Today we met with UW to start bargaining our next contract.  Each work group was well- represented by members who presented the initial bargaining demands to the University’s bargaining team.

We began by discussing the GAIP plan and the need to move quickly to better understand and evaluate the plan to provide the best benefits for the lowest cost.  Representatives from the University’s Benefits Office had come prepared with a list of possible options to consider, including maintaining GAIP in its current form (fully insured), competitively bidding the plan, self-insuring the plan, eliminating the plan and providing payment to GAIP eligible employees, and exploring programs similar to those at other universities.   They agreed to start the RFP process of competitively bidding the plan no later than January, to ensure that options would be available to consider in time for the 2015/16 plan year.

Beyond health care, work group members and members of the Social Workers Student Union presented our proposals on each of the following topics:

  • Improve Compensation and Standards of Living
  • Improve Job Classifications
  • Create Greater Inclusivity, Access and Openness
  • Improve Family-Friendly Benefits
  • Improve Academic Quality
  • Improve Fairness in Intellectual Property and Commercialization
  • Increase UW Responsiveness to Union Grievances and Information Requests
  • Job placement and Debt management services

With a bit of discussion about these topics, the University’s team indicated basic alignment with the goals our initial proposals and requested more specifics.  They communicated that at this time they aren’t likely to propose changes to the existing contract, and raised the University’s interest in bargaining any effects to the change of their payroll system from semi-monthly to bi-weekly.  We as union members have the opportunity and responsibility to create actionable plans and proposals based on the initial demands to guide the discussion toward fruitful ends

We ended the session by requesting availability from the University, who responded that they would propose future dates by next week.  We will pass along to members the dates/times/locations of the next bargaining session(s) when we confirm them with UW.