We have outlined the most significant changes to the contract here. Below the outline, you will find a brief summary of the changes for each article, listed by article. Please contact RFPU with any questions. Overall, your engagement and actions have added nearly $50 million to the total value of our contract, which is triple the value added in our last contract negotiations ($17 million). Some of these gains include a 3% increase in our salary per year, an increase of more than double our current housing stipend, and increasing the childcare fund by 50%. However, we still lag behind cost of living increases in Seattle, in addition to benefits at peer institutions. We will continue to fight for improved benefits in the years to come. It is vital that we let UW know that we need to improve the diversity of Seattle’s physician workforce by securing a relocation stipend, improvements in child care, and increased transparency and protections surrounding disciplinary actions. Review the full contract here.
Significant Positive Changes
- Salary Increase of 3%-3%-3% over the life of the contract, up from the previous 2% per year
- $6,000-$7,000-$8,500 housing stipend over three years, up from the previous $2400 per year
- $12 per shift for the first two years then $13 in the third year, up from the previous $10 per meal
- Increase of fifty percent (50%) in our Childcare Fund from $50,000 to $75,000
- Increased accommodations for lactating residents able to pump outside of designated pump rooms, protected time for pumping, and safe place to store breast milk
- Bolstered resident protection around disciplinary action
- Bereavement now includes miscarriage and stillbirth, with two additional days for travel
- Vacation days as continuous twenty-four (24) hour period
- Increased funding for professional development
- Duty hour violations are now grievable
- Increased protections for residents around workplace violence
- Mental health appointments now covered under sick leave
Where We Need to Keep Fighting
- Continue to improve the housing stipend and salary to stay competitive with peer institutions
- Increased childcare resources and funding
- Relocation stipend to recruit diverse trainees
- Free parking at all UW sites
- Cell phone stipend
- Improvements in work hour protections, including consecutive hours on home-call
- Day off being a calendar day from midnight to midnight
This article contains minor cleanup and updated language. The term “resident” now specifically includes those in graduate dental education. Redundant language specifying that call may occur either at home or at the hospital was eliminated.
Article 2 – Committee Memberships and Hospital Committee
This article contains minor cleanup, and updated language stating if the RFPU representative and substitute cannot attend the monthly GMEC meeting, an alternate substitute can attend with advance notice (previously 24 hours notice), and the RFPU member who cannot attend will ensure the alternate substitute is up to date on any agenda items prior to the meeting.
The childcare fund has been increased by fifty percent (50%) from $50,000 to $75,000. Language was added to provide protected time for expressing breastmilk including appropriate lactation accommodations, the ability to pump outside of designated pumping rooms, and safe places to store breast milk.
Article 4 – Disciplinary Action and Just Cause
Language has been added that makes clear that the employer will inform a resident when an investigative interview is being conducted, or discipline is being initiated, and that the employer is responsible for informing the resident about their right to union representation in such meetings. While a focus of concern is still not considered a disciplinary action and is not grievable, language has been added regarding the required expectations of what a focus of concern letter contains, including recommended actions to resolve the issue and a clear timeline (including that the typical focus of concern will last up to three months).
Article 5 – Dues Deduction, Fair Share, and RFPU-NW Membership
Your Union will now receive the list of incoming residents and their personal contact information in mid-April, instead of May and will receive an additional thirty (30) minutes at the annual orientation(s) to discuss your Union with incoming members, for a total of sixty (60) minutes. Clarifying language was added regarding how often the employer provides your Union with lists of residents, and language regarding a new mechanism for adding members to dues deduction.
Residents with urgent need for mental health counseling will be prioritized by GME Wellness Counselors. Meal reimbursement policy was codified including reimbursements for twelve (12) hour shifts with extra reimbursements for twenty-four (24) hour and weekend shifts. On home call, called in, there will also be reimbursement for a meal. The amount has increased to $12/meal for the first two years and then $13/meal in the final year of the contract. Residents are now permitted to wear scrubs (no dress code) where they are in danger of being splashed. The call rooms now must have locking doors and computers. Programs are now strongly encouraged to purchase catering from local BIPOC owned businesses when possible.
Article 7 – Grievance Procedure
Minimal cleanup was done in this article, in addition to removing arbitrators from our arbitrator panel if the individual becomes unavailable.
Added protections for residents against workplace violence including the ability to request declining patient care for patients that pose a risk of causing harm to residents. The employer will provide counseling for the victims of workplace violence and will provide information about health care benefits and L&I claims as needed. Also added protections for work-related injuries including language about disability leave, disability accommodations, and workers compensation.
Article 9 – Housestaff Advisory Committee
Article 10 – Time Off – Bereavement
Language was added to include miscarriage or stillbirth to the list of reasons a resident shall be granted paid bereavement leave, as well aslanguage that specifies that a resident can use up to two additional days if significant travel is required, specifically for attending a funeral or memorial service.
Article 11 – Washington Family Medical Leave Program (PFML)
Language was added to clarify that residents may use available vacation time off, sick time off, personal holiday to supplement their PFML benefits, since PFML benefits don’t allow for a resident to receive their full pay while on leave.
Article 12 – Time Off – Holidays
Language was added stating that programs cannot code holidays as vacation and/or sick time off when the resident was not scheduled to work. This language was previously agreed upon in a grievance settlement; however, was not in the collective bargaining agreement, ensuring that we will have this right going forward. Regarding the paid personal holiday off each calendar year, language was updated to say it only needs to be approved by the Program, not specifically the Program Director.
Article 13 – Time Off – Miscellaneous
Parental and Family Medical Leave protections added: If an employee has exhausted all available sick time and has less than seven (7) days of vacation, the employer will replete the vacation balance to seven (7) days upon completion of the leave (one time use). Furthermore, after depletion of sick time and vacation time balance, the employer will provide paid parental time off for the first six weeks of the first leave taken (one-time use).
Language change made regarding “family member” to be inclusive of non binary partnerships
Pregnancy protections: Pregnant residents are entitled to request any accommodations to their working schedule they might deem necessary with programs strongly encouraged to grant those requests. Requests for relief from twenty-four (24) hour shifts will be granted.
Article 14 – Time Off – Professional
Maintained current ten (10) days of professional leave per year, with language modification ensuring that this benefit is definite, not at the discretion of the program, and program directors now encouraged to grant professional leave requests for all residents, including off-service residents.
Maintained current seventeen (17) days off of sick leave per year, now with no restriction on weekday versus weekend use. Language was clarified around the protection for using sick leave for accompanying a family member to an appointment. Covered appointments for sick leave now include mental health.
Article 16 – Time Off – Vacation
Maintained current twenty-eight (28) days of vacation, with further language specifying that any vacation must be a continuous twenty-four (24) hour period, with further language encouraging that any vacation day be scheduled as a full calendar day off.
Article 17 – Management Rights
Article 19 – No Strikes, No Lockouts
No changes. RFPU still may not strike while the contract is in place.
Aside: Regarding state law, as state employees UW residents do not have a legally protected right to strike. Absence of legal protection for engaging in a strike is not equivalent to a legal prohibition against engaging in a strike.
Article 20 – Non-Discrimination
New language directs to University Bias Reporting Tools. For residents filing grievances for violations of this article, interim protections for the resident will be placed, which may include schedule changes and rotation site changes upon resident request.
Article 21 – Professional Development and Licensing
Language was added to clarify that in addition to residents being reimbursed for costs incurred to obtain a required medical or dental license, programs may also choose to provide the cost of a full license (not just partial) at their discretion. The professional development fund was increased to $400 for reimbursement, and $450 for stipends per year, and language was added to protect rolled over reimbursement funds, in the case a program switches to the stipend model, the resident will receive a pay out of the balance of hose funds, or given the opportunity to use their remaining funds. USMLE Step 3/COMLEX reimbursement is now extended to residents who were required to take their exam prior to appointment date on an H1B visa.
Increases in the salary of three percent (3%) every year (up from 2% per year previously). Increased housing bonus from $2400 annually to $6000 (year 1 of the contract), $7000 (year 2), and $8500 (year 3). The Chief stipend increased from $150 to $225 monthly. Leaders of NURF (president and VP) and HQSC (co-chairs) will also receive the monthly Chief stipend.
Article 23 – Subordination of Agreement and Authority
Codified into the contract our previous parking settlement that provides free parking on nights and weekends. SCH badges will be provided on the first day of work for use on SCH shuttles. Safe Ride can now be used regardless of whether public transit is running and can be used to any destination, not just “home”.
Contract will be in place through June 30, 2025.
Article 27 – Scheduling, Hours, Patient Care
NEW ARTICLE. ACGME duty hours protection language was added, which makes duty hours violations a grievable offense against the employer. Programs must develop back-up systems to support residents when teams have unsafe resident-to-patient ratios. Residents will not be retaliated against for reporting patient safety/census concerns.