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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 5, Number 7 August 2004

From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
Keep Working Together

Hello friends. It’s been a long, hot summer with many hot issues that our leaders at Raleigh had to deal with. There was a lot of discussion on all of the bills proposed in the General Assembly this year. One of the most important discussions concerned the State budget and pay raises for all State Employees. I am glad to see that they finally came to agreement and passed the $16 billion budget. This was a very critical year for all of us since we have not had a pay raise in the last three years. With a lot of support from all the employee forums throughout the state, we supported pay raises very strongly, and with the help and support of all state employees and other citizens we got a pay raise. The Board of Trustees and Administration here on campus supported the pay raises and proposed benefit improvements and continue to do so. Because we all care about each other and our state, we worked very well together and were successful at meeting our goals. The $1000 or 2.5% raise will help, but we need to start right now asking for the same and more for next year. It will continue to take all of us working together to get our benefits improved and get fair market pay for ourselves. It is time for all of us to stand up and be counted. Numbers in our every day life control how we live our lives, especially the ones in our pay checks.

We need to start developing a plan right now for our futures together. We need to make sure that everyone in the state is making a living wage. We need to make sure that all citizens in the state are treaded equally. Health care, education, and a living wage must be a top priority for everyone in our state and in the nation. Our letters and emails and phone calls worked but we can not stop now! Keep up the support and keep communicating with our leaders at Raleigh. I want to thank everyone for their help and support in getting the message to Raleigh this year. Those who receive the least deserve the most: we must share everything we have and keep our faith and hope alive. With education and communication and the passion to do the right thing we can help each other rise up and be counted. It will take all of us working together to fill the bucket from the bottom up. Thanks and have a good day.

Your friend, Tommy.

Forum Delegate Nominations Due September 10

The Employee Forum needs your help in identifying people who are willing to serve on the Forum. You should all have received a letter from the Forum with a call for nominations. The back of this letter includes a form with which to submit nominations. You may nominate any permanent UNC-CH employee, including yourself, from any electoral division. Please verify that your nominees are willing to serve. We need the following information for each nominee: name, department, phone number, campus box number, and email address (if available), and we need to know whether you have contacted the nominee and verified that he or she is willing to serve. You can send nominations via campus mail to
2004 Nominations
Patty Prentice
CB #7080
You can also submit nominations on-line at
Once we have all the nominations, the Nominating Committee will send ballots to all staff employees. When you get yours, please vote!

Volunteer Fair
The following message was provided by the Carolina Center for Public Service:
WHEN: Wednesday, September 22, 2004, from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM
WHERE: The Pit (between UNC Student Stores and Lenoir Hall)
WHY: Because community agencies need your help—and you get paid leave to volunteer!
The fifth annual UNC Volunteer Fair is a chance for staff, faculty, students, and the public to learn about service opportunities in the community. Representatives from nearly 40 community agencies will be on hand to answer your questions and recruit interested volunteers. Volunteering with a local non-profit or government agency is a great way to make a difference in the quality of your community.
Both SPA and EPA employees working full time may receive up to 24 hours of paid community service leave each year OR 1 hour per week. If you choose to volunteer with tutoring or mentoring programs at local elementary, middle, or high schools, you may be eligible for up to 36 hours of paid community service leave each year. Part-time employees regularly scheduled to work 20-39 hours per week will receive a pro-rated number of community service leave hours.
For more information, please visit or contact the HR Generalist assigned to your department. FAQs on Community Service Leave and Special Leave Provisions can be found on the Office of State Personnel’s website:

For Tutoring FAQs, visit:
The Volunteer Fair is sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, the Chapel Hill News, UNC Student Government, and the UNC Graduate and Professional Student Federation. For more information, email, visit or call 843-7568.

Wellness Initiatives

Judith Wegner, Faculty Council Chair, spoke to the Forum at its July meeting regarding the State Health Plan (SHP). Obviously, health care costs are rising, though the costs of the SHP did not go up this year. Wegner provided handouts from the SHP, similar to the information the SHP mailed state employees in late August. The handout indicated the 70% of SHP costs are spent on plan members with chronic diseases, including arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and mental health issues, and the costs of dealing with chronic diseases are on the rise. However, most of these diseases can be prevented or managed, and the SHP is launching a program called HealthSmart, which is aimed at keeping people healthy. The components of the program are health promotion and disease prevention, worksite wellness, and disease management. Details of the plan are given in the handout, which will undoubtedly include education and assistance for employees to do things to help keep themselves healthy, such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, controlling weight, and exercising regularly.
While many in the Employee Forum feel that Jack Walker, head of the OSP, does not do enough to negotiate lower costs for health care, it is undoubtedly true that employees can lower the overall cost of health care by taking better care of themselves and leading healthy lifestyles. The real question is how to get people to do this, and HealthSmart may be a good step in that direction.
Wegner mentioned plans for a campus wellness study committee and asked the Forum for volunteers interested in serving on the committee. The Faculty Council’s Wellness Committee is involved in the study. In addition, a statewide wellness committee is being formed, and it will have representation from UNC experts in the schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Dentistry.

From the Editor: Raise Nice, But Not Enough

The state legislature enacted a budget with a $1000 or 2.5% raise for state employees. This is certainly better than nothing, and as state employees we’re quite familiar with what nothing looks like, having gotten it each of the past two years. The Forum’s suggestion of $2000 or 5% would have been a lot better and would have come closer to covering the increases in health care and other costs we have seen over the past three years. As I have written in the InTouch before, an obvious source of funds to cover salary increases is an increase in the shamefully low tax North Carolina charges on tobacco products. Such a tax would decrease the overall amount of smoking, and it would decrease the numbers of North Carolina children who become addicted to smoking. Decreasing smoking would lessen the terrible effects of smoking on the health of our citizens and would thereby save the state money in health care costs. Continuing to avoid increasing the tobacco tax is unconscionable. The pay raises such a tax could fund would be nice, too.

Editor Brian White

Child Care Stories

We need to hear from you concerning child care at UNC, specifically your experiences in dealing with a child in the context of the University workplace. What was the situation? Were your superivsors supportive? What about your co-workers? Do you feel you could bring a child to work if you had to do so? How does mass transit affect child care for you? What would you say to fellow employees considering having children?

Please let us know if we can print your story. We will take anonymous submissions, but reserve the right to edit submissions. Also, please let us know if we can follow up with you via phone or e-mail.

Send your stories to

Parent Workshop

with Nancy Spencer, MEd, Parent Educator
Each session is designed to help you understand your child’s development
and to develop strategies for dealing with pertinent issues.
Sept 24-Routines and Toddlers
Oct 22-Limit Setting and Toddlers
Nov 19- Holiday Hustle Survival
Each session is 12:30-1:30pm, drinks provided
Cost $10/session, scholarships available
Contact Nancy at 933-6986