Judge upholds union’s victory for UW members’ special pay

Victorious UW Local 1488 members Dec. 7 outside King County Superior Court where Judge Eadie upheld their special pay. With them are WFSE/AFSCME PERC Activities Coordinator Gladys Burbank, union attorney Ed Younglove and WFSE/AFSCME Labor Advocate Banks Evans.

King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie today (Dec. 7) upheld the Federation’s earlier victory in what’s become known as the University of Washington “special pay case.”

The UW could appeal Eadie’s decision.

The UW earlier this year appealed to Superior Court a state Public Employment Relations Commission decision in favor of the union on special pay provisions for a number of custodial and Trades classes. This comes even though the UW had agreed to the special pay provisions and even paid for several months.

More background:

  • This goes back to 2008. As a result of a negotiated market survey, the shift differential pay for swing shift and graveyard shift custodial staff went from 65 cents an hour to $1 an hour on July 1, 2008.
  • In bargaining the next, 2009-2011 contract, both sides agreed to a provision building on those increases. Thirty days after ratification of the contract, certain Skilled Trades employees received a wage increase, and all employees who were not receiving a $1 shift differential got an increase to a $1 shift differential. Both those took effect Nov. 1, 2008.
  • But in the face of the Great Recession and a financial infeasibility ruling by the state budget office, the UW unilaterally withdrew the wage increases as of Jan. 31, 2009.
  • The union filed an unfair labor practice complaint and won in April 2010. The UW appealed. But the full Public Employment Relations Commission this past March 15 ruled in favor of the union.

“When an employer implements a negotiated wage increase during the term of the agreement, the status quo is altered,” PERC said. “The employer created a  new status quo when it implemented the increased shift differential for custodial employees on July 1, 2008; the increased shift differential for other employees on November 1, 2008; and the market adjustment for certain skilled trades employees on November 1, 2008.”

  • The UW then appealed to Superior Court April 13.
  • There was also a separate grievance filed.


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