Washington State University submitted a 104-page union contract counter proposal on June 10 to its largest classified staff bargaining unit, represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees. The document was in response to the union’s initial proposal submitted about two months earlier.

As WSU Today went to press, university administrators and WFSE — which represents about 1,250 classified staff — were entering their third meeting since the counter proposal. Dates for 18 more meetings have already been scheduled between now and Aug. 10.

The contract must be complete and submitted to the governor’s office by Oct. 1.

“During the past two sessions, I feel like both sides have focused on actual contract negotiations and the momentum is picking up,” said Glenn Frye, WSU’s labor relations officer. “I think both parties realize we have a contract to be negotiated and are giving it our best efforts.”

A few items in the counter proposal stated:

• Stewards or chief stewards will use annual leave or leave without pay when participating in representational activities or any other union activity during their work duty hours.”

• The maximum number of stewards, including chief stewards, shall be not more than two per bargaining unit.

• No official local union representative, bargaining unit member, or grievant shall be compensated by the university for any union activity, including representational activities, while off duty.

• The university will meet its overtime needs on a voluntary basis with qualified bargaining unit members who are currently working. In the event there are not enough volunteers, the supervisor shall assign bargaining unit members to work overtime.

• Overtime is paid only for those hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours in a workweek, and shall be paid at base hourly rate times 1.5. There shall be no compensatory time.

• Bargaining unit members shall acquire and maintain all licenses and certifications the university determines necessary to accomplish the essential functions of their position at the bargaining unit member’s expense and time. The cost for other required licenses and certifications shall be paid for by the university.

• When a bargaining unit member is referred for drug or alcohol testing, he or she will be removed immediately from duty and transported to the collection site. A refusal to test is considered the same as a positive test. The cost of reasonable suspicion testing, including the bargaining unit member’s salary, will be paid by the university.

• Probationary periods for permanent full- and part-time employees will be 12 months.

• Holidays will coincide with those listed in WSU’s Business Practices and Procedures Manual 60.76.2.

• Annual leave accrual rates and sick leave cash out rates will ressentially remain the same.

• Leave without pay shall be considered for the following reasons: family and medical leave; compensable work-related injury or illness leave; military leave; cyclic employment; educational leave; childcare emergencies; governmental service leave; conditions applicable for leave with pay; as otherwise provided for in this agreement.

For additional information, employees under the WFSE bargaining unit can contact their local union representative; all other WSU staff can contact Frye in the Labor Relations Office.