Our Interest Arbitration bill, HB 1307 has been prefiled in the state legislature for the upcoming legislative session! 

HB 1307’s first public hearing will be NEXT WEDNESDAY, JAN 25 AT 8AM.

There are 3 ways YOU can support this bill RIGHT NOW:

You can also do all the above here. Choose:

  • Committee: Labor & Workplace Standards
  • Meeting: 1/25, 8:00am
  • Agenda item: HB 1307 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. 

FAQs

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, along with CIR’s new political resources, to propose legislation that would allow for our bargaining unit to have access to interest arbitration for bargaining. This is our second year filing, and we hope to continue strengthening the support of this bill and pushing it father than last year.

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 third party group of neutral arbitrators. The arbitrators host a formal hearing and each party presents their position. The arbitrators review the testimony, evidence, and consider the interests of both parties fairly 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?

  • Residents and fellows have limited power in securing improvements to our working conditions as hospitals, including UW, have been reluctant to do so for the sake of their bottom line. Interest arbitration would counter these unbalanced power dynamics. 
  • Our working conditions are our patients’ care conditions. Interest arbitration would be an additional tool to secure improvements to the delivery of care by better supporting care providers. 
  • Improving the support that residents and fellows receive here in Washington means more residents would seek training here and we can better recruit and retain the state’s next generation of physicians.
  • We would be better able to support physicians from diverse backgrounds by breaking down the barriers that have often kept many would-be physicians from pursuing medicine. Having care providers that understand and relate to their patients has continually been seen to result in better patient outcomes.
  • Currently, the only real leverage that residents/fellows have is to strike, a disruptive last resort that neither residents/fellows nor the community at large want to see, but which looms due to UW’s lack of commitment to supporting its workers. Interest arbitration would give us another strong course of action during negotiations to avoid a strike.
  • Across the country, we’ve seen what residents have achieved when they’ve built their power: 10%+ raises, $13k housing stipends, hazard pay, relocation allowances, better staffing, million dollar patient care funds, and so much more. Through this bill, we can join that momentum and secure similar wins of our own!

How Can YOU Help?

Mobilize Allies: Do as many of the actions above as you can! And then encourage your co-residents/fellows, healthcare colleagues, family, and friends to do it too. It takes less than a minute and shows legislators that the community support this bill! If you are providing written testimony, below are two informational points that can help you convey the need for HB 1307:

  • “Resident and fellow physicians at UW work long hours with low pay taking care of our community every day. Yet, they have limited ability to advocate for themselves and their patients.
  • Support HB 1307 to allow interest arbitration for resident physicians and guarantee a fair and neutral process for contract negotiations. Our doctors need the ability to fight for the support they need to do their jobs.”

Reach Out to Your Legislators: If you have relationships with state legislators, you can encourage them to join on as a co-sponsor. Here are the legislators you can reach out to before Wednesday to encourage their support: 

Be on the lookout for next steps soon! We will be working on a number of ways for members and the community to engage and support this bill. Pay attention to your inbox and our social media pages.

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