Labor Relations

WSNA – UW (Montlake) Negotiations Recap for April 7


This recap details the second virtual session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and Washington State Nurses Association. Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.

WSNA Economic Presentation

WSNA delivered an economic presentation comparing UWMC to other hospitals, as well as how wages affect nurses. Cost of living, the rental market, and student loans were cited as member concerns in relation to pay and where to work. WSNA also discussed staffing and turnover.

The financial presentation is available online.

WSNA Economic Proposal

Wages – The union proposed wages increases for 2021 based upon steps in the current wage scale. Under this proposal, steps 1 to 10 would receive a 6% increase, steps 11 to 21 would receive 5%, and steps 22 to 30 would receive 7%. The union also proposed to increase wages across the board 4% in 2022.

Shift Premium – The union proposed to increase the shift premium for second shift from $2.50 to $2.75 and increase the shift premium for third shift from $4.25 to $5.00.

Charge Premium – The union proposed to split the charge premium into two different rates, one rate for day and one for night. Under this proposal, the charge premium for 7am to 7pm would increase from $2.50 to $2.75, and the charge premium for 7pm to 7am would be $4.00.

Standby Premium – The union proposed to change the hours spent on standby required to receive the higher rate of standby pay from fifty hours to thirty. Under this proposal, nurses who worked thirty hours of standby would receive the lower rate, which the union proposed to increase from $4 to $4.25. Nurses who worked over thirty hours of standby would receive the higher rate of $6.25.

Float Premium – The union proposed to increase the float premium from $1.50 to $3 for nurses assigned to work outside the unit for which they were hired. Additionally, the union proposed to increase the float premium from $4 to $5 dollars for nurses employed solely in the Float Pool.

Weekend Premium – The union proposed to increase the weekend premium from $4 to $4.25.

Dialysis Nurse Premium – The union proposed a new premium of $4 for nurses assigned to dialyze patients.

Operating Room Specialty Service Premium – The union proposed a new premium of $2.50 per hour worked, including training hours, for nurses who are a part of the Neuro, Cardiac, or Transplant teams.

Parking – The union proposed that the UW would not be able to apply changes in transportation policy without obligation to bargain with the union.

WSNA Initial Proposals (Non-Economic)

Staffing Plan – The union proposed that the staffing plan would be reviewed at least semi-annually, and that the employer would post, in a public area on each patient care unit, the nurse staffing plan and the nurse staffing schedule for that shift on that unit, as well as the relevant clinical staffing for that shift.

Staffing Concerns – The union proposed that nurses believing there is an immediate workload/staffing problem should file an Assignment Despite Objection (ADO) if the problem is not remedied after bringing the problem to the attention of the Nurse Manager, instead of bringing the problem to the Joint Conference Committee. The union also proposed language stating that nurses would not be retaliated against for filing an ADO. Additionally, the union proposed that a nurse would be able to report to the staffing committee any variations where the nursing personnel assignment in a patient care unit is not in accordance with the adopted staffing plan. The nurse would also be able to make a complaint to the staffing committee based on the variations, or based on adjustments in staffing levels made according to the requirements of the staffing plan.

Shared Governance – The union proposed a new article surrounding the extant shared governance councils at UW. The language in the article would dictate the member composition of the councils, outline the purpose of the councils, and mandate how often the councils should meet. Under this proposal, members and chairs of the Unit Practice Council would be only staff nurses who provide direct care; all other councils would also include staff nurses who provide direct care. The proposal stated that all nurses would be scheduled appropriately so they could attend the council meetings in which they are members, and that attendance at meetings would be considered work time.

UW Medicine Financial Presentation

Jacqueline Cabe, Chief Financial Officer for UW Medicine, delivered a presentation reviewing UW Medicine’s financial situation, summarizing COVID-19’s impact on the healthcare system, the effects of COVID relief funds, the current state of the budget and forecasts for the future.

The financial presentation is available online.

UW Initial Proposals

Probationary Period – The Employer proposed that by mutual agreement, the Employer and an employee would be able to extend the probationary period up to an additional three months. Under this proposal, probationary period would never exceed nine months.

Trial Service – The Employer proposed that an employee serving a trial service period could voluntarily revert to their former permanent position within six weeks of the appointment, provided that the position has not been filled or an offer has not been made to an applicant, rather than the two months preemptive rights to revert to their former position in current contract language. Under this proposal, after six weeks, employees could revert to their former position with Employer approval. In the event the former position had been filled with a permanent employee, the employee would be placed on the rehire list.

Layoff – The Employer proposed that leave without pay would not affect seniority for layoff, regardless of the length of the leave. The Employer further proposed that positions offered to nurses as layoff options would be positions with any FTE, rather than positions that are only within 0.2 FTE of the nurse’s current FTE. Additionally, the Employer proposed that all nurses on lay off would be paid accrued time off in one payment, striking language stating that nurse on layoff could request in writing that the payment for accrued time of be divided into two payments.

Department Seniority – The Employer proposed language defining department seniority (as differentiated from layoff seniority). The language states department seniority is defined as continuous length of service in calendar days within the employee’s department, and that department seniority would be used for internal department processes, such as schedule bids. Language further states that department seniority would be used for interdepartmental transfers, and ties in department seniority would be determined by lot. Additionally, the Employer proposed language clarifying that the 50% seniority granted to nurses who transfer to another department includes nurses who transfer into any RN classification in either Montlake or Northwest campus.

Reallocation – The Employer proposed that upon reclassification, the nurse’s progression start would change, as is the case elsewhere in the UW. The new date would be the first of the current month for effective dates falling between the first and fifteenth of the month and the first of the following month for effective dates falling between the sixteenth and the end of the month.

Workers’ Compensation – The Employer proposed that employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness that is compensable under the state worker’s compensation law could select a combination of time off payment and time loss compensation without deduction for time loss insurance payments. The Employer also proposed to strike language stating that employees could select time off payment exclusively in these cases, as workers’ compensation is an entitlement that cannot be waived.

Complete Agreement – The Employer proposed that they would not waive their right to bargain mandatory subjects of bargaining within the life of the contract. The Employer further proposed that if either party wishes to make a change in mandatory subjects of bargaining, proper notice and opportunity to bargain would be provided.

Class Specifications – The Employer proposed to strike class specifications from the contract, as class specifications are online on the UW Compensation website.

On the following articles, the Employer proposed to maintain current contract language:

  • Article 1 – Purpose
  • Article 16 – Conference Committee
  • Article 18 – Corrective Action (Progressive Discipline) Dismissal and Resignation
  • Article 23 – Management Rights and Responsibilities
  • Article 24 – Performance of Duty
  • Article 27 – Savings Clause

The Employer proposed housekeeping edits only on the following provisions:

  • Article 30 – Represented Per Diem Nurses
  • Appendix III – Clinical Clusters Pertaining To Layoff
  • Appendix IV – Innovative Work Schedule Agreement Form
  • Side Letter – UPASS

Next Steps

The next UW and WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for April 21 and will be held virtually.