UCPEA Letter to UConn July 30, 2018

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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.


We are clearly frustrated with the lack of progress on the classification project along with many other issues as well. Please take a few minutes to read our letter to the administration. We will provide additional information to all of you when we have another update on the classification project.


July 27, 2018  


Christopher Delello 

Associate Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer 

9 Walters Ave 

Storrs, CT 06269  


Dear Chris: 


As the UCPEA determines and evaluates the University’s latest extension request pertaining to Article 31-Job Classification, we offer the following:   


To say the last year has been challenging is an understatement. UCPEA has been ignored, challenged repeatedly, and stonewalled on a number of issues. We’ve also been accused of being ‘nasty’ and ‘aggressive;’ that we push back on everything now, destroyed long standing working relationships and prohibited new ones from growing, and that we’ve stuck our collective ‘thumb’ in the University’s eye every chance we’ve had.  Despite these accusations, we’ve remained engaged, but this has gone too far.  


Looking back over the last year, there are many examples of the challenges the UCPEA has faced: 


Requests for information: The UCPEA has submitted a number of requests for information over the course of Union/University business. Many of these requests have gone ignored, unanswered for unacceptable lengths of time and only answered after repeated reminders and or an expression of our dissatisfaction with the University’s blatant disregard for providing information a public employer is legally required to share in a reasonable amount of time.  


Article 9- Personal Leave: The University decided to prorate Personal Leave time for members of our bargaining unit who are employed at less than 100%. This ignores years of past practice and the settlement reached regarding parking rates for UCPEA members. The matter is going to arbitration early next month.   


Article 18.5-Compensatory Time for Positions in Athletics: The negotiated language has still not been executed and members in Athletics have not been compensated for their prior balance accumulations. A proposal from the University expanded the impacted work group but has now been rescinded because the UCPEA will not blindly agree to language not part of the original agreement. We’ve engaged none the less, seeking a solution that works for everyone but were told that our counter-proposal was outrageous. The matter remains unresolved.  


Article 18.6-Compensatory Time for Emergency Support: Labor Relations stood firm that no Residential Life Hall Director should receive additional compensatory time for working during a University Closure like all other emergency support staff covered by our contract. The department was willing to work on the issue until redirected by representatives of the University where UCPEA was simply told ‘no’ without room for discussion. This problem was ultimately settled but only after the University displayed yet again that its representatives will say ‘no’ just because they can.   


Article 23.3 Procedure for Non-Contractual Grievance: On multiple occasions Labor Relations has objected to the UCPEA’s filing of Hostile Work Environment grievances under the non-contractual grievance process. The UCPEA has stated they are willing to discuss a process that would apply to Hostile Work Environment cases but after an initial meeting in May, there has been no movement on the part of Labor Relations to discuss this further. Even though UCPEA is using a process available through the Contract, we’ve remained open to the idea of a different procedure if it’s what will provide the best outcomes for our impacted members. The University has repeatedly objected to -- and continues to object -- to the use of the non-contractual grievance process. The University has also repeatedly insulted members and the UCPEA through their objections and responses to these grievances.   


Article 31 Job Classification: UCPEA has recognized the magnitude and complexity of the classification project from the beginning. We’ve been more than reasonable, but it’s been a challenge working with the University on this project. We have continually provided feedback on the lack of information, communication and tangible progress associated with this project. It doesn’t seem to make a difference. As July approached, the parties needed to address the expiring timeline and so we agreed to meet with the University to discuss an extension.  


On June 27th UCPEA met with the University to discuss deadlines associated with Article 31. We received a proposal for the following:  


31.1C – November 1, 2018 

31.1D – November 30, 2018 

31.2 – December 2019  


UCPEA asked questions and pushed back about the proposed dates making it abundantly clear that this would be the last extension we would be agreeable to because this process has been going on for far too long with little progress.  UCPEA left that meeting considering the dates with the understanding that a draft proposal would be provided by July 12, 2018.  


On July 10th, UCPEA and the University met again where we were told that the University was still working on finalizing their follow up proposal. We were then provided two draft proposals, the first offered: 


31.1C – November 1, 2018 

31.1D – November 30, 2018  

31.2 – September 1, 2019  


The second proposal on July 10th, offered:  


31.1C – January 2, 2019  

31.1D – July 1, 2019 

31.2 – July 1, 2019  


The July 10th meeting contained significant discussion that should have been internal to the University, ending without an official proposal from the University. The University seemed convinced that one of the reasons they were so delayed on this project was because the deadlines were from the first tentative agreement in early 2016. UCPEA explained that we didn’t believe this was true – that the deadlines in Article 31 were extended by both parties prior to resubmitting the new agreement to the legislature in 2017. This idea was met with skepticism, but the University indicated that they would go back and research to see if this was true.  


Per the University’s request, and in the spirit of professionalism, at the end of the July 10th meeting, the UCPEA agreed to extend the July 12th deadline to receive a final proposal from the University to July 17th.  


On July 17, UCPEA received an additional request for an extension for the University to provide a final proposal to July 20, 2018.  


On July 20th, UCPEA received a proposal that inaccurately characterizes the 2017 dates and extends the adoption and implementation of the new system well into 2019, the transitioning of employees into the new system and development of the contractually established career progression into 2020.  


To be clear, the original agreement ratified in 2016 had the following dates:  


31.1C: January 2, 2017  

31.D: July 1, 2017  

31.2: July 1, 2018  


The contract was withdrawn in early 2016 and the parties went back to the table for a short time prior to submitting the contract again to the Legislature in 2017. At that time the parties agreed to change the dates in 31.1C and 31.1D to accommodate for the nearly year-long delay in the contract passing the Legislature. The agreement that is currently in effect has the following dates (table below):  


31.1C: January 2, 2018  

31.D: July 1, 2018 

31.2: July 1, 2018  


In December of 2017, the UCPEA agreed to an extension of 31.1C (to July 1, 2018) because the project was taking longer than anticipated, being assured all along that progress was being made.  


The proposed language in the University’s most recent extension request makes it sound like the reason HR is so delayed in this project is because the dates were never changed from 2016; that’s simply not true. The UCPEA stated this multiple times during our meeting on July 10th – the University has not researched this thoroughly or the hope is that we will just blindly agree.     


The dates now proposed are more than a year beyond the agreement that passed the Legislature in 2017; additionally, we’ve been told the University has hired a consultant to assist but have yet to see any tangible evidence that the resources spent on this consultant have been fruitful. 


With the current proposal, there is nothing but the pipe dream that this new system will ever come into existence.     


Given these examples and the accusations that have been made this last year, it’s clear that the University expects UCPEA to be flexible and accommodating while indiscriminately agreeing to outcomes that are not in the best interest of our members. The University wants UCPEA to give but has repeatedly demonstrated that it is unwilling to do the same offering a never-ending list of excuses. We are done with the excuses and we are extremely disappointed with how the University has handled the above mentioned issues. UCPEA cannot and will not agree to the proposed extension on the classification project.  




Michael White                                                                             

UCPEA President                                                                                        


Elizabeth Sullivan

UCPEA Executive Director



UCPEA Membership  

Scott Jordan 

Michael Kirk  

Rachel Rubin  

Deborah Shelby  

Jeffrey Shoulson