September 6, 2017 Employee Forum Vice Chancellor Representatives’ Meeting
Attending: Bryan Andregg, Dzenita Blackwell, Clare Counihan, Matt Fajack, David Fraley, Naquan Hill, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Brad Ives, Alyssa LaFaro, Angenette McAdoo, Katie Musgrove, James Stamey, Carol Tresolini, Katie Turner, Felicia Washington, K.D. Welsh, Anna Wu
Felicia Washington called the meeting to order at 11 a.m. She recalled her role as liaison from the Chancellor to the Forum, which serves as an advisory body on personnel issues, among other areas. She said that these representative meetings typically involve Forum delegates as well as Finance & Administration, Equal Opportunity, Title IX, Facilities Services and Provost’s Office officials.
Given the day’s hefty agenda, Washington asked that the Forum submit its proposed agenda to its Executive Committee first for initial vetting then submit the remaining topics for discussion in this meeting. She said this practice would expedite discussions in process. Washington also noted the general requirement that delegates submitting questions must be present for their questions to see discussion.
Shayna Hill thought that staff have been caught in the middle related to clean-up of protest materials near the Silent Sam monument. She observed that staff working on these tasks feel themselves placed in a position at odds with students here who are passionate about this issue. She recalled being on the other side of student issues, a place which can be very tricky to navigate.
Washington provided context to Hill’s comment. She said that the Office of Human Resources had, upon receiving a message from the Forum and Progressive Faculty, immediately contacted the Department of Public Safety to make sure officers were present at any future material removal. She had not heard that this issue remains a current concern.
Bryan Andregg said that community members had contacted the University Archivist regarding archiving the relevant protest materials as part of the history of the University. James Holman said he had spoken with Grounds workers who had refused a request to remove these materials from Silent Sam as they did not feel the request was proper or safe. He asked why banners that the students have put up had to be removed. Anna Wu noted that the University sponsors banners to advertise different University events. However, these University-sponsored banners are different from student-created banners, which if allowed by the Facilities Use policy could advocate any odious political or social position. The University must be consistent in the administration of its banner policy.
Matt Fajack said that UNC police have been present for material removal, and said that no one has been forced to remove these materials if they did not want to do so. Wu added that employees in these removals are instructed to back off and call Public Safety should the conditions become tense with protestors or bystanders. She said that materials have been removed when no one was present at the Silent Sam site.
Alan Moran thanked the administration for responding so quickly to his letter regarding Silent Sam protest material removal. He noted perceptions that employees could face disciplinary action if they refused this task and was pleased by the leniency shown. Anna Wu recalled that when Darius Dixon deployed Facilities Operations staff to do this task, no one was forced to participate or disciplined upon refusal.
James Stamey recalled that people were asked to do this work were specifically not of a certain race. Anna Wu said that employees approached to do this work were based on who was present on site depending on the day of week and time of day. She said that Facilities Services removed the materials from Silent Sam with Cecelia Moore of University Archives claiming some for her work. Shayna Hill wanted all employees to feel that they can bring issues forward. Alan Moran said that he would likely not fear to voice concerns of other employees.
Katie Turner asked for updates on employee satisfaction based on anonymous instruments to determine concerns and benefits of Carolina Service. She asked that the Forum receive aggregate data on employee satisfaction and retention. Felicia Washington asked where this data would come from. She wanted to avoid confusion with other spots. Turner said that Computer Science personnel have had their positions redefined with new teams and cluster training. She wanted to make sure employees have input into this process. Matt Fajack said that the Implementation Plan will not have the great majority of employees affected before next year. Turner said that people are nervous now. Fajack said that any monitoring would be only speculative now.
Bryan Andregg said that most employees have not received information about Implementation Plan schedule. He noted that in Information Technology Services prework has been done for this effort but there are questions about the next thing to occur. Fajack said that implementation dates will be known in the next few weeks. Shayna Hill recalled the helpful presentation on the Carolina Service plan at the Forum’s July retreat.
Matt Fajack said that his division has started its own transformation pilot. Felicia Washington noted that transformations in UNC Health Care, the School of Medicine and the Centers of Excellence are different than the Shared Service plan scheduled for Research Administration, Finance, and Human Resources. She said that these are different operations right now which will receive updates as they become available. Turner said that she felt obligated to report back on a regular basis to employees she represents. Fajack said that the administration does not want to get too far in front of events but he thought that Turner’s concern was not unreasonable.
Katie Turner asked about staff use of the tuition waiver program for receipt-supported degrees such as the UNC MBA program. Tuition waiver use is generally not allowed for receipt supported degrees, but Turner noted that professors in these programs are paid with State funds. Linc Butler said that these courses are mentioned in State statute, noting that the three courses allowed per year under the tuition waiver program do not count for receipts. State funded courses are filled based on standard enrollment numbers, which exclude tuition-waiver students. There is concern in receipt-supported programs that tuition waived students will undercut the self-sustaining budgets of these programs. Carol Tresolini said that on-line programs such as the MPA, MBA, MPH and Masters of Accounting programs do not receive any State dollars and so must be entirely self-supporting. She offered that discussions could arise with individual programs. Matt Fajack granted that these programs are very expensive, with $100,000 being required for an on-line MBA from UNC-chapel Hill. He said that adding anyone not paying tuition adds a huge cost to the program.
Shayna Hill asked if books are covered by the tuition waiver program. Linc Butler said that they are not. Alan Moran reported a rumor that five of the twenty-five seats are open in one of the on-line programs. Butler said that this was not true. He said that this statistic refers to an employee seeking to take a class. He emphasized that class admission under the tuition waiver program is not an entitlement. For example, employees using tuition waiver cannot bump other students when signing up for a fully enrolled class.
Bryan Andregg asked about the status of FLSA exempt Information Technology employees. He asked if these positions, which are to be classified as EHRA non-faculty to provide greater market flexibility for salaries, must indeed be EHRA non-faculty. Butler emphasized that the individual IT employee will have the ability to choose whether to become EHRA non-faculty or remain as SHRA non-exempt employees. UNC General Administration will give each affected employee a window to make this decision. Employee and Management Relations and Benefits will contact employees for relevant discussions. Butler noted that UNC General Administration must build salary ranges and create position definitions by November or later if it creates EHRA non-faculty positions. He said that more remains to be seen in this area.
Alan Moran noted flexible scheduling has been implemented throughout the University. He noted rumors that flexible scheduling might be eliminated in all Construction work units. He said that this step would affect many employees relying on the provided day off to hold second jobs or participate in schooling. He observed that the lower paid employees would be impacted most by such a move. Anna Wu said that the University allows flexible scheduling as a policy, but not as an entitlement. She said that much depends on workplace needs.
Angenette McAdoo noted that supervisors can grant and remove flexible scheduling arrangements based on business needs. Supervisors feel that they can adjust these schedules to meet needs at any point in time. Alan Moran questioned any proposed move by Facilities Services to eliminate shop-level supervisor decision-making in these questions. Would there be a blanket policy to not allow these flexible scheduling arrangements?
Anna Wu did not think that a blanket policy is under consideration. She said that University and Facilities Services policy is that flexible scheduling is subject to the business needs of the unit. Alan Moran asked if these decisions are to be left to unit supervisors. Wu said that Facilities Services administration has not made this ruling, but she did not anticipate a change in this area.
Felicia Washington asked if this was question that the Forum could resolve. Moran observed that speculation will reign in absence of fact. He said that if campus leaders cannot clarify policy or nix rumors when they arise, the result adversely affects morale and productivity. Angenette McAdoo said that these decisions are made by specific managers after conversations about specific needs of their units. She said that no global decision is scheduled to cut out flexible scheduling. Wu added that administrators will try to be consistent in the use of flexible scheduling in specific units, given the size of the University. Moran asked about universally applying University policy across the board.
James Holman asked about English language classes for the University’s Burmese employees. Butler said that the Office of Human Resources plans to meet to expedite plans in the next week. Wu said that Facilities Services Training and the Orange Literacy Council will work to provide these classes. Holman noted the stress of reading and writing in a foreign language upon these employees who must take tests in English. Wu said that Housekeeping position descriptions refer to a language proficiency requirement. Katie Turner suggested that University employees could use Community Service Leave (CSL) to help teach English to these employees. Butler did not think that CSL could be used for this purpose.
James Holman asked about the number of Housekeeping positions still unfilled. He had met recently with Herb Richmond to discuss this question. Holman said that some areas are missing three to four employees, creating a great deal of stress for these housekeepers, along with the department’s attendance policy. He said that customers will expect some level of service that cannot be performed due a lack of employees and working equipment.
Anna Wu said that of forty-two vacancies in the Housekeeping department, only ten of these are not filled with temporary employees. She said that issues still exist with attracting qualified candidates. When open positions are posted, typically in-house employees apply to improve their pay or shift work. Shayna Hill asked if a lag exists because of a general practice of moving employees around to different areas. She said that in the School of Dentistry housekeepers try to move from second shift to first shift. She said that perhaps creating a generic posting would lower this internal churn. Holman said that favoritism in hiring still is seen. He said that hiring needs to speed up, noting that one area was five people short for the year. Wu said that there are other issues for discussion.
Lori Haight asked about the provision of “[menopause] flash rooms” for women of a certain age. She said that having air conditioning in a special room would help her constituents in this manner. Bryan Andregg said that the use of server rooms for this purpose violates University policy. Linc Butler said that a literature review of the question had not found that employees had create these kinds of spaces. Worklife and Wellness practices might serve to educate managers and supervisors about this need. However, there is no evidence that an organization had created spaces for this purpose. Alan Moran suggested that lactation rooms might be a fallback in this area. Shayna Hill suggested that physical limitations could defeat the purpose. Moran suggested finding a room for individual use, perhaps with a lockable door. Clare Counihan said that lactation rooms already on campus cannot be fitted for special ventilation and are already densely scheduled. She offered that schedulers could possibly wedge in more clients for this purpose if necessary. Lori Haight asked how many women fit into this category. Clare Counihan volunteered the assistance of the Carolina Women’s Center to assist with this question and Linc Butler similarly offered the assistance of Employee Management and Relations.
David Fraley spoke about a concern related to housekeepers taking breaks at a table near Morrison Dormitory. The Department of Housing had told these employees not to take breaks at this table as this scene was not felt to be presentable. Shayna Hill noted the space issue with the housekeeping break room in Morrison, which contains equipment and only room for three people. She also noted the cultural issue related to having staff take breaks in public. Holman said that if the existing breakroom were large enough, these housekeepers would likely not take issue with this directive. Hill reported that in the summer, these housekeepers were asked to move to a picnic table. Fraley said that this discussion was ongoing between Housekeeping and Housing. Anna Wu said that Housekeeping would work to identify break areas available. Hill said that use of the public area had become contentious given that students vie for space. Felicia Washington and Anna Wu pledged to speak with Housing on this subject.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:59 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary