Hello, friends. Another month has gone by, and a lot has happened during the month. There have been many graduation ceremonies held throughout the state at all our Universities. I had the pleasure of attending one of those ceremonies and enjoyed it very much. When the Chancellor came to the podium to open up the ceremony and to welcome everyone, one of the first groups the Chancellor welcomed and thanked was the parents for all their support for the University and the students. The next group he thanked was the staff for all their support and hard work and dedication to the students and the faculty and everyone in the University family. Everyone that came to the podium during the ceremony thanked the staff for their contributions to the educational process and for being part of the daily lives of everyone on campus, especially the students.
I know that we all get caught up in our daily lives here on campus and forget that we are part of the education process, but without all of us working together there would be no University System throughout our state, and there would not be graduation ceremonies. Sometimes it is easy to forget why we all are here. I know we are here to make a living to support our families and ourselves and build a successful career. However, we also are here to support the needs of the students, whether that is keeping the lights and the heat on or the water running, keeping our buildings and grounds clean and beautiful, recording grades, making sure class schedules work, teaching classes, carrying on research, or supporting all the other needs of the University behind the scene.
It is great to be recognized for your part of the educational and research process, to know that the folks you work and live with on the campus appreciate you, and to know that folks care about all of us. I know that chancellors and the senior administrators of North Carolina campuses have stood up for us and have supported pay raises and better benefits for all of us. The Office of the President has stood up for all of us and supports better pay and better benefits for all state employees. The Forum has worked for better pay and benefits year in and year out and made some headway.
However, we need to make a lot of progress so we can keep up with the cost of living instead of falling further behind. Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield and the folks she works with have developed a five-year financial plan for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is a brilliant plan, and we would see some great changes for staff, faculty, and students if we could get the State to fund the. Other folks in our state have now recognized this plan, and they are talking about developing their own five-year plans. I would like to see a five-year plan developed for all state employees that would include a living wage, a cost of living pay raise annually, a fully funded performance pay increase system, and improved health care and health insurance. I have been told that our leaders in Raleigh don’t like to plan for more than two years at a time. I have a hard time believing that we cannot develop a five-year plan or a twenty-year plan for that matter. The Education Bond that is paying for new buildings on our campus and throughout the state required more than two years of planning, and the Carolina North project is a fifty- year build out, so why can’t our leaders in Raleigh come up with a plan for employees for longer than two years at the time? We can make this happen, but our leaders in Raleigh need to hear from us in record numbers. Please write those post cards today; the one you don’t send may be the one we need to turn things around.
Thanks for all your hard work and support. Your friend always, Tommy
“Helping Heels” is a list of UNC-affiliated individuals (students and staff) who are interested in providing part-time or occasional child or elder care. For details, and to view the list, go to: http://hr.unc.edu/Data/SPA/benefits/workfamily/childcare/providerlist/
At its May meeting the Employee Forum discussed and approved changes to the Forum guidelines.
One major change is the elimination of Alternate representatives. Until now, each district has elected a certain number of Delegates, and one or two candidates who received a lower number of votes became Alternates. Alternates were encouraged to participate in Forum activities and would serve if Delegates became unable to serve; however, they were not allowed to vote on Forum business. Over the years, it became more difficult to find people who were willing to take on the responsibility of serving as an alternate without also having the privilege of voting.
Beginning with this year’s election, each district will be represented by at least one additional Delegate, and no candidates will be designated as Alternates.
The guideline changes also added another Forum officer position, that of Treasurer. Like the President, Vice President, and Secretary, the Forum Treasurer will be elected by delegates and will serve a one-year term.
Finally, the forum added a section to its Purposes, to state that the Forum will work to “[r]epresent the needs and working conditions of University and State Employees to the North Carolina General Assembly, the University of North Carolina Office of the President and the general public of the state.”
To view the guidelines, see the Forum website, http://forum.unc.edu/guidelines.htm, or request a copy from your Forum representative.
The University is adopting a new On-Call and Emergency Callback Pay policy effective 5/30. The new policy provides better pay and covers considerably more situations, and it also covers all SPA employees.
The old stand-by pay policy was “limited to employees in medical or paramedical positions, or positions involved in the repair of facilities or mechanical equipment in support of health care operations and health care facilities”, whereas the new policy covers all SPA employees. The old policy provided $.94/hour for each hour an employee was in stand-by status. The new on-call rates, established by the Office of State Personnel, are $3/hour for positions in medical/health care, information technology, and skilled trades, and $2/hour for any other positions. Alternatively, management may choose to give one hour of comp time for every eight hours of on-call time. This is limited to wage-hour non-exempt employees. While exempt employees are not eligible for on-call pay, they may, at management’s discretion, receive compensatory time. Wage-hour non-exempt employees may receive paid time off at management’s discretion.
Emergency callback “is compensation for an employee who has left the work site and is requested to respond (either by returning to work or by responding by telephone or computer) on short notice to an emergency work situation.” The old callback pay policy did not cover telephone support and only covered technical and clinical personnel. The new policy also provides for compensatory time off for wage-hour exempt employees, at management’s discretion.
The new policy is spelled out in considerably more detail than the previous policies and looks quite favorable for employees. An advance copy of the policy may be viewed at http://hr.unc.edu/specialprograms/oncall until it moves to its more permanent home at http://hr.unc.edu/Data/SPA/paysystems/specialpay, where the old policies can be seen until they are replaced.
The Annual Carolina Blood Drive is Tuesday, June 7 from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Dean E. Smith Center. You can go to http://www.sph.unc.edu/blood/ to donate blood or to volunteer to work on the drive. The Blood Drive needs canteen aides to serve refreshments, donor escorts to help direct people to and from the donation area, check-in help, and experienced gold cart drivers to escort donors to their transportation.
On a related note, the Carolina Blood Drive Committee won the 2004 American Association of Blood Banks award honoring an educational facility for participation in blood drives and blood donations within the community. The Committee continued its incredible level of outstanding performance in 2004 when 1,033 usable units were collected from students, staff, faculty and community members, maintaining its status of the largest single day, single collection site blood drive on the East Coast.