September 18, 2018 Executive Committee minutes
Attending: Tiffany Carver, Lori Haight, Shayna Hill, Linda Holst, Todd Hux, Heather Lewis, Karlina Matthews, Angenette McAdoo, Alan Moran, Katie Musgrove, Jim Potts, Kathy Ramsey, Greg Smith, Rose Thorp, Tracy Wetherby-Williams
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. She noted that the Forum budget was not ready for presentation. She asked for volunteers to represent the Forum at the upcoming International Housekeeping event later that week. Kathy Ramsey agreed to represent the Forum.
Katie Musgrove said that the University is seeking donations for a truck to go out to the coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Employees should deliver donations to the parking lot across from the Dean Dome.
The Chair noted complaints about implementation of Condition 2 adverse weather status in the wake of the recent hurricane. She suggested that the Forum produce a resolution for consideration by campus administration. Heather Lewis described her time in Condition 2 adverse weather leave that will likely be coded as vacation. She said she did not desire to spend her vacation leave in this way. Greg Smith noted the inequities between treatment of staff and faculty, the latter of whom can make up time without consequence. The Chair noted that some employees can work at home if their supervisors approve. Smith said that this situation breeds resentment among employees in Lewis’ situation. Katie Musgrove said that this issue comes up every year. Todd Hux noted the situation of essential employees who must come to work despite warnings from the State to stay home.
The Chair asked Rose Thorp and the Personnel Issues committee to create a resolution about the current adverse weather process. Angenette McAdoo noted that the issue seems larger than UNC-Chapel Hill as it affects State agencies across the board.
Tracy Wetherby Williams confirmed that essential employees do not require special designation, rather that supervisors can grant this designation in ConnectCarolina. The Chair noted that essential employees are expected to brave “hell or high water” to avoid a write up for an unexcused absence. Angenette McAdoo said that write-ups for absences are a possibility but that supervisors need to be humanistic, evaluating situations depending on circumstances. She also noted that temporary designation codes are available to designate employees as essential.
The Chair recalled the case of employees who bring their children to the office in these situations. McAdoo emphasized that no one should bring their children to work, be they faculty or staff. The Chair said that this policy is not widely known in her department, the School of Dentistry. Other delegates related instances when they had seen employees’ children on campus, even in laboratory areas. McAdoo said that she would work to communicate this policy more clearly to the Human Resources Council and through that body to management. Delegates noted some lack of knowledge of various Human Resources representatives.
Katie Musgrove said that the unfairness of the Condition 2 adverse weather leave affects essential and non-essential employees. She advocated the elimination of Condition 2 leave, leaving either open status (Condition 1) or closed status (Condition 3). Members speculated on the reasons for the policy shift towards Condition 2 adverse weather leave. Alan Moran observed that older manual labor employees are at increased risk of heart attacks and other ailments in adverse weather situations. Meanwhile, other younger employees may wish to work but do not have the essential designation.
The Chair related an instance in which an employee moved a barricade in order to come to work during an instance of adverse weather. Angenette McAdoo said that there must be a business reason for a department to name an employee as essential. Jim Potts asked why the University cannot implement a temporary policy for these situations. McAdoo said that this change is possible but would require increased managerial discretion.
Todd Hux noted questions about essential employees driving State vehicles home. Katie Musgrove noted the discouraging effect of these problems. The Chair noted confusion as some employees think that they can make up adverse weather leave on a full work week. Employees cannot exceed 40 hours while making up the coded time. The Chair reported that employees have a different understanding of this policy. Jim Potts noted the misunderstandings that result from the Governor telling State agencies to close but the University requiring that employees still report to work. Alan Moran thought that leadership may be out of touch on this question as they have more discretion and vacation time than newer employees.
The Chair suggested that the Executive Committee ask the Personnel Issues committee to work on a draft resolution outlining these difficulties. She invited Executive committee members to join the Personnel Issues committee in this work. She hoped to be able to present something to the UNC System Staff Assembly at a future meeting. Delegates noted the difficulties that employees at coastal campuses like UNC-Wilmington face with time lost.
The Chair added that confusion about the leave includes the feeling that it is not imposed equally. Angenette McAdoo said that supervisory training on this leave could emphasize a more humanistic approach to policy. The Chair added that the ban on kids and pets at work may need some time to be promulgated across campus before enforcement begins. She said that the University used to allow sick leave in times of adverse weather, not only vacation leave. McAdoo pointed out that the State could extend the time to make up adverse weather leave. Todd Hux said that there seems to be little time to make up adverse weather leave given the shorter 90-day timeline. The Chair recalled the range of e-mails she has received from employees on this subject.
The Chair noted that the Forum Officers have investigated the possibility of moving general meetings to an auditorium in the Gillings School of Public Health. She said that the School has been unwilling to give the Forum a permanent commitment, a factor against moving the general meetings there. Natiaya Neal has worked with the Chair to obtain this space.
The Chair said that the Forum needs to select UNC System Staff Assembly delegate and alternate representation. Kathy Ramsey said that Staff Assembly election does not require membership on the Employee Forum.
Heather Lewis recalled the remarks by Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement officials about proposed merit increases for employees exceeding expectations on performance reviews. Katie Musgrove thought that these increases were mooted for lack of available funds. Angenette McAdoo noted the many complicated factors related to the provision of merit raises in the State system. Katie Musgrove said that units with available funds are not allowed to provide their employees these increases to avoid inequities with other University departments.
Lori Haight reported that the Communications and Public Relations committee will hold the Forum’s fifth annual scavenger hunt in conjunction with Employee Appreciation Day October 18th. Heather Lewis hoped that the hunt would notify employees via a broader range of social media. The Chair asked committee members to approach area merchants to request prizes for the hunt.
There was no report regarding the Forum book club.
Katie Musgrove reported InTouch had difficulties recently being caught in employee spam folders. Greg Smith said that articles containing too many links can trigger these problems. The Chair suggested e-mailing a link to a PDF or another web page for employees to access. Greg Smith said that this approach would remove options to analyze data about readers. Hoi Ning Ngai suggested surveying employee reading habits. Smith said that InTouch is currently read by approximately 25-35% of all 8,000-some employees on campus. He said that this rate has dropped to around 5% with the recent spam problems.
Katie Musgrove said that the Community Service committee is working on a planned food drive. The committee hopes to participate in a service trip to areas affected by Hurricane Florence. The committee will staff Blood Drive and Voting Information tables at the Employee Appreciation Fair.
Heather Lewis asked if the Forum could stop forwarding the University Garden informational e-mails so often. The Chair agreed to approach Garden committee members to ask about ending this practice. Musgrove noted that the Garden is trying to extend services to temporary employees.
Karlina Matthews said that the Education and Career Development committee hopes to revamp the Professional Development grant program. These revisions would reduce the number of application periods from three to two a year and would shift to a merit-based selection from the current first-come, first-served system. Alan Moran noted that the Michelle Bowen had continued her work to establish an internship program at Facilities Services with local community college students.
Heather Lewis said that there had not been a good turnout for a recent Personnel Issues committee meeting. The Chair said that she would emphasize the need to serve actively on committees to Forum delegates.
There was no report from the Recognition & Awards committee or the UNC System Staff Assembly.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:23 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary