As furloughs start for 5,500 UW Medicine workers, patients and staff worry about care

Published by THE SEATTLE TIMES on 6/4/20 (Source)

UW Medicine has sliced about $76 million from its budget, said Susan Gregg, a spokeswoman. The system has announced it faces an estimated $500 million shortfall by summer’s end.

The furloughs of 5,500 staffers, for between one and eight weeks, will save some $15 million. About 35% of the reductions are at ambulatory clinical sites, where Gregg said patient visits have dropped 20% to 30%.

UW Medicine reached agreements over reductions with three labor unions: SEIU 1199NW, the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) and the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE). Negotiations with SEIU 925 broke down.

Courtney Nygaard, who bargained with other SEIU 925 members, said the union anticipates pursuing grievances and an unfair-labor-practice claim against UW Medicine, over concerns about the layoff-notice timeline, seniority and managers dealing directly with employees.