Labor Relations

Basic collective bargaining obligations

Almost everything in Labor Relations is evaluated on the specific facts of each situation. Although this is a general guideline to some common labor principles, always contact Labor Relations or your Human Resources Consultant with any questions or to discuss potential changes that might impact represented employees prior to taking any action.

Mandatory Subjects: Wages, Hours, and Working Conditions

Proposed changes to a mandatory subject of bargaining requires notification to the Union that represents the impacted employees.

  • Work with Labor Relations to help them understand the specific facts of the requested change so they can provide guidance and analysis.
  • If a change impacts a mandatory subject of bargaining, Labor Relations must send a notice to the Union before the action is taken.
  • Notice must be provided sufficiently in advance of the intended change to allow for meaningful bargaining (60-90 days minimum strongly encouraged).
  • Union may accept the change or request bargaining within 30 or 60 days of when they receive notice, depending on the contract.
  • If bargaining is requested, we must meet and bargain the impacts or decision with the Union (which type of bargaining depends on the specific facts of the requested change).
  • Management is not compelled to agree or make concessions, but we are required to bargain in good faith to agreement or impasse.
Interference Unfair Labor Practice

An employee reasonably perceives the UW’s action as a threat or a promise of a benefit, associated with the union activity of an employee.

  • Intent to interfere is not required.
  • Example: A supervisor suggests an employee may get a bad job reference if the employee files a grievance against them.
Discrimination Unfair Labor Practice

An Employee is engaged in a protected union activity and deprived of some benefit because of the union activity. In discrimination cases, the UW can state non-discriminatory reasons for the loss of benefit.

  • Example: An employee is demoted for being too outspoken during contract bargaining.
Unilateral Change Unfair Labor Practice

Changes are made to represented employees’ wages, hours, or working conditions without providing their Union with notice and an opportunity to bargain.

  • This includes changes to past practice as well as the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Example: UW changes the start time for your department from 8am to 7am without notifying the Union.
Circumvention/Direct Dealing Unfair Labor Practice

UW going around the Union and negotiating directly with employee/s about changes to a mandatory subject of bargaining.

  • This applies even if an individual represented employee is willing to negotiate directly with their leader.
  • Example: UW shares proposals with represented employees before sharing them with the Union.
Contracting Out and Skimming Unfair Labor Practices

Contracting Out – Work historically done by bargaining unit members is transferred to employees of another employer.

  • Example: UW hires a contractor to do plumbing work without notifying the Union.

Skimming – Work historically done by bargaining unit members is transferred to other UW employees.

  • Example: UW has Hospital Assistants do work that RNs have historically done.
  • UW has professional staff employees complete overflow work that is typically done by classified staff, e.g., coding specialist.
How do we prevent Unfair Labor Practices?
  • Communication
  • Communication (listed again for emphasis)
  • Communication (listed again for double emphasis)

Managers are strongly encouraged to attend the Labor Relations 101 training, which is held quarterly on Zoom: