July 21, 2020 Executive Committee minutes
Attending: L.E. Alexander, Lauren Anderson, Jo-Ann Blake, Jessye Bongiovanni, Randall Borror, Rich Brandenburg, Andrew Brennick, Shane Brogan, Tiffany Carver, Adrienne Cromwell, Jen DeNeal, Phil Edwards, Stephanie Forman, Natasha Hanks, Leah Hefner, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, Shayla Hollingsworth, James Holman, Quin Jernigan, Hayde’e Marchese, Arlene Medder, Katie Musgrove, Ayla Ocasio, Joe Ormond, Laura Pratt, Keith Robinson, David Rogers, Kelly Scurlock-Cross, Theresa Silsby, Greg Smith, Robert Smith III, Antonio Squire, Charles Streeter, Matthew Teal, Rosemary Thorp, Jacob Womack
Excused Absence: Clinton Miller
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. She welcomed all and asked for a motion to approve the June minutes. Arlene Medder made this motion seconded by Jen DeNeal. The motion was approved without opposition or abstentions.
Ayla Ocasio and Matt Banks presented the Forum’s monthly budget report. Ocasio said that new committee chairs should contact her or Banks with any questions about the budget or their group’s allocations.
The Chair noted articles in the News & Observer and NC Policy Watch which stated that the Chair of the Board of Governors has asked each chancellor to submit specific plans for up to 50% budget cuts. She has received a host of questions since. Haydée Marchese wished for transparency and good communication about these plans. Jen DeNeal emphasized that employees do not want to be surprised by possible cuts. Marchese asked the criteria, guidelines, and specifications for possible layoffs. Keith Hines sought a clear statement of what will be done from administration.
Rose Thorp asked if Senior Manager for Employee Management Relations Angenette McAdoo could speak on layoffs in normal circumstances. McAdoo said that departmental decisions about layoffs are subject to review by the Director of Employment. Factors in the selection of layoff candidates include consideration of relative positions and years of service. She recalled employees receiving advance notice from three weeks to six months. Employment must search to see if a place can be found for the layoff candidate elsewhere on campus. Once Employment makes its decision, the matter goes to the System Office for final consideration.
Arlene Medder asked if this process will govern the current plans given that they must be submitted by the end of the week. McAdoo said that the articles cited seemed to have gone out prematurely. The Chair thought that the Forum, as an advisory body to the Chancellor, has a responsibility to respond to what seems an urgent announcement. She said that staff should be present for negotiations on these questions. She added that the Staff Assembly has heard that furloughs are expected this year and ECU has already begun furloughing some employees.
Delegates asked that decisionmakers be mindful of people of color in this process. James Holman asked about a possible stimulus package that had not yet been approved. Jacob Womack thought that employees might have been better off being laid off three months ago as more benefits were available then.
Rosemary Thorp thought that the Forum should ask that any layoffs follow the current established process. Ayla Ocasio thought that higher paid individuals at UNC should receive cuts first. Robert Smith III said that friends at UNC have gone through layoffs and felt that the process was not communicated well. Delegates agreed that maintaining wages is most important.
Members discussed the two-meeting process for approval of proposals of substance. Jacob Womack offered that the Executive Committee could work on a letter now. Members generally agreed with this idea. Robert Smith III thought a letter from the collective leadership would be more forceful than from just the Forum Chair.
The Chair said that in response to issues recently raised by housekeepers related to the University’s reopening, she planned to meet with officials tomorrow. Haydée Marchese thought addressing adherence and different interpretations of guidelines by various departments is important. Angenette McAdoo recalled that individuals who refuse to comply with community guidelines can receive disciplinary action under newly developed procedures. She added that conversations with the individual should occur first.
James Holman asked why employees who must take two days off to be tested for Covid must use their own time. He said that these employees did not put themselves in the position of needing to be tested. He thought this requirement was unfair. McAdoo said that individuals must be tested when exposed and she doubted administrative leave could be used for days missed due to testing. She would reach out to Environment, Health, and Safety to get more information about this process.
Jen DeNeal asked about a potential new shared leave bank. She asked if people would tolerate a situation that they see as unfair. Angenette McAdoo found in website Q&As that if an employee must go out, they may be eligible for emergency-based sick leave, expanded sick leave, or a combination of things. Paid administrative leave will cease as of August 1st. She would ask around about possible alternatives for these employees.
The Chair asked for discussion on the Forum’s recent solidarity statement. Arlene Medder noted that many employees cannot work from home in the current situation. Jacob Womack thought that employees’ ability to say ‘no’ in certain circumstances should be preserved. He asked for a recommitment to this idea. Stephanie Forman asked for an administrative recommitment to protections from retaliation. Haydée Marchese noted the chain of impact from administrative decisions on financial, emotional, and other aspects of employees’ lives.
Angenette McAdoo reported that the Chancellor’s Office plans to create a leave bank by August 1st to address concerns raised.
The Chair asked Matt Banks to update delegates on their divisions towards creating a letter to employees on this topic. Shane Brogan of Communications & Public Relations also pledged to include this information in the next issue of InTouch. Charles Streeter emphasized that employees should feel free to bring issues to any delegate.
Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Community Garden will host volunteers on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Katie Musgrove thanked Jen DeNeal for taking the lead of the Blood Drive committee. DeNeal shared that the committee could hold its winter drive in November this year.
Phil Edwards suggested inviting the Ombuds office to present on campus trends. Katie Musgrove moved that the meeting adjourn. The motion was approved by acclamation and the meeting adjourned at 1:04 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary