Labor Relations

RFPU – UW Negotiations Recap for Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Employer explained that current agreement was reached just 18 months ago wherein both parties agreed to significant rewrites to almost every article. As such, the Employer intentionally did not present a large number of proposal changes. To honor the current agreement and the short time it has been in effect, the Employer desires to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

This recap details the second virtual session for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the University of Washington and the Resident and Fellow Physicians Union (RFPU). Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.

RFPU Initial Proposals

Parking During Normal Business Hours – The union proposed adding Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center to the list of training sites where Residents would have access to parking. The Union also proposed that parking at all sites would be provided at no charge to Residents and any time a Resident paid for parking then that Resident would be reimbursed.

Changes to Parking Rates – The Union proposed changing this subsection’s heading to: Changes to Parking Policies and Rates. The Union also proposed that notice and the opportunity to bargain impact would be made available if locations where Residents were permitted to park or UW Medicine sites changed parking rates; current language states only the opportunity bargain impact at UW Medicine sites.

Parking During Nights and Weekends – The Union proposed that Residents would be able to park at no charge at all sites during nights and weekends. The Union added that nights would be defined as 4pm until 8am the following day and weekends would be defined as midnight Saturday morning to 11:59pm Sunday night. The current contracts says that Residents will have access to parking at no charge during nights and weekends at UWMC, HMC, SCH, and the VA.

On-Call Parking – The Union proposed that Residents would have access to parking at any hospital when called to come in and the Union proposed striking language stating that that details of this benefit may differ by location and can be found on the UW GME website.

Travel Allowance – The Union proposed striking this section entirely. The intention to strike this section is because of the Union’s proposed changes in the earlier sections that would remove the need for a travel allowance.

Shuttles – The Union proposed to replace SCCA shuttles with FHCC shuttles in the list of shuttles Residents would have access to. The Union also proposed striking the sentence that said only SCH badges were accepted on SCH shuttles and proposed that no badge would be required to ride the SCH shuttle as long as another badge could prove the resident or fellow appointments.

U-PASS – The Union proposed removing language from the current contract wherein the Resident would be responsible for ending payroll deductions for the UPASS. The Union also proposed that in addition to the travel allowance stipend, Residents outside of WA state would be provided with a $600 stipend for transportation needs per academic year.

Bicycle Sustainability – In addition to the proposed amount changes below, the Union is proposing to reinstate payments for bike usage. In the current agreement, the parties agreed to provide a UPASS in lieu of bike maintenance and bike usage incentives. The Union proposed to change the amount of time a Resident would need to bike to receive a quarterly stipend from more than 80% to more than 25%, and that the quarterly stipend would be $250 instead of $25. The Union also proposed that Residents would have free access to bike cages at all sites where cages exist. The Union also proposed that this would be set up by contacting ahead of use and that if a Resident’s bike or bike parts are stolen while in one of these cages then the University would reimburse Residents at the value of what was stolen and for any transportation costs the Resident accrues due to the theft.

Emergency/Safe Ride Home Program – The Union proposed removing the word “home” from this section because sometimes Residents will not be traveling to their home. The Union proposed that Residents may need this benefit to get to work as well and proposed adding language that would allow the use of this program to get to their shifts in addition to needing to use it at the end of their shifts. The Union proposed striking the conditions stating why a person may use this program and proposed adding that a Resident could use this program regardless of whether public transportation is running or not. The Union also proposed that the GME Office would reimburse 100% of the fare paid by the Resident within 30 days rather than the current language of within a reasonable time after receipt submission.

University Transportation Committee (UTC) – The Union proposed that a substitute for the permanent RFPU-endorsed resident would not need to have 24 hours’ notice given to the committee chairperson.

Parking Notice – The Union proposed striking the current language that the University would agree to inform RFPU as soon as possible after the University learns of any modifications to parking policies that may affect Residents.

Away Rotation Reimbursement – The Union proposed that Residents who travel to any away rotations would be reimbursed for lodging and transportation rather than current language, which states that Residents who are required to travel to away rotations more than 50 miles from their primary work site receive this reimbursement.

Email, Fax Machines, the Internet, and Intranets – The Union proposed that state-owned or operated email, fax machines, internet, or internet networks would not be used to communicate with one another except in manners that comply with Executive Ethics Board Rules. Current contract language states that state-owned equipment would not be used except as provided for in this agreement.

Staff Representatives – The Union proposed adding that meetings with members would also be a reason why RFPU would have access to areas of any UW-affiliated work site for the purpose of investigating disputes and contract compliance. The Union also proposed removing language that these visits would not interfere with patient care or normal operations.

Bargaining – The Union proposed adding this new section under Article 25. In this section the Union proposed that the Employer would provide paid release time for up to twenty Residents designated by the Union for the purpose of bargaining. The Union also proposed that this paid release time would also not count against a Resident’s vacation or personal leave and that Resident’s would be provided time away from clinical duties outside of post-call days to attend bargaining sessions. The Union proposed that future bargaining would only occur after 5pm on weekdays or after 8am on weekends unless requested otherwise by the Union.

Duration – The Union proposed date changes to this article so that the next contract would have an ending date of June 30, 2025.

Scheduling Release – The Union proposed new language stating that yearly block schedules, including identification of months that would have call or jeopardy responsibilities, would be distributed no later than the beginning of the academic year. Exclusive of the first block of the academic year, complete schedules, including specific shifts, call and clinic schedules, and days off, would be provided no later than ninety days in advance of the rotation start date. Under this proposal, GME would strongly encourage distribution of complete schedules one hundred and twenty days prior to the rotation start date for those programs with capacity to do so. Schedule changes following the release of the final schedule (for example due to emergency situations) would be communicated to the individual residents directly and promptly with notification to the program director and affected faculty.

Hours – The Union proposed new language regarding Resident hours. The proposal states that no Resident would be scheduled to work more than ten days in a row without a day off. Residents would have at least six days off per calendar month. For all work beyond seventy hours in one week, with the exception of voluntary extra pay for extra duty, residents would be paid an additional $125 an hour for extra duty hours. If the rate at a particular site is higher, the Resident would receive that rate instead. Residents would not work beyond 80 hours in any week. Residents would not be disciplined for reporting work beyond seventy hours or for refusing to work beyond eighty hours in one week. The Union proposed to include a quote from ACGME requirements that states, “Types of work from home that would be included would be using an electronic health record and taking calls from home. Reading done in preparation for the following day’s cases, studying, and research done from home would not count.”

Night Shifts – The Union proposed new language defining night shifts as scheduled clinical work primarily occurring between the hours of 5pm to 7am. Night shifts would not exceed twelve hours of scheduled work and four to finish up clinical tasks. The eight hours immediately before and following a night shift would be free of clinical duties.

Call – The Union proposed new language surrounding call. The proposal states that overnight call shifts, including home call, would result in a post-call day free from clinical duty until the following morning with at least sixteen hours free from clinical duty after completion of the call shift. Scheduled night shifts twelve hours or less in duration would be exempt from this policy. The entirety of a call shift, be it in-house or home call, would count towards duty hours. No call shifts would be longer than twenty-four hours and four, including any adjacent clinical shifts.

Patient Safety – The Union proposed new language pertaining to patient safety. The proposal states that programs would be required to create and adhere to policies regarding back-up personnel or staff that would be made available for when patient census numbers have reached unsafe levels, or when a resident assigned to a rotation could not present. Safe patient census numbers would be rotation, site, and program specific and would be determined by the relevant chief residents and program leadership by thirty days prior to the start of the academic year, known as Patient Safety Quotas. Information regarding Patient Safety Quotas, back-up systems, safe patient census limits, and straightforward instructions to report violations of Patient Safety Quotas would be made available publicly.

On the following provisions, the Union proposed to maintain current contract language:
• Article 23: Subordination of Agreement and Authority

UW Initial Proposals

Childcare Fund – The Employer proposed adding that Residents would need to be employed during the pay period of disbursement in order to be eligible for payment via the Childcare Fund.
Dues Deduction – The Employer proposed that the Union would transmit via a web based electronic reporting system the name and EID of employees who have authorized deductions or changed deductions. The Employer also proposed that they would provide templates and instructions for the web based electronic reporting system. The Employer also would provide a calendar for cut-off dates. Subsequently, the Employer proposed striking the section where the Employer and the Union would have an audit to ensure that all former members are removed from dues deductions. Also, the Employer proposed striking language stating that if the Employer deducts dues from the paycheck of a nonmember, the employer shall remove nonmember from dues deductions immediately upon notification from the Union.

Grievance Process – The Employer proposed striking that the Union could unilaterally decide to skip Step One. The proposal would still allow steps to be skipped with mutual agreement.
Leaves taken under Parental Leave and Family and Medical Leave – The Employer proposed that for parental leave and family medical leave, if an employee has exhausted their vacation and sick time off balances, the Employer would provide paid parental time off to cover the first six weeks of the first approved leave of absence taken. If an employee has exhausted all sick time off and has less than seven days of available vacation time off, at the end of the first approved leave of absence taken, the Employer would add the difference between the remaining balance and seven days of vacation time off to the employee’s balance.

Required Certifications – The Employer proposed adding in the language from the MOU: Regarding: Reimbursement for the USMLE/COMLEX Step III Exam, with minor changes.

The Employer proposed housekeeping edits only on the following provisions:
• Article 6 – Fringe Benefits
• Article 10 – Leave – Bereavement
• Article 11 – Washington Family Medical Leave Program (PFML)
• Article 12 – Leave – Holidays
• Article 15 – Leave – Sick
• Article 16 – Leave – Vacation
• Article 24 – Transportation
• Article 26 – Duration
• Side Letter – Communication

On the following provisions, the Employer proposed to maintain current contract language:
• Article 1 – Definitions
• Article 2 – Committee Memberships and Hospital Committee
• Article 4 – Disciplinary Action and Just Cause
• Article 8 – Health and Safety
• Article 9 – Housestaff Advisory Committee
• Article 14 – Leave Professional
• Article 17 – Management Rights
• Article 18 – Working Outside of the Training Program
• Article 19 – No Strikes No Lockouts
• Article 20 – Non-Discrimination
• Article 23 – Subordination of Agreement and Authority
• MOU – Washington State Medical Licenses
• Side Letter – Scheduling

The Employer proposed to strike the following out-of-date MOU:
• MOU: Regarding: Reimbursement for USMLE/COMLEX Step III – added to Article 21

Next Steps
The next RFPU and UW bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 16, 2022 and will be held virtually.