UAW RSE – UW Negotiations Recap for January 5 and 10
This recap details the ninth and tenth 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.
The parties tentatively agreed to the following:
- Based off the UAW Postdocs CBA (Article 21) without changes
- The Employer shall, upon request, meet and confer with the Union over effects of contracting
- Contracting is an appropriate item for Joint Labor Management meetings (JLMs)
Employer Assistance Program
- Based off the SEIU 925 IHME CBA (Article 40) without changes
- Language states that the Employer will continue to offer the Employee Assistance Program
- Article cites Washington State civil service law’s reversion rights. Employees who have reversion rights must request to exercise them within 30 days of the termination of the exempt position.
- Based off the RFPU CBA (Article 5.8) with slight modifications
- The Employer will notify the Union of public records requests that directly concern and encompass Union members.
- Any employee required to travel to a place of work other than their official duty station shall be reimbursed for travel costs if eligible according to UW policy.
- Reimbursements will be processed within 30 days of submission of all required reimbursement forms and receipts
- Employees are eligible to apply for an Individual Travel Card with department/unit approval
Union Counter Proposals
In response to the Employer, the Union reduced their proposal of the number of days of notice required for terminations that do not involve misconduct from 30 days to 14 days.
The Union withdrew its proposal to strike the ability to establish the composition of the workforce as a management right. It also withdrew its proposal to strike the ability to determine the process by which employee performance is evaluated as a management right. The Union continues to maintain its proposal to strike the ability to determine the need for overtime as a management right.
In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew RSE 2 as one of the job titles eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI). The Union also accepted the Employer’s proposal to add language stating that eligibility to serve as a PI would not guarantee a proposal developed by the PI-eligible individual would be approved by the University for submission to a potential sponsor. Otherwise, the Union maintained its proposal that RSE 3 and RSE 4 job titles would be eligible to serve as PIs.
Healthcare Benefits Amounts
The Union proposed to add terms from the 2021-2023 biennium coalition healthcare agreement to the contract. These terms would expire June 30, 2023.
Recognition of Work
In response to the Employer’s proposal that publication credits would accurately reflect the contributions and work of the individuals involved as determined by the Employer, the Union proposed to accept the language but change the word “Employer” to “University.”
Transportation and Commute Reduction
UPASS – The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal to clarify that the fully subsidized UPASS is a benefit for bargaining unit members in Washington State. The Union also accepted the Employer’s language stating that activation and maintenance of this benefit are subject to UW Transportation Services requirements.
Parking – The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal to strike language stating that the Employer would inform the Union as soon as possible after the University learns of any modifications to parking policies that may affect bargaining unit employees. The Union maintained its proposal that the Union could have the option to bargain the effects of said modifications.
Bikes – In response to the Employer, the Union proposed that upon request, access to shower facilities may be granted at a nearby UW-controlled building that has shower facilities and that an employee’s request to use a shower facility in an area the employee would not otherwise be granted access would not be considered. (The previous proposal stated that that the employee would be granted access to shower facilities regardless.) The Union withdrew its proposal that the UW would maintain a webpage listing buildings with established shower facilities and that access to shower facilities could be discussed at JLMs.
The Union also withdrew its proposal that the Employer would reimburse employees for the repair, improvement and storage of bicycles but maintained its proposal that the Employer would reimburse employees for the purchase of bicycles. In response to the Employer, the Union decreased the proposed maximum the Employer would reimburse employees for said purchases from $360 to $250.
Salary Overpayment Recovery
The Union accepted the Employer’s proposed article on Salary Overpayment Recovery with two modifications from the SEIU 925 IHME CBA . The Union proposed to add language stating that employees may request a meeting with the Employer and an interpreter to have the overpayment notification explained. The Union also proposed to add compensatory time balances as a method of payback for overpayment.
The Union accepted the Employer’s proposed language stating that offers of employment could only be made once pre-employment requirements have been met. The Union also accepted the Employer’s proposal to strike “a brief description of the anticipated research project” from items that would be included in the offer letter and to include “position description” instead; however, the Union proposed to add language stating that the position description would provide a brief description of the anticipated research projects unless prohibited by the funder. The Union also accepted the Employer’s proposal to add “overtime exemption status” to the list of items included in the offer letter.
Telework and Work Location
Telework Agreements and Policies – The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal to change the name of the proposed article on Work Location to “Telework and Work Location.” In response to the Employer’s proposal to incorporate UW’s telework policy into this article, the Union made several modifications, including striking their definitions of “long-term telework” and “occasional telework” to use the definitions of occasional, hybrid, and full remote telework from said policy.
The Union rejected the Employer’s proposal that denial of a telework request is not subject to the grievance procedure and maintained its proposal that policies around teleworking would be considered appropriate subjects for Joint Union Management Meetings.
Telework equipment – The Union replaced the list of UW equipment that it initially proposed would be provided to employees teleworking long-term with language that states that departments with remote employees would be required to reimburse and/or provide the equipment and supplies which they deem necessary to enable remote employees to perform their UW work, in accordance with UW’s policies governing reimbursement of business expenses
Work Location – In response to the Employer, the Union modified its proposal that specific primary work locations be disclosed during the recruitment process to state that if a job has been previously designated as suitable or unsuitable for hybrid or remote work, that information would be disclosed to the employee within the job description.
In response to the Employer’s proposal that 30 days’ notice whenever practicable would be provided when it is necessary to change an employee’s work location, the Union proposed a system of contingencies for notice of such a change. The Union proposed that four months’ notice would be provided, but that if the Employer learns of circumstances that would require a work location change with less than four months’ notice, that information would be disclosed to the employee within 14 days of knowing and no later than 30 days before the change goes into effect. If an employee is given notice of a work location change less than 30 days in advance, that employee would be given the option to telework until 30 days after the information is disclosed.
Employer Initial Proposals
Hiring, Promotions, and Transfers
Hiring – The Employer proposed a new article that describes filling positions, job duties, promotions, transfers, and trial service period. The article states that the Employer would determine when a position will be filled, the appropriate type of appointment to be used when filling the position, and the training, certification(s), security clearances, skills, abilities, and other requirements necessary to perform the duties of the specific position within a job classification. The proposal also states that duties assigned an employee would be consistent with the overall class concept of the employee’s job classification.
Promotions, Transfers, and Voluntary Demotions – The article defines promotions as movement to a position with a higher salary range minimum through a competitive application process, transfers as a movement to a new position in the same classification, and voluntary demotions as movement to a position with a lower salary minimum. This article would not apply to employees who demote as the result of corrective action.
Trial Service Periods – The article states that employees who promote, transfer, or voluntarily demote into positions covered by the CBA would serve a six-month Trial Service Period. During the first month of the Trial Service Period, employees would have preemptive rights to their former position. After the first month but during remainder of trial service, employees who are not staying in the new position would have the option to revert to their former position if it is still vacant or be placed on the rehire list.
In response to the Union, the Employer withdrew its proposal that the probationary period could be extended for up to six months.
Appendix – Salary Minimum and Maximum
The Employer proposed to include an appendix in the contract that would capture job profiles, job codes, salary minimums, and salary maximums. The proposal should not be considered a proposal on wages, but rather a structure for how salary would be enshrined in the contract.
Employer Counter Proposals
Inclement Weather and Suspended Operations
The Employer accepted the Union’s proposal that employees who perform nonessential services who cannot telework during an operational suspension could request to use compensatory time off in addition to other time off types. The Employer proposed to clarify language surrounding essential employees; the original language referred to “employees performing essential services;” the employer proposed that the contract refer to “employees designated as essential.”
The Employer withdrew its strike of language stating that holiday credit must be used before compensatory time off.
Time Off and Leave
Bereavement – In response to the Union’s proposal that five days paid bereavement time off would be granted in the event of the death of a family member, the Employer proposed that three days would be granted.
Vacation Time Off – The Employer rejected the Union’s proposal that new employees would receive their first sixty days of vacation time off at the beginning of the month following the start of employment. The Employer also rejected language stating that employees would not earn a month of service toward a higher vacation accrual rate for every month in which they have taken more than 10 days without pay; under the Employer’s proposal, employees would earn a month of service toward their accrual rate for every month worked, regardless of days off. The Employer also struck the reference to discretionary time off in the Union’s proposal, as discretionary time off has not otherwise been proposed.
Sick Time Off – The Employer rejected the Union’s proposal that new employees would receive their first 48 hours of sick leave at the beginning of the month following the start of employment. The Employer also proposed that employees with unpaid time off exceeding 80 hours in a month (prorated for part-time) would earn a monthly accrual proportionate to the number of hours in pay status, rather than the Union’s language, which stated that sick leave would accrue at a rate of one hours for every 40 hours work when unpaid time exceed 80 in a month. The Employer struck language stating that sick time off could be used to provide emergency child care; the reason for this strike is that family care emergencies are not defined in the article and so this language would be more appropriate elsewhere. Lastly, the Employer modified language stating that former eligible employees who are re-employed would be granted unused sick time off to clarify that the re-employment must be within five years, and that the reinstatement of unused sick time off is only granted upon request of the employee.
Washington Family Medical Leave (PFML) – The Employer proposed to add bereavement time off as a supplemental benefit for approved PFML family leave, in addition to the Union’s proposed supplemental benefits.
Parental Leave – The Employer increased from four to six months the leave granted an employee after the birth or placement of a child with the employee, spouse, or domestic partner.
Work-Related Injury – The Employer rejected language stating that employees using accrued sick time off during a period in which they receive worker’s compensation would receive full sick time off pay, less any industrial insurance payments for time loss during the sick time off period. Under the Employer’s proposal, employees can elect to receive full sick pay without any subtractions as well as industrial insurance payments, if they so choose.
The next UAW and UW bargaining session is scheduled for January 18 and will be held virtually.