Resolution 15-04 Concerning a Proposal to Privatize Student Stores
October 7, 2015
WHEREAS, the mission of the Employee Forum is “to address constructively the concerns of UNC-CH Employees by … seeking out the issues, interests, ideas, and participation of Employees; developing proactive, progressive recommendations and advocating these to the Administration and the represented Employees; providing an effective two-way communication link between the Administration and the Employees, and fostering an open and positive environment throughout the University community”;
WHEREAS, staff have serious concerns about Follett’s (and competitors’) business practices, including: cutting employee hours, reducing or eliminating benefits, poor management, poor quality of service, understocking books, higher textbook and supply prices (observed at UNC system schools with bookstores managed by outside entities), the possibility of not allowing students to defer textbook charges, and potential costs that could be passed on to state-funded departments to create systems to accommodate Follett’s (and competitors’) business practices.
BE IT RESOLVED that we urge the Chancellor and Administration to reconsider outsourcing Student Stores’ operations and to explore other options for raising scholarship funds through private philanthropy, political lobbying to lift the Board of Governor’s “freeze and cap” policy that limits the amount of tuition revenue that can be allocated to need-based aid, and other sources.
Furthermore, we recommend that the Chancellor and Administration take the following steps to ensure fairness and transparency while the University considers proposals from private companies:
- Provide a response to the open letter from Student Stores employees that was sent to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees on the week of September 28, 2015.
- Provide constant, open communication with Student Stores staff during the proposal review process, including identifying points of contact for questions that employees have about human resource policies and procedures and severance packages.
- Investigate Follett’s (and other competitors submitting proposals) compensation, hiring, management and retention practices with regard to staff. Provide a side-by-side comparison of average salaries, hours and benefits for equivalent positions within Student Stores, Follett’s (and competitors’) companies. Make these figures available to the committee reviewing the proposals, as well as all Student Stores staff.
- Establish and make public a timeline for reviewing proposals, criteria for judging proposals and a plan for direct Student Stores staff involvement in the process. Include representation from students, faculty, staff and Student Stores employees on the committee that will review proposals.
Signed on behalf of the Employee Forum
Charles D. Streeter,