Monthly Archives: December 2012

Changes to Tuition Waiver Benefit Signed

On Tuesday, December 11 Staff Alliance was handed a revised and approved R04.06.010 Employee Education Benefit. President Gamble approved the revisions on December 6th.

The document states that these changes are effective immediately, however there is some confusion about whether or not it can or will be in place for the Spring 2013 semester. As soon as we receive an official announcement, we will post it here.

Read the 2012EducationBenefit


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Filed under Benefits, Staff Communication

December Regents Meeting Recap

During Donald Smith’s Human Resources report to the regents last week, he brought up the JHCC motions and provided copies to the regents. He incorrectly labeled these as “recommendations” from last summer’s Health Care Task Force. The HCTF specifically directed that these were to be considered suggestions to the JHCC not recommendations. Their point was to emphasize that these should be thoroughly discussed and reviewed before going forward.

The GOOD NEWS is that a few of the regents questioned whether or not taking away the Opt Out was a good idea, both fiscally and in fairness to current employees. Following Donald Smith’s report, President Gamble informed the regents that he was asking the JHCC to hold town-hall style sessions to get more input on Motion #6 (removing the Opt Out option) and all the motions. He indicated that although Donald Smith has endorsed the motions, “NOTHING IS FINAL YET.”

We encourage you to keep an eye on this blog for information on the opportunities to provide input directly to the JHCC. You should also read the administration’s article on the motions at:

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In his president’s report to the regents yesterday, President Gamble made a couple of comments that should be clarified to staff at the University of Alaska.

President Gamble gave a “shout out to the JHCC” for their difficult work on our health care benefit that “affects all employees at UA.” We certainly agree theirs is a difficult job and hope that respectfully disagreeing with their decisions is seen as just that. He went on to point out that often the “cynical thinking on blogs” is a result of not having all the information. As this is the only blog communicating out to UA staff across the state, we are concerned that he is referring to this one. We would like to point out that most of the content here either came from his administration or was in fact approved by him. What should be most important to him is that your comments are genuine. That the impacts on your morale and income are real. That the real impact of his actions are not in the numbers but on his employees.

President Gamble also stated that the Joint Health Care Committee (JHCC) represents all staff at UA. A more accurate statement would be that all parties are represented just not equally. According to their website the JHCC has 16 members and 2 of them represent staff (non-union represented, non-executive). The last official numbers given to Staff Alliance on the number of non-represented staff it represents was over 2,700. Staff Alliance represents over 2,700 employees of approximately 4,400 and has 2 votes on a committee of 16. The reason given for this is that JHCC is a union or collectively bargained committee and staff are non – union. This is also why the JHCC meetings are closed to the public.

We urge you to visit this blog regularly, spread what you read and make comments. We also encourage you to give us specific data for example, whether or not you are faculty or staff or actual costs to you that proposed changes would have.

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Filed under Benefits, Staff Communication

President Gamble Calls for More Discussion

From Juella Sparks

As chair of Staff Alliance I meet regularly with President Gamble and last Friday, November 30 our discussion centered around concerns regarding the impact of no longer allowing employees to opt out of the health care benefit in FY14. I am pleased to announce that because of the concerns we’ve raised, President Gamble intends to call for more discussion and numbers on the issue. He indicated that yes, Donald Smith will begin reviewing how to make this change to the health plan but that the decision is NOT FINAL YET.

Thank you for your input! Please continue to make comments here or email your governance leaders directly on the proposed changes to our health care plan mentioned below.


Filed under Benefits, Policy and Regulation