There are both positives and negatives to report: during bargaining today our committee continued to discuss the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda and the university tentatively agreed to our proposal clarifying that members are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, but had very little else in the way of substantive responses to our 17 other proposals. Today marked the 88th day since we commenced negotiations, and we continue to have received very little substantive response from UW: for example, they have only made 2 counter proposals over eight sessions to our 18 proposals.  Moreover UW cancelled tomorrow’s scheduled session due to their stated lack of response to any of our proposals.

In addition to making a proposal to include gender identity and expression in Article 19 (Non-Discrimination and Harassment) we also proposed modifications to Article 14 (Job Titles and Classifications) that are meant to ensure greater parity in wages between hourly ASEs and ASEs with %FTE appointments.  The University responded that they were not familiar with the history of how hourly appointments had been treated so differently historically.

UW also countered our Childcare proposal, proposing that since the Tender Loving Care program at Virginia Mason Hospital has been discontinued, ASEs will be able to avail themselves of any future program UW replaces it with.

Last we passed UW a new draft of a RFP (Request for Proposal) to gather responses and information from other insurance carriers about how health benefits can be provided at the lowest possible cost without sacrificing quality.  This followed several weeks of silence from the University about what they thought should be included in such a Proposal; in order to keep the process moving we drafted our own RFP to ascertain what alternatives might exist to the current GAIP and how we could ensure that any future contracts with carriers be made far more transparent to the union.  In passing this proposal we also reiterated our demand to bargain over the identity of the carrier and the broker, any refunds the University receives from the carrier, the fees or commissions paid to any broker, and the settlement money UW received from their previous broker.  UW said they would work to finalize this RFP and send it out as soon as possible.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday, March 11 at 12:00 noon in Condon 311.  All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.