RFPU – NW is Hiring!

Hiring: Administrative Assistant

The Resident & Fellow Physician Union – Northwest (RFPU-NW) is an independent labor union formed by the medical resident and fellow doctors at the University of Washington affiliated hospitals (members have graduated medical school but are completing specialty training in a residency or fellowship). RFPU-NW advocates for the residents and fellows with respect to compensation, workplace environment, and benefits. RFPU-NW also is expanding its work in inter-union coalition building for solidarity not only with other unionized workers at the University of Washington, but with other unions in Washington state that share common goals. RFPU-NW has existed as an organization since the 1960s; however, has only been legally recognized as a union since 2014. We represent approximately 1,400+ doctors in training, a large percentage of all physicians in King County, serving UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle Children’s, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and numerous affiliated clinics.

RFPU-NW is seeking an administrative assistant to join our organization in a part-time role, intended to average 20 hours per week, with flexible hours. There is potential in the future for this to be expanded to a full time role.

Position Description:

The administrative assistant will primarily function to support our executive board (RFPU-NW residents) as well as the Executive Director and Associate Director, two full time labor organizers employed by RFPU-NW. 

  • Hourly pay is $20/hour. Additionally included: Cell Phone/Internet Stipend, fully-subsidized ORCA Transit Card, Health Insurance, Retirement with employer match, and Two Weeks of Paid Vacation. Salary and Benefits are competitive and will be commensurate with experience. We are committed to providing a living wage and a healthy work-life balance. Work hours are generally flexible, with the exception of meetings which typically take place in the evenings. There is currently no physical office. This individual will work from home unless attending a meeting. Meetings will most commonly be held at the University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, or in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, however currently all meetings are held over Zoom given the pandemic. While this is a “remote” position, the selected candidate will need to live in or relocate to Seattle, WA.

The administrative assistant will be trained by the Executive and Associate Directors in their duties. Ideally, the candidate will have interest and/or experience in the labor movement, and/or healthcare. If the candidate has interest, there will be opportunities to expand job duties into a variety of other work, including political advocacy, member engagement, media relations, inter-union cooperation, among other work.

It is vital that the administrative assistant believes in and supports the mission of the labor movement, as much of our work specifically requires challenging the status quo, not only within the UW organization but in local, state, and national sociopolitical contexts.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Manage the schedule and calendar for the RFPU-NW board and working groups
  • Manage bi-monthly membership lists and assist with membership growth
  • Assist in social media engagement, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Arrange financial reimbursements for members and board members
  • Manage benefit programs, including the childcare fund and grant program
  • General website maintenance including updating with upcoming events – Negotiations, Grievances, Publications, Benefit Programs, etc. 
  • Respond to emails from members
  • Arrange logistics for board meetings, including (at times) food
  • Assisting with membership event coordination
  • Other administrative tasks


This position reports to the Executive Director, Associate Director, and Executive Board. 

Required knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • 1-3 years of experience as an administrator
  • Proficiency in Google suite and Slack
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and effective interpersonal skills
  • Willingness to operate in a flexible, less-structured environment – with sometimes irregular hours

Preferred, but not necessary:

  • Understanding of the medical training field
  • Experience with online organizing and social media
  • Proficiency with WordPress or website maintenance 
  • Prior membership in a labor union

There is no degree requirement so long as the candidate has sufficient professional experience.

The candidate will preferably be able and willing to transition to full time employment potentially within the first year after hire.

To apply: Submit a cover letter and resume via e-mail (PDF preferred) to admin@rfpu.org with a subject line, “Administrative Assistant – Application”. Please include two professional references along with their contact information including phone number and e-mail address. The application deadline is December 31, 2020. Interviews will take place on a rolling basis.

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.

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

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:

UWHA Settles Vacation Time Grievance with employer

After nine months of debate, UWHA and Labor Relations were able to come to an agreement in ensuring that residents and fellows are not improperly losing vacation time guaranteed to them.

Previously, residents and fellows who scheduled vacation time (or sick time) that sandwiched a holiday (or weekend depending on the program), would have the already scheduled day off, count against their vacation (or sick) time. Vacation time is already minimal for residents and fellows, and many residents were losing additional days due to this guidance.

The employer has agreed to update the policy, stating that programs cannot code holidays or weekends as vacation, when the resident is not scheduled to work.

This will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Thank you to the residents who brought this to our attention and our grievance team for their persistence and dedication.

Winter Quarter UWHA Bike Fund Reimbursements Due: April 30th

If you’d like to participate in the UWHA CBA Bike Program, please submit documentation to GME (uwgme@uw.edu) before April 30, 2020.  Please see below regarding what/how to submit:

Quarterly Bicycle Stipend

What: $25 stipend, given quarterly

Eligibility: UWHA members who bicycle > 80% of the AY20 winter quarter (from January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020)


  1. Legibly complete and sign the attached form. Please ensure that you initial all lines.
  2. Submit to GME by e-mail (UWGME@uw.edu) or mail (UW GME Bike Fund, Box 358047)

Bike Helmets

What: A free bike helmet


  1. Submit receipt to GME by e-mail for electronic receipts (UWGME@uw.edu) or mail for paper receipts (UW GME Bike Fund, Box 358047)
  2. Costs must have been incurred during the AY20 winter quarter (from January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020)

Bike Maintenance

What: up to $100 in bicycle maintenance costs.


  1. Submit receipt to GME by e-mail (UWGME@uw.edu) or mail (UW GME Bike Fund, Box 358047)
  2. Costs must have been incurred during the AY20 winter quarter (from January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020)
  3. Examples of reimbursable items: costs of maintenance service, tools, bike tubes, lights, locks
  4. Examples of non-reimbursable items: bicycles, clothing, backpacks, panniers, running shoes, or other non-bike maintenance or non-bike related items.

Rejected requests are commonly due to easily fixable errors

  • Receipts must be itemized.
    • Documenting each individual item purchased or service performed
    • Vendor
    • Cost
    • Date of purchase
  • Bike shop services: they give you two pieces of paper: an invoice itemizing what was done and a receipt showing that it was paid for (often stapled together). Please save BOTH and submit BOTH at the end of the year.
  • Carbon copies: please submit the top sheet. The lower sheets can be damaged easily.
  • Amazon: e-mail receipts are not adequate. Instead, do this
    • Accounts and lists
    • Your orders
    • Order details
    • View or print invoice
  • If you’re sending a scan or picture, please ensure it is legible

Please note:

You must be a member of the UWHA to qualify.  Information about who is covered by the contract is found here: https://hr.uw.edu/labor/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2017/09/UWHA-Bargaining-Unit-Summary-9.14.2017.pdf.

·Reimbursements will be made via whatever mechanism you have in place for your paycheck (Ex: if you are signed up for direct deposit, then the reimbursement will be made via direct deposit).

·Please provide your name and your UW NetID along with the receipt.

·You must approve of the reimbursement in Ariba (as the final step in the reimbursement process).  These notices will come to your UW email account. If you submit for a reimbursement, please check your UW email frequently as these notifications will time out of the system if you do not approve in a timely manner.

Deadline for these submissions is April 30, 2020 at 5pm.  Late submissions will be held until the next submission window.

Announcing 2020-2021 President-Elect, Brandon Peplinski!

Please join us in welcoming our new President-Elect, Dr. Brandon Peplinski!

Currently, Brandon is an Internal Medicine PGY2 and highly-involved UWHA General Board member. He has been championing resident rights over the past year on our Escalation Team.

We’re looking forward to Brandon stepping into his new role! If you are interested in joining the board this upcoming year, please reach out to admin@uwha.com #uwha #iamUWHA

Life Insurance for Residents and Fellows

In light of the SARS2 (nee COVID19) pandemic, there is a lot of current anxiety regarding the health of our resident members – in addition to the financial health. What follows is a somewhat macabre summary of some of our benefits with regards to student loans and the protections in place for residents with student loans in the event of death. 

UW offers Basic Group Life Insurance for all resident employees – amount of $35,000. At the time of hiring, and thereafter, there were opportunities to sign up for additional Term Group Life Insurance. The group number for these policies is the UW Group number (email us if you need this). You should have received letters in the mail detailing your coverage and beneficiaries that you have elected. Unfortunately, the MetLife website is frequently under maintenance and it is very difficult to call – “due to high call volumes.” Be prepared for this if you are trying to change your beneficiary elections. 

With regards to loans, federal student loans are disbanded in the case of the borrowers demise: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/death. What is needed for this to happen is that proof of death be mailed to the borrower’s loan servicer. 

There are, however, some caveats. If you have a co-signer for PLUS loans, co-signers in the past have been taxed on these PLUS loans as income – form 1099-C. However, this also should (hopefully) be a thing of the past based upon the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which protects the family and estate of the deceased borrower. 

Unfortunately, private loans and refinanced loans are much more case-by-case and you must refer to the original terms of the loan and plan accordingly. 

Similarly, private consumer debt such as auto loans, credit cards, etc., are case by case. 

This is a macabre and unfortunate topic, I know; but as this pandemic deepens and more residents are exposed, it behooves us to speak to our families and develop plans, just as we recommend to our patients. 


Thank you to Dr. Axel Adams (PGY1, Emergency Medicine) for putting together this information to share