The bargaining committee believes that the following tentative agreement protects ASEs’ rights and overall standards of living in an extremely difficult economic environment, breaks new ground on fees and childcare benefits, and helps prioritize access and quality at UW. We therefore recommend it to members for ratification.  The agreement represents an important step forward in addressing members’ priority issues, and establishes some baseline improvements.  It also provides a foundation for us to continue to fight for further progress in future negotiations.

Preservation of Current Rights and Protections

(Click to see current contract articles maintained in the tentative agreement)

All provisions of the 2010-11 collective bargaining agreement not specifically listed below will remain unchanged, which means we have preserved important ASE rights like appointment security, workload protections, family medical leave rights, grievance procedure with 3rd party arbitration, etc.

Summary of Changes

(Click articles below to see actual language negotiated in tentative agreement—language in strikethrough is language deleted from the current contract and language underlined is new language)
Childcare (Article 5)

We created a new ASE-specific childcare benefit for the 2011-12 academic year, and the University agreed to commit $25,000 to fund it during this period.  Under the program, an ASE shall be eligible for up to $600 per quarter for childcare expenses if s/he did not receive an award from the Childcare Assistance Program.  The Union and University will determine implementation of the program by August 1, 2011. Along with our existing family medical leave rights and dependent health insurance benefits, this new provision advances the family-friendly nature of our contract at UW and helps break down barriers to full participation in the academic workforce, particularly for women.

The parties will also continue to meet and discuss childcare-related improvements for ASE parents through the Union-Management Committee or through other means (which could include the GPSS-led Student Parent Task Force).

Insurance Programs (Article 12)

The current Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP) shall continue with no decrease in benefits or premium subsidies for ASEs or dependents, despite an overall 14% increase in costs to maintain the plan benefits.  This means the University will continue to pay the entire premium for individual ASEs eligible for the GAIP and 65% of these ASEs’ dependent premiums.  According to the University’s costing, this represents a commitment of an additional $1.9 million to our plan for next year.

Northwest Hospital and Medical Center and all its affiliated groups and providers will be added as an in-network provider to the plan.

We will also maintain our Joint Health Care Committee with UW to allow us to discuss quality, administrative and service matters pertaining to the GAIP.  Some of the key issues we discussed in negotiations (identifying further cost-saving options in the plan, analyzing possible effects of national health care reform on the plan in the coming year) are appropriate topics for this committee.

Wages (Article 32)

The University will continue its commitment to provide across-the-board pay increases for ASEs each year that faculty receive an increase.  Variable rate departments continue to be allowed to provide increases above those required by the contract.

Instructional ASE Services (Letter of Understanding E)

In keeping with members’ efforts to preserve academic quality, the University has confirmed its intent to not reduce its overall funding for ASE instructional services, including tutoring and writing centers, in the College of Arts and Sciences for the 2011/12 academic year.   This language in the agreement memorializes the University’s intent, pending final budget approval later in the summer.

Fee Relief (Letter of Understanding G)

For the first time, we negotiated a provision to provide relief from the rising cost of student fees.    Under the new provision, which applies to the academic year 2011-12, ASEs with an academic-yearlong appointment who currently are eligible for Operating Fee Waivers will receive $50 in compensation to offset projected increases in the Building Fee and Services and Activities Fee.  Eligible ASEs with less than a yearlong appointment will receive a pro-rated amount.

Academic Excellence (Letter of Understanding H)

In another effort to prioritize ASEs’ concern with quality instruction, we negotiated a provision that will help ASEs address the effects of increasing class sizes.  If an instructional ASE perceives difficultly maintaining excellence within workload limits due to changes from a previous quarter (such as an increase in class size or grading responsibilities), s/he may request and hold a meeting with the course supervisor to try to address the issue. This provides ASEs with a broader set of metrics for identifying possible problems, and working with supervisors early on to figure out ways of maintaining instructional excellence within reasonable workload expectations.  Our existing workload rights under Article 33 are also maintained.

Duration (Article 35)

The contract will last for one year, and expire on April 30, 2012.