November 30, 2017 Employee Forum Vice Chancellor Representatives’ Meeting
Attending: Bryan Andregg, Linc Butler, Matt Fajack, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Angenette McAdoo, James Stamey, Carol Tresolini, Anna Wu
The meeting began at 3:08 p.m. Shayna Hill noted that the Forum has had several comments regarding health insurance, most notably the elimination of the no-cost option for employees. Linc Butler said that his office had also heard these comments. He said that this decision is made in a legislative setting. He granted that these changes adversely affect employees’ quality of life. He also granted that health insurance once again becomes a recruitment and retention issue for the University. He would continue to sound the charge against rises in health care premiums with General Administration. Bryan Andregg noted reports that the 80/20 plan is the only one that is ACA compliant.
Angenette McAdoo asked if delegates had received feedback that claims have been denied or not paid up front. Shayna Hill said that the University’s Dental Faculty Practice (DFP) will not accept the State Health Plan in lieu of payment but will file insurance claims for patients. She said that the MetLife dental plan is not yet accepted by DFP. McAdoo said that she had to file a claim twice before receiving payment. Bryan Andregg noted the difficulty of asking employees to make long-term planning decisions based on a plan that may not exist in the future, given the elimination of the Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP) December 31st.
Angenette McAdoo noted that the tuition waiver benefit may be taxed resulting from federal tax code changes. She said that the Office of Human Resources may have to rededicate resources to employee benefits deemed not tuition waiver if the federal changes occur. Matt Fajack said that the changes do not appear to be in the Senate bill. He recalled that UNC System President Margaret Spellings has written an article in the Chronicle on this subject. He expected there would be a great amount of lobbying against this provision in Washington. Carol Tresolini thought that the impact on graduate students combined with the impact on those who work full-time, made the provision particularly bothersome.
Matt Fajack noted the equipment and supply issues in Housekeeping. He asked that Facilities Services prepare a written response and presentation on this subject. James Holman said that managers have equipment all over campus that is not in use or lacking batteries. He noted difficulties that housekeepers face in mopping large floors such as at the Stone Center.
Anna Wu said that Facilities Services has spent upwards of $600,000 since 2013 on equipment, $50,000 in the last year. The department has set aside $11,000 for battery replacements, with a shift from water to cellular batteries. Wu said that one dedicated employee is handling these replacements. Wu said most of the equipment in service is 4-5 years old. She cautioned that the University cannot base its policy on anecdotes without data. Holman said that on South Campus, managers receive e-mails saying when batteries must be changed. He said that employees must sign in and out and must notify higher level employees if the process is completed incorrectly.
Wu said that her office has documented actions taken since the October meeting, with money allocated and spent for this purpose. Shayna Hill asked if Facilities Services has developed a strategy to share and disperse these funds. Wu said that equipment is not distributed according to the North/South campus axis. Funding strategy has concentrated on equipment for specific buildings, she said.
Angenette McAdoo asked if anyone had a sense of how much equipment is broken or needs batteries. Matt Fajack said that Facilities Services could establish a plan around these dates. Bryan Andregg asked if Facilities Services has a budget for preventative maintenance. Wu said that the life cycle of most equipment is not built in. She said that the budget from central allocation usually exceeds $5000, granted on an annual basis. Andregg suggested that Facilities Services train its staff to handle preventative maintenance duties rather than relying on outside contractors. Holman said that a few Housekeeping managers can do this work now.
James Holman noted that some housekeepers cannot use the vacuum backpacks provided but must bring doctor’s notes to prove this infirmity. He asked if these employees could receive vacuum packs on wheels to carry out their work. As a Housekeeping zone manager, he found it difficult to choose to whom the one wheeled pack will go in his unit. Bryan Andregg asked the cost of these wheeled units. Holman estimated that their cost if $450/each. Anna Wu said that Facilities Services has budgeted $50,000 for purchasing these wheeled units for this coming year.
Linc Butler said that the reasonable accommodation standard allows an employer to require a doctor’s note for those claiming an infirmity. Holman asked about those claiming workers’ compensation. Butler said that this question is one for the Americans with Disabilities or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Holman said that these employees have been told to lift no more than 25 pounds. Angenette McAdoo asked if housekeepers could share the wheeled vacuum packs. Holman said that in his unit, the relevant employees are far apart and thus cannot share.
James Holman also thought that the Housekeeping department should change the way that it orders supplies. He said that the office does not order in bulk any longer but instead follows “just-in-time” ordering, which can leave the central office short of needed supplies. He asked why Housekeeping could not keep a minimum of 10% of projected stock needed in the warehouse.
Anna Wu said that using “just-in-time” ordering has allowed Facilities Services to create an easy budget reduction. She said that it makes sense to order one week ahead of time. This change had helped reduce a $200,000 departmental cut. Holman said that an order had not been placed for certain materials in the past three months. Wu said that these changes may have led to some difficulties, but she did not think that areas are facing a three-month backlog for materials. She said that materials are available within a week of ordering.
Bryan Andregg asked if zone managers receive adequate training in how much to order in the new system. Holman said that he does not usually receive what is requested and so runs out every month. He said that the warehouse will not provide him enough to cover his area’s needs.
Anna Wu said that Facilities Services is trying to reduce the number and range of products on order. She said that changes have been in place for only the last couple of months. Shayna Hill suggested letting the changes iron themselves out. She thanked all for the healthy dialogue.
Angenette McAdoo proposed focusing on how work could be done more effectively. Bryan Andregg asked what ideas are in place to work with what Facilities Services have currently to deal with the supply situation. Anna Wu said that there have been some transition issues with the monthly orders. Hill suggested adjusting work expectations to account for areas where supplies are inadequate. James Stamey recalled that zones had previously had to borrow from other zones. Andregg noted that “just-in-time” ordering requires some acquired skill and practice. Stamey agreed, saying that departments need to manage their supplies backwards.
James Stamey said that he served on the Housekeeping interview committee. He said ten positions had been filled pending background and reference checks for the candidates. Linc Butler asked how many of these candidates are internal. Stamey said that there are a few temporaries and third-shift employees looking to move to the first shift.
Linc Butler said that contingent offers will be rolled out for SHRA employees in January. A contingent offer refers to a formal offer contingent upon passage of a background check.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 3:44 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary