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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 5, Number 5 June 2004

From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
Nothing Left to Cut…

Hello friends. Summer is fast approaching and so is the end of the state’s fiscal year, and here we are again, waiting to see what our leaders in Raleigh are going to do about pay raises and benefits and the budget in general. We have worked very hard all year trying to keep everything running smoothly and maintain the level of excellence that we have always provided, and we will continue do so each day with pride and dedication. It takes all of us working together to keep the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the number one public university. When I say all of us, I mean all of us, including our leaders in Raleigh. We have some great support in Raleigh, but we need more support, and we need to let the legislators know that they have our support, so they will listen to what we have to say.

It gets harder and harder to keep things running smoothly, with budget cuts year after year. The University system cannot stand any more cuts; there is nothing left to cut out. When you make so many cuts, there is nothing left to do but cut out programs. What programs do you cut out? There is not one program that we can stand to cut out, nor is there any employee we can afford to loose. We have already experienced some program and personnel cuts on campus, and we are still hurting because of those cuts. I am not saying that we are going to lose any more programs or employees, but the potential is there if the budget cuts continue to happen. We have a long history of doing the right thing in our State. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough: we cannot stand any more cuts. The legislature cannot continue to treat State Employees like they don’t exist. We do exist and must be treated with dignity and respect. It also helps to let us know that we are appreciated, and the way they can show us that is in our paychecks and with our benefits. State employees and our University System are among the greatest treasures we have in our State.

In order to add more funds to the state’s budget, we need to create new jobs. We need to reeducate and retrain the folks who have been laid off from their jobs and add new jobs for all of our folks coming out of the state’s education system. One of the best ways to recruit new jobs for our state is through our educational system. We need to make sure that we continue to support this in every way possible. If we have a good pool of well trained and educated applicants, new companies and new jobs will come to our State. Education is the key to our future together. United we must stand and united we all are, all we have to do is to continue to work together and keep hope alive. Tell someone today thank you for what they doing here every day. It will mean a lot to you and them. Your friend always, Tommy.

Nancy Suttenfield on High Level Administrative Meetings with Forum Delegates

Forum Chair Tommy Griffin asked Nancy Suttenfield, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, for her take on the monthly meetings that she, Provost Robert Shelton, and Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest have had with Forum Delegates. Here is her response:

Dear Carolina Staff Employees,

During the past year, representatives of the Employee Forum and its Chair, Tommy Griffin, have engaged in regular monthly dialogue sessions with Provost Shelton, AVC Charest and me. These meetings were an experiment to supplement the monthly Employee Forum meetings. We felt that we needed to create a special opportunity for small groups of staff to meet with us around a table in a very informal setting and just talk about whatever might be of concern to campus staff.

I am pleased to report that our experiment has been highly successful. At each of these meetings, we have had an opportunity to get to know each other as individuals. We always begin each session with introductions because there are usually some new faces around the table. We then report on actions that leadership has taken to address specific concerns that were discussed at the previous meetings if follow up was necessary. Notes of the meeting are kept, and Tommy reports back to the larger membership on the outcomes of each discussion. Each person who attends is given an opportunity to speak; this is not always possible when there are a large number of people in a formal business meeting.

We plan to continue these meetings in the coming year because it is important that we maintain this kind of opportunity for personal exchange. We also believe that these meetings are a very good way for leadership to be held accountable for making the workplace one that values each individual, treats his or her concerns with respect, and takes whatever steps are possible to demonstrate the sincerity of leadership’s interest in the well being of University employees. I encourage you to let your Employee Forum representatives know if there are topics you would like for them to bring to a future dialogue session.

SEANC, Others Rally in Raleigh May 26

From the SEANC web page: Thousands of state employees and retirees from across North Carolina congregated in downtown Raleigh on the Halifax Mall at a SEANC-sponsored “State Employee Appreciation Rally” on Wednesday, May 26.

The purpose of the rally was to highlight for state leaders, the media and the public the value of state employees and the services they provide, and to deliver a strong message to the members of the North Carolina General Assembly that state employees need and expect a pay raise this election year. The crowd chanted “5-5-5” for a 5% pay raise for state employees and educators for the next three years.

Forum Delegates were among those participating in this rally. While SEANC pushed for a 5% raise, Forum Chair Tommy Griffin carried to the legislature the Forum’s proposal of a $2000 across the board raise for state employees, along with funding for performance pay increases and a minimum wage of $10 per hour.

Forum Delegate Nominations Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out for Forum delegate solicitations, to be arriving via electronic mail and campus mail in July. Just as a reminder, any permanent UNC staff (SPA and EPA non-faculty) Employee can nominate a fellow Employee to run for election to the Forum. Employees can also nominate themselves. Delagates serve a twenty-six month term and must acquire the consent of their supervisors to stand for election. More details to come soon.

Health Care Resolution

At its June 2 meeting, the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum approved a resolution calling for provision of affordable health care for Employees and families of the University of North Carolina, provision of a cafeteria plan allowing tailoring of health benefits, staff employee representation on all State Health Plan boards and publication of all information regarding administration of the State Plan.

The Forum’s resolution came about after extended discussion by its Personnel Issues committee, which previously achieved passage of a resolution designating a $2000 flat raise for all State Employees.

The resolution was approved in an effort to influence legislative discussions about the plan’s administration.
The Forum has asked staff organizations at the other 16 UNC System campuses to adopt similar resolutions to create a statewide consensus for reform.
The resolution is available on-line at


Look out for our printed version of InTouch next month, provided courtesy of the University Gazette.