The Latest at University of Washington Chapter

SEIU 925 University of Washington Newsletter No. 1

Patient Financial Services Specialists 2 Newsletter

Patient Financial Services Specialists 2 Newsletter

Update on UW Transportation Committee Meeting and U-PASS

The University Transportation Committee met Monday morning.

At the meeting the following announcements were made by UW Vice Presidents Charles Kennedy and Margaret Shepard:

  1. Transportation Director Josh Kavanagh has resigned.
  2. Any rate increases are delayed until June as the administration needs to get it arms around the finances of the U-PASS program (VICTORY!).
  3. The administration recognizes that the U-PASS program is unsustainable in its current form and they wish to take a “deep dive” into the program and discuss restructuring in the early Fall.
  4. Our Union representatives on the committee reiterated that a joint union proposal was already on the table which would stop increases and fix the program.  The administration acknowledged receipt of our proposal and responded that no stone will be left unturned in its efforts to fix the program.

What does it all mean?

  1. Union members sticking together are forcing change.
  2. The administration agrees that the program is broken and needs to be fixed.
  3. Josh Kavanagh’s resignation, coming after his claim that a 43% increase was never proposed, will hopefully lead to more management accountability in the future.

What’s Next?

We will bring our transportation demands to the bargaining table if we do not get satisfaction before then.

Contract negotiations start in nine short weeks.  Together we can win better transit, fairer wages and more respect.  We need to be unified.  Click here and sign a unity card so we can this year, together.

Supreme Court sides with working families!

The Supreme Court on March 29 rejected an attempt to stop us from joining together in unions to improve our lives and our communities by ruling against the wealthy special interests behind the Friedrichs v California Teachers Association case.

This is a huge victory for working families!

But the threat is not going away just yet. A handful of billionaires are still funding ballot measures, litigation and legislation – all aimed at stopping us from sticking together.

These wealthy special interests – and groups like the Freedom Foundation here in Washington – don’t want us to unite to make a real difference in our communities.

Why? Because they know when we join together, we win. And they don’t want anyone to stand in the way of their extreme agenda to drive down wages and game the tax system, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for fully funding education.

But we will not let them succeed. Join thousands of SEIU 925 members and take the pledge to stand united in our union for good jobs, fully funding education and ensuring that Washington works for ALL of us.


“As a Patient Services Specialist at the University of Washington, I’ve witnessed the power of our collective voice to improve our work environment. Together, we bargained strong contracts and on March 19 we held a great action to keep our U-PASS affordable. It’s because we have a strong union that we can make positive changes.

I am prepared to stand with my brothers and sisters in our union and with working families all over the country. We have to push back and fight. This was a close call, but we have many more to come. We need to show strength in numbers and solidarity to beat back attacks and win at the bargaining table. The only way is for us to be unified.”

Jen Papest, PSS
Radiation Oncology
University of Washington


“As an HVAC Technician at Vancouver School District, I’ve seen the power of K-12 classified staff having a collective voice in our union. Together, we’ve bargained strong contracts, won benefits for our families and made improvements at our jobs.

These corporations and billionaires are trying to destroy unions so they can get more wealth for themselves. If they succeed, our wages will decrease and our benefits, like medical and sick leave, will slowly go away.

We will not let them succeed. This is a battle. But this battle is everybody’s battle, not just a union battle.”

Phil Akerill
HVAC Technician
Vancouver School District


“Groups like the Freedom Foundation are still trying to destroy our union by deceiving us into dropping our membership.

We won’t let that happen. As a Family Child Care Provider, I’ve seen the power we have when we stick together. We’ve been able to win higher subsidy rates and training funds and improve access for children and parents.

Join me in standing strong with our Family Child Care union – SEIU Local 925. We are stronger together.”

Marie Keller
SEIU Local 925
Family Child Care Chapter President

Members energized at Leadership Assembly

Leadership Assembly 3-19-16

SEIU 925 members were energized into action at our annual Leadership Assembly at the University of Washington on March 19.

See more photos here

Member leaders represented the broad spectrum of our union, including early learning educators, K-12 classified staff, UW workers, and other government and non-profit employees.

The one-day event kicked off with a spirited rally at the opening of the UW light rail station, where members of various unions and community partners called on UW to make the U-PASS affordable for faculty, staff and students.

During the Leadership Assembly, members recapped recent localwide victories, reviewed some of the current threats against working families and discussed plans to continue building our worker movement.

“It was awesome to see all the purple together. It reinforces how we reengage with our members and our community. We’re fighting for everybody, not just union members. I feel like it lit a spark in me.”
Deanna Clark
Program Coordinator, Harborview Medical Center


With the completion of the latest light rail expansion the University of Washington has gained a new connection to our regions public transportation system. As the celebration kicked off for the opening of the Husky Stadium Station revelers were greeted by a rally of 200 union members demanding that UW do the right thing-KeepIMG_1270 the U-PASS affordable.

The University of Washington had proposed increasing U-PASS rates for employees by up to 43 percent. After pressure from union members the UW backed off its original proposal.

The proposed increase to the U-PASS is a result of $2 million in parking taxes owed to the City of Seattle. “But here’s the problem. We’ve already paid our portion, over $1 million in fact, through the reserve fund,” stated SEIU 925 member Laura Harrington addressing the crowd. Harrington also serves on the UW Transportation Committee.

“Other employers both in our neighborhood and other universities in the city offer a lower [transportation package] rate for their employees,” said Gina Neff, UW Faculty Forward member and Associate Professor in the Department of Communications, speaking to KOMO News at the event.

The University of Washington shouldn’t continue to pass the buck on to its employees.UW U-PASS action 3-19-16 (142)

An affordable U-PASS will make it possible for more UW staff, faculty and students to use public transportation. “It’s great that we have a new light rail station, but it’s not enough to have a new station if people can’t afford a ticket to ride,” said Harrington.

That message was made loud and clear.
The United Union Rally was sponsored by: SEIU 925, UAW 4121, AFSCME/WFSE Council 28 Local 1488, SEIU 1199, WSNA, and UW Faculty Forward.

More photos from the rally can be found on our flickr here.

Raise the U-PASS and parking by 43%? No Way!

There are proposals on the table from Transportation management to raise the U-PASS and parking by as much as 43%. The U-PASS could cost $70!

Why the proposed hike?  UW administrators mismanaged the program and recently conceded a dispute over back transportation taxes to the City of Seattle.  (The City wanted to charge more taxes on the parking program and treat UW more like a private corporation.)

Add your name to the petition to keep our U-Pass affordable.

The Administration walked away from the dispute because they were more concerned about their other interests with the City (UW owns a lot of property), than with their own employees.

All the reserves in the transit program were spent to pay back taxes and the administration had to pay one million dollars more to the City. Now they are charging the Transportation program for the money – which means they want employees to pay!

The Administration has substantially cut the proportion they pay for the U-PASS since it was created.   Now they only pay 20% of the cost.  They raised parking and the U-PASS 14% last year.

A private sector employer in the U District can get the same program and employees pay much less.

It’s time for a change.  Today as a union we are demanding that:

  1. The UW absorb the cost of the mismanaged taxes, not employees.
  2. Management increase UW financial support for the U-PASS to cut the cost.
  3. Medical Center fix parking for those healthcare employees whose shifts and requirements make public transit unworkable.
  4. Management work with our unions to get tax relief for our program from the City.
  5. Management work with our unions to advocate for improved transit service to all UW workplaces.

Tell President Cauce that UW is a public institution.  Let’s act like a public service so we are treated like a public service, not a corporation.

Download a pdf petition.


Contact Center Update

We had good meetings on Monday, February 1st in the Queen Anne Conference Room.

  • We identified a list of challenges that we face in the Contact Center. Our list includes scheduling, seating assignments, work from home protocol, turnover and micro-management concerns, to name just a few.
  • We are building a better communication structure to make our union stronger and need more us to get involved if we want to be stronger.  Please email one of us from the Action and Communication Team, complete your Unity Pledge, and/or respond to this email to get in touch with our Local 925 Unity Organizer,  Anjulie B. Knowles.
  • We also nominated Kyle Houser and Nancy Manos to be our representatives for the UW wide bargaining committee.


We have a lot of issues to take on in the next few months.  We will review a plan to do exactly that and we will hold an election for our bargaining committee.  Join us during your lunch or break time. Be sure to bring your brown bag lunch.

On Friday, February 19th the rolling mini-meetings will be between 9:00 am to 3:00 pm with the following rotational schedule to cover all the floors of the Contact Center.

9:00 – 11:00 AM  @ 11th Floor Conference Room
11:00 – 1:00 PM  @ 8th Floor – Ballard Meeting Rm
1:00 – 3:00 PM    @ 7th  Floor – Capitol Hill Meeting Rm


Members of our Action and Communication Teams (ACT)!
Sophal Hamaker,
Kyle Houser,
Delvin Jenkins,
Nancy Manos,
Tony Martinell,
Son Nguyen,
Flanny Russell,
Beth Strehlo,
Shalea Tatum,
Joe Waggoner,


University of Washington Physicians Bargaining Team Candidates

Vote For Your Bargaining Team Members!

Town Hall
Wednesday February 17
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Plan to use your lunch break to come learn the results of the bargaining survey, join in the discussion about how we win and VOTE!

All members in good standing are eligible to vote.
There are five spots on the bargaining team.

You will vote for your top FIVE candidates.

Those not elected will serve as alternates to keep our membership engaged so we can win the best contract possible.
See you on the 17th.

Click here to view the candidates

Take action for higher wages and unity

On Jan. 14, we presented our case for higher wages to UW compensation at the Quarterly Market Adjustment meeting. We showed them that we are unfairly paid far below the University’s standard that says no employee will be below 80% of the median compared to the outside market (which in reality is the equivalent of keeping UW employees at 40% of the market).

We presented comparative compensation rates (more…)

$15 and a victory starts off New Year with a bang!

After a two-year fight UW management agreed to raise minimum pay to $13 this New Year and $15 next January.  We also won a series of meetings before bargaining to map out the problems with pay compression.

Combined pressure from 925 members, other union members, our community and students at large made this victory possible.

When we negotiated we worked together with WFSE and the UAW at the bargaining table.  Together we demanded (more…)