RFPU-NW and UW Labor Relations (UW) met for the first (virtual) bargaining session. RFPU-NW presented initial proposals for Articles 1-22. The remaining article proposals will be presented at the next session on Wed, January 19th.

The proposals can be read in their entirety here, along with a short video summary of the session from RFPU-NW Lead Negotiator, Dr. Kevin Steehler.

Article 1, Definitions: Your union proposed adding the definition of “day” to be defined as a 24-hour period beginning at midnight (i.e. 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.) and “redeployment” to be defined as an unexpected change of schedule, location of work, or adding shifts for a trainee to meet the needs of the healthcare system. Additionally, RFPU-NW struck “accredited by the ACGME/CODA” from the definition of a resident and fellow. 

Article 2, Committee Memberships and Hospital Committee: Your union proposed adding the HMC Health & Safety Committee to the list of HMC Committees which RFPU-NW can have a designated member attend. RFPU-NW also struck the requirement that RFPU-NW has to provide 24+ hours notice to substitute a representative for the monthly GMEC meeting and that a resident representative on committees must be in compliance with a program’s leave policy to attend said meeting. 

Article 3, Childcare: Your union proposed defining residents as critical hires for receiving priority access to UW’s childcare centers and waiving the application fees for residents. Most notably, RFPU-NW proposed increasing the childcare fund to $1,080,000 to partially alleviate childcare cost burden on current residents and promote recruitment of residents with or who plan to have children during residency. RFPU-NW also proposed the creation of an emergency fund of $50,000 for emergency childcare services when backup childcare is inaccessible. In addition to childcare, RFPU-NW proposed substantial improvements to lactation accommodations, including what each lactation room must contain, coverage for pumping or direct breastfeeding breaks, and prohibition of reproductive harassment. 

Article 4, Disciplinary Action and Just Cause: Your union proposed that the focus of concerns will be grievable moving forward. RFPU-NW also proposed that the employer will make clear to the resident when disciplinary investigation is occurring, their right to representation under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and notice to the union whenever discipline is imposed. RFPU-NW also proposed that residents will be notified if they are the subject of a focus of concern at the Clinical Competency Committee (CCC), and that programs must publicly share the roster of current CCC members with residents.

Article 5, Dues Deduction and RFPU Membership: Your union proposed that all introductory documents crafted by the employer of RFPU’s existence will be mutually agreed upon and the introductory document supplied by RFPU will be included in all initial interview packets. RFPU-NW also proposed that RFPU will have no less than 60 minutes to present at all new resident and fellow orientations each year. In the case that the employer erroneously deducts dues from an individual, RFPU-NW proposed that the employer will notify the individual of this occurrence. RFPU-NW proposes the removal of the Indemnification section. RFPU-NW also proposes that the employer provide the list of incoming bargaining unit members by April 1st, instead of May 1st. 

Article 6, Fringe Benefits: 

  • Wellness and Counseling Services: Your union proposed residents who need urgent mental health support will be provided with an appointment with a wellness counselor within 24 hours. If an employer-provided provider is not available within 24 hours, GME will reimburse for out-of-pocket costs for community-based care. 
  • Meals: Your union proposed expanded meal benefits, including all shifts of 8+ hours will receive $20 meal reimbursement, on-call and in-house weekday 24 hour shifts will receive $30 reimbursement, and on-call and in-house weekend 24 hour shifts will receive $40 meal reimbursement. Additionally, RFPU-NW proposed that all sites will receive meal reimbursement (not just UW managed sites), and pregnant residents will receive meal stipends at a rate of 50% higher than the aforementioned rates. 
  • Pagers and Cell Phones: Your union proposed that residents who are required to have means of mobile contact will be provided with a smartphone, and if a mobile device is not provided, a device stipend of $800/year will be provided. 
  • Uniforms and Laundry: Your union proposed that all residents on inpatient primary services, inpatient consultation services, and services and clinics in which residents are expected to perform or participate in procedures shall be permitted to wear scrubs, and any site that supplies scrubs to other staff shall supply scrubs to residents. 
  • Relocation: Your union proposed the creation of relocation reimbursement for incoming residents (and those changing locations) to cover the cost of moving up to $3,000. This was proposed to promote equity in recruitment and alleviate the financial burden of moving across the country with little notice. 
  • Call Rooms: Your union proposed adding ACGME call room guidelines to the contract, including access to bathrooms and showers, adequate temperature control, functional locks and room keys, secure storage, and computer equipment. 
  • Health Stipend: Due to state laws prohibiting bargaining of health insurance for public employees, your union proposed the creation of an annual $1,000 health stipend to cover costs associated with insurance and medical expenses. 
  • Local Community Relations: Your union proposed when providing catering for residents that are not contractually restricted to being sourced from an internal catering service, programs will contract with and/or purchase from locally owned and BIPOC businesses. When making other purchases, residency programs will make meaningful efforts to purchase from and support locally owned businesses.

Article 7, Grievance Procedure: Your union proposed striking language that prohibits grieving matters of academic or clinical performance or professional behavior, a non reappointment decision, and any other academic matters. RFPU-NW also proposed increasing the time to file a grievance to ninety days instead of sixty, increasing the time to allow a grievance to advance from 14 days to 30 days, and removing the limitation that only grievances pertaining to bargaining wide issues would be able to start at Step 2. Lastly, RFPU-NW proposed that arbitration fees would be paid for entirely by the Employer, instead of jointly by the Employer and the Union.

Article 8, Health and Safety: Your union proposed updating the policy of immediately reporting any unsafe working condition to Program Directors, to instead include superiors and/or any local, state, or federal regulatory body. RFPU-NW proposed a clear policy of zero tolerance for workplace violence, including a plan to prevent and protect employees from violence at UW training sites, and allowing residents to request site or team changes if a staff member has been a victim of workplace violence at said site. RFPU-NW also proposed that all training sites not manage by UW must ensure comparable protections. Additionally, RFPU proposed that accommodations will be made for any resident unable to work due to an incident of workplace violence, including paid medical leave with full benefits, GME counseling, therapy at the site of the residents choosing, additional caregiving costs, medical expenses, and transportation to the aforementioned sites, regardless of the site the incident occurred at or pre-existing conditions. 

Article 9, Housestaff Advisory Committee: Your union proposed the composition of the committee can include up to twenty RFPU-NW members and staff representatives. Additionally, RFPU-NW proposed striking the language that does not allow for grievances to be discussed at these meetings. 

Article 10, Leave – Bereavement: Your union proposed allowing for up to seven continuous or noncontinuous days off to attend a funeral or memorial service for those defined as family members in Article 15. 

Article 11, Washington Family Medical Leave Program (PFML): Your union proposed adding language to clarify that residents may use other leave types to supplement their PFML. 

Article 12, Leave – Holidays: Your union proposed that programs cannot code holidays as vacation and/or sick leave when the resident was not scheduled to work and that paid personal days can be approved by the program, not just the program director. 

Article 13, Leave – Miscellaneous: Your union proposed updating pregnancy accommodations to also include all new parents to ensure equitable practices for all parents, and increasing the timeframe for accommodations from two, to three to six months after a new child enters the family. Currently, residents can request relief from overnight call shifts of 24 hours or greater, and RFPU-NW has proposed expanding this to all shifts of 12 hours or more. 

Article 14, Leave – Professional: Your union proposed that in the academic year that a resident is applying for fellowship and/or employment, they will be granted an additional ten days of paid professional leave to assist with interviews. RFPU-NW also proposed that program directors are encouraged to grant requests for residents in both their home programs and for off-service residents, and these requests cannot be unreasonably denied. 

Article 15, Leave – Sick: Your union proposed an increase to the number of sick days from seventeen per year, to twenty five days, in addition to accumulated sick time being paid out at the end of residency. RFPU-NW also proposed incorporating the COVID MOU protections already mutually agreed upon between the employer and union, into this article and generalizing it to be for any infectious disease or injury at work. Additionally, RFPU-NW proposed expanding the definition of a family member to also include aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. 

Article 16, Leave – Vacation: Your union proposed defining a vacation day as a calendar day, 12am to 12pm and the vacation day has to be requested by the individual resident to be considered vacation. Additionally, RFPU-NW proposed that no part of a post-call day can be considered a vacation day or a resident’s day off for the week. RFPU-NW also proposed that vacation days can be paid out at the end of each appointment period, or the resident can choose to roll over the remaining days to the next academic year. 

Article 17, Management Rights: Your union proposed striking management’s unilateral right to scheduling and taking whatever actions necessary in the event of an emergency, as these should be bargained. 

Article 18, Working Outside the Training Program: Your union proposed adding language defining “additional non-clinical work,” “extra pay for extra duty,” “external moonlighting,” and “internal moonlighting.” RFPU-NW also proposed that individual programs may not impose additional eligibility requirements to moonlighting requests beyond those listed in the CBA or those put forth by the body soliciting moonlighting.

Article 19, No Strikes, No Lockouts: Your union proposed striking this entire article. 

Article 20, Non-Discrimination: Your union proposed adding socioeconomic background and body type to the list of factors an employee shall not be discriminated for and that grievances alleging discrimination have additional time to be submitted, up to 180 days from when the individual knew or could have known about an alleged occurrence. 

Article 21, Professional Development and Licensing: Your union proposed an increase of the professional development fund from $350/year to $2,000/year and expanding the professional development fund and licensing reimbursement to also clearly include Montana and Alaska-based residents. RFPU-NW also proposed that new residents would be reimbursed for their Washington State medical license regardless of when it was obtained. Additionally, RFPU-NW proposed expanding the cap for rollover funds from $1,500 to $9,000. 

Article 22, Salary and Stipend: 

  • Salary: Your union proposed that residents would receive an eight percent salary increase each year to keep up with cost of living increases in Seattle, and an increase to the base salary for all PGY years, starting at $80,000 for a PGY1 resident on July 1, 2022. RFPU-NW also proposed that Residents would be paid according to the total number of years of post-graduate medical training instead of according to the year in which they are participating in the UW training program. 
  • Chief Stipends: Your union proposed increasing the Chief Resident stipend from $175/month to $750/month. 
  • Housing Stipend: Your union proposed increasing the annual housing stipend to $1,100/month with an 8% annual increase to account for annual cost of living increases. 
  • Leadership Stipend: Your union proposed that residents elected to the Network of Underrepresented Residents & Fellows and/or the Housestaff Quality & Safety Committee Board would receive an additional stipend in the amount of the Chief Stipend per month to compensate for their labor in promoting equity in recruitment and our training system. 

RFPU-NW’s remaining initial proposals and all of UW’s initial proposals will be presented at the next bargaining session on Wed, January 19th from 3:00-7:00pm. RFPU-NW encourages all members to attend, please RSVP here.

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