Labor Relations

UW – SAG-AFTRA Negotiations Recap for May 5, 2022


This recap details the third session for the negotiation of the second collective bargaining agreement between the University of Washington (UW) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) for KUOW. Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.

SAG-AFTRA Initial Proposals

Article 9 – Overtime  

The Union proposed new language stating that the Employer would not disallow reasonable overtime requests which would impede quality of work.

Article 19 – Benefits

The Union proposed that bargaining unit employees would be paid five times their average rate in addition to their base rate for any shift in which they personally cover any story or event that presents readily apparent danger including, but not limited to, mass civil unrest, physical assault or violence, severe acts of nature or weather, destruction of man-made structures, facilities, and infrastructure, or other such events which present a danger. The Union also proposed that bargaining unit employees could request compensatory time off for all or some of the premium pay in lieu of monetary payment. Additionally, the Union proposed language stating that the new provisions would not act as a requirement that bargaining unit employees place themselves in dangerous situations or as a waiver of a bargaining unit employees’ rights.

New Article – Reimbursement for Remote Work Expenses

The Union proposed that employees would be reimbursed for or provided the equipment, supplies, and expenses necessary to enable remote or hybrid employees to perform their work remotely. The proposal states that upon separation from employment, bargaining unit employees would return said equipment, but if shipping equipment was required, the Employer would provide paid shipping.

New Article – Affiliation Announcement

The Union proposed that a ten-second SAG-AFTRA audio affiliation announcement would air on KUOW radio at least twice a day between 6:00 A.M. and 11:59 P.M. during the term of the contract, and that KUOW would append the same SAG-AFTRA audio affiliation announcement to all podcasts produced during that time.

UW Initial Proposals

Article 3 – Non-discrimination and Diversity

The Employer proposed to modify language listing classes protected from discrimination to add creed and citizenship, to align with Executive Order 31. The Employer also proposed new language regarding how employees who feel they have been the subject of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may handle their complaints, from addressing the complaint at the local level to more formal options, such as filing with the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) or filing complaints with appropriate federal or state agencies or through the grievance process. The language also states that retaliation against any individual who reports concerns regarding discrimination or harassment would be prohibited.

Article 6 – Grievance and Arbitration Procedure

The Employer proposed to increase the time that the Employer has to respond to a Step Two meeting from 15 days to 30.

Article 7 – Union Security

Dues deductions – The Employer proposed that the Union would transmit authorizations for deductions of dues to the Employer via a web based electronic reporting system. The Employer would provide instructions and templates for the web based electronic reporting system and provide a calendar of required payroll cut-off dates.

Dues revocation – The Employer proposed new language explaining how employees can revoke authorization for their dues deductions. The language states that an employee could revoke their payments to the Union by written notice to the Union in accordance with the terms and conditions of their signed membership card.

Article 9 – Overtime

The Employer proposed to strike the list of positions exempt from overtime from the body of the contract, as that information would be contained in the Employer’s proposal for Appendix I.

Article 15 – Fellow and Interns

The Employer proposed to strike mention of “interns,” as there are not recognized internships at KUOW. The Employer also proposed to strike language stating that the temporary recurring fellowship would be paid hourly and last for four months. Lastly, the Employer proposed to strike language stating that fellows would never be used to cover for absences, illnesses, or the like.

Article 16 – Bona Fide Independent Contractors

The Employer proposed that rather than the Employer providing notice 30 days in advance of any contracted work beginning, the Employer would, upon request, provide the Union with a list of independent contractors that performed bargaining unit work in the preceding six months. The Employer also proposed language stating that contracting may also be an appropriate agenda item for Joint Union Management Committee meetings.

Article 20 – Leaves

The Employer proposed to add compensable work-related injury or illness to the list of statutory leaves of absence to which members are entitled.

Bereavement – As terms of bereavement are not outlined in the current contract, the Employer proposed new language stating that employees would be granted up to three continuous or non-continuous days of bereavement time off, as requested by the employee, for each death of a family member, including the miscarriage or stillbirth of their child.  Bereavement time off beyond three days could be approved based on individual circumstances. Upon the Employer’s approval, the employee could choose to use sick, vacation, holiday credit, compensatory time, personal holiday, or unpaid time off for additional days. The proposed language also defines family members for purposes of bereavement.

Civil duty time off – As terms of civil duty time off are not outlined in the current contract, the Employer proposed new language stating that time off with pay would be granted for jury duty, to serve as trial witnesses, or to exercise other subpoenaed civil duties such as testifying at depositions. Employees would not entitled to civil time off for civil legal actions that they initiate or when named as a defendant in a private legal action that is unrelated to their University employment. The proposed language also states that employee would notify the Employer as soon as they become aware of the need for civil duty time off.

Discretionary time off – The Employer proposed new language stating that employees would be eligible to receive discretionary time off, up to six days (48 hours for full-time employment) per calendar year, as determined by the Employer. Under this proposal, discretionary time off would need to be used by March 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which it was awarded.

Parental leave – As terms of parental leave are not outlined in the current contract, the Employer proposed new language defining parental leave as up to four months of leave taken after the birth of a child to the employee, spouse or domestic partner, or because of the placement of a child with the employee or domestic partner through adoption or foster care.  Parental leave may extend up to six  months, including time covered by the FMLA, during the first year after the child’s birth or placement.  Leave beyond the period covered by FMLA may only be denied by the Employer due to operational necessity.  Extensions beyond six months may be approved by the Employer.

The proposed language also states that to be paid during Parental leave the employee must use accrued vacation time off, sick time off up to 18 weeks (720 hours), personal holiday, holiday credit, or compensatory time, the combination of which may be determined by the employee.  Employees would have to use all applicable accrued time off prior to going on leave without pay.

Professional leave with pay – The Employer proposed new language describing professional leave with pay, including eligibility and the request process for such leave, length and compensation for such leave. The proposed language also states that employees would not be able to accept other employment during professional leave with pay and would be required to report on activities during leave upon their return to the UW.

Unpaid time off – As terms of unpaid time off are not outlined in the current contract, the Employer proposed new language that states reasons unpaid time off could be granted as well as conditions applicable to unpaid time off and how unpaid time off could be cancelled. The proposed language also describes benefits during unpaid time off and rehire rights. The Employer also proposed new language outlining several types of unpaid leave, including educational leave, government service leave, volunteer/community service leave, and leave for collective bargaining.

Article 22 – Vacation Leave

The Employer proposed that employees in overtime eligible positions would have the same vacation accrual rates as employees in overtime exempt positions.

Article 29 – Length of Service

The Employer proposed language stating that employees who enter into the bargaining unit from other state agencies and institutions of higher education would start earning layoff seniority from the first day of coverage under the UW/SAG-AFTRA CBA. The Employer proposed to strike language stating that length of service is used throughout this Agreement for purposes of accruing benefits, including but not limited to vacation.

Article 34 – Probationary Period

The Employer proposed that the probationary period for an individual employee may be extended as long as the extension does not cause the total period to exceed 12 months. Employees would be provided with a written explanation for the extension, and if the extension is based on performance issues, the employee would receive a performance improvement plan. The Employer proposed language stating that this extension of probationary periods would not be a normal practice.

Article 36 – Cell Phone Policy

The Employer proposed to strike the article on cell phone policy entirely, as phones were already purchased according to specifications provided by the bargaining unit, and it is already KUOW policy to provide cell phones and pay the monthly fee.

Article 39 – Compensation

Across-the-Board Increases – The Employer proposed a wage increase of 2% across-the-board on July 1, 2022 or on the first available pay period following ratification as determined by the Employer, whichever is later.  The Employer proposed additional wage increases of 2% across-the-board on July 1, 2023 and July 1, 2024.

Pay for teaching – The Employer proposed new language outlining terms for pay for teaching. The proposed language states that teaching in the regular University curriculum would normally be included in an employee’s regular work schedule, but pay for teaching could be approved when the request to teach is an exceptional circumstance; the request is not expected to be repeated; the teaching is clearly in addition to regular University duties; and the activities cannot be accommodated by release time. The proposed language states that payment for teaching could be provided either in a one-time payment or by period activity pay, which is a series of equal installments paid over a period of time that has a specific beginning and end date. The Employer also proposed that a full or part-time employee must receive approval from their supervisor before accepting any additional hourly or monthly UW positions.

Appendix I

The Employer proposed to add minimum monthly pay to the appendix and to change the list of job titles to reflect titles as they appear in the payroll system.

New Article Classifications and Reclassifications

The Employer proposed a new article describing the allocation and reallocation of positions, including how the Employer may decide to create, eliminate or modify class specifications and the Union may propose a new classification or edits to existing classifications. The article describes the position review process, the appeal process of the position review, how hearings are conducted for appeals and how hearing officers are selected. The article also states that the Employer would agree to notify the Union of any proposed reclassifications at least 30 days prior to implementation.

New Article Salary Overpayment Recovery

The Employer proposed a new article detailing the process for salary overpayment recovery in accordance with relevant state law.

New Article Sick Time

As terms of sick time off are not outlined in the current contract, the Employer proposed a new article describing the accrual of sick time and use thereof. The article also explains that vacation time off may be used as sick time off when authorized, and that vacation time off may be used as sick time if an employee falls ill while using vacation time off. The article states that sick time would neither be abused nor arbitrarily denied, and that verification may be requested for sick time off longer than three days. Lastly, the article describes provisions surrounding cashing out sick time and family care leave.

Side Letter – UPASS

The Employer proposed that the fully subsidized UPASS would be available to all employees in the bargaining unit. Previously, the fully subsidized UPASS was only available to employees with a .5 FTE or higher.

Other Proposals

The Employer proposed housekeeping updates on the following articles:

  • Article 5 – Flexible Work Agreements/Arrangements
  • Article 18 – Safety and Health

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

  • MOU – Ratification Incentive
  • MOU – Seattle Locality Premium

The Employer proposed to maintain current contract language on the following provisions:

  • Article 1 – Union Recognition
  • Article 2 – Management Rights
  • Article 8 – Work Week, Work Day, Meal Breaks, and Rest Breaks
  • Article 10 – Rest Between Shifts
  • Article 11 – Minimum Call
  • Article 12 – On-Call
  • Article 14 – Temporary Hourly Fill-In Employees
  • Article 17 – Professional Development
  • Article 23 – Minimum Terms and Conditions
  • Article 24 – Subordination of Agreement and Savings Clause
  • Article 25 – Successors and Assigns
  • Article 26 – No Strike/Lockout
  • Article 27 – Newsroom Firewall
  • Article 28 – Corrective Action/Dismissal
  • Article 30 – Layoff
  • Article 31 – Rehire Rights
  • Article 32 – Notification of New Hires
  • Article 33 – Postings
  • Article 35 – Union Representatives and Stewards
  • Article 37 – Meal Policy
  • Article 38 – Broadcast Host Premium

Next Steps

The next UW and SAG-AFTRA bargaining session is scheduled for June 2.