Labor Relations

UAW RSE – UW Negotiations Recap for February 27


This recap details the seventeenth 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 accepted the Employer’s proposal to include language explaining that law dictates which positions are overtime eligible and exempt; they also accepted the Employer’s definitions regarding working hours for overtime exempt employees. The Union rejected the Employer’s proposal that only time worked would be counted for the purpose of computing overtime.

In response to the Employer’s proposal the overtime would have to be requested and approved for overtime eligible employees, the Union proposed that such employees could work up to 15 hours of overtime per work week (pro-rated for part time employees) without preapproval provided that all hours are worked pursuant to the responsibilities assigned to the position, on making progress toward professional goals, and/or on demonstrating the research and creative capabilities of the employee. Employees would need approval for work more than 15 hours overtime per week.

In response to the Employer’s proposal for remote research pay, the Union proposed a new premium for field work, which would be 15% of an employer’s regular rate of pay paid for all hours worked in the field. Field work would be defined as all working hours spent at a location or traveling to a location other than the employee’s regular work location that does not allow the employee to be back to their regular work location or home within 12 hours for purposes of meeting the responsibilities of the position, their professional goals, and/or demonstrating their research and creative abilities.

Hours of Work

The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal that overtime language would be captured in a separate article. The Union rejected the Employer’s proposal that the Employer and employee could mutually agree to less than 30 days’ notice for a change in FTE. The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal that the 30 days or more notice period would not apply to employee initiated requests to change FTE.

Layoff, Seniority, Rehire

Increase or Reduction in FTE – The Union proposed a new section regarding FTE change in the layoff article, withdrawing their original proposal that the entire article would apply to FTE change. In this section, the Union proposed that an employee in a position that is not abolished but is increased or reduced in FTE status and who will remain benefit eligible after the reduction or increase would have the choice of staying in the reduced or increased position and going on the rehire list for the position and FTE status held immediately prior to the increase or reduction, exercising available layoff rights. The employee must exercise this choice within three working days of the increase or reduction notice.

Rehire Trial Period – The Union accepted the Employer’s proposal that employees placed in a position from the rehire list would serve a rehire trial period, but it proposed to add the word “maximum” to clarify that the rehire trial period would be no longer than 6 months.

Layoff Notice – The Union proposed that the Union would receive notice of layoff at the same time as the employee, rather than within five days of the notice to the employee.

Exit Interviews

In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew its proposal that exit interviews would follow a standardized format, also withdrawing from the proposal the list of questions  that would need to be asked during the exit interview. The Union maintained its proposal that exit interviews would be shared with the Union on an annual basis.


In response to the Employer, the Union withdrew its proposal that the Employer would make affordable UW Housing available for all employees. The Union maintained its proposal that the Employer would provide an annual subsidy amounting to the difference between the average two bedroom annual rental rate in Seattle and 30% of each employee’s annual salary (pro-rated for part time).

Grievance Procedure

The Union modified its proposal to state that rather than the Step 1 grievance meeting needing to take place within 15 days of receipt of the grievance, the date for the meeting would be mutually agreed upon within that timeframe. The Union rejected the Employer’s proposal to add language outlining a timeframe for grievance filing in the event Step 1 is skipped.

Employer Counter Proposals

Health and Safety

In response to the Union’s proposal that employees required to be remote and whose official work location is their personal residence may request reimbursement for an ergonomic assessment, the Employer proposed language stating that such employees are encouraged to discuss their equipment and ergonomic assessment needs with their supervisor.

Work Location

The Employer accepted the Union’s proposal that 30 days’ notice would be required for a change in work location anticipated to last at least six months. The Employer proposed to add that 30 days’ notice would also be required for permanent changes in work locations to clarify that “at least six months” would include permanent changes.

Resignation and Abandonment and Exit Interviews

In response to the Union, the Employer withdrew its language on resignation and abandonment, but maintained its proposal on Exit Interviews.

Next Steps

The next UAW and UW bargaining session is scheduled for March 6 and will be held virtually.