UAW RSE – UW Negotiations Recap for December 8 and 15
This recap details the seventh and eighth virtual session between the University of Washington (UW) and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4121 for the first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for Research Scientist Engineers (RSEs). Recaps are published online on the UW Labor Relations website.
Union Counter Proposals
The Union’s counter was based on the Employer’s initial proposal, which defined the probationary period as six months following the initial appointment, with the option to extend the probation up to an additional six months by mutual agreement of the Union and Employer. The Union’s counter proposed that the probationary period would be three months and that the option to extend the probationary period would be for up to an additional three months. The Union also proposed language stating that employees would receive a performance evaluation upon completion of their probationary period.
The Union maintained the first section of their initial proposal on Exit Interviews that explains the importance of exit interviews, but in response to the Employer, the Union agreed to strike the second section, which stated that the Union would be notified within five days of an employee giving notice. The Union also maintained their proposal that exit interviews would be placed within employees’ Official Personnel Files, but agreed to strike language stating that exit interviews would not be conducted by a direct supervisor, instead accepting the Employer’s proposal that the exit interview could be conducted by a direct supervisor, unit administrator, or HR representative, whichever is preferable to the employee and available.
The Union rejected the Employer’s counter that stated the topics and questions listed in the Union’s proposed article could be covered in the interview, instead maintaining that all the topics and questions listed would be covered in the interview. In response to the Employer, the Union proposed language stating that departments are free to ask additional questions.
In response to the Employer, the Union reduced how often exit interviews would be shared with the union from twice annually to once annually. The Union maintained its proposal of language stating that interview data would be confidential (rather than anonymous, as the Employer had proposed).
Reasonable Accommodation of Employees with Disabilities
In response to the Employer, the Union agreed to strike language generally committing both parties to reasonable accommodations. The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal to add language referencing the Administrative Policy Statement (46.5) on the subject and to add language describing accommodation for pregnancy. The Union otherwise maintained its proposal.
Tuition Exemption Program
The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal that employees could use vacation time off (in addition to flex time) to take courses during regular working hours off. The Union maintained its proposal of language stating that when an employee is required to take a tuition exempt class by the Employer, all fees and related costs would be paid by the Employer and that required attendance outside of regular working hours would be considered time worked. In response to the Employer, the Union agreed to strike language stating that employees would be allowed to register for classes on the third day of the quarter.
The Union maintained its proposal the reimbursements for required travel must be processed within 30 days of submission of reimbursement forms and required receipts. The Union also maintained its proposal that travel would be considered hours worked and that all bargaining unit employees would be eligible to receive an Individual Travel Card. In response to the Employer, the Union agreed to strike language stating that the Employer would reimburse any credit card interest fees incurred by employees resulting from untimely reimbursement processing.
In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew their initial proposal that the parties would agree to regularly scheduled arbitration hearings. The Union maintained the rest of its proposal.
The Union withdrew their original counter, instead proposing language based off the Employer’s initial proposal with the following stricken from the list of rights in the original proposal: the right to determine the need for overtime, the right to establish the composition of the workforce, and the right to determine the process by which employee performance is evaluated. The Union proposed to strike language stating that no action taken by the Employer with respect to a management right would be subject to the grievance procedure unless the exercise thereof violates an express written provision of the CBA. Instead, the Union proposed language stating that the Management Rights article would not preclude the use of the grievance procedure.
In response to the Employer, the Union added language stating that offers of employment would be made following pre-employment requirements. Otherwise, the Union maintained its last counter.
In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew its proposal regarding cash out of holiday credit.
Inclement Weather and Suspended Operations
In response to the Employer, the Union proposed to modify its proposal that an employee faced with unanticipated problems related to natural disasters or severe weather conditions would be allowed to telework; the new proposal states that employees in such circumstances would be allowed to telework if operationally feasibly. Similarly, the Union withdrew their language stating that any employee who can successfully accomplish their work away from the worksite would have the option to telework, instead accepting the Employer’s proposed language, which states that employees may telework during suspended operations as long as they have the advance written approval of their supervisor or manager.
Employer Counter Proposals
In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew its proposal that performance evaluations may include plans for employee development may include both employee and supervisor actions. The Union also withdrew language stating the purpose of the evaluation meeting may be to modify the evaluation, if appropriate. The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal that the performance evaluation meeting would include a review of the employee’s job description. In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew that said meeting should include comments from faculty, students, clients, and peers, instead proposing that comments from faculty, students, clients, peers, and others could also be included as appropriate.
The Employer rejected the Union’s initial proposal regarding PI eligibility, instead proposing language stating that upon prior approval by the University, and according to the policies of the department and school or college, employees could serve as principal investigators on proposals submitted by the University to potential sponsors. Under this proposal, eligibility to serve as a principal investigator would not guarantee a proposal developed by the PI-eligible individual would be approved by the University for submission to a potential sponsor.
Transportation and Commute Reduction
UPASS – The Employer proposed to modify the Union’s initial proposal that bargaining unit employees would not be charged a fee for a UPASS to state that this benefit would only apply to bargaining unit employees working in Washington State. The Employer also proposed to add language stating that activation and maintenance of this benefit are subject to UW Transportation Services requirements.
Parking – The Employer proposed to strike language from the Union’s initial proposal stating that the Employer would inform the Union of modifications to parking policies and that the Union would have the option to bargain impacts of those policy changes. The Employer also proposed to strike language stating that the Union could raise issues about the University’s parking program at Joint Union Management Committee meetings.
Bicycles – The Employer rejected the Union’s initial proposal stating that employees would have access to shower facilities and that the University would maintain a webpage listing buildings with shower facilities. The Employer also rejected the Union’s proposal that the University would reimburse employees for the purchase, repair, improvement, and storage of bicycles up to a maximum reimbursement of $360 each year.
Recognition of Work
In response to the Union, the Employer proposed language stating that the University would retain the right to amend, change or alter the Executive Orders (EOs) cited in the Union’s initial proposal (EO 36 regarding patent and copyright and EO 61 regarding scientific misconduct) at any time, and that the Employer would notify the Union of any substantive changes. The Employer also proposed language stating that the only time the grievance procedure would apply to these policies would be in the event of dismissal or discipline of an RSE as a result of these policies.
The Employer also proposed to strike language listing circumstances in which the role of the employee should be credited or acknowledged, instead proposing to amend the Union’s proposed language to state that publication credits would accurately reflect the contributions and work of the individuals involved as determined by the Employer.
Employer Initial Proposals
Salary Overpayment Recovery
The Employer proposed an article that outlines the process followed when the Employer has determined that an employee has been overpaid wages. The language in the initial proposal is identical to language in a number of other University of Washington CBAs.
Resignation and Abandonment
The Employer proposed an article describing the process for employees to resign. Language in the proposal states that employees would be encouraged to provide at least two weeks’ notice of resignation and that a written or oral resignation could be withdrawn within 24 hours, excluding the employee’s scheduled days off and holidays off, after submitting the resignation.
The article also outlines presumption of resignation, which would occur after an employee fails to appear for work and report absence to the supervisor in accordance with departmental policy on three consecutive scheduled workdays. Notice of separation would be sent to the employee’s last known address on record with the UW Payroll Office via certified mail after the third consecutive day of absence, but prior to sending the notice, the Employer would attempt to contact the employee through current telephone and emergency contact numbers on record in Workday.
No Strike, No Lockout
The Employer proposed language stating that the Employer would not lockout any employees as a result of a labor dispute or grievance or disputes on personnel matters nor would the Union condone or authorize a work stoppage, work slowdown, or any other curtailment of work in the bargaining unit.
The next UAW and UW bargaining session is scheduled for January 5 and will be held virtually.