The Lowest Paid Residents

Seattle is one of the most expensive places in the United States to live, and compensation to be a resident here should reflect that. However, UW residents are the lowest paid residents by cost of living in the country. UWHA analyzed fifty of the largest and most prestigious academic medical centers in the country, UW’s peer institutions. Many programs in far cheaper locations pay as much or more than UW.

On this graph, the black line represents the average compensation per unit of cost of living. Our peer public institutions meet or exceed this average. Consider the University of Michigan, located in a far lower cost city but paying substantially more than UW. This is not some private enterprise with a massive endowment to fund salaries. This is our nearest peer public institution, with the same challenges and prospective resident pool as UW.

Furthermore, UW itself recognized this by requesting funds from the legislature to give raises of 2-4% to faculty and staff (1). UW stated that “allocating more state resources for [raises] is critical to remain competitive with peers (many of which offer higher salaries in locations with a lower cost of living)” (1). UWHA agrees.

And the cost of living is only going up: housing prices have increased nearly 160% since the late 1990s (2). Beyond rent, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a gauge of how expensive “everything” is, has been rising at or above 3% in all but two months since early 2016 (3). In Seattle, the value of a dollar is lower than nearly all other cities in the United States (4).

1) Office of Planning and Budgeting. Summary of 2019-21 Operating Budget Requests. University of Washington.
2) Rosenberg, Mike. Hoping for Seattle-area rents to get cheap? Don’t hold your breath. Seattle Times
3) Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index – Seattle.
4) Cole, Alan. The Real Value of $100 in Metropolitan Areas. The Tax Foundation

UWHA Week of Action!

UWHA Week of Action – September 23 – 26

Monday, Sept. 23: Social Media Swarm

Who: All UWHA Members and Supporters

What: Social Media Publicity Day

Where: Wherever you are, All Day

You: Post pictures of you and other residents in support of a better contract. Tag @UWHousestaff, @UWmedicine, and your friends – please add hashtags #careNOTcuts #iamUWHA #faircontractnow

Tuesday, Sept. 24: Wear Suits in Solidarity (+Sticker/Button Up)

Who: All UWHA Members and Supporters

What: Solidarity Day

Where: Wherever you’re working, All Day

You: Wear a suit (if you don’t own a suit, still dress as business professional as possible), and wear a UWHA pin. When people ask why you’re dressed up, “UWHA is fighting for a fair contract. We mean business and we deserve better than what UW is proposing.” Post pictures, using same tags as the day before. 

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Unity Walkout

Who: All UWHA Members and Supporters

What: 15 Minute Walkout

Where: UWMC (Front Entrance), HMC (9th & Jefferson), VA (Front Entrance), and SCH (River Entrance), and various clinics (email if you are planning to walkout of another location), 12:00-12:15pm

You: Walkout a few minutes before Noon. T-Shirts and Signs will be at location – wear and wave them! Post pictures and tag us & friends.

Etc.: Short speeches will occur at each location. Residents at UCLA, UCSF, Highland Hospital walked out recently and saw immediate results!

Thursday, Sept. 26: Negotiation Session

Who: All UWHA Members

What: Contract Negotiation 

Where: Roosevelt Commons West, Rm 271

You: Come and Fill the Room!

September 5th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the ninth bargaining session on September 5th. This was an abbreviated 2 hour-session due to scheduling conflicts. Mindy Kornberg, Vice President of Human Relations, UW came to discuss childcare needs at the University and answered questions from UWHA. Articles 1, 7, and the newly LR proposed “Union Activities” Articles were discussed. Appendix IV was Tentatively Agreed.

LR presented a counter proposal on Article 1 (Childcare), which included language changes, but no increases to funding for the Childcare Fund, or increased priority for childcare center openings for residents. Mindy Kornberg discussed the ongoing struggles of childcare accessibility and cost universally, what the University has done to try to improve this, and that they understand this is a problem for resident families. There are currently 972 people on wait lists for childcare, with a 2-3 year long wait. UWHA feels strongly that the University has an imminent responsibility to make childcare more accessible and less of a financial burden to its employees. 

LR also presented a counter proposal on Article 7 (Grievances), which clarified language and updated procedures based on the last discussion. UWHA also rejected the proposal for an article titled “Union Activities” stating that most of the proposed language is already covered by state law, or publicly available to the university. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, September 26th from 3:00-7:00pm. UWHA encourages all members to attend.

Fall 2019 Childcare Fund Application is Open!

To apply for the Childcare Fund, please fill out the survey by September 18th.

For those who are interested, the eligibility and disbursement criteria that will be used for this fund are here. By September 23rd you will hear from us regarding your eligibility for the fund and your weighted score, you will then have until September 28th to appeal these decisions.

As a reminder, we are able to disperse $50,000 per year. We have asked for $500,000 per year in our contract proposal and the first offer we received included no increase to the fund. We will continue to fight for more funding as we know the cost of childcare in Seattle creates a huge burden for resident families.

If you have questions, please email

September 3rd Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the eighth bargaining session on September 3rd. In between the August 20th and September 3rd sessions, LR sent UWHA their counter proposals for Articles 6, 21, 23, and 25 – in addition to letting UWHA know that the proposal for a “super stipend” would not be moving forward. LR supplied financial proposals for a number of previously held placeholders. UWHA brought forth counter proposals for Articles 5, 7, and 9. Tentative Agreements (TA) were signed for Articles 8 and 9. 

Article 5 consisted of a few updates including a provision that would reinforce the onus on the employer to correctly administer dues to only eligible bargaining unit members. Currently, if the employer incorrectly takes dues out of the paycheck of a non-member, UWHA receives this money and has to later reimburse the non-member. 

Counter proposals from UWHA on Articles 7 and 9, consisted of keeping a majority of the current contract language as is. Article 9 was agreed upon and signed. 

LR submitted their first proposal on Article 21 that contained numbers, instead of placeholders. LR proposes no increases to the professional development fund, and removed the eligibility of rollover of funds between residency years. This manifests ultimately as a proposed pay cut from LR. This is a concerning proposal to UWHA as a large majority of residents allow their funds to rollover between years to pay for study materials, conferences, memberships, etc. that cost more than the $350 per year allotment. 

LR presented few changes to their initial proposal on Articles 23 (Salary) and 25 (Transportation). LR proposes a 1% increase to salary for two of the three contract years, a home call stipend of $1800 per year, and a significantly smaller $100 per year travel allowance. When pressed, LR admitted that their travel allowance proposal was not based on any actual data. 

Katie Bloom, Campus Compensation Consultant, UW presented a price out of the UWHA proposals and asked for guidance on many items in order to create further estimates. There is  disagreement on many of the proposed costs and this conversation will continue. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, September 5th from 3:00-5:00pm (abbreviated session) on the UW Campus. Mindy Kornberg, VP of HR, UW will be attendance to answer questions about the Childcare process at UW. UWHA encourages all members to attend.

URGENT: Sign the Petition for a better contract!

Sign the Petition to UW here!

We work hard, we provide excellent patient care for this institution, and our wages are severely behind our peer institutions – in addition we live in one of the most expensive cities in the country!

We deserve better. Please sign the petition and share with your colleagues to tell UW it’s time they pay us the salary and benefits we deserve. Everyone needs to sign this.

This is your contract. We can do this together.

UPDATE: This Petition is now closed. 786 residents and fellows signed.

August 20th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the seventh bargaining session August 20th. LR had agreed in the last session to present their financial proposal for a “super stipend” and counter proposals on Articles 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 15, 19, 20, and UWHA newly proposed Article 26. All were discussed except the new Article. UWHA had agreed to come prepared to sign “Tentative Agreements” (TA) for the appendixes. 

LR clarified that their proposal for the “super stipend” is to keep the dollar amounts they are currently paying the same, but to roll them all into one stipend. Further, they propose no increase to any stipend residents receive for housing, transportation, professional development, etc. 

LR presented counter proposals on a number of articles which included minor language updates. No substantial debate occurred during the meeting until Article 15 (Sick Leave) was discussed. UWHA proposed paying residents out for their sick leave accrued at the end of residency and LR immediately rejected this proposal, stating no state employees receive this benefit. UWHA then refuted this claim, referencing other unions at the university who receive this benefit. LR then acknowledged some employees do indeed receive this benefit. 

There was then a minor debate on both Article 19 (No Strike) and Article 20 (Non-Discrimination). UWHA pressed LR to when proposals on financial articles would be presented. LR did not have a straightforward answer, saying they were still calculating the numbers and could not promise when they would have estimates on cost. 

UWHA received confirmation from LR/GME that LR/GME will not honoring FMLA benefits for Idaho residents at this time, even though our Idaho-based residents have been paying into the system since July 1, which is of serious concern. LR said they are looking into the matter, but at this time it is not in their jurisdiction. UWHA pressured LR/GME that our residents need an immediate answer regarding this benefit, especially when they are paying for something they may not receive. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, September 3rd from 3:00-7:00pm on the UW Campus. UWHA encourages all members to attend.

August 15th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations met for the sixth bargaining session on August 15th. UWHA finished presenting all proposals last session and UW Labor Relations had agreed to present their initial proposal in its entirety on this date. Labor Relations stated that their “Goal is to condense language” and “reduce the administrative burden,” but presented very few changes overall. The highlights include:

  • Salary/Stipend
    • 1% raise within 90 days of ratification, and 1% raise in July 2020 (no additional raises in subsequent years)
    • No increase in the base pay for each PGY level
    • No offer on home Call Stipend – “placeholder”
  • Leave
    • No changes in vacation time, still three (3) weeks
    • Removal of protection of current leave benefits
    • Miscellaneous and Extended leave language change to reflect recent Family & Medical Leave Act (FLMA) passed in Washington state
  • Transportation
    • No additional funds for parking, Emergency Ride Home Program, no full-subsidized UPASS
    • Proposed they no longer have to notify UWHA if parking rates for residents and fellows will change
    • Travel Allowance – “placeholder”
  • Fringe Benefits
    • Meal Reimbursements – “placeholder”
  • Moonlighting
    • Removal of protections from the current contract, would shift to GME policy
  • Professional Development Funds
    • Removal of roll over for professional development funds in successive training years
    • Professional Development Funds Reimbursement is removed – “placeholder”
  • Union Activities
    • Use of state-owned email, fax machines, the Internet, and Intranets is prohibited
  • Grievances
    • Language changes to mirror peer unions at UW – which constrict ability to grieve

*Items that have “placeholder” – we have been told we will receive numbers on “later”. Labor relations stated a few times during the meeting that they “didn’t want to put in the work before we knew what you wanted.” Labor relations further explained to keep with their goal “to reduce the administrative burden” they would like to offer a stipend to cover several prior benefits (the placeholder “super stipend”). They did not offer a dollar number or further explain what this would look like. 

In response, UWHA expressed that the offer was insulting and was clearly without effort. UWHA further pressed Labor Relations on the fact that UWHA had spent five sessions detailing, with precise asks, what was necessary to be added to the new contract.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, August 20th from 3:00-7:00pm on the UW Campus. UWHA encourages all members to attend.

UWHA Contract Proposals

Download the files to see our proposal packets on various topics. UWHA submitted packets on topics including Childcare, Salary, Fringe Benefits, Transportation, Licensing, and Leave. Proposal packets were only created on topics that required substantial data and testimonies to inform.

UWHA – Childcare – 2019 Proposal

UWHA – Fringe – 2019 Proposal

UWHA – Leave – 2019 Proposal

UWHA – Licensing – 2019 Proposal

UWHA – Salary – 2019 Proposal

UWHA – Transportation – 2019 Proposal

August 12th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations met for the fifth bargaining session on August 12th. UWHA covered proposals for the remaining articles to be discussed – included Leave (Bereavement, Extended, Holidays, Miscellaneous, Professional, Sick, Vacation), Moonlighting, Licensing, in addition to one new article, covering Miscellaneous topics. Leave time continues to be one of the most valuable benefits to residents, and to reflect this, UWHA proposed the following:

  • Vacation leave be increased to 28 days per appointment period
  • Separate holiday rates for 11 holidays per calendar year
  • Increased professional leave days to 10 per appointment year with us to 5 rollover unused days, and separate paid leave for licensure exams
  • Each unused sick, vacation, and personal holiday leave day to be compensated to residents at 1/365th their current annual salary

UW is significantly outdated in its leave policy for residents – and there are regularly discrepancies between how leave is approved and coded, including that residents are held to significantly different rules than the rest of UW employees. These proposals will bring the university up to par with peer institutions, attract and retain top candidates, improve resident wellbeing and productivity, improve patient care and outcomes, and will come at minimal cost. 

Following the leave proposals, UWHA covered Article 21 – Professional Development and Licensing. UWHA proposals on the topic are simple – it is requested that residents are fully reimbursed for licenses when eligible, creating parity between states. While the university is based in Washington state, many residents are required to work in states throughout the WWAMI region (AK, MT, ID, WA, and WY). Licenses are required in all states in which resident physicians perform clinical duties. Licensing costs are a substantial burden to residents, and in many cases residents are required to pay completely out of pocket. 

Article 18, Moonlighting was also discussed. While there were minimal changes overall, the most substantial change was adjusting language to make the opportunity and accessibility of moonlighting more inclusive to all residents. This would also allow for improved notification of opportunities when available.

Lastly, a new article was proposed, titled “Miscellaneous” which covers a small variety of topics. Most notable, this includes clarification of bargaining unit members and agreement of the employer to provide a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days’ notice to an employee in the event of an Employer-directed permanent change in the employee’s shift assignment or work schedule. 

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, August 15th from 3:00-7:00pm on the UW Campus. UW Labor Relations will be introducing their proposals for the contract during this session. UWHA encourages members to attend.