Reply to: [GMEC] Update on UW-UWHA Contract Negotiations

Dear UWHA Members and Program Directors,
 
Last year the Residents and Fellows voted to unionize because as a group we were struggling.  The major sources of financial hardship were salary, parking, and childcare. During our negotiations, we asked the University for help. In a recent email, the University claimed that we have made “meaningful progress” in these negotiations. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

  • The University has yet to address salary, parking, and childcare.  In fact, the UW raised parking rates during negotiations, which is a potential violation of state labor laws.
  • Regarding moonlighting, we still have no uniform policy, and certain programs continue to insist on language that allows them to arbitrarily refuse moonlighting.
  • The $600 professional development fund is appreciated, but its use is limited and requires Program pre-approval.  
  • The extended paid leave policy applies only to a very specific set of conditions that are subject to change and do not include complications related to pregnancy/delivery. The University continues to refuse any form of paid maternity leave.
  • Finally, the University cites the elimination of reducing Residents’ salaries by 50% during research years as a gain instead of recognizing it as long overdue correction of an unfair practice.

It is true that negotiations have slowed.  This is because the UWHA Negotiation Team is waiting for the University to offer a substantive proposal on the issues most important to Residents. The only way to move forward is to continue to draw support from a local, regional and national level.  
 
So please stay informed and get involved (email uwha@uw.edu), and please continue to follow our efforts on the UWHA homepage (www.uwresidents.com).
 
Thank you,
UWHA Negotiation Team
 
P.S.  For a brief recap of where we stand on the major issues, please see below:
 
Salary:
Background: Resident salaries have been stagnant for decades. Residents qualify for charity care at our hospitals and discounted utility and water bills from our city.  Rent prices are skyrocketing in Seattle and residents are finding it challenging to live near the hospitals where we serve.
UWHA Proposal: The 1st percentile starting salary of a physician assistant at the University of Washington.
The University’s Response: A 2% salary increase, which is the same rate we have received for the past 10+ years. This proposed salary is 20% less than what a first day Physician Assistant receives.
 
Childcare:
Background: Year long wait lists and extremely limited on-site childcare options.
UWHA Proposal: Need-based stipend for Residents and Fellows to balance the costs of off-site childcare with a waiver of wait list fees for on-site options.  
The University’s Response: No stipend and no waiving of wait list fees.  UWHA was offered continued representation on the upper campus childcare committee.
 
Parking:
Background: The UW remains one of the few programs in the country that does not offer cost neutral parking.  Almost 10% of an intern’s salary goes directly to cover the costs of parking.
UWHA proposal: Cost neutral parking and creative solutions that encourage mass transit and biking. 
The University’s Response: Parking rate increases.  The UWHA was also offered representation on the upper campus parking committee.