October 3, 2018

UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center

NOTE:  This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without notice.

I.  Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Shayna Hill (9:15 a.m. – 9:25 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press

II.  Special Presentations (9:25 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

  • Joel Curran on 225th Anniversary Celebrations at University Day October 12th
  • Terri Phoenix on Health Care Benefits Exclusions
  • Walter Miller, Director of Payroll Services, on Opting Out of Paper W-2s
  • Becci Menghini, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, on Employee Engagement Survey Update

III. Human Resources Update (10:15 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.)

  • Angenette McAdoo, Adam Beck, Jessica Pyjas and Sheree Harmon of Human Resources

IV.  Consent Agenda (10:35 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.)

V.  Old Business (10:55 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.)

VI.  New Business (11:05 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.)

  • Resolution on Adverse Weather Under Discussion
  • Selection of UNC System Staff Assembly Delegate & Alternate
  • Proposed Proclamation Marking International Housekeeping Week

VII. Announcements/Questions (11:25 -11:30 a.m.)

VIII. Adjournment

MINUTES

October 3, 2018 Employee Forum meeting minutes

Attending:  Darren Abrecht, Donnyell Batts, Emma Beckham, Dzenita Blackwell, Rich Brandenburg, Tiffany Carver, Timothy Carville, Jasper Fleming, Lori Haight, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Mary King, Heather Lewis, Katie Lewis, Nataiya Neal, Hoi Ning Ngai, Arlene Medder, Jeff McQueen, Alan Moran, Kadejah Murray, Katie Musgrove, Jim Potts, Laura Pratt, Kathy Ramsey, David Rogers, Diamond Smith, Greg Smith, Kewana Smith, James Stamey, Rose Thorp, Tracy Wetherby Williams, Rich Wright

Absences (Excused):   Regina D’Uva, Karlina Matthews

Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.  She welcomed Vice Chancellor for University Communications Joel Curran.  He noted that the 225th anniversary of the University’s founding will occur on October 12th of this year.  He recalled the Bicentennial celebrations in 1992.  Curran said that the University will undergo a three-day celebration accompanied by a specially designed 225th anniversary logo.  He said that banners will be hung on Franklin Street bearing the logo.

The three-day celebration will begin Thursday, October 11th with a panel discussion of University Bridge Builders moderated by Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor Rumay Alexander.  This discussion will be followed by a performance by the UNC Orchestra.  That night, the University will relight the Bell Tower.

The next day, University Day, faculty and staff will process past the Old Well towards Memorial Hall to hear greetings from University leaders and distinguished alumni.  Speakers for the day have not yet been announced but the subject will be the University’s history.  The Chancellor will then make remarks about Carolina’s future as characterized by the Blueprint for Next strategic framework.  That afternoon, the University will host a birthday party with community cookies and lemonade.  That evening, “Late Night with Roy Williams” will kick off Carolina’s basketball season.

The following day, the University will host Virginia Tech in football at 7 p.m. on national television.  The field will feature the 225th anniversary logo with a special tribute to campus played in a special halftime video.

Curran said it was amazing what people at the University can do by pulling together.  He noted that the University has just begun telling its stories of people and events.  He recalled the recent series of faculty profiles on WCHL radio describing the wonderful work of these professionals.

Katie Musgrove noted that the General Alumni Association will host Tar Heel Service Days which will run from October 12-14th.  Heather Lewis asked if tickets to “Late Night with Roy” will be distributed first-come, first-serve as in previous years.  Curran suggested Lewis consult goheels.com for more information.

The Chair noted that previous Forum chairs Jackie Overton and Linwood Futrelle were posthumously named by the Chancellor as University Bridge Builders.

The Chair welcomed Terri Phoenix, Director of the LGBTQ Center, to discuss new categories of exclusions from the State Health Plan affecting employees.

Phoenix noted that in January 2018, the State Health Plan excluded coverage for psychological assessment and psychotherapy treatment in conjunction with proposed gender transformation and treatment or studies in connection with sex changes or modifications and related care.  Phoenix said that these are discriminatory exclusions that negatively affect transgender employees.  Phoenix noted that other family planning exclusions adversely affect transgender employees, to the point of excluding procedures for these employees that are allowed for cisgender employees.

Phoenix recalled the instance of one employee who had relied on hormone transition therapy that was covered in 2017 but had since been disallowed.  Phoenix said these exclusions increasingly form a barrier against hiring and retaining the best University staff.  These exclusions have a small impact on the State Health Plan’s bottom line but make a great difference to these employees’ lives.

Phoenix could not confirm that these exclusions will remain in the 2019 plan but had not received any confirmation that they have been removed.  If still present, Phoenix asked the Employee Forum and the Office of Human Resources to help remove them.

Katie Musgrove recalled hearing from Phoenix at a recent Executive Committee meeting.  She bemoaned the unfairness that hormone therapy is covered for cisgender employees but not transgendered employees.  Rose Thorp asked if the exclusions are across the board or if they apply just to LGBTQ employees.  Alan Moran said that LGBTQ employees are not the only ones affected by these exclusions.  He said that children of employees are also affected, which may lead these employees to seek employment elsewhere.  Phoenix noted that people are coming out as transgender earlier which increases the effect of these exclusions.

Rose Thorp asked if UNC’s peer institutions have similar coverage.  Phoenix said that coverage is more common among UNC’s peers.  Phoenix thought the best argument against the exclusions is the need to do the right thing to care for employees and their families.

Kathy Ramsey asked if students are covered for these procedures.  Phoenix said that State employees’ health insurance differs from the insurance offered students by the UNC System Office.  Phoenix added that in 2017, when the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was in place, these procedures could not be excluded.  However, self-insured plans are no longer subject to this rule.

The Chair noted the Forum’s role as an advisory body to the Chancellor and her designees that expresses itself mainly through resolutions and issues.  She invited Phoenix to continue this conversation with the Forum’s Personnel Issues committee.

Walter Miller, Director of Payroll Services, spoke on the new opportunity for employees to opt out of receiving paper copies of W-2 tax statements.  Miller noted the security, convenience, and environmental benefits resulting from a shift to electronic W-2 statements.  Miller described the many paper statement boxes that the University has distributed each year.  He said that the social security numbers on each printed page present a high risk for tax fraud.  Additionally, the statements were usually left in hallways for employees to pick up, exposing the paper to theft.

Employees still have the right to receive paper W-2 statements unless they choose to opt out and specify electronic statements only.  Miller recalled that in 2015 the University began to offer paper and electronic statements together, but this is the first year in which the complete opt out is available.

Miller said that electronic statements are more secure with safeguards over and above those available with paper statements.  Employees can use the ConnectCarolina “Self Service” tab to update their W-2 statement preferences.  The two-step verification process makes this option convenient and safe, Miller said.  Employees can save trees and save the University money in printing costs.  Miller added that Payroll Services typically mails the paper statements to the last known address for terminated employees, another safety risk.

Miller said that since the University has sent formal notice regarding the electronic W-2 option, around 2000 employees have chosen to eliminate their paper statement.  Emma Beckham confirmed that once the option is chosen on-line, the choice is permanent.  Lori Haight asked if the electronic statements would really be safer than paper.  Miller replied that thieves can easily obtain paper moving through campus mail compared to the enormous security efforts devoted to making on-line statements safe.  Clare Counihan confirmed that the final date to opt out is January 15, 2019 to prevent production of a personalized paper statement this year.

Alan Moran asked about the labor savings of the opt-out program.  Miller could not yet quantify the savings but noted that saving the time to print and stuff envelopes already represents a substantial economy.  He said that the paper W-2 administrative process takes two days with several hundred people involved directly and indirectly.

Laura Pratt asked how else Miller’s department is reaching employees.  Miller replied that the UNC Payroll site, the Finance and Human Resources newsletters, and a formal notice contained information about the opt-out program.  He noted more reminders would occur at the upcoming ConnectCarolina workshop on October 18th and the Employee Appreciation Day on October 19th.  Finally, Payroll will remind employees of the option on every pay stub notification.  Kewana Smith confirmed that student employees will also have the option to go paperless.

Becci Menghini, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Equal Opportunity and Compliance, outlined the results of the 2018 UNC System Engagement Survey.  [In the interests of brevity, the reader is directed to the Powerpoint which formed the basis of Menghini’s presentation at the Forum website https://employeeforum.unc.edu/files/2018/11/20181002-Engagement-Survey-Slides.pptx].

Terri Phoenix asked if the survey studied other demographic variables beyond SHRA versus EHRA employees.  Menghini said that the tables have some ability to produce this information, but this is very limited.  There is no information on gender or race of respondents, only class.

Jim Potts asked if the survey produced data at the departmental level.  Menghini said that current results cover mainly top-line data.  She said that the University hopes to obtain this information but faces challenges regarding the sizing of groups and insuring the anonymity of respondents.  Potts asked if Menghini was surprised that Carolina had not met the institutional average for responses.  Menghini said that this is a difficult question to answer.  She noted the aggressive timeline for the survey and raised questions of employee survey fatigue.  She suggested adding incentives to participate in the 2020 survey.

Potts said that the outside participation rate was lower than the Carnegie research institution level.  Menghini was surprised at that fact but thought that this data point perhaps lacks context.

Jasper Fleming recalled a question from an employee who thought that the survey’s questions would reveal their identity.  He suggested improving anonymity guarantees to increase participation in the 2020 survey.  Menghini said that UNC-Chapel Hill will likely ask ModernThink to structure the survey differently next time.  Menghini urged delegates to watch for formal announcement of the 2018 survey.  The Chair thanked Menghini for giving the Forum a preview of survey results before they are widely distributed.

Senior Director for Employee Management & Relations Angenette McAdoo presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  McAdoo noted that the State has added 90 days’ time to make up days lost to Condition 2 adverse weather leave.  Secondly, an additional 40 hours of other managerial approved leave (OMAL) is provided to employees in major disaster areas ravaged by Hurricane Florence.  Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties are not considered official disaster areas.

The University can provide employees 80 hours of leave to address damage suffered from Hurricane Florence, but one’s supervisor can request documentation about the use of leave.  Community Service Leave (CSL) is now increased to 24 hours after approval by the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR).  Employees must use this leave by December 31, 2018 with the approval of one’s supervisor and subject to provision of appropriate documentation.

Clare Counihan asked if OMAL applies if an employee has a secondary residence on the Atlantic coast.  McAdoo said that employees must obtain permission to use leave in these circumstances.  Jim Potts confirmed that supervisors must approve this leave and that it will be documented in TIM.  He asked if there were a way to dispute a supervisor’s denial of a claim for leave.  McAdoo said that the Human Resources office will monitor use of this leave.

McAdoo introduced the University’s new Director of Benefits & Leave Administration Sheree Harmon.  Benefits Consultants Tony Hope and Gerald Leapheart provided an update on open enrollment in the State Health Plan, emphasizing that employees must Prepare/Decide/Act before the October 31st deadline.  Hope referred listeners to the decision guides about Health Plan enrollment and NC Flex programs.  He noted that employees will need to use the Duo verification system to modify their health plan preferences.  The Office of Human Resources and Information Technology Services are available to help employees having difficulty with this process.

Hope noted that State Plan and most NC Flex premium rates do not increase this year.  In addition, the NC Quit Line has been eliminated as a means towards encouraging tobacco cessation.  Every employee will default to the 70/30 plan and must log in and elect to enroll in the 80/20 plan.

Laura Pratt asked why the Office of Human Resources has moved all the employee assistance sessions to the Administrative Office Building (AOB) off MLK Drive.  Leapheart said that previous participation in campus sign-up sessions was minimal.  Senior Benefits Consultant Rob Stevenson offered to visit departments desiring an in-person sign-up session.

Worklife and Wellness Manager Jessica Pyjas said that her office will help provide flu shots and Produce Box subscriptions at the Employee Appreciation Fair on October 19th.  She said that the Perks and Discounts program has expanded to over 200,000 businesses throughout the nation as well as local businesses.  Next week, Pyjas will participate in a seminar on funding Elder Care with the Carolina Women’s Center.

Katie Musgrove reported that the Forum will be honored at the November 17th, 2018 UNC football game versus Western Carolina University.  The Forum Office will survey delegate participation.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the consent agenda.  Arlene Medder made this motion seconded by Alan Moran.  The consent agenda was approved.

Rose Thorp said that the Personnel Issues committee is working to develop a resolution on adverse weather.  She welcomed delegates and employees to attend the committee’s October 9th meeting.  The Chair noted that the UNC Staff Assembly will seek input from campus staff organization chairs on October 15th.  She hoped to provide input from the committee to the Assembly.

The Chair opened the floor for nominations for the UNC System Staff Assembly 2-year delegate and alternate positions.  She said the time commitment had decreased in recent years as only one meeting per year will take place outside Chapel Hill.  Kathy Ramsey declared for the delegate position and Jasper Fleming declared for the alternate position.  In the absence of other candidates, Ramsey and Fleming were declared winners of these positions by acclamation.

The Chair read proclamation 18-01 honoring University Housekeeping.  Katie Musgrove moved that the Forum adopt this proclamation, seconded by Arlene Medder.  The motion was approved.

The Chair asked what delegates had heard from their fellow employees about the disposition of the Confederate Monument (“Silent Sam”) on McCorkle Place.  She said that the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor’s Office had asked the staff to participate in a survey on this question by providing unedited and unjudged responses.

The Chair emphasized that she thought that this was an “honest ask” by campus leaders.  She said that the Board of Governors had set a deadline of November 15th for a University response, leading the University to require the Forum to tabulate staff responses by October 22nd.

The Chair noted that Forum officers had created a survey for distribution to staff employees along the direction by the past Chair of the Board of Trustees W. Lowry Caudill.  Dr. Caudill explained that he had asked University administrators to adopt Dr. Robert Reinheimer’s “The Collaborative Process” to frame the difficult process of evaluating obstacles, principles and ideas towards finding a solution for this controversy.  He noted that the Board of Governors had set forth the overriding goal for the University’s actions in this area, as follows:

“provide a plan for a lawful and lasting path that protects public safety, preserves the monument and its history, and allows the University to focus on its core mission of education, research, economic stimulation, and creating the next generation of leaders” (UNC Board of Governors Resolution, August 28, 2018.)

Dr. Caudill asked that the Employee Forum work to obtain “raw data” from staff employees parallel to efforts by University faculty and students.  He emphasized that adherence to Dr. Reinheimer’s framework in this search for data would allow University administrators the best chance to arrive at an effective, acceptable solution that can be smoothly and successfully executed.

Dr. Caudill asked that the Forum submit its data by October 23rd, 2018, towards allowing University administrators final cut at the data towards proposing a solution that meets the Board of Governors’ November 15th, 2018 deadline.

Tracey Wetherby-Williams said that obstacles to change include the possible loss of monetary donations by certain alumni.  Jasper Fleming agreed that alumni discontent could hurt the University’s fundraising numbers.  Heather Lewis added that safety concerns and hurt feelings are other obstacles to change.

Delegates raised the preservation of history, money, safety, inclusion, ethics, and education as principles that could govern the fact-finding process.

Ideas to address the University’s overall goal were to destroy the statue, to place it in the NC Collection at Wilson Library, to hold a fundraiser, to give back or “regift” the statue, or to rename the statue.  Heather Lewis asked if the pedestal beneath the statue remained on-site.

The Chair asked how the Forum wished to proceed in this area.  She noted that the faculty have pledged to hold ten small group meetings.  Heather Lewis noted the danger to children who were in after-school care facilities at the Morehead Planetarium during a series of demonstrations.  Emma Beckham urged the Forum to hold in-person sessions to discuss the issue.  The Chair suggested that further discussion could occur once the data had been collected.

Kewana Smith noted the unrealistic timeframe set by the Board of Governors, contrasting the 12 days allotted staff for responses with the University’s sixteen-year moratorium on official consideration of renaming buildings.  Tiffany Carver asked the best way to reach the masses by either hosting small discussion groups, obtaining surveys, or a combination of these and other ideas?

Jim Potts asked how the Office of Faculty Governance has communicated word about the process to their faculty.  The Chair recalled that three facilitators had worked with Chair of the Faculty Leslie Parise to conduct the small sessions.  Faculty had received e-mailed invitations to these meetings.

Alan Moran thought that different groups will react to these ideas in different ways.  He said that some employees will not say anything even if asked, while others find the subject brings up rare emotion.  Jasper Fleming thought that perhaps the survey was the safer method to avoid the emotional charge of discussions.

Laura Pratt asked whom the proposed town halls would target or benefit.  Tiffany Carver thought that employees need to explain their feelings about the Silent Sam question and to have a chance to leave feedback on paper.  Katie Lewis suggested that the Forum make a video encouraging survey participation.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:39 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

 

 

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