Labor Relations

WSNA – UW (Northwest) Negotiations Recap for April 22


This recap details the third 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 13 would receive a 6% increase, steps 14 to 25 would receive 5.5%, and steps 26 to 30 would receive 4.5%. The union also proposed to increase wages across the board 4% in 2022.

Neighborhood Clinic Pay Rates – The union proposed that nurses who were employed by UW Neighborhood Clinics on or before December 31, 2020 would have their pay rates adjusted to accurately reflect their respective years of nursing experience for purposes of placement on the wage scale table. Under this proposal, no nurse’s pay rate would decrease as a result of such adjustment.

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.

Low Census Premiums – The union proposed to increase the premium for nurses who agree to be on standby during the hours they are scheduled to work from $4.00 to $4.25.

Standby Premium – The union proposed to increase the premium for nurses assigned to be on call from $4.00 to $4.25. Additionally, the union proposed that nurses assigned to be on call for 50 or more hours in a pay period would be paid $6.25 for each hour designated on call.

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 for nurses who are assigned as charge nurse/lead nurse with a regular schedule of at least .8 FTE would be $4.00.

Weekend Premium – The union proposed to increase the weekend premium from $4.00 to $4.25.

Work in Advance of Shift – The union proposed that when a nurse reports for work in advance of the assigned shift and continues working during the scheduled shift, all hours worked prior to the scheduled shift shall be paid at time and one-half the regular rate of pay. Current language states this premium is only paid when a nurse is required to report for work in advance of the assigned shift.

Incentive On-Call Shifts – The union proposed an on-call premium in addition to the extant premium. The new premium would allow the Employer to post on-call shifts that would pay an additional five dollars per hour.  If the nurse is called to work these shifts, they would be guaranteed a minimum of three hours of pay at the rate of time and one-half the nurse’s regular rate of pay, in addition to incentive on-call pay. Incentive on-call shifts would be posted in advance when possible, and regularly scheduled nurses would have priority over reserve nurses.

Temporary Floating Premium – The union proposed to increase the float premium from $1.50 to $3 for nurses assigned to float to a regular unit other than their hired unit or area, except for Designated Float Nurses.

Shift Rotation Premium – The union proposed a new premium for shift changes. Under this proposal, a nurse working on a rotated shift with a start time that differs by eight or more hours from their regular or previous start time would be paid shift rotation pay of time and one-half.

WSNA Initial Proposals (Non- Economic)

Shift Rotation Limitations – The union proposed that a nurse would be entitled to take up to 24 hours of rest both before and after a shift rotation occurs if the change in start time from the nurse’s regular shift to the adjusted shift is greater than or equal to ten hours. Additionally, the Employer would limit required shift changes to two  per 28-day work schedule, with at least 15 hours off between changes. The union also proposed language stating that shifts could only be rotated to address emergency staffing needs, and not due to failure to fill open positions, anticipated leaves or vacation.

Scheduling – The union proposed that in the event of extended leaves, the Employer would seek to fill the position on a temporary basis. Under this proposal, if it is deemed necessary to adjust a set schedule, the Employer would first seek part-time volunteers, next utilize reserve nurses, next seek full-time volunteers, next post incentive shifts for a minimum of five days, next utilize travelers or agency nurses, and as a last resort, adjust one shift per nurse on a rotating basis in order of reverse seniority. Under this proposal, no nurses would be subject to more than two days’ adjustment per four-week schedule.

Work Stoppage – The union proposed to strike the article stating that neither the union nor its members would incite, encourage, or participate in any strike, picketing, walkout, slow down, sick out of any work stoppage.

On the following provisions, the Union proposed to maintain current contract language:

  • Article 13 – Leaves of Absence
  • Article 14 – Family Medical Leave Act and Parental Leave
  • Article 16 – Staff Development
  • Article 18 – Management Responsibilities
  • Article 20 – General Provisions
  • Appendix A – Training Agreement
  • Appendix D – Light Duty
  • MOU – Clinical Float Pool
  • MOU – Open Shifts
  • MOU – Seattle Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance Waiver
  • MOU – Addition of New Nurse Classifications
  • MOU – True-Up Bonus, Ratification Bonus, BSN Scholarship Program
  • MOU – Continuation of Dues Deductions
  • MOU – Retention Bonus
  • Side Letter A – U-PASS

UW Initial Proposals

Float Between Campuses – The Employer proposed a new MOU that would give management the ability to float nurses between UWMC-Montlake and UWMC-NW. Under this proposal, if a nurse if floated to an entity other than the nurse’s home entity, the nurse would receive a four dollar premium for all hours worked outside the nurse’s home entity. This premium would not stack with other float premiums and would not apply to nurses already receiving a premium for being in the float team. Nurses would be reimbursed for mileage and parking at the second site per university policy.

Shift Premium – The Employer proposed to increase the shift differential from $4.25 to $4.50 for nurses assigned to work the third shift. The Employer also proposed to strike language stating that nurses would be paid shift differential for hours worked on a second or third shift if two or more hours are worked on the designated shift.

Low Census Standby – The Employer proposed that when there is low census, the Employer would be able to place nurses on standby without securing agreement from the nurse.

Workers’ Compensation – The Employer proposed to add language outlining Workers Compensation Leave policy, stating that 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 time loss compensation and accrued paid time off.

Light Duty – The Employer proposed to strike the appendix outlining light duty, as other proposals clearly articulate UW policy surrounding leave, disability, and worker injury.

Scheduling – The Employer proposed language stating that departments would maintain procedures that define responsibilities and timeframes for each step within the scheduling process, clarify procedures for scheduling requests and how scheduling conflicts are resolved. The Employer also proposed language clarifying that the manager retains ultimate responsibility for schedule approval. Additionally, the Employer proposed that when it is mutually agreeable to the nurse manager and nurse, nurses who request schedule changes could waive premium payments resulting from the requested schedule change. The Employer would not initiate requests for nurses to agree to schedule changes and waive premium payments.

Management Time – The Employer proposed that time worked for management time before or after a scheduled shift would be paid at the regular rate of pay, rather than counting toward overtime, double-time, or rest between shift premiums. Under this proposal, time worked for management time would be determined by the employee, and requests for nurses to work their management time before or after their scheduled shifts would not be initiated by the Employer.

Weekends – The Employer proposed defining the term “weekend” for first, second, and night shift nurses as well as nurses working alternative or twelve-hour shifts. Additionally, the Employer proposed the Employer would make a good faith effort to schedule all regular full and part-time nurses for two weekends out of four weekends, rather than every other weekend off. Under this proposal, nurses would be able to elect work more than two out of four weekends, and the employer would be able to schedule a nurse to less than four weekend shifts dependent on schedule needs. The Employer also proposed that nurses who agree to work an unscheduled weekend would be paid at double time, striking language stating that nurses who worked successive weekends would be paid at time and a half. The Employer further defined “unscheduled weekends” as a shift that is in addition to the nurse’s posted scheduled shifts after the schedule is posted and when the nurse is performing direct nursing care.

Rest Between Shifts – The Employer proposed to reduce time off duty between shifts from twelve hours to ten. Under this proposal, if a nurse is required to work with less than ten hours off duty between shifts, all time worked within this ten-hour period would be paid at time and one half.

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.

Clinical Clusters – the Employer proposed to add the term “clinical cluster” to various layoff provisions, sometimes replacing the de facto term “bargaining unit,” such that layoff options are selected within clusters, and displacement and rehire occur within clusters, rather than within the bargaining unit at large. The Employer also proposed a new appendix outlining these clinical clusters. Additionally, the Employer proposed that nurses identified for layoff would also be informed of vacant positions not in the clinical cluster, which the nurse would have the opportunity to fill, but the Employer would not require the nurse to accept such a position. The nurse manager could also decide not to accept a nurse from outside the cluster, and such a decision would not be grievable.

Job Postings – The Employer proposed that UWMC-NW would be allowed to offer day shift positions to four outside experienced nursing candidates with at least three years of experience in their specialty per calendar year, as an exception to the language requiring that job openings be posted in the department for a period of seven days before being posted house-wide and internally.

Release Time – The Employer proposed a new article outlining release time for nurses who work day-shift and night-shift. Under this proposal, if nurses are scheduled on the dayshift of the negotiations, they can request release for all or part of their shift, and if nurses are scheduled on the night shift, the nurse would be able to request release from the shift immediately before or immediately after negotiations. In either case, if hours spent bargaining are less than the scheduled hours, nurses may request to include use benefit time, trade hours to meet FTE, or return to the unit after negotiations to fulfill the scheduled hours with management approval. Additionally, the Employer proposed that with mutual agreement, nurses can be paid straight time for hours in bargaining above their designated FTE. The article also outlines when release would be requested, when bargaining would begin. The Employer also proposed that for demand to bargains during the administration of the collective bargaining agreement, no more than two employees will be paid per bargaining session.

Per Diem Nurses – The Employer proposed a new article outlining terms for per diem nurses. The article is comprised of extant contract language and MOUs as well provisions that would align treatment of per diem nurses at UWMC-Nothwest with per diem nurses at UWMC-Montlake. The article describes hiring practice; hours of work and overtime; cancellation; compensation and premium pay; holiday, sick, and miscellaneous leave; as well as expectations for per diem nurses.

The Employer proposed to strike the following out-of-date MOU:

  • MOU Clinical Float Pool

Next Steps

The next UW and WSNA bargaining session is scheduled for May 6 and will be held virtually.