Resolution Addressing Serious Retention, Morale, and Resource Problems in University Housekeeping Services
RESOLUTION OF THE EMPLOYEE FORUM
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
April 6, 2022
WHEREAS, Housekeeping Services (Housekeeping) staff are critical for providing “a professional, clean, safe, and sanitary environment for the entire UNC-Chapel Hill community in support of the University’s teaching, research, and public service mission”1; and
WHEREAS, current Housekeeping employees feel overworked, underpaid, under-resourced, and underappreciated for the work they do to keep the University safe; and
WHEREAS, Housekeeping has experienced chronic understaffing, including in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, the persistent staffing shortages require remaining Housekeeping Zone Managers and other staff to cover the workload of those who have left resulting in single staff members covering the workload of four housekeepers 2; and
WHEREAS, despite ongoing staffing shortages, remaining housekeepers were recently required to complete additional labor-intensive tasks such as cleaning the Dean E. Smith Center, and manual snow shoveling; and
WHEREAS, the tools and equipment required for housekeepers to successfully complete those additional duties are in limited supply and, subsequently, at least one staff member had to bring their personal snow removal equipment to complete University work; and
WHEREAS, staff who work more than 40 hours in a work week while responding to inclement weather (Condition 2 or 3) are given compensatory time with no option for overtime pay instead; and
WHEREAS, the workload left to remaining permanent staff and a revolving door of temporary employees has exacerbated staff burnout, low morale, and retention; and
WHEREAS, Zone Managers have had to raise concerns to Housekeeping and Facilities leadership regarding staffing, morale, equipment, and additional duties; and
WHEREAS, the Employee Forum has also raised concerns about these issues to Housekeeping, Facilities, Finance and Operations, and Human Resources leadership for the past 18 months; and
WHEREAS, the current approach to staffing and coverage is unsustainable for remaining permanent staff given long-term staffing shortages; and
WHEREAS, the current process of posting Housekeeping vacancies consists of requests going from Housekeeping leadership to Facilities leadership and finally to Human Resources for review; and
WHEREAS, Housekeeping and Facilities leadership continue to post primarily temporary Housekeeping positions, even though the UNC System and State of North Carolina have lifted the temporary “freeze” on hiring permanent employees; and
WHEREAS, despite the efforts of Facilities and Human Resources leadership, the ongoing efforts to recruit, hire, and retain Housekeeping staff fail to address the scale and scope of the problem; and
WHEREAS, Human Resources has its own staffing challenges and lacks the capacity to help Housekeeping; and
WHEREAS, the Employee Forum is concerned there is a disconnect between front-line Housekeeping employees and the Chancellor and Provost regarding the current situation in Housekeeping; now, therefore, be it…
RESOLVED that the Employee Forum calls on the Chancellor to:
- Facilitate separate small-group meetings with front-line Housekeeping staff and Zone Managers with a mutually agreed upon facilitator in a safe, welcoming, and non-intimidating environment.
- Give Housekeeping staff who work more than 40 hours in a work week while responding to inclement weather (Condition 2 or 3) the option to choose either overtime pay or compensatory time.
- Ensure that Housekeepers are only assigned additional Housekeeping duties for which they have appropriate and adequate resources.
- Direct the leaders of Housekeeping, in coordination with Facilities, Finance and Operations, and Human Resources, to develop and implement a new plan by July 1, 2022 to recruit, hire, and retain permanent employees to fill Housekeeping vacancies.
- Fully fund and staff the Housekeeping, Facilities, and Human Resources teams to empower those Units to implement the new plan.
- Commit to monthly meetings with Housekeeping Zone Managers and front-line employees beginning in August of 2022 to ensure the Housekeeping staffing problem is improving.
- Hold senior Housekeeping, Facilities, Finance and Operations, and Human Resources leadership accountable for the implementation and outcome of this plan.
- “Housekeeping Services,” UNC-Chapel Hill, https://facilities.unc.edu/departments/housekeeping-services/
- The Employee Forum Personnel Issues Committee has regularly requested updates from Human Resources and Finance and Operations leadership regarding the number of vacancies in Housekeeping Services. As of December 16, 2021 (the most recent data provided), there are 67 permanent employee vacancies in Housekeeping Services and a vacancy rate of 15%. The historical average vacancy rate is 10%, meaning there are currently 50% more vacancies than normal.