Earlier this year, we filed unfair labor practice charges and a grievance when the University began unilaterally charging premiums to ASEs and Postdocs for the new Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) program, and not fulfilling their agreement to re-open the ASE collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The University has now agreed to a settlement of our Unfair Labor Practice charges, and as a component of this we have reached tentative agreement on new language that incorporates the PFML into our CBA. The settlement includes agreement by UW to:
- Issue a full refund of premiums to every ASE who paid premiums deducted between January 1 and October 31, 2019;
- Gather and provide information to the Union about ASE utilization of leave and about eligibility for state leave bargaining unit members;
- Codify for any ASE who is denied coverage under PFML the right to meet with their Department Chairs or designees immediately to seek alternate coverage.
The new Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave Act, passed in 2017, provides some of the most progressive leave legislation in the nation. UAW Local 4121 supported this legislation with along with a coalition of progressive organizations pushing for policies that improve gender equity and support for long-term family care. Under PFML, 12 weeks of paid time leave can be used by a qualifying ASE of any gender within one year after the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for self or a family member who has a serious health condition. To qualify, an ASE must have worked 820 hours in the previous year. Pay equals a percentage of normal wages (up to $1,000 per week) and beginning 11/1/19, ASEs will like other Washington state employees begin paying a share of PFML premiums (approximately $3 per paycheck for an ASE making the base pre-master’s rate on a 50% FTE appointment). Paid Family Medical Leave benefits become available starting January 1, 2020 so we believe it is in the best interests of members to have clarity on how these terms apply to ASEs in advance. You can read more about the law here.
In addition, the CBA already provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with no loss of health insurance for ASEs with a 50% FTE appointment.
Any modification to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement must be approved via membership vote before it can go into effect. The ASE bargaining committee recommends a Yes vote. To vote, please check your inbox for your unique ballot with the subject line “Update to Family Medical Leave Provision in CBA; Ratification Vote.” If you did not receive your ballot, email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a replacement.