Labor Relations

UAW RSE – UW Negotiations Recap for February 22


This recap details the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth 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.

Tentative Agreements

The parties tentatively agreed to the following:

Personnel Files

  • Outlines maintenance and contents of Official Personnel File (OPF)
  • Describes access to OPF and departmental/supervisor files
  • Employees have the right to request removal or correction of inaccurate materials in files; removal is subject to the Employer’s records retention policies


  • Based off the SEIU 925 IHME CBA (Article 18)
  • List official holidays, outlines how holidays are paid, and how the personal holiday is scheduled

Corrective Action

  • Describes forms of corrective action, including letter of expectations, demotion, dismissal, and removal of PI eligibility
  • Describes employees’ rights to Union representation during investigatory meetings
  • Describes process and timeline for dismissal
  • Outlines process of placing employees on administrative leave to investigate misconduct, policy violations, or derelictions of duty
  • Grievances related to corrective action may be filed at Step 2

New Employee Orientation

  • Based off the UAW Postdocs CBA (Article 17)
  • Outlines requirement for new employee orientation (NEO) and access to employees for the Union if an employee does not attend the NEO
  • Changes clarify the NEO is a requirement only for those with Seattle main campus as a primary work location


  • Outlines contents of offer of employment letter

Union Security

  • Based off the UAW Postdocs CBA (Article 30)
  • Describes Union dues deductions through the UW payroll system
  • Update clarifies that the Union will submit authorizations for deduction of dues through a web-based electronic reporting system

Voluntary Community Action Program (VCAP)

  • Based off the UAW Postdocs CBA (Article 31) without changes
  • Describes an additional deduction for VCAP through the payroll system


Union Economic Counter Proposals


The Union maintained the increases in its initial compensation proposal, which is described in detail here, but in response to the Employer, modified the date of their second proposed across-the-board increase. Instead of January 1, 2023, the Union proposed that March 31, 2023, employees would receive the increase to the new proposed minimums or a 24% increase, whichever is larger. The first increase in the proposal is the same; employees would receive 6% across the board retroactive to December 20, 2021.


In response to the Employer, the Union decreased its proposal for the amount of funds the UW would make available to a Research Scientist childcare fund from $2,000,000 to $150,000 per year of the agreement. Under this proposal, the Employer would distribute $75,000 of these funds in May of each year and the remainder in November of each yet.

Union Counter Proposals

PI Eligibility

In response to the Employer, the Union modified its proposal that any RSE 2, 3, or 4 would be eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) to state that employees could serve as PIs, but they would do so according to the policies of the department and school or college. The policies would be written by the department, school, or college, and when applications were denied, the department, school, or college would provide a written explanation for the denial and provide a copy to the Union.

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal to cite Executive Order (EO) 31, and proposed to replace their language describing types of behaviors that can be characterized as sexual harassment with the definition of sexual harassment in the Employer’s proposal, which also aligns with EO 31. The Union proposed an additional sentence that states sexual harassment may also include verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex- or gender-stereotyping, or sexual orientation.

The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal to cite Administrative Policy Statement (APS) 46.3 as a reference for complaint procedures. They also accepted the Employer’s proposal to reduce the number of days a grievance may be submitted that alleges violation of the Non-Discrimination Article from 365 days to 180 days. The Union also accepted the Employer’s proposal to include language stating that the interim measures that can be implemented when a grievance is filed would be implemented in accordance with University policies and determined by the Employer.

In response to the Employer, the Union removed definitions of abusive conduct, but maintained the list of examples of such conduct, referring to them now as inappropriate conduct.

The Union maintained its proposals on affirmative action and the equity survey and accepted the Employer’s proposal to include a section on workplace violence that states the UW policy on workplace violence would be followed.

Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities

The Union maintained its proposal that the Employer would provide a copy of disability separation notice to the Union within five working days of providing such notice to the employee.

Exit Interviews

The Union rejected the Employer’s proposal to include the subject of exit interviews in the Resignation and Abandonment article, but accepted the Employer’s general language from that article stating the importance and purpose of exit interview. The Union maintained their proposal outlining procedures and questions for exit interviews, but modified its proposal that the Employer and the Union would discuss exit interview findings annually at Joint Labor/Management Committee meetings (JLMs) to state the Employer and Union could initiate such discussion any time in JLMs.

Resignation and Abandonment

The Union rejected the entirety of the Employer’s proposal regarding resignation and abandonment.

Professional Development

In response to the Employer, the Union modified its proposal that each hiring unit would set aside professional development funds to state instead that the UW as a whole would set aside professional development funds for which employees would be eligible to apply. The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal that eligibility for employees to take professional leave with play would be contingent upon an external funding agency, where applicable. The Union also accepted the Employer’s language clarifying that compensation during leave without pay would be subject to Employer approval.

In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew its language stating that the Employer and Union would form a joint committee that would meet at least twice annually to discuss mentorship needs and opportunities. Instead, the Union proposed language stating that the Employer would meet twice annually to discuss issues related to professional development; the proposal included topics that would be discussed at such meetings.

Health and Safety

The Union maintained its proposal that when an employee is teleworking 100% of their time, and a dedicated UW-owned and/or operated workstation is not available, a virtual consult could be used for an ergonomic assessment of risk of work-related bodily injury.

Work Location

In response to the Employer’s proposal that employees would be notified no less than 30 days in advance of permanent changes to their official work location, the Union proposed that this notice period would apply to changes in official work location that last six months or longer.

Employer Economic Proposal

On February 7, the Employer presented a comprehensive response to all the Union’s outstanding economic items, including the Compensation, Childcare, Housing, and Retaining Institutional Knowledge Article proposals.

The proposal contains a table listing all proposed job classifications with current maximums and minimums.


The Employer proposed that effective 90 days after ratification all employees hired prior to September 1, 2022, who have not received a salary increase within the last 12 months would receive an across-the-board increase of 2%.

The Employer also proposed that effective September 1, 2023, 2024, and 2025, all employees would receive an across-the-board increase of 2%.

The Employer proposed that each September 1, the salary ranges for employees would be adjusted by the same percentage change of the respective across-the-board increases.

Salary Setting Upon Promotion, Reclassification, or Transfer

The Employer proposed that upon promotion or reclassification from one UAW RSE A-4 or UAW-UW APL position to another UAW RSE A-4 or UAW-UW APL position with a higher salary range, the affected employee would receive a salary no less than the salary range minimum of the new job class and no higher than the salary range maximum.

The Employer proposed that movement to a different UAW RSE A-4 or UAW-UW APL position in the same salary grade would not require or preclude a salary adjustment, and that an employee who voluntarily moves or is reclassified to a UAW RSE A-4 or UAW-UW APL position with a lower salary range would be paid a salary no less than the salary range minimum of the new job class and no higher than the salary range maximum of the new job class.

In-Grade Salary Adjustments

The Employer proposed that at its discretion, it may approve in-grade salary increases for any employee in the bargaining unit at any time, for the following reasons: a change in level of duties and responsibilities, meritorious performance with increased level of functioning, of retention, market competitiveness or retention, employment offer or active recruitment from outside of the University, or internal equity.

The Employer also proposed that it could increase the salary range of UAW-UW Research Scientist Engineer A-55 or UAW-UW APL job classes that are experiencing recruitment/retention problems, upon thirty (30) days’ notice to the union and the opportunity for the union to bargain.

The Employer also proposed that it could provide compensation to individual employees at rates above the maximum for their job class upon request by unit HR staff and approval by the UW HR Compensation Office.

Pay For Teaching

The Employer proposed that at its sole discretion it could approve payment for teaching a for-credit course when the teaching is clearly in addition to the employee’s regular bargaining unit duties. In addition, teaching for-credit courses would require Academic Human Resources approval in advance. Under this proposal, the decision to permit teaching for-credit courses would be a management right and not subject to the grievance process.

Temporary Pay/Salary Increase

The Employer proposed that an employee who for ten or more days is temporarily assigned additional duties could receive a temporary pay increase of at least 5% over their current salary. The temporarily assigned duties could be at the same level or at a higher level (i.e., duties belonging to a job classification in a higher salary range). The pay increase would be retroactive to the first day of working the additional duties.

Administrative Supplement

The Employer accepted the Union’s language defining an Administrative supplement as a lump sum amount added monthly to an employee’s gross monthly salary to recognize the assumption of higher level administrative responsibilities. The Employer additionally proposed that only overtime exempt staff would be eligible to receive administrative supplements.

Sea and Remote Research Pay (SRR)

The Employer proposed that in recognition of hardships imposed during the performance of duty in remote field locations, the Employer could provide Sea and Remote Research pay (SRR) during a research cruise or trip. SRR would only be paid to employees in overtime exempt classifications when qualifying conditions are met as determined by the Employer. SRR could be offered in the form of additional pay, equivalent time off, or a combination of the two.

Employer Initial Proposals


The Employer proposed a framework for the duration article, which states that the CBA would become effective upon ratification and process for requesting negotiating successor Agreements. The Employer stated it is proposing that the contract would be in effect for three years.

Employer Counter Proposals

Grievance Procedure

In response to the Union, the Employer added language in Step 2 of the grievance process that describes the process if Step 1 is bypassed. The Step 2 would need to be filed within 21 days of the occurrence of the events giving rise to the grievance or from the time at which the aggrieved individual would reasonably have become aware of the grievance.

Performance Evaluation

The Employer accepted the Union’s proposal that employees could request evaluations more frequently. In response to the Union’s proposal that the Employer and employee would develop and document a joint plan for performance improvement, the Employer proposed language stating that the employee would be encouraged to contribute to the performance evaluation. The Employer also proposed that the performance evaluation meeting would include making revisions to the employee’s job description if applicable to address the Union’s stated desire that changes in job description be documented.

In response to the Union’s list of other types of personnel whose comments may be included on performance evaluations, the Employer proposed language stating that supervisors could solicit performance feedback from others who have knowledge of the employee’s performance as appropriate.

Lastly, in response to the Union’s proposal that promotions and salary adjustments could result from a performance evaluation and should be implemented no later than ten days after the evaluation is signed, the Employer proposed that if the evaluation and supplemental information indicates that a reclassification may be appropriate, a position review could be requested in accordance with the article on Classification and Reclassification.

International Rights

The Employer rejected the entirety of the Union’s proposal regarding international rights.

Next Steps

The next UAW and UW bargaining session is scheduled for February 27 and will be held virtually.