Take Action by 1/14: Interest Arbitration for UW Residents

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:

You can also do all the above here. Choose:

  • Committee: Labor & Workplace Standards
  • Meeting: 1/14, 8:00am
  • Agenda item: HB 1764 Physician bargaining

**Since you are a union member, please list your organization as RFPU-NW when you sign!


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. 

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!

RFPU-NW Negotiation Kickoff Rally!

When: Jan. 11th from 6:00-7:00pm
Where: Above the Triangle Parking Garage, UWMC – Montlake

Speakers: RFPU-NW Members and Leaders, Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, and other UW union leaders!

There will be speeches, sign waving, snacks, and solidarity! Come pump up your negotiation team the night before negotiations begin. 

If you want a better contract, you’ve got to show up and fight for it!

Fill out your Annual Survey by 11/24!

Surveys sent to all members via your non-UW.edu email address.

Make sure to fill out your survey & get your co-residents/fellows to fill out by November 24th!

This data is used for negotiations, so it’s highly important that all members fill it out. Takes less than 10 minutes on average.

We’ve agreed to 3-7pm Bargaining Sessions

We’ve come to a compromise with Labor Relations and GME and will be bargaining from 3:00-7:00pm via Zoom starting in January.

Bargaining Dates:

January 12th, 19th
February 16th, 23rd
March 9th, 23rd
April 6th, 20th
May 4th, 18th
June 1st, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 29th

RSVP for Bargaining Sessions here to receive the Zoom logins before each session! Bargaining Session are open to all RFPU-NW members.

If you’re interested in being on the official Negotiations Team, please sign up here! All Negotiation team members are able to be excused from clinical work during bargaining times. 

COVID MOU: RFPU-NW Members Meet with GME & Labor Relations

Last Friday, Sept. 24th RFPU-NW members and UW GME & Labor Relations met to bargain the extension of our COVID MOU, which expired on July 31, 2021.

Original COVID MOU (expiration: 7/31/21)

Labor Relations/GME Proposal (sent: 9/23/21)

RFPU – NW Counterproposal (sent: 9/27/21)

Labor Relations/GME Counterproposal (sent: 10/1/21)

Most notably, our counterproposal includes a COVID Bonus for the continued and ongoing strain COVID has placed on all of us over the last year and a half. You and your co-residents have worked tirelessly, sacrificing yourselves to take care of your community, during this incredibly stressful time. It’s time UW takes care of us as well.

What can YOU do to get you & your co-residents a COVID bonus?

Fighting for what we deserve takes a lot of work, we can only do this if you are involved too!

Negotiation Prep Time – Article Planning Meetings

The University of Washington is trying to force us to negotiate our contract during regular business hours, pulling us away from our patients. UW knows that we are not willing to compromise patient care to advocate for ourselves. We demand to negotiate for a fair contract outside of normal clinical hours to minimize the impact of our contract negotiations on patient care and training. UW needs to uphold the precedent set by the rest of the nation, and by their own past bargaining. Let’s ensure this vital task gets our full attention. 

Sign the petition today to demand UW meet after-hours!

Please Note: At this time, this petition is for current UW residents and fellows only. If you’re an ally who would like to support, please follow our social media for updates.

Negotiation Prep Time – Article Planning Meetings

Join your co-residents & fellows to discuss how these articles can be improved in our next contract & draft language for our proposals. No prior contract/legal experience required, and we highly encourage first timers!

It’s important that we get different perspectives from our Union Members (you!) in order to make sure that our contract proposals represent as many resident voices as possible. See below for meeting registration links.

There will be a follow-up meeting to finish the first drafts on July 28th at 6pm – register here!

UWHA Submits Full-page Ads in Sunday Edition of Seattle Times

After more than ten months of negotiating, UWHA continues to fight for a fair contract. Over the course of this year, we have sent the university multiple petitions, hosted a 15-minute Unity Break with over 500 residents in attendance, hosted a resident-wide Wellness Day, engaged in multiple boycotts, and added political pressure through City Council.

The below letters were published in the Sunday Edition of the Seattle Times to CEO of UW Medicine, Dr. Paul Ramsey, urging the university to bring forth a fair contract to the residents and fellows of the University of Washington.

You can help our residents and fellows today by sending an email to UW Medicine.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the media attention of our past actions.