select two members to be appointed to the University of Washington Diversity Council).
    • UWHR Diversity Recruiter
      • Following contract ratification, the Employer will schedule two meetings with the WFSE bargaining team and the UWHR Diversity Recruiter. Employees will receive paid release time for these one hour meetings, if applicable.
    • Tracking Discrimination and Bias
      • The parties agreed to extend the provisions of this side letter from the current CBA into the next contract cycle. Annually, the Employer will provide employees with information regarding the University’s bias incident reporting tool as an avenue to report incidents of suspected bias.  Additionally, the Employer will continue providing an assessment report to the Unions, including information quantifying reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for each of several University groups (e.g. UCIRO and HR for both campus and medical centers).
    • Wage Discussion
      • Upon mutual agreement, the parties will meet and discuss economic items for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, by September 15, 2021, for submission to the Office of Financial Management by the October 1, 2021 deadline for inclusion in the Governor’s supplemental mid-biennium budget. Any proposed increases will be contingent on a determination of financial feasibility by the Office of Financial Management, inclusion in the Governor’s budget with the state allocation being fully funded by the legislature. The Employer may elect to bring economic proposals, which may include concessions, to the discussion.
    • EVS Custodians at UWMC & HMC
      • The EVS Custodian weekend premium that has been for employees at UWMC who work weekends as part of their regular scheduled shift, would be expanded to apply to both UWMC and HMC and be paid on all weekend hours worked, regardless of whether it’s part of a regular schedule.
    • Seattle Campus Custodian Parking
      • Through June 30, 2022, the Employer will continue to apply the swing shift Single Occupancy Vehicle parking rate to employees in the Custodians (including Leads and Maintenance Custodian 1’s) working on the UW Seattle campus with a 5:00 am to 1:30 pm shift.
    • Scholarship for Medical Centers Employees
      • The Employer will continue the current scholarship fund for medical centers employees through the next contract cycle, providing an annual pool of up to $100,000 for WFSE and SEIU 925 represented employees at HMC and UWMC to obtain a degree or certification required for employment in a healthcare field within the hospital where the employee works.
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
      • New language in the health and safety article includes a section PPE stating that employees must be trained on PPE before use (e.g. when to use PPE, how to obtain PPE, how to dispose of PPE, etc.). Bargaining unit employees will not be disciplined for refusing to work in the event that Employer required PPE is not provided by the Employer.
    • Workplace Behavior Investigation Updates
      • New language in the workplace behavior article states that if an Employer investigation of possible inappropriate workplace behavior exceeds sixty (60) days, the Union may request and be provided a status update
    • Work Related Injury Leave
      • Employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness that is compensable under the state worker’s compensation law may select time loss compensation exclusively or a combination of leave payment and time loss compensation, without any restriction (e.g. no longer deducting time loss insurance payments).
    • Layoff Seniority Definition
      • Paid or unpaid leave will no longer impact layoff seniority therefore employees who have taken leave (e.g. FMLA) will not have their layoff seniority adversely impacted for utilizing protected leave.
    • Non-Discrimination Update
      • New language in the non-discrimination article aligns with new state law clarifying that discrimination based on race extends to traits associated with race (e.g. protective hairstyles).
    • Vacation Time Off Calendar
      • Moved language from MOU to the body of the CBA stating that if a department maintains a vacation time off calendar it will be made available electronically to employees or posted in a visible department space to facilitate the supplemental vacation time off process.
    • City of Seattle Minimum Wage
      • The parties agreed to extend the provisions of this side letter from the current CBA into the next contract cycle, stating pay tables will be updated to reflect a minimum wage adjustment made by the City of Seattle, if applicable. Steps falling below the new minimum wage would be inactivated and employees would be moved, if needed, to the new minimum step of the range.

Next Steps

The parties did not reach a full tentative agreement, but must submit completed contracts to the State’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) by September 30.  Prior to the OFM submission, the Union’s membership would need to ratify the proposed contract.

The Union has begun coordinating voting efforts.  The Employer agrees to support voting efforts by allowing the Unions access to the various spaces to conduct voting and allowing employees a reasonable amount of time to vote if they are unable to do so during their normal break times.

The voting outcomes, along with further summaries of any agreements reached, with be forthcoming once available.