RFPU signs MOU with UW re: COVID Protections

To all our members, 

This week, we finalized negotiations for the COVID19 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU is essentially a shorter, time limited version of a contract between the employer and our union. 

We began negotiating this MOU in March, in an attempt to secure protections both for the health and safety of our members and patients, but also in protection of your legal benefits and rights. We were able to secure some of these rights early in the process, which have now become the norm – but as with any benefit we secure, it must be memorialized to ensure it is maintained. Paid administrative leave for those who tested positive for COVID19 and free parking were benefits and rights secured for you and other union members by partnering with the coalition of unions at UW. These were not given freely by the University of Washington: they were hard-fought, direct results of union coalition action.

It took seven months for us to get Labor Relations to agree to this language. It’s disappointing that UW continues to fight us on basic protections for residents and fellows, especially during a pandemic – but this agreement is crucial to:

1. Keep our members safe

2. Keep us in line with protections other institutions have already afforded their employees.

Below you will find the highlights, as well as the MOU language linked.

  • In the instance of redeployment, trainees will have the opportunity to request alternative scheduling options if they are pregnant, have a disability, have a serious health condition or are part of an identified at-risk group
  • No employee will be disciplined or retaliated against for requesting PPE
  • No employee will be forced to work in an environment where PPE required by UW Medicine policies and guidelines cannot be provided by UW Medicine
  • An employee who is unable to work due to childcare needs will be eligible for leave
  • The employer will provide all trainees who have been exposed with notice of exposure
  • Those who rescinded their pre-approved vacations in April 2020, were permitted to rollover 7 days of vacation, will be guaranteed the rollover days in this academic year.
  • GME will conduct regular town hall meetings where trainees can ask question live and can talk in real time

Important reminders:

  • Unfortunately, paid admin leave is only protected for those who were exposed at work. We advise members to continue to exercise caution outside of work and to minimize potential exposures.
  • If any of the language in this MOU is being violated or even if you think it might be, reach out to admin@rfpu.org, your Department Rep or a RFPU Board Member and let them know. We will keep this information secure and anonymous. 

If you have questions/comments/concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

In solidarity,

Your co-residents and fellows at RFPU – NW

RFPU Meet & Greet w/ Kirsten Harris-Talley

We were very enthusiastic to endorse Kirsten Harris-Talley, candidate for State Representative in the 37th Legislative District (Central and South Seattle, Skyway, and Renton) this year.

Kirsten is a mom, educator, activist, and currently the Executive Director of Naral Pro-Choice – Washington. Kirsten shares our values on important issues like Covid recovery, economic justice, housing for all, universal childcare, climate justice, reproductive justice, and medicare for all.

We’re very excited to share that RFPU – NW is hosting a Zoom Meet and Greet with Kirsten Harris-Talley for our members specifically to discuss the issues that are important to you!

When: October 22nd, at 6:00pm
Where: Zoom – Check your Email for RSVP Link

The Fall 2020 Childcare Fund Application is Open

Eligibility and disbursement criteria that are used for this fund are on our website

Application Deadline: 11:59pm on Monday, September 28th
Notice from RFPU: By Thursday, October 1st
Appeals Deadline: 11:59pm on Thursday, October 8th
Disbursement from UW HR: Late October or Early November

Apply Here!

You will hear from us regarding your eligibility for the fund, including your weighted score by October 1st, you will then have until October 8th to appeal these decisions if needed.

As a reminder, we are able to disperse $50,000 per year. We will continue to fight for more funding as we know the cost of childcare in Seattle creates a huge burden for resident families.

If you have questions, please email admin@rfpu.org

RFPU-NW Endorsements for 2020 Elections

This year, RFPU-NW will be making our first-ever endorsements of candidates seeking public office in Washington state.We were impressed by the following candidates’ commitments to the labor movement and to the rights of healthcare workers; they have our sole endorsement. We have the utmost confidence that these candidates will be allies and partners with our union, healthcare workers, and the labor movement at large in Olympia.

Read below to learn more about who we endorsed and why we encourage you to vote for these candidates in November.

We endorse Rep. Jesse Johnson for State House, 30th LD. Rep. Johnson understands the importance of a robust labor movement. Most importantly, he’s demonstrated that he’ll continue to address the issues that face healthcare workers like finding affordable housing & childcare.

We endorse Liz Berry for State House, 36th LD. Berry had been on the picket line supporting our fellow healthcare workers and we were impressed by how her policy platform prioritizes childcare solutions & gender equity. She will be a strong ally to organized Labor in the House.

We endorse Kirsten Harris-Talley for State House, 37th LD. Harris-Talley is committed to raising progressive revenue, to furthering racial justice, and to advancing stronger economic protections for healthcare workers and their families. We cannot wait to see her in office.

We endorse Sherae Lascelles for State House, 43rd LD. Many of our patients face profound barriers to care, and Lascelles works tirelessly to undo these inaccessibilities. Their lived experience and perspective is needed in the state legislature to fight for broad, systemic change.

We endorse Ingrid Anderson for State Senate, 5th LD. Herself a nurse, Ingrid Anderson has been a part of the labor movement for years. We know that she’ll continue to fight for her fellow healthcare workers, particularly as the state continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

We endorse T’wina Nobles for State Senate, 28th LD. In her public service and work, Nobles has focused on education and economic empowerment for disenfranchised communities. We know she will be a strong advocate for working families all across Washington once elected.

We endorse Marko Liias for Lieutenant Governor. Sen. Liias has spent his time in office fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and expanding mass transit. He has clearly articulated who his key allies in the legislature would be as he continues to advocate for healthcare workers.

We endorse King County Prop. 1. Harborview serves not only as our region’s most critical public hospital, but also as the training facility for the future physicians of Washington. The future of healthcare in Washington depends on fully funding this critical community institution.⁣ We are all stronger when Harborview is, and we fully support the efforts of Prop 1 to make all voters aware of the great need for major investment in Harborview. ⁣

Rebranding Announcement!

The University of Washington Housestaff Association was first formed in 1964 as a collective of residents and fellows with the intent to unionize. Multiple attempts to do were unsuccessful until 2014, when the UWHA was legally recognized as a union and our collective bargaining unit formed. Since then, we have successfully negotiated two contracts which have won our members extra yearly salary increases, extra vacation, various stipends, transportation benefits, and much more.

For three major reasons, the UWHA will be rebranding our name and logo this year.

1. the general public does not typically understand what the term “housestaff” means. 
2. we are no longer an informal association, but an incorporated union.
3. we want to keep open the possibility that we will one day expand beyond the University of Washington.

For these reasons, our Board has decided on a new name:
the Resident and Fellow Physician Union-Northwest, or RFPU-NW for short.

The new name emphasizes that we are a doctors union, whose members care for patients from the Puget Sound all the way to Boise.

As we continue to grow, we hope that this new name will speak to our place in the labor movement. We will continue the important work of advocating for the rights of residents and fellows, building solidarity with all healthcare workers, and serving our community. We will advance progressive legislation that will positively impact both our working conditions and the healthcare systems that our patients must navigate.

Please Note: Our website will be transitioning over in the near future. In the meantime you can still access our resources at http://www.uwha.com – once this is finalized it will automatically forward to the new address at http://www.rfpu.org

As of now, you can contact us at admin@RFPU.org

Any emails sent to admin@uwha.com will forward to our new email address.

Parking Grievance Reimbursements

Due to a recent settlement agreement between the UW and UWHA, UWHA members are entitled to free night and weekend parking going forward (as specified below), and may be entitled to a refund of previously paid night and/or weekend parking at UWMC and/or HMC. Please read this entire email for details of how to request your refund.  

At HMC, free night and weekend parking is already available as below. For UWMC-Montlake, free night and weekend parking will be available as below starting on June 8, 2020. 

Effective June 8, 2020, UWHA members will have access to free parking during the following dates/times:  

·       Weekends: 12am Saturday to 11:59pm Sunday 

·       Nights: 4pm to 8am, Monday to Sunday 

Free parking will be available in the following locations:  

·       UWMC-Montlake: Triangle Parking Garage 

·       HMC: P1, P2, P3, and P4 Lots 

The process for obtaining free parking will be as follows:  

·       UWMC-Montlake: When a resident enters the Triangle Garage after 4 p.m. or on a weekend, they should take a ticket at the gate. Prior to exiting the Triangle Garage, a resident must stop at the kiosk and obtain a card for exiting the garage gate for free. If the resident exits after 8 a.m. for scheduled or emergent patient care and is charged an overage, the resident shall request reimbursement for such charges directly from their department. The department is required to pay this overage and any questions or concerns about this should be directed to GME. 

·       HMC: Residents shall use their PPUP cards to enter and leave the garage. When a resident enters the parking garage after 4 p.m. or on a weekend, the resident will not be charged for parking if they exit the garage before 8 a.m. or on the weekend. If the resident exits after 8 a.m. for scheduled or emergent patient care and is charged an overage, the resident shall request reimbursement for such charges directly from their department. The department is required to pay this overage and any questions or concerns about this should be directed to GME. 

Residents are not allowed to park in the Triangle Garage during weekday day shifts. Those who do so may be subject to corrective action. 

Current and former UWHA members can claim refunds for past night and weekend parking paid back to 9/28/18 using the following process: 

·        All claims must be submitted by July 25, 2020 

·        To claim a refund, send an email including the following information: 

o   Identify dates on which resident parked during a night or a weekend and the amount resident was required to pay on each occasion. 

o   Contacts are: 

§  For UWMC: Harper Olsen (harpero@uw.edu

§  For HMC: hmcpark@uw.edu 

o   You will then receive compensation by September 23, 2020 

Additional information: 

·       If either HMC or UWMC has reasonable cause to believe that claims submitted did not involve the resident incurring fees during a night or weekend period, the office may request additional proof from the resident that the claimed amount was actually incurred.  

·       Reasonable cause requires the UW to identify particular evidence supporting its belief that the claim is invalid, such as evidence that the resident was not scheduled to work a night or weekend shift on the date of a particular claim, or that the claimed amount did not correspond with the rates the resident would have incurred. 

o   A request for additional proof will be made within 30 days of the claim being submitted. You will then have 30 days to submit additional proof to support the claim. 

o   You will then receive your refund within 60 days as above. 

o   If you do not receive what you feel you are owed, let UWHA know at admin@uwha.com and UWHA will help you file a grievance.  

If you are charged for night or weekend parking in violation of the above, please report this to GME at uwgme@uw.edu and copy UWHA at admin@uwha.com immediately for resolution. If your claim is questioned or rejected, please let UWHA know immediately at admin@uwha.com. You can read the entire settlement agreement here.

Welcome to all our Incoming Residents!

We are excited to welcome you to Seattle! For those of you staying in Seattle, we’re happy to keep you here!

Starting residency during a pandemic has it’s challenges, but we’re here to help!

Couple of reminders:

  1. Send in your membership card! Being a member is not automatic, you have to sign a card to receive membership benefits. We’re proud to have over 80% dues-paying members!
  2. Make sure you understand all the benefits and what RFPU is about! If you haven’t joined an Intern Town Hall event already, you can RSVP for our live event (via Zoom) on Sun, 6/21 at 6:00pm where we will tell you everything you need to know. This will include a live Q&A segment. OPEN TO EVERYONE, you don’t have to have sent in a membership card yet.
  3. If you can’t join in person, watch a recording here or reach out to admin@rfpu.org and we’ll get you up to speed!

UWHA Stands with LGBTQ Community

On Friday, the Trump administration finalized changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Disguised in a late-Friday announcement as “respect[ing] the dignity of every human being”, these changes removed legal protections for LGBTQ individuals against discrimination in healthcare settings. By limiting the definition of “sex discrimination” to male or female biological sex, these changes legalize discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. Not only does this change allow health insurance companies to charge different rates, but it also allows healthcare providers to refuse care to LGBTQ patients.

At UWHA, we believe LGBTQ rights are human rights and everyone deserves access to healthcare. Legal definitions do not change our duty to our patients, and we pledge to continue caring for all our patients to the best of our ability, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

This announcement comes at the time of a painful anniversary, the Pulse nightclub shooting, during Pride month, and in the backdrop of the recent murders of two black transgender women. We understand that many of you may be hurting right now. No matter who you are, you belong in our medical community and have our support. 

We will continue to advocate for justice for marginalized communities and work towards diversity and inclusion. Please do not hesitate to reach out for support or to share with us how we can do better. 

In solidarity,

UWHA Board

How we fight for racial justice

Sent to full membership via email on June 7, 2020

Thank you to each and every one of you who has shown up this week (in-person and from home) for Black Lives Matter.

We saw incredible showings of people at Friday’s Show of Support, hosted by NURF, and over 10,000 healthcare workers and allies showed up for the Doctors for Justice Rally yesterday morning. 

If you haven’t already, please review the Doctors for Justice demands.

Many of us are showing up to protest after working long shifts, bringing our children out with us, making phone calls to elected officials, and having conversations about how we need to change the culture and institution of medicine. 

If you have ideas for actions residents can take on an individual or system-wide level, let us know. We will support you. 


As a labor union, racial justice intersects with everything we do. The language we use in our contract, the benefits we fight for that ensure that residency at UW isn’t only accessible to those from the most privileged backgrounds, and how we fight against racism and discrimination in our workplace and community.

We also feel strongly that being a leader means speaking out against the way that our city and university continue to uphold systems of oppression. 

In the last week, as an organization we endorsed:

We also encourage our members of color to sign the BIPOC Petition to remove the Seattle Police Officers Guild (police union) from MLK Labor

You can sign the above actions as an individual as well.
Decriminalize UW – individual
Defund SPD – individual
 A large portion of city (and university funding) goes towards policing our communities. Seattle budgeted $409 million on police this year, a quarter of the city’s general fund budget. As healthcare workers, we know that funding should be going towards health and education services in our community instead.

Units at our hospitals are being consolidated or closed entirely, and our state ranks one of the worst in the country for mental health care. Thousands of healthcare employees at UW and across this city have been furloughed during a pandemic. This is unacceptable. 

Remember, we all are UWHA – so if you see actions we can participate in, or demands you want us to advocate for – reach out and let us know how we can help amplify! You can do this by emailing us, posting in the UWHA slack, or tagging us on social media.


Learn more about where you’re living:

Educational Resources:

Donate to local Black led, Seattle-based organizations

Anti-racism Message To Members

Sent to full membership via email on May 30, 2020

Dear UWHA Members, 

We feel compelled to write to you today as we see what has happened in Minneapolis, Tallahassee, Louisville, and Georgia recently, and acknowledge that the history of this country and of medicine is rooted in racism. We each have a responsibility in combating structural racism.

While it may veil itself differently, our city, our workplace, and the labor movement have all perpetuated racism in different forms and we do not talk about it enough. As we mourn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, we must each evaluate our own privilege, and confront how this influences the way in which we live and work. It is imperative that we continue educating ourselves and confronting the parts of our system that need to be dismantled. 

We send our solidarity to protesters across the country.

As an organization, we also need to show up more, and ensure that every part of our work is done with a racial equity lens. We will continue to use our collective voice to speak out against violence against communities of color. Please do not hesitate to reach out and share with us how we can do better. 

In solidarity,

UWHA Board

What you can do today:

Show Up:

Educational Resources:

One of the best ways you can help is to financially support Black-led organizing efforts:

Donate to Minnesota-based organizations rooted in anti-racism:

Donate to Local Seattle-based organizations rooted in anti-racism: