November 4th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the fourteenth bargaining session on November 4th. Articles 5, 7, 21, 22, and 23 were discussed.

Article 5 (Dues Deduction, Fair Share, and UWHA Membership) consisted of updated language regarding notifying potential candidates and new employees of union representation. 

Article 7 (Grievances) had updated proposals from both UWHA and LR. LR has proposed an introductory paragraph stating the priority to resolve disputes at the earliest opportunity is in the best interest of both the employer and the employee, with a preference to do this outside of the formal grievance procedure. LR wants to also reduce the amount of time UWHA has to file a grievance from 60 days to 30 days from when the incident occurred. It was agreed upon that protection from retaliation should be included; however, disagreement still stands on whether Step 1 of the procedure could be voluntarily skipped.

Regarding Article 21 (Professional Development and Licensing), LR again proposed to eliminate the fund rollover from year to year to “minimize the administrative burden”.  LR then proposed a few new options for disbursing professional development. The first of which is to automatically provide a $350 stipend at the beginning of the academic year, and the second option would be to continue to current reimbursing on an ad-hoc basis. Both options do not include either an increase to the fund or again, the option to rollover the amount between years. UWHA has concerns that transitioning to a stipend would mean the amount would be taxed, which would actually reduce the professional development money residents and fellows would receive per year. Lastly, UWHA continues to advocate for full reimbursement of licenses that are required by programs.

Article 22 (Progression by Training Year) consisted of proposals from LR to remove the charts explaining the progression, due to feedback that it creates more confusion. UWHA continues to assert that it is of extreme importance that when members do a non-acgme research year during residency that their compensation is not reduced when they fall out of the bargaining unit (Separate note: UWHA also continues to assert that these individuals should be added to the bargaining unit). LR has stated that they will do research into what programs require these research years.

Article 23 (Salary) did not include counter proposals from either UWHA or LR; however, UWHA presented an additional packet (see below) with updated data consisting of newly released salary numbers from various institutions. This packet includes data from the top 50 medical school programs in the country, including compensation, housing stipend, retirement benefits, relocation stipend, and additional benefits. LR continues to state that they don’t have enough money to meet our requests for fair compensation.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12th from 3:00-7:00pm at Roosevelt Commons West, Rm. 271. UWHA urges all members to attend.


October 31st Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the thirteenth bargaining session on October 31st. Articles 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 25 were discussed.

In the current counter proposal on Article 5 (Dues Deduction, Fair Share, and UWHA Membership), UWHA included language that if the employer incorrectly deducts dues from an employee who is no longer part of the bargaining unit, they would be responsible for reimbursing the funds. This has been an ongoing issue. UW HR has claimed to have fixed the issue of incorrectly deducting dues and removed a number of individuals this was happening to, as of the most recent period. There was also language to clarify how applicants applying to residency and new hires would be notified of the unions existence.

Articles 10-15 cover an array of Leave topics. UWHA proposed language updates to all. Most notably, Article 13 covers pregnancy accommodations, and UWHA continues to propose expanding the protections to pregnant residents and fellows. Additionally, UWHA continues to assert that a fourth week of vacation is vital in reducing resident burnout and to make UW more competitive with the 75% of residency programs across the country that already offer a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation. LR has asserted this would constitute a large administrative burden. UWHA requested a counter proposal to our ask of 4 weeks of vacation as LR has had 3 months to already prepare a counter proposal however they stated they were still “working on it” and could not guarantee when their counter proposal would be ready. 

UWHA continued the conversation on Article 25 (Transportation) from the last bargaining session, regarding the Safe Ride Home program. Many peer institutions have no questions asked safe ride home programs to ensure resident safety, irregardless of the time of day of the trip. LR has concerns about the program being abused by individuals; however, UWHA has shown data that is not the case at peer institutions who have expanded this benefit to be more inclusive. There were minor changes regarding shuttles, and UPASS.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Monday, November 4th from 3:00-7:00pm at Roosevelt Commons West, Rm. 271. UWHA urges all members to attend.

October 29th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the twelfth bargaining session on October 29th. This session was a continuation of the October 15th session. The only additional article discussed was Article 25 (Transportation). 

The most recent counter proposals from LR and UWHA for Article 6 (Fringe Benefits) differ a great deal – and UWHA has continued to ask questions and receive clarification on the intention for multiple items, including pay for training modules before and after a resident’s official start date, professional liability coverage, laundering services, fitness access, and a relocation stipend. Extensive and productive conversation was discussed regarding the current and potential staffing of counselors for residents and fellows, as well as intricacies with PHP (Physician Health Program). LR discussed the areas in which they are currently working to improve wellness among residents and fellows, including in the recruitment of more diverse counselors to better match the resident and fellow population, improving schedule release times, partnering with NURF, and ensuring that all ACGME requirements are being met.

UWHA has also proposed a $50/month phone stipend due to the necessity of having a personal cell phone to perform job responsibilities. LR states that because UW policy does not provide cell phones or stipends for any employees, regardless of their position, this will continue to be the policy for residents and fellows as well. UWHA continues to assert that the University of Washington is severely behind in these benefits compared to peer institution residency programs.

Article 25, Transportation was brought forth to discuss both questions and concerns with current policies. UWHA is proposing to expand and improve the current Safe Ride Home program, which is not currently serving residents and fellows in its intended purpose.

Conversation and debate on these topics took the entirety of the session and UWHA’s proposals were postponed to the next session. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, October 31st from 3:00-7:00pm at Roosevelt Commons West, Rm. 271. UWHA urges all members to attend.

October 15th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the eleventh bargaining session on October 15th. LR supplied counter proposals on Articles 1 (Childcare), 3 (Definitions), 6 (Fringe Benefits), 18 (Management Rights), 23 (Salary), and newly submitted article “Union Activities.” UWHA brought forth counter proposals for Articles 7, 10-13; however, they were not discussed due to lack of time. 

The counterproposal for Childcare contained no additional funding to the Childcare Fund, only including language updates based on feedback from GME. UWHA reiterated the importance of a more robust Childcare Fund and it’s value in recruiting and sustaining a diverse cohort of residents. 

Regarding, Article 6, Fringe Benefits – LR proposed updates to the Resident Orientation section with language specifying which activities residents would receive pay for, in addition to adding language to “Relocation” to state that departments may reimburse for relocation expenses consistent with administrative policy. UWHA is concerned about how that would occur in practice and what that means for residents and fellows in programs with less funding. 

LR proposed language updates to Article 18, Moonlighting. UWHAs priority for this article is to make moonlighting easily and fairly accessible to all residents in good standing. Current proposed language from LR is limiting in who can participate, however, LR is concerned about the mechanism for which this information would be shared across programs.

LRs brought forth an additional proposal to their newly submitted “Union Activities” article. This proposal contained a new section, outlining limits to staff representatives of the union and access of work sites. In addition, this proposal included language to allow for union bulletin boards at all UW medicine sites. 

Lastly, Article 23 (Salary) was discussed at length, as LR brought forth two proposed changes from their most recent proposal, which included an increase to the Chief Resident Stipend, by $25/month, up to $175/month and increasing the Home Call Stipend, starting July 1, 2020 to $1900 per year. The proposed salary increases per year, remain the same from their first proposal. 

Conversation and debate on these topics took the entirety of the session and UWHA’s proposals are postponed to the next session. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29th from 3:00-7:00pm at Roosevelt Commons West, Rm. 271. UWHA urges all members to attend.

UWHA CBA Bike Program

PLEASE NOTE: The Summer Quarter Bike Program is now closed. The next period will end 12/31/19, with the deadline there soon after.

If you’d like to participate in the UWHA CBA Bike Program, please submit documentation before October 18, 2019.  Please see below regarding what/how to submit:

Quarterly Bicycle Stipend

What: $25 stipend, given quarterly

Eligibility: UWHA members who bicycle > 80% of the AY20 Summer quarter (from July 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019)

How:

  • Legibly complete and sign the attached form. Please ensure that you initial all lines.
  • Submit to GME by e-mail (UWGME@uw.edu) or mail (UW GME Bike Fund, Box 358047)

Bike Helmets

What: A free bike helmet

Eligibility: UWHA member

How:

  • Submit receipt to GME by e-mail for electronic receipts (UWGME@uw.edu) or mail for paper receipts (UW GME Bike Fund, Box 358047)
  • Costs must have been incurred during the AY20 Summer Quarter(from July 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019)

Bike Maintenance

What: up to $100 in bicycle maintenance costs.

Eligibility: UWHA member

How:

  • Submit receipt to GME by e-mail (UWGME@uw.edu) or mail (UW GME Bike Fund, Box 358047)
  • Costs must have been incurred during theAY20 Summer Quarter (from July 1, 2019 – September 30, 2019)
  • Examples of reimbursable items: costs of maintenance service, tools, bike tubes, lights, locks
  • Examples of non-reimbursable items: bicycles, clothing, backpacks, panniers, running shoes, or other non-bike maintenance or non-bike related items.

Rejected requests are commonly due to easily fixable errors

  • Receipts must be itemized.
    • Documenting each individual item purchased or service performed
    • Vendor
    • Cost
    • Date of purchase
  • Bike shop services: they give you two pieces of paper: an invoice itemizing what was done and a receipt showing that it was paid for (often stapled together). Please save BOTH and submit BOTH at the end of the year.
  • Carbon copies: please submit the top sheet. The lower sheets can be damaged easily.
  • Amazon: e-mail receipts are not adequate. Instead, do this
    • Accounts and lists
    • Your orders
    • Order details
    • View or print invoice
  • If you’re sending a scan or picture, please ensure it is legible

Please note:

· You must be a member of the UWHA to qualify.  Information about who is covered by the contract is found here:https://hr.uw.edu/labor/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2017/09/UWHA-Bargaining-Unit-Summary-9.14.2017.pdf.

· Reimbursements will be made via whatever mechanism you have in place for your paycheck (Ex: if you are signed up for direct deposit, then the reimbursement will be made via direct deposit).

· Please provide your name and your UW NetID along with the receipt.

· You must approve of the reimbursement in Ariba (as the final step in the reimbursement process).  These notices will come to your UW email account.  If you submit for a reimbursement, please check your UW email frequently as these notifications will time out of the system if you do not approve in a timely manner.

Deadline for these submissions is October 18, 2019 at 5pm.

Week of Action Media

UW’s medical trainees need fair pay, will walk out Sept. 25 – The Stand (9/20)
UW Residents Will Strike for 15 Minutes This Wednesday – The Stranger (9/23)
80-hour weeks, bad pay, exhaustion: Here’s why UW medical residents are walking out – Crosscut (9/24)
“We’ve Reached a Breaking Point:” Hundreds of Residents Strike for 15 Minutes Across Seattle – The Stranger (9/25)
UW medical residents hold walk out, cite low pay and understaffing – KOMO News (9/25)
In Solidarity: Response to the University of Washington Resident Physician Strike – In-House (9/29)
Unionized medical residents continue struggle with the UW, stage walkout for improved benefits – The Daily UW (9/30)

September 26th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the tenth bargaining session on September 26th. LR supplied non-financial counter proposals on Articles 2, 5, and 13. UWHA brought forth seven counter proposals for Articles 1, 2, 3, 6, 21, and counter proposals for newly submitted articles on “Miscellaneous” topics and “Duration and owed wages.” This session came the day after roughly 500 residents participated in a Unity Break at 6 sites across Seattle (and one in Boise). Dr. Byron Joyner, vice Dean of GME joined for the first few minutes. This was the first negotiation session with UWHA he had attended.

Both UWHA and LR brought forth very similar counter proposals on Article 2 (Committee Memberships and Hospital Committee) and clarified that despite recent changes to the structure of the IRFAC committee, there would still be guaranteed resident representation. Article 5 included a conversation regarding UWHA seeking to expand union publicity to potential and incoming candidates for residency. As well as finding a solution for employees who are no longer part of the bargaining unit, but whom are still having dues deducted from their paychecks by UW. LR has agreed to have a meeting with UWHA separately to amend this issue. 

Article 13 (Leave-Miscellaneous) was discussed in great length due to proposed changes that would limit benefits and protections for pregnant people. LR confirmed that newly legislated FMLA benefits in Washington state would not be extended to Idaho residents, causing a discrepancy of benefits between residents in different states. The proposed article limits accomodations for pregnant people – of which LR stated it was the responsibility of the individual to reach out to the disability office to amend. UWHA preference is for accommodations to be protected within the CBA to promote cultural change. Historically, residency has been very unsupportive of pregnant residents and fellows, and UWHA looks to change this through specific language in the CBA, to which Cindy Hamra, assistant Dean of GME agreed.

Counter proposals brought forth by UWHA for Articles 1, 3, 6, 21, and 26 included language changes – some of which were accepted language from LR’s last proposals; however, did not include decreases to any of the financial asks. In reference to Article 1 (Childcare), UWHA again brought forth the importance of being supportive of resident families, and the detriment that lack of subsidizing child care has on recruiting qualified and diverse candidates. 

UWHA asked LR about their thoughts on the Unity Break. Banks Evans, director of Labor Relations said he only heard about it the next day. It was confirmed that Dr. Paul Ramsey did receive the petition signed by almost 800 residents in support of a fair contract however they had no further comment on the matter despite prompting. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15th from 3:00-7:00pm at Roosevelt Commons West, Rm. 271. UWHA urges all members to attend.

Unity Break Speech – September 25th

UWHA Members joined a 15-minute Unity Break across four hospitals and three clinics (in both Washington and Idaho) on Wednesday, September 25th. This speech was shared at a majority of sites and written by UWHA President, Dr. Kellie Satterfield.

Hello everyone, thank you for coming today. We are the UW Housestaff Association, comprised of over 1300 medical and dental resident and fellow physician trainees here at UW and WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS.

Today residents, fellows and other supporting our cause, are meeting at all UW campuses across Seattle. We are here, to say in a unified voice, that UW is not giving us the support we need to care for our patients. 

Over the course of several years, UW’s mistreatment of doctors in training has led us to unionize, and again today, we have reached a breaking point. Our working conditions have taken a toll on our wellness and ultimately a toll on our ability to care for our community.

We are the people caring for you in the emergency room and at clinics across Seattle, we are performing your surgeries, reading your X-rays, and curing your illnesses. We knew medical training wouldn’t be easy, but residency at UW is particularly hard.

Compared to the top 100 institutions, UW residents are amongst the worst paid residents in the country, and now UW is proposing cuts to our compensation. This is unacceptable. WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS.

UW doesn’t guarantee us a safe ride home after working over 30 hours straight work, when it’s unsafe to drive. Research has shown that one third of us will end up falling asleep while driving and up to half of us crash or nearly crash our cars during residency. (brief pause) This isn’t safe for our doctors. This isn’t safe for our community. 

We have no protected breaks, and little-to-no say in our schedules or when we take vacation. Rates of physician depression, suicide and burnout are at an all time high. When residents are unwell, it hurts patient care. This hurts our community, and WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS.

UW policies mean we lose top medical applicants. Our benefits and wages do not compete with other programs across the nation. Due to our poor compensation, UW is also losing out on diversity amongst its doctors. Our community deserves the best- our community deserves doctors as diverse as they are. We believe our patients deserve better than this.

WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS and we are struggling to pay our bills. The average medical graduate gets their diploma with $200,000 in student dept, not counting accrued interest. We can’t afford our rent in the city, yet, we are forced to live in some of the most expensive neighborhoods in order to get to patient emergencies in the middle of the night. How does that work when many of us qualify for low income housing?

WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS and we are discouraged from having children in residency– and those who do wait years to get their children into daycare. AND even working the equivalent of 2 full time jobs, we still can’t afford the childcare available here. What about when we get called in, in the middle of the night? Who watches our children then?

WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS and we can’t afford our own healthcare- not even at our own institution. Many residents are going into credit card debt just to put food on the table for their families. How are we supposed to care for our patients when we can’t even care for ourselves?

WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS and we have met with UW in good faith to address these concerns – even after they have delayed getting to the bargaining table for 7 months and forced us to leave patient care to negotiate. We have only asked that our wages be on par with peer institutions nationwide. In response, UW proposed cutting our compensation even further. UW isn’t listening.

WE ARE YOUR DOCTORS and we are fighting for our wellness, for our families, and for our patients. ALL OF THESE conditions negatively impact our ability to do our jobs and provide the best care for you and our community. UW is filled with hardworking and passionate people: from doctors and nurses to custodial staff, physical therapists, and facilities engineers. Like all workers in Seattle, we deserve to be valued and respected. 

Our unity break today is meant to show UW they must take care of their employees if they want to provide the highest level of care to the people of Seattle and the greater northwest. We ask the University of Washington to do the right thing by its patients. In this case, it means taking care of its own doctors. 

Thank you so much to everyone for being here today. We will now have a resident testimony.”

UW Residency Spots Go Unfilled

Compensation is a key factor in deciding which residency programs to apply to and where to go. When newly minted doctors apply for residencies, they rank their preferred choices and are ultimately assigned a program through the NRMP Match. Each residency program’s goal is to ensure that all resident positions are filled. However, if not enough residents rank their program, those spots go unfilled and the hospital system ends up understaffed.

We analyzed publicly available match data comparing the match rates of the top 100 institutions. In 2006, when the Seattle Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 190, UW was around the 50th percentile of all institutions in terms of matching rates. However, as the CPI has risen, UW’s match rate has dropped to around the 80th percentile. In other words, 80% of institutions recruit resident physicians better than UW. 

Unfilled spots are a sign of an institution in rapid decline. Programs further lose prestige and applicants as word spreads that they are not seen as desirable. Residents have a choice when they apply to residency, and they are increasingly choosing to look elsewhere.

Other programs have recognized this problem. At UCSF, poor compensation in the early 2000s tracked directly with more unmatched positions. When UCSF instituted significant salary increases, they immediately began filling more positions, a trend which has continued as salary has increased over the last 15 years.  

UW residents have an enormous stake in the prestige of UW. As UW’s stature goes, so go our own prospects for our future careers. UW residents are very worried about these trends. We hope that the leaders at UW are even more so.