October 8, 2020 Employee Forum Vice Chancellor Representatives’ Meeting
Attendees: Jessye Bongiovanni, Alicia Brandt, Linc Butler, Phil Edwards, Natasha Hanks, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, James Holman, Nate Knuffman, Arlene Medder, Becci Menghini, Katie Musgrove, James Stamey, Anna Wu
Forum Vice Chair Katie Musgrove called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. She noted the activities preparing for installation of Chancellor Guskiewicz at University Day October 12th. Phil Edwards asked about an update on the progress of the Covid-19 shared leave bank. Linc Butler reported that over 2,000 hours have been donated with eight employees applying so far for shared leave. Five employees have been approved for the leave with two denied for not yet exhausting their own leave. One case is still under review. Butler was pleased about the large number of hours donated. Becci Menghini anticipated that the number of hours donated could increase given the possibility of increased retirements this winter.
Katie Musgrove asked what measures are being taken to protect lower paid employees. She asked how employees in receipt-supported areas are being protected. Butler said that the University is working to be equitable across the board in addressing these questions. He noted that Morehead Planetarium employees have experienced a less than full furlough of two months’ away from work, with a temporary reduction in hours. Menghini added that as units submit furlough plans, the Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) office reviews these plans to ensure any cuts are equitable and needed. She confirmed that only Morehead Planetarium and Athletics have enacted furloughs, although other areas have discussed possibilities with the Office of Human Resources.
Musgrove asked about any updates regarding early retirement options. Menghini said that her office had urged the UNC System Office to lobby for this option. She had no details about any proposal that might be considered by the General Assembly. She anticipated that these details, if any, would emerge after the election.
James Stamey asked what the University will do to retain staff employees if students do not return to campus in spring 2021. Menghini said that layoffs have not taken place to this point. She hoped no Reductions in Force (RIFs) or further furloughs would be necessary, but much will depend on whether students return and the level of State support for the University. Stamey confirmed that furloughs last 90 days, with no upward bound. Menghini said that the University will use this measure in an emergency only.
The group discussed possibilities for changing the holiday calendar for staff employees. Butler said that the University could allow those desiring to work to do so during the University close days, with the permission of the employee’s supervisor. He would check with Facilities Services to ensure that this change would not be too disruptive to their plans.
Katie Musgrove raised the question of Housekeeping zone managers being given the option to order uniforms to avoid damage to their regular clothes. Anna Wu said that this step had been readied but was now delayed due to budget concerns. Nate Knuffman added that now is a difficult time to lay on an additional cost to departmental budgets.
Musgrove and Menghini reviewed plans for the upcoming Employee Appreciation Day festivities, which will include drive-through breakfast for employees and the Forum’s annual scavenger hunt. Phil Edwards hoped that the transition to virtual events would not prevent use of work time for these events.
Keith Hines asked about use of Covid-19 community service leave for poll work in the upcoming election. There was some question as to whether employees could receive double payment for this leave along with the poll work.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:33 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary