WSU Bargaining update

wsubt60712aWashington State University

WSU Negotiation Summary

The agenda for today is:  Continue working on housekeeping items, non-economic proposals, new concepts and WSU budget.
The parties agree to invite Joan King to our meeting to present information concerning the WSU budget, funding sources and resources.  A special meeting may be needed.
Management introduced the concept of pay above the minimum to be expanded beyond promotions to other hiring situations.  After discussion, an agreement was made to allow an employee to be paid above the minimum step as long as the pay is within the range. The language will be inserted into Hiring and Appointments Article.
Management reported that they are still considering our proposal for Faith and Conscience.  The parties had a good discussion of circumstances of conscience that may not be faith based.  This led to one of our non-economic concepts:  crossing picket lines.  The union spoke about situations in which WSU and the WFSE are not in dispute but there is a different union who provides goods and services to the University who are involved in a labor dispute.  We talked about options that have been deployed when this happened with other state agencies.  We did not complete our discussion and no agreement was reached at this time.
The Union had introduced the topic of suspensions without pay in the Discipline and Corrective Article.  In the contract it allows an employee to be suspended a day before the employee receives notice.  We agreed that if the employee worked on that day, they should be paid.  We signed a bargaining note acknowledging our understanding.
Election of remedies is a concern that the Union raised.  It is agreed that the language requiring an employee to choose between arbitration and a different forum for resolution of the grievance will be stricken from the contract.
During discussions about New Employee Orientation we discovered that management is not opposed to the concept.  We will continue discussing how it may be accomplished.
When we looked at the language concerning Presumption of Resignation it led us to review the forms and letters related to this topic.  We found that the process does include notice to the employee that they are reinstated when they show the evidence that led to their being involuntarily or unavoidably absent for 3 days in a row without contact to the University.
In response to the Union’s question on how employees are paid when the travel to and from training takes the employee beyond their normal work schedule.  We reviewed the contract language referring to the Fair Labor Standards and the Office of Financial Management regulations. This item will be held for more discussion at our next meeting.
The parties are in agreement that contract training is mutually beneficial.  We discussed working jointly on the curriculum and including stewards, officers, supervisors and managers.  We will continue to figure out how this may become a new concept in our contract.
The Union talked to management about salary increases and cost-of-living adjustments.  The call-back and stand-by pay has not improved since 2004.  Other higher education institutions have made gains in these areas.  We also talked about the Department of Personnel salary survey results and how our employees faired in the survey.  Both parties acknowledge that we will spend more time on issues of money in our future negotiations.
Our next meeting will be July 29.  Our agenda will include:
•    tentative agreement on articles that will not be opened;
•    overhaul the definitions section of contract;
•    review Nepotism and Travel policy;
•    continue with Faith and Conscience, Parental leave and Breast-feeding;
•    economic concepts and proposals.


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