Our Interest Arbitration bill, HB 1764 has been prefiled in the state legislature for the upcoming legislative session!
HB 1764’s first public hearing will be NEXT FRIDAY, JAN. 14TH AT 8AM.
There are 3 ways YOU can support this bill RIGHT NOW:
- Note Your Position for the Legislative Record: PRO
- Submit Written Testimony
- Testify Remotely (via video during the hearing, usually < 2 mins)
You can also do all the above here. Choose:
- Committee: Labor & Workplace Standards
- Meeting: 1/14, 8:00am
- Agenda item: HB 1764 Physician bargaining
**Do not sign in as an org rep—just as yourself—or they’ll count all your sign-ins as a single one.
During the last round of bargaining, a lot of our members showed interest in pursuing interest arbitration. A group of us have been working with a few legislators over the last year to propose legislation that would allow for our bargaining unit to have access to interest arbitration for bargaining.
What is interest arbitration?
The short summary: interest arbitration is for resolving issues in contract bargaining between the employer and us. When we reach impasse with UW in bargaining, instead of UW’s last offer being the agreement – it would go to a group of neutral arbitrators. The arbitrators host a formal hearing and each party presents their position. The arbitrators review the testimony and evidence to decide on unresolved issues. UW then has to implement this. Interest arbitration for contract bargaining is fairly rare and generally only for classes of employees who work in public safety (police officers, fire fighters, ferry workers). It can be incredibly difficult to pass this legislation, so we need as many of us as possible to speak up!
Don’t we already use arbitration?
Our collective bargaining agreement currently allows for grievance arbitration; however, grievance arbitration and interest arbitration are two separate tools. To receive interest arbitration we have to get legislation passed first.
Who has access to interest arbitration?
Interest arbitration is generally only granted to public employees who have an impact on public safety; therefore, it is in the public’s interest to avoid these groups going on strike.
Groups in Washington state currently eligible for arbitration include:
o Washington State Patrol
o Public transit employees
o Washington State Ferries employees
o Family child care providers
o Adult family home care providers
o Long-term care providers
o Language access providers
o Employees of certain commercial nuclear plants
Why are we advocating for this?
The resident/fellow physicians of UW are the next generation of attending physicians in Washington state. Resident/fellow physicians employed within UW account for nearly 20% of practicing physicians in King County every year, and these physicians are critical to retain in Washington to treat the patients of this state. In order for the University of Washington to recruit the best, most diverse doctors to our region, it needs to offer compensation that corresponds with Seattle’s rising cost of living. Interest Arbitration would allow for members of RFPU – NW, vital healthcare workers, to avoid going on strike, and balance the power dynamic that currently allows the employer to offer insufficient financial compensation to employees. The purpose of pursuing access to interest arbitration for the RFPU – NW collective bargaining agreement is to improve the salary, benefits, and protections through a fair contract by having third party arbitrators involved when we reach impasse with the employer.
How Can YOU Help?
Mobilize Allies: Do as many of the actions above as you can! And then encourage your co-residents, healthcare colleagues, family, and friends to do it too.
Organizational Support Letter: If you are a member of an organization, ask for their sign on! Org Sign-On Letter: bit.ly/1764ORGendorse
Reach Out to Your Legislators: If you have relationships with state legislators, you can encourage them to join on as a co-sponsor.
Be on the lookout for next steps soon!