August 30, 2016 Employee Forum Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting minutes
Attending: Bryan Andregg, Linc Butler, Clare Counihan, Gena Carter, Mary Dahlsten, Matt Fajack, Jim Fuller, James Holman, Katie Musgrove, Michael Penny, Kelli Raker, David Rogers, Greg Smith, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner, Felicia Washington, Anna Wu
Felicia Washington called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. She led the room in a round of introductions. James Holman noted an issue with the temperature of buildings while second- and third-shift housekeepers are working. He said that one measurement had found the temperature to be 83 degrees, with no air circulation. He said that the air conditioning in these buildings typically goes on at 5:30 a.m., leaving workers to take their uniforms off and consume cases of water to combat the heat. Charles Streeter said that he had reached out to Anna Wu and Darius Dixon to raise this issue, noting that it was the third year in a row that the question has arisen.
Anna Wu said that the University’s energy policy adjusts most usage towards the most-occupied daylight hours. She noted that Energy Conservation Measures teams had looked at these particular buildings when things were very hot this summer. She said that buildings’ air conditioning restart to 78 degrees when the interior of the building reaches 83 degrees. She said that the University could lower the top range of 83 degrees and set a broader range of 72-78 degrees. She said that the building regulates team-cleaning to calibrate with the energy schedule, but one size does not fit all. The University will try to respond to these concerns without keeping the buildings’ air conditioning running twenty-four hours a day.
Katie Turner said that she had raised a question during the sustainability plan discussions. She said that the ventilation in her Carr building and other buildings is very poor. When the AC does not run at night, it becomes hot and humid in the morning, making it difficult for asthmatic employees to breathe. Felicia Washington asked if the University could alleviate this question by turning on the AC two hours earlier in this one building. Anna Wu said that Facilities Services will look at this option. Turner suggested communicating this need as if there were a special event in the building. James Holman said that he and others had worked to create a list of buildings affected but had not seen nothing change. These buildings were 78 degrees without air conditioning, which made workers hot, sweaty, and unable to breathe. Anna Wu said that Bingham just received new window units. She said that Facilities Services would need to work on this question on a building by building basis, using Holman’s information.
Bryan Andregg suggested formalizing this process with Environmental Services, perhaps by recording a day’s worth of data on a building by building basis. Clare Counihan suggested using box fans, but Holman said that these do not work in the big spaces in which housekeepers often work. He noted also that housekeepers can adjust their schedule only certain times. He said that the question needs more consideration from supervisors and assistant directors. Wu added that her office had researched the previous building list from Charles Streeter.
Felicia Washington said that the University expects the climate survey results this fall. She said that Human Resources will probably need house the data. Clare Counihan asked what process is available to request this data from the off-campus repository. She had in mind certain information such as EHRA v. SHRA responses, diversity metrics, HB 2 impact, and other questions.
James Holman noted that two years ago the University offered flu shots for 3rd shift employees. He said that this worked out well as many of these employees would not otherwise seek out flu shots. He said that the program had reduced sickness and absenteeism. He thought it wise to ask if this good idea could be implemented on a regular basis every year by asking now, in advance of flu season. Linc Butler said that Environment, Health and Safety runs this program. The Office of Human Resources has already asked about the program. He and Gena Carter had met with Mary Beth Koza, who agreed this was a legitimate need. James Holman asked that EHS make sure to remind employees to bring their health insurance cards on the day of the flu shots. Clare Counihan asked if the University would translate notices about the program into Spanish and Karen, among other languages spoken by 3rd shift employees. Anna Wu said that the University plans to set up tables at the International Executive Housekeepers Association luncheon on September 23rd. She did not know when the flu clinics would start for 3rd shift employees, however.
Linc Butler updated the group on the overtime ruling for staff and faculty, noting that the Department of Labor has adjusted the minimum salary for exempt employees to be $913/week, or $47,476 annual salary. Now, the Department will adjust this figure every three years. The University is working to prepare for the December 1 crossover date by training specialized groups. The numbers of affected employees have decreased from preliminary estimates due to salary adjustments and other measures. Butler said that the University must still address the question of affected employees experiencing a small shortfall when transferring from monthly to biweekly payrolls.
Butler said that peer based training modules will also demonstrate how to track time to these employees. Supervisor training will help manage these employees, validate hours, and mitigate compensation. He would address these questions further at the Forum’s September 14th meeting. Katie Turner asked how many post-docs have been affected. Katie Musgrove reported that a number of International Visiting Scholarships have had their pay raised to the $47,476 level to keep them non-exempt. She said that the change seems to have impacted the research community significantly. Butler noted that the academic community is not considered separately. He said that the number of areas concerning research have seen the most change as the Vice Chancellor for Research has engaged this community. The number of affected employees was thought to be much larger than it actually is due to cost-benefit analyses of raising salaries. Kelli Raker asked when these employees will receive their additional salaries. Butler said that the changeover should occur with the October 28th paycheck.
Katie Turner asked if the University has been able to track staff turnover and retention, possibly going back to the legacy systems in place before ConnectCarolina. She was curious to know if the University lost older workers who decided to leave rather than retrain under the new system. She asked how many positions had been lost due to this change and whether these positions were reposted or abolished. Charles Streeter said that the Forum has requested data from Human Resources asking similar questions a year ago. Felicia Washington asked how this data will be used, as there is not a way to split this information out. She did not know that the data would reveal this information but said that the University could attempt to capture this data going forward. Gena Carter noted inconsistencies in data obtained from exit interviews.
David Rogers asked about improving the exit survey process information. Gena Carter said that Human Resources can promote this option but it is not consistently applied across units. Katie Turner suggested using Survey Monkey to reach out to employees when their position is terminated. Bryan Andregg thought that this initial contact could give these employees the option to provide more information. Felicia Washington said that the University could talk up the exit interview as the best way to obtain information. She would discuss this question at the upcoming Human Resources Council meeting. Clare Counihan said that faculty committees are also interested in retention question. Linc Butler said that the University creates a vacancy report which provides a snapshot of these issues every month. He said he could pull something together.
Matt Fajack said that the Finance & Administration budget model under discussion does not appeal to some departments as it is not like the incremental model currently in use. The current model does not provide predictability. Fajack said that a task force has studied budget models based on how revenue is allocated. Finance & Administration uses direct expenses while taking overhead from the top of allocation, with all revenue set to academic units. The bottom line is that the model must pay its expenses while providing some movement amongst academic units. The goal is more predictability and more transparency. Regarding impact on administrative units, he did not know but the budget model under discussion would study all units, reviewing perhaps four or five of the 25 main units each year. He said that the Forum can help identify what’s important and help change the cost structure. However, there is no guarantee that the University will change budget models as there is not yet a consensus within the task force. He noted that the task force has not shared much with the Chancellor about these questions yet.
Katie Turner asked about center management. Matt Fajack said that no one has done the same with this model. He said that if the task force recommends the proposed “incentive-based budgeting,” the question must go the Chancellor and the Provost to start. Turner asked about departments not rewarded based on the number of students and that do not charge students, such as the Faculty Council and the Employee Forum. Fajack said that all units need support units. He said that a formula for supporting the Libraries must figure a way to address the increasing costs of academic journals.
Turner asked how units will interface with Shared Services. Fajack said that the change will not be direct but can be seen in financial statements, should the University go this route. The University would need to trade out measurements of effectiveness versus dollars.
Clare Counihan asked about women’s and gender studies departments that do not have a quantitative way to measure. What would the calculus of responsibility be for these departments? Matt Fajack said that these questions would be left to the school level. He said that these questions are hard to measure for institutions like the School of Government. Felicia Washington understood that this question will be on the Chancellor’s Cabinet agenda September 14th.
Katie Turner raised the question of faculty and staff wellness initiatives. She hoped that the University could coordinate with State Health Plan initiatives. David Rogers said that Daniella Serra and Lauren Mangili are key wellness liaisons who tweet monthly on this subject. Turner noted that the question was floated a few years ago. She asked if the current administration would support a wellness initiative with appropriate support staff. Felicia Washington supported health delivery services and said that the University has the goal to have the healthiest employees and students in the UNC System. She hoped that liaisons could help with this effort. Bryan Andregg said that School of Public Health researchers are available to develop work force training plans but these require a high level of administrative assistance. Turner noted that there are faculty related grants in the School of Nursing related to this question.
Charles Streeter asked if the University could allow work-life intervention in this area. Bryan Andregg said that the School of Public Health leadership said that employees should use two fifteen-minute breaks for this purpose that they can use in aggregate if needed. Streeter said that this effort could be nearly free and is often overlooked. Andregg offered to work with Turner to coordinate with the School, Campus Recreation, and the Office of Human Resources. Andregg noted the need for a full-time employee to support this effort. Washington looked forward to receiving information from Andregg’s contacts.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:00 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary