UWHA and UW Labor Relations met for the fourth bargaining session on August 6th. Articles 6, 25, 17, and 19 were discussed. Article 6 covers Fringe Benefits and multiple improvements and new benefits were proposed. These include:
- Insisting that UW commit to resident wellness by allowing residents to miss clinical time to attend GME wellness counseling sessions with no questions asked
- Increasing the meals allotment to $11 per meal with a $0.50 automatic annual increase
- Expansion of the meals allotment to include shifts at NWH and the VA as well
- Additional Cell Phone Stipend of $600 per year, due to all residents and fellows being required to use their cell phones for work purposes
- Requirement that programs launder white coats at no charge to residents
- Requirement that residents have access to fitness centers/rooms at all hospitals 24/7/365.
- Additional Relocation Reimbursement of up to $3000 in expenses related to moving to Seattle
Labor Relations remarked that our cell phone ask was “very reasonable.” They also proposed that we each probably needed four white coats in order to keep them clean all the time. We couldn’t agree more. When asked why the meals reimbursement hasn’t increased since 2011, GME responded that they were waiting, anticipating deciding on an increase during bargaining. This seems curious considering IRFAC is the committee that is supposed to make updates to the policy, and the meals allocation amount was not even in the original CBA. It seems they were waiting for us to bring it up rather than doing their duty of making sure residents can afford food. We all agreed about the importance of ease of scheduling Wellness Counseling appointments, and GME insisted they are working on hiring more counselors given Mindy and Pamela’s departures.
In addition, an attempt was made to bargain for better health insurance and ensured retirement coverage for all UWHA members, however UW Labor Relations insisted that these topics were not subject to bargaining under the law.
Article 25 covers Transportation. Multiple improvements and new benefits were proposed. These included:
- Increase the travel allowance to $1000 per year
- Address recent issues with residents not being reimbursed for travel expenses related to required away rotations by adding language specifying this requirement
- Free UPASS for all
- Increased Bike Maintenance yearly reimbursement to $150, clarified yearly Bike Share reimbursement of $100, and increased Bike Sustainability reimbursement to $50 per quarter
- Improved Emergency Safe Ride Home Program to prevent ongoing arbitrary GME rejections of requests
The UWHA argued that in order to meet its Campus Master Plan commitment of 12% single-occupancy vehicles, the UW must further incentivize biking and public transportation with the above incentives. We also argued strongly in favor of a no-questions-asked Safe Ride Home policy in which residents can be reimbursed round trip for ride share costs any time they feel unsafe for any reason. UWHA presented packets of data showing the current costs and impacts on residents related to the above Fringe Benefits and Transportation issues, including resident testimonials. UWHA plans to share this data publicly in the near future.
Article 17 concerns Management Rights. One small but very important change was proposed. The following language was added: In the event that a non-University controlled facility does not provide a benefit outlined in this agreement or required by ACGME Common Program Requirements, the University will provide that benefit. This was proposed in an effort to address the ongoing blatant violations of ACGME policy occurring at the VA and NWH including lack of food and lack of sleep rooms.
Article 19 is titled “No Strikes, No Lockouts.” There was again one small but important change proposed. The following language was added: “If any number of Resident employees engage in unauthorized concerted actions, any disciplinary action taken by the University as a result must be applied equally to all Resident employees who participated in the.” This was added due to a recognition of the fact that in any disciplinary action, people of color are punished more harshly than white people. This is clearly born out by significant evidence. We plan to protect our members of color and other minority members by insisting they not be disciplined more harshly than any other members.
The next bargaining session is set for Monday, August 12th, at 3:00pm on the UW campus.