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  • Those who rescinded their pre-approved vacations in April 2020, were permitted to rollover 7 days of vacation, will be guaranteed the rollover days in this academic year.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; however, Gov. Inslee has directed the Department of Labor & Industries to assume workplace exposure for health care workers for purposes of workers’ compensation. Please let us know if you have trouble receiving paid admin leave.
  • 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

UWHA Condemns the Firing of Dr. Ming Lin

The UWHA fully supports Dr. Ming Lin, a physician who fearlessly advocated for the safety of the staff and patients at PeaceHealth. Disturbingly, PeaceHealth and TeamHealth subsequently terminated him for speaking up. At hospitals across the country, there is a massive shortage of PPE, and many hospital protocols are haphazard, confusing, or even dangerous. When faced with unsafe or unjust conditions, physicians have a professional and moral duty to advocate for what is right for patients and for their fellow healthcare workers. Now is not the time to file paperwork and let these issues trickle up the bureaucratic ladder. These are systemic problems that need to be fixed NOW. We stand in solidarity with Dr. Lin, a physician who did the right thing even though he knew he might be punished for it. Rather than seeking to suppress whistleblowers, employers must engage their employees to collaboratively solve these complex problems. Only by working together, can we ensure that both our patients and co-workers are protected during these challenging times.