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DUE TO COVID-19, THE UCPEA OFFICE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED AND STAFF ARE WORKING REMOTELY. TO CONTACT THE OFFICE PLEASE EMAIL THE GENERAL MAILBOX AT UCPEAOFFICE@UCPEA.ORG OR THE STAFF PERSON YOU ARE WORKING WITH DIRECTLY. THE LIST OF STAFF EMAIL ADDRESSES CAN BE FOUND UNDER THE CONTACT US MENU. PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES.


07/01/2020

2020 Proposed Amendments to the UCPEA Constiution and Bylaws - Results


06/04/2020

The killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Florida, and countless others have tragically demonstrated, again, that the United States has yet to challenge racism within our institutions and society.

Whether exemplified through police brutality in Minnesota and Kentucky or private citizens acting upon their own prejudice in Georgia, our country continues to lose Black lives because of our collective refusal to adequately name, describe, and provide solutions to the disease which underscores each of these cases: white supremacy. 

The distress and alarm we are experiencing due to recent events must include space to understand this system of oppression. While much dialogue revolves around individual people, this misses the mark. In order to truly begin dismantling white supremacy, we must first process barriers to equity.

The UCPEA community knows that the racism we see on the national stage manifests itself on our campus as well. As the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association, we first and foremost stand in solidarity with our Black members. Our members deserve the right to live without fear for their own and their loved ones’ safety and lives. We all deserve the right to live without fear.  To protect that right, we all must stand together when any of us is targeted by any form of oppression.  We encourage our members to reach out for support and prioritize themselves during this difficult time. Please visit https://studenthealth.uconn.edu/equity/ for additional resources and feel free to reach out to the UCPEA Social Justice Committee for support at socialjustice@ucpea.org.

As members of UCPEA, a social justice organization, we must renew our collective responsibility to create an equitable workplace and community. We would like to hear from the UCPEA membership about ways in which our union might contribute to systemic solutions locally. Please share your thoughts with us here https://tinyurl.com/UCPEASJCFeedback before June 8th at 5PM.
 
In Solidarity,

The UCPEA Executive Board, Social Justice Committee (listed below) and Staff

Donna Hardaway, VP for Social Justice
Nishelli Ahmed
Nana Amos
Amanda Cannada
Robert Chang
Hannah Gebhard 
Monique Griffin    
Nisha Hardnett
Cheryl Jackson-Morris
Valerie Jenkelunas
Lindsay Jenkelunas
Rhonda Kauffman
Susan Landolina
Jacob Nathaniel    
Michael Roberson                        
Andrew Oravecz              
MiChelle Pereira Lopes 
Sterling White




03/19/2020

The continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the University to scale down its mission of teaching and research to maintaining critical activities while prioritizing individual and population health, President Tom Katsouleas said during Wednesday’s virtual town hall meeting.

The president said significant developments in the spread of the disease as well as guidance received from the Centers for Disease Control and Gov. Ned Lamont’s office have shifted the University’s activities in responding to the situation.

Moving from initially protecting individual health and population health and trying to, as much as possible, continue UConn’s mission, the focus now has shifted to protect all individual and population health, and reducing the University mission as much as possible except for critical activities.

“I’m really proud of the University and the way it’s responded to this unprecedented challenge,” Katsouleas said. “It has been flexible, resilient and mutually supportive. I want to celebrate and thank the members of our community who are doing heroic work, particularly the health care workers who put themselves on the line every day for the sake of others, but also our faculty and staff for supporting the critical needs of our students. Also I’d like to thank the emergency response team, many whom have been working around the clock to support the university in this crisis.”

He summarized information in Tuesday’s campus-wide email, which announced the continuation of online classes through the end of the spring semester, including final exams and the cancellation of May commencement.

Information of interest to UCPEA members provided through questions and answers during the town hall included:

  • Telecommuting will continue until further notice. For members who have been unable to telecommute or directed to report to campus, the administration will work with leaders of all bargaining units to determine which key functions that are critical and those that cannot be done in order to reduce the number of staff on campus as much as possible. Chris Delello, chief human resources officer, said, “As we work through that we are going to be extremely respectful of state guidance for those people who have secondary contact and child care issues.”
  • Training for UCPEA evaluations was postponed. Everything will move online March 25 at 9 a.m. That training will begin through WebEx. Evaluations continue as originally scheduled.
  • The Stamford campus has been closed and other regional campuses as well as the main Storrs campus will continue with limited operations.
  • For staff working under provisions of a H-1B visa, if you continue to work and are living within commuting distance and have to report to work in case of an emergency, there should be no change in your status. However if you stopped working then a grace period begins and it is suggested you consult with general counsel’s office. When the federal government releases further guidelines, the general counsel’s office will also provide further guidelines individually or as a group to faculty and staff.
  • UConn Health has established a COVID Call Center for health questions:860-679-3199.
  • The University is reviewing whether employees will continue to pay for parking while telecommuting.Meanwhile, campus bus service will continue to operation on a weekend schedule throughout the entire week.

03/16/2020

Union leaders from SEBAC (the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition) have been combining efforts to make sure that the perspectives of frontline workers are being heard as the State’s response to COVID-19 evolves. UCPEA President Michael White participated in a SEBAC conference call last Friday and will receive updates on the State’s progress on getting answers to the questions our members have about their safety during this public health crisis.

SEBAC has provided a report, copies of recent memorandums from the Office of Policy & Management and the Department of Administrative Services, along with some Frequently Asked Question documents.

The report analyzes the steps the Lamont Administration has taken to date and recommends additional steps the State should take to move further and faster in its COVID-19 response, both for state employees and the public we serve.

  • Click here for the SEBAC report, The Latest on State Government Response to COVID-19.

The SEBAC document also incudes an outline of our core principles for navigating our way through this public health crisis, along with memoranda from the State concerning COVID-19’s impact on state employees.  

During this crisis, SEBAC has asked for  a daily point of contact between a designated union leader for each bargaining unit and a designated management representative so there will be continuous sharing of information. As always, if you have questions, be sure to start with your local union steward and leadership structure.

As we state in our report, we face a public health challenge unlike any we have encountered in recent memory.  The solidarity and dedication of our membership gives us the confidence that we will face it well, and come out stronger than we went in, although we know it will not be without disruption and suffering. 

We will keep members informed as things evolve and change and urge all members to reach out to union representatives and leads with their views, ideas and concerns as we move through this crisis and forward to better days.

An important reminder: members are not required to disclose any information to managers about underlying health conditions or FMLA information. If you have questions about this, please contact ucpeaoffice@ucpea.org.


03-12-2020

President Katsouleas Addresses Coronavirus Issues During Online Town Hall Meeting

President Tom Katsouleas said the health and safety of the University community were paramount in the decisions leading to announcing the restrictions of activities on all UConn campuses and a move from in-person classes to online learning after next week’s spring recess due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking from Konover Auditorium during an online Town Hall, he said:  “We’re guided by the health and safety of our community, first of all. We look at the risks and responsibility first for individuals and then risks for public health, with the latter superseding individual inconveniences. We are also looking for every possible way to continue our mission.”

Katsouleas emphasized that all campuses will remain open and all classes and research will continue. He said Provost John A. Elliott and the deans of the Schools and Colleges will work with their faculty to develop individualized accommodation plans for courses that are not easily amenable to online delivery, such as laboratory classes, internships and clinical placements.

Several issues affecting UCPEA members, as well as other employees, were addressed through answers to questions posed by those viewing online and at Konover Auditorium:

  • Beginning Saturday, March 14, members on in Storrs campus, regional campuses, and the School of Law who can telecommute should plan to work from home, with the approval of your supervisor, until at least Monday, April 6. Members must speak to their supervisors in advance to confirm they agree you are able to telecommute. If you cannot telecommute, you should report to work as scheduled.

 

  • While there are telecommuting policies requiring the completion of forms, there will a waiver of as many of these forms as possible. Managers will prepare letters to members by the end of the day Friday.

 

  • Many employees routinely use their personal electronic devices for University business already, so UITS will send out reminders about precautions to use to protect against exposure to problems.

 

  • Members who do not use direct deposit for paychecks will be asked to supply their home addresses if they are not already on file.

 

  • For those residential students who will remain at UConn during spring break or have no alternative but to return to campus following spring break, Student Affairs/Residential Life will work directly with them to assess needs and ensure accommodation. The Rec Center will be closed, as will other facilities. A dining facility and other essential services will remain open.

 

  • Also effective Saturday, March 14, no events larger than 100 people will be permitted on any campus. All events, meetings and performances should be canceled or postponed if they involve more than 100 people. Events at the Jorgensen Center and Ballard Institute and Puppetry Museum are cancelled through April 6.

 

  • Extending the spring semester is not an option. Classes will continue and it is expected the semester will be completed. The impact on Commencement is not yet clear. If regular classes resume on April 6, graduation ceremonies would be held as scheduled on May 9.

 

  • For staff whose child care may be disrupted, managers are being asked to work with members to find a way to telecommute. Otherwise, the existing accrued time schedule will be used.

 

  • Concerning sick time and vacation, President Katsouleas said where the University has flexibility regarding sick days or leave time if members are out sick for an extended period, “our intent is to ensure that as little or no harm takes place to any of our community. If you are sick, you should stay home. If it becomes an issue during that sickness or later, we’re going to look at every possible way we can use the flexibility we have to increase those sick days so you are fully covered during that time. This a philosophical, rather than a particular, edict. That is our view going forward.”

 

  • Facilities will continue its regular maintenance and cleaning operations. Currently facilities staff is in flu protocol, using disinfectants throughout the campus. Facilities staff will be required to report to campus. However, if someone is sick, they should stay home.

 

  • Travel by members that has been cancelled due to out-of-state travel restrictions will be reimbursed by the University.

 

  • New employee orientation scheduled for tomorrow, March 13, will take place, but future sessions are to be determined. Some activities for current searches will be postponed or rescheduled.

 

“One hallmark of UConn is its extraordinary sense of community,” Katsouleas said. “That sense of community is part of what drew me to this University, and I believe what’s going to allow us to navigate successfully through this crisis.”

He said updated information will be posted on UConn’s Coronavirus website https://uconn.edu/public-notification/coronavirus/  and more urgent information will be sent via email.


03-11-2020

As you may know, yesterday afternoon Gov. Ned Lamont declared a public health emergency and a civil preparedness emergency concerning the coronavirus. Under these declarations, the governor can exercise broad powers over state institutions, implementing travel restrictions, closing of public schools and buildings and more.

The UCPEA is in communication with the University administration and has had two separate discussions with Human Resources asking questions about the plans to ensure the safety of our members during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have also received information from the AFT with specific guidance on health and safety concerns.

As of this morning, there are 647 cases reported and 528 under investigation in the United States in 36 states, including Connecticut, where there are four confirmed cases. There are 25 deaths reported nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

President Katsouleas will conduct a Virtual town Hall tomorrow at noon to update the University community on the situation concerning the coronavirus. You can access this event through this link:  http://s.uconn.edu/marchtownhall.

A UConn website that provides updates affecting the University has been created and email advisories will continue to be issued. Some questions members are asking are addressed on the website as follows:

 

I’ve heard UConn is closing the week after Spring Break, is that true?

No. UConn is operating on its normal schedule and calendar. If it becomes necessary to make a change that would be widely communicated to the University community. The University is directing all faculty to prepare for the possibility that courses may be moved to online delivery, rather than in-person, at some point after Spring Break. But this decision has not been made. If it were to be made, the University would immediately communicate to both students and faculty.

 

If I have to quarantine for 14 days, do I have to use vacation days or personal leave?

No. You do not need to use accrued time and will be paid normally for the 14-day period.

 

If I get coronavirus, do I have to use my sick or other accrued time if I am out?

For any illness that keeps employees out of work, using sick and other accrued time during time away from campus is normal. However, our primary message to employees and students has been that if you are sick with an illness of any sort, please stay home to rest and recover.

The message that went to employees last week was to assure them that union contracts contain certain provisions giving them that ability, without worrying about job security if they need to remain out of work for extended periods due to illness or other circumstances.

UConn has the discretion to allow additional leave time beyond what is set out in union contracts, and in keeping with the University’s bylaws.

In addition, during unusual or extraordinary circumstances such as a pandemic, UConn would of course use maximum flexibility to help ensure the health of our employees and community.

We are encouraging all of our employees to reach out to human resources directly if they have questions about the provisions in their union contract or university bylaws.

****

During yesterday’s membership meeting at the Student Union, members raised concerns about Professional Issues Committee awards for conferences and other University-sponsored travel addressed in the March 9 memorandum.

Vice President for Professional Issues Angela Rola said the Committee will cancel all approved applications for out-of-state travel other than those approved as exceptions under the guidelines in the March 8 memo. To request an exception, you must make a written appeal to the appropriate operational leadership office to whom you report, meaning the President (for units that report directly to the President’s office), Provost, Executive Vice President for Administration/CFO, or the CEO of UConn Health.

Since the University is following the directive issued by Gov. Ned Lamont, the travel restriction continues through April 30. The Committee will not consider approval of pending applications until the travel restriction is lifted. The UCPEA will fulfill commitments for anyone who is currently traveling out-of-state and that hotel cancellation penalties would also be honored. If you have questions about Professional Issues awards, please send them to professionalissues@ucpea.org

In the meantime, the following information will be helpful in being alert and aware:

Symptoms of coronavirus can include:

  • Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

People who have recently traveled to an impacted location and are feeling sick should:

  • Call ahead before visiting a doctor’s office or emergency room
  • Tell the doctor about recent travel and the symptoms being experienced
  • Avoid contact with others, and do not travel while sick

Everyone – regardless of whether they have recently traveled – should continue following some basic steps to protect themselves from this coronavirus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid shaking hands as a greeting
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

 

UCPEA Classification Project Updates

 

September 23, 2019
 
Members of the UCPEA Leadership and the Classification team have met with representatives from the University on three occasions in the last two weeks – September 10, September 17 and September 18. Over the course of the last three meetings, we’ve been provided with more information about how the Job Inventory Worksheets will map into job templates. With this information, we’ve been able to ask more meaningful questions and advocate on behalf of the membership.
 
Subject Matter Experts that have not yet been asked to provide feedback were sent an email by the University acknowledging the delay and it is expected all Subject Matter Experts will receive their survey and job templates by September 30.
 
Human Resources is sponsoring information sessions this week. It’s our understanding topics that will be covered during the information sessions include a general system overview, terminology connected with the new system and the connection between the analysis of Job Inventory Worksheets and the development occupational groups. The information sessions will be held in the Student Union Theatre and employees do not have to use accrued time to attend a session:
 
Tuesday, September 24: 11 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1p.m. – 2 p.m.
Wednesday, September 25: 11 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1p.m. – 2 p.m.
Thursday, September 26: 11 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1p.m. – 2 p.m.
 
The University has committed to visiting all regional campuses with dates and times to be announced shortly.
 
There are still several outstanding items, particularly project timelines, salary bands, the “reconsideration process,” and our advocacy for a full equity analysis for the bargaining unit.
 
Members of the UCPEA leadership will attend all the information sessions this week. We are also scheduled to meet again with the University on October 4.
 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PLEASE CLICK MORE

Results - Amendments to Constitution and Bylaws

There were a number of proposed amendments to the UCPEA Constitution and Bylaws this spring. Voting opened Thursday, June 6 and closed yesterday, Monday, June 17 at 4:30 p.m. Results were certified yesterday afternoon and can be viewed below. Thank you to the 749 members who participated. Approved changes in the language will take effect July 1, 2019.

Voting results are available below (click "fullscreen" in bottom right hand corner of viewer) or by visiting "2019 Approved Amendments to UCPEA CBL". Approved language is available by visiting "2019 Proposed Amendments to UCPEA CBL."

The updated version of the Constiution and Bylaws will be available July 1, 2019.

Janus v. AFSCME Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME on June 26, 2018, saying it is unconstitutional to collect fees from public employees who choose not to be a member of the union that negotiates the contract that provides their wages, benefits and other working conditions. 

How does the Janus case affect me?

Many of the news reports about the Janus v. AFSCME case tout the loss of Union Dues as the demise of organized labor specifically in the public sector. When Union Members act collectively in solidarity they represent a powerful group that significantly impacts the negotiation of fair sal aries, working conditions, health care and pensions. Recently, the public-school teachers in West Virginia joined in an action protesting how higher health care costs and the lack of raises for the past few years had eroded their ability to be engaged in the American Dream.

February 14, 2020

The UCPEA Classification team met with representatives from the University on Tuesday seeking answers to some of our initial questions about mapping and some of the more general issues of concern that members have identified including, but not limited to, what was covered in the Union Wire yesterday.

Vice President for Social Justice Election Results

 

The Vice President for Social Justice election results have been certified and the successful candidate is Donna Hardaway. The voter participation rate was 29.83%. Please see the full election results below.

 

Candidate Votes Percentage
Liza Boritz 171 31%
Veronica Cook 93 17%
Donna Hardaway 283 52%

 

UCPEA Letter to UConn July 30, 2018

 

To:         UCPEA Membership

 

From:    Michael White, UCPEA President

               Elizabeth Sullivan, UCPEA Executive Director

 

Below is a copy of a letter we sent to the University administration late in the day last Friday.

 

Many of the issues listed in the letter impact various segments of the membership, who we communicate with regularly. They are well aware of our efforts on their behalf, but the classification project impacts every one of us and we want all of you to know where things stand.