Labor Relations

UW Libraries & SEIU 925 Negotiations Recap for September 29, 2022


This recap details the twenty-fifth virtual sessions for the initial collective bargaining agreement between the UW Libraries and SEIU 925. Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website. The parties agreed to ground rules for these negotiations.

Tentative Agreements

  • Article – Health & Safety
    • The parties agreed to similar language found in the main SEIU 925 contract with additions to sections regarding safety, personal protective equipment, ergonomics, and wellness. The parties agreed that during an anticipated event, employees who have personal safety concerns can speak with their supervisor to find a temporary alternative, and if the requested is denied, the employee may request a written reason for denial. The language agreed upon also includes language to address unanticipated situations, which states that an employee can remove themselves from the situation if they feel unsafe. The parties agreed to include language which directs employees with concerns about air quality standards to escalate the issue through their supervisor and that EH&S will continue to evaluate reports regarding air quality. The parties agreed to include a new section on personal protective equipment in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and procedures for PPE training that will not include discipline of employees refusing to work if PPE is required and not provided. The parties agreed to include language that employees are able to request an ergonomic assessment which may include needed adjustments. The parties agreed that the Employer would continue to provide access to wellness rooms.

Employer Counter Proposal

Classifications, Reclassifications, and Promotions of Professional Libraries and Press Employees – In response to the Union, the Employer proposed that a Union requested review of a proposed new classification or edits to an existing classification would not be grievable.

Promotions and Transfers of Professional Libraries and Press Employees – In response to the Union, the Employer proposed that provided there is at least one bargaining unit applicant with the essential skills, per job requisition, they would be among those granted an interview for the bargaining unit positions, but would not receive priority interview consideration before outside candidates. . The Employer proposed that an Employer review of whether an individual has the essential skills for a position is not grievable.  Employees that are interviewed but not offered the position can request an explanation but not grieve the decision.

Resignation, Abandonment, and Reemployment – In response to the Union, the Employer proposed to extend the title to include re-employment. The proposed language  includes language regarding  exit interviews to match the Union’s previous proposal and includes that the employer’s exit interview questions are available upon request. The proposal also includes language regarding the process for  re-employment upon retirement for Librarians. This process provides for librarians to be selected by the dean or apply for re-employment after retirement. All decisions regarding re-employment after retirement are at the sole discretion of the University.

Union Counter Proposals

Academic Freedom – In response to the Employer, the Union reasserted their previous proposal in full without any amendments. The Union values academic freedom due to the opportunity and protections it allows to pursue important or significant contributions.

Appointments – In response to the Employer, the Union proposed that Librarians who possess the experience and contributions that is of sufficient significance should warrant the University to employ them for the rest of their professional careers.  The Employer had proposed that the employment be on an ongoing basis. The Union proposed that temporary and interim appointments would receive written notification of the anticipated maximum length of the appointment and the eligibility for benefits. The Union proposed that either halfway through the duration, or six months before the end of the appointment (whichever is shorter), the Employer would meet with the Employee to discuss the Employer’s long-term goals for the position, strategies they are pursuing for funding, and anticipated timelines for when concrete decisions about the position may be made. The time as a temporary or interim would count towards a regular position. The Union proposed that a temporary appointment could be converted into a regular position if it is a competitive process to fill the vacancy.

Duties and Assignments – In response to the Employer, the Union reasserted  language for job duties to be completed during the employee’s work hours. The Union accepted the employer’s language regarding the percentage of work that is core duties vs research and service, however, with accepted that language, proposed that no discipline would occur for any percentages of work hours on core duties, research and service performed.

Layoff, Seniority, Rehire – In response to the Employer, the Union reasserted much of the language proposed previously, including that decisions that are made by the employer in this article could all be subject to impact bargaining and alternatives could be suggested. The Union proposed that a new hire could only be initiated if there were no  qualified employees on the rehire list. The Union proposed language that if the Employer would need to reduce its workforce, the consideration of attrition, retirement, resignation, and voluntary reductions would first be considered. The Union proposed a section on furlough and reassignment to include furlough as being a temporary period of unpaid time away based on projected budgets. For furloughs, there would be 30 days written notification, for reassignment there would be notice of at least three months. The Union proposed that temporary reassignment could be used to fill vacancies. The Union proposed that layoff would be considered if there is a financial emergency or a program elimination for budgetary or education policy reasons and there would be at least six month notification in advance. The Union proposed that the Employer would need to identify criteria and procedures for any programmatic changes to be implemented for a layoff. The Union proposed that employees notified of layoff would be able to grieve any violation of the process. The Union proposed that the formal employment option would be a vacant position at the same grade for professional libraries and press employees or at the same salary range for librarians and secondly, a vacant position at a lower grade or lower salary range.  The Union proposed a trial period for training and skills development for an employment option trial period. The Union proposed that for involuntary FTE increases and reductions, that there would be two choices available: stay in the impacted position or be laid off as they have proposed in the article. The Union proposed a retention order when layoff is required with appointees with regular status first and temporary appointees second. If layoffs require regular status employees to be impacted, the Union proposed that determination would include position specific specialized skills, duties and/or responsibilities, employee specific specialized skills and organizational diversity and equity goals. The Union also proposed that seniority could be used for layoff when all other things are equal. The Union proposed language in the placement from the rehire list to include length of time on the rehire list and that seniority would be the next factor after duration for professional libraries and press employees and it would be duration followed by status for librarians.

Next Steps

The next UW Libraries and SEIU 925 bargaining session is scheduled for October 4 and will be held virtually.