Feedback Requested on Draft Furlough Policy

On Monday, June 2, a memo regarding a draft furlough policy was sent out by Erik Seastedt, CHRO. The memo is copied below.

The UA Staff Alliance requests your feedback so that we can communicate your concerns to the UA administration and to the June Board of Regents meeting (this Thursday and Friday). Please leave a comment below.

The Regents are meeting June 5 & 6 in Anchorage in the Lee Gorsuch Commons. Public testimony will be heard at approximately 9:00 AM each day. Public testimony can only be given in-person and comments are limited to 3 minutes per individual or as determined by the chair. There will be a sign-up sheet in advance. Written comments can be submitted to sybor@alaska.edu and will be distributed to the Regents and the President following the meeting.

* * *

To: University of Alaska Staff Employees
From: R. Erik Seastedt, Chief Human Resources Officer

Date: June 2, 2014

Re: Draft Furlough Policy

A draft furlough policy has been developed to provide a possible
alternative to layoffs in the event of temporary and unanticipated
budgetary shortfalls.

This draft policy will be discussed with the UA Board of Regents at their
June 5-6 meeting in Anchorage. A formal motion on this policy may be
considered by the Board at their September meeting in Juneau. If the motion
passes, the policy as currently drafted would take effect January 1, 2015.

Please give staff governance your input on the draft policy so they can
represent your perspectives when addressing this issue with the UA Board of
Regents.

The draft policy anticipates that implementation details would be addressed
in regulations adopted by the president. In accordance with Regents’
Policy, governance groups and the chancellors would have an opportunity to
comment on draft regulations. Implementation details will include ensuring
essential services are not affected; notice to employees; exceptions for
externally funded or other classes of employees for whom furlough is
inappropriate; effects on benefits, retirement, holidays; expedited dispute
resolution, etc.

Please be advised that this draft policy does not unilaterally change the
terms and conditions of employment in any UA Collective Bargaining
Agreements.

The draft furlough policy reads as follows:

*P04.07.115 Employee Furlough*

*A. Effective January 1, 2015, to address budgetary shortfalls in any unit
of the university, employees may be subject to furlough via temporary
unpaid leaves of absence or prospective, temporary reductions in pay. *

*B. Furloughs shall be implemented in accordance with regulations and
plans approved by the president pursuant to this policy, provided however
that employees shall receive written notice of furlough as provided by
regulation and further provided that employees may not work or use paid
leave during a period of leave without pay due to furlough.*

*C. Furlough plans may be implemented notwithstanding any other regents’
policy, university regulation or university or campus practice or procedure
and are subject to review only as may be provided in regulations adopted
pursuant to this policy.*

If you have questions, please contact me at 907-450-8222 or
eseastedt@alaska.edu.

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55 Comments

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55 responses to “Feedback Requested on Draft Furlough Policy

  1. Elizabeth Spence

    I have worked for the University of Alaska for more than eight years. I understand that the University is facing budget shortfalls, but I was very concerned about the memo I received on Monday, June 2 regarding the proposed furlough policy. To me, this is an easy way out for the University to essentially “lay-off” employees, and not have to provide any benefits or extended notice. Staff comprise the majority of UA employees, and yet we are not treated with the same respect as “UA Collective Bargaining” groups with employment agreements. Who should make the decision regarding “essential” staff – students, staff, faculty, or administrators? I know that many vacant positions are not being filled or being left open for more than 60 days for salary saving, and as a result remaining staff employees are being asked to take on more job duties without a pay increase. So, as staff take on more and work for the good of the all, UA Statewide and the BOR are contemplating ways to further diminish employee value. Really?

  2. Debbie Muller

    1) How much advance notice will employees receive?
    2) Will our medical benefits continue without problems/interruptions or
    us having to pay premiums while on furlough?
    3) Co-workers are commenting that employees who are members of a union will not be furloughed. Is that correct?
    4) Can we cash in more annual leave to help defray loss of income?

  3. Pua Maunu

    Just a thought that could be positive to the furlough discussion: there may be employees who may be willing to voluntarily take a furlough as long as employee benefits (i.e. insurance, pers) remain in effect and furloughs can be flexibly constructed. . .

    • Heather Bennett

      I appreciate the creativity in this thought, and I’d like to express my interest to Pua’s idea as an option for the furlough committee.

  4. Deema Ferguson

    To demand that already overworked staff take unpaid furlough is appalling. If the BOR and President Gamble really want to save money, there are other options. Furlough will create hardship for many employees, cause low moral among already underappreciated staff, and be a reason for many to contemplate leaving the university system altogether for positions with stability. I, personally, am offended that this is even being considered. While the BOR and President Gamble may think that staff will not take furlough as a reflection of their worth to the university, I can say, as an almost 10 year staff member, it will be personal.

  5. Martin Miller

    Several red flags come up from this policy as drafted:
    First; define temporary.
    Second; “…employees shall receive written notice…” how far in advance?
    Third; “…to address budgetary shortfalls in any unit of the university…” Does that mean if a unit in Anchorage runs short of cash to move another wall at the new sports arena; Fairbanks staff can be furloughed to make up the difference?

    Other questions: Is there an upper limit to the days an individual employee will be laid off?
    What provision is the university making for effect on retention and recruitment this will have on the retirement plan?
    Is this a false flag operation attempting to get us to join the union?

  6. A few things to note.
    A.) The policy is being introduced at the June meeting, but there won’t be any action taken by the board until the September meeting when it is on the agenda officially.
    B.) As it states in BOR policy: P01.03.010. Policies and Regulations; Manuals. “Policies adopted by the Board of Regents shall be as broad and flexible as possible, leaving the details of administration and implementation to be expressed in regulations of the university, to be promulgated by the President of the University.”

    This means all the DETAILS will be in regulation, not policy. Many of the questions being raised here will not be addressed at the broad policy level, rather in Regulation. Your feedback will continue to be critical in the development of the regulation (if this policy is approved by the Regents in September) and Governance will of course be heavily involved in presenting these concerns and in making suggestions.

    Thanks!
    Monique (Staff Alliance Vice Chair)

  7. Lisa

    How “convenient” that the University of Alaska has a majority of non-represented staff against whom such measures can be implemented while holding other employees harmless. Part of me wants to write a long diatribe about the many reasons I feel this draft policy is a bad idea. Instead, after more than 23 years of employment with the University, I’m left with the depressing impression that resistance is futile. Sure, governance can be asked to provide staff input and maybe even get a few cosmetic changes made come September, but if the administration really wanted my considered input, I would have heard about this issue more than three days before the BoR meeting at which the policy will first be discussed. That’s when the substantive issues can best be raised if the policy is to be voted on in September. I am deeply saddened by the timing, content, and target of this draft policy.

  8. Margaret

    I am of the same sentiment as the others who’ve posted so far, and as suspicious. It also doesn’t help that in 2012 the boondoggle vote was cast for the Alaska Airlines Arena on the UAA campus in ANC for $109M as a final price tag in lieu of $80M that was originally voted for by the BOR. Now we have at least 2 structures sitting on the UAF campus that will likely be vacate or under-utilitized while we need to upgrade the power plant. Even as of this spring, they’re rooting around for more money. http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/uaa-needs-27-million-before-opening-alaska-air-center/24322248
    In addition to notification in writing, the furlough notice should also have a mandatory CAP or date for termination of the furlough; the dates should fall at the beginning/end of pay periods if this goes thru to make the payroll processing as seamless as possible, and for recipients to be able to better manage for a period of no cash flow. Since this action isn’t exactly what one could consider to be a morale builder, we could lose some of the 20% who do 80% with this ‘suggestion’.

    Regardless, I smell an ulterior motive here. Please prove to us otherwise.

  9. Chip

    I’ve been through furloughs before in Georgia. Its a very dangerous cliff to dance on. If not handled deftly will almost certainly open a trust divide between management and staff. There are ways to make this as humane as possible:

    1-Give staff a seat/voice at the “furlough table”. Someone who can be the voice of staff concerns, or at the very least be a witness to the decision process.
    2-Make it universal. No exempting any class of employees without community approval. If anyone should be exempt, it should be the lowest paid among us since this would effect them more deeply and directly.
    3-Spread out the pain. Limit the furlough days to no more than one a pay period for bi-weekly, twice a month for salaried.
    4-At the end of each six month period, provide an easy to understand chart of where we were, where we are, and how long it is expected to take to get to the end of the process.
    5-Do not allow this to have any impact on healthcare coverage.
    6-Allow staff to have input to when they take furloughs. Give us a chance to plan for and mitigate the impact.
    7-Develop a plan allowing staff to recover their losses over time.
    8-Do not allow furloughs to be used as some sort of punishment tool.
    9-Share with staff how we got to this point and develop a plan to avoid it in the future.
    10-Pay close attention to morale, and do as much as possible to mitigate the negative impact on it. This can be done in easy ways like easing of deadlines, blunting of criticisms, and discussing concerns with employees.
    Something as simple as letting people know they have concerns goes a long way.

    • rcbarker

      These are great ideas. I’m particularly piqued by #7, allowing staff to recoup losses. Is there any chance you could point me to some examples of how that is handled? Thanks for your insight.
      — Rebecca

      • Chip

        Get the fiscal ship is righted and a plan is in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
        -Build into the plan one or two additional pay increases to help people catch up to where they world have been.
        -A one time, lump sum payout.

        Of course, a lot of this assumes a prolonged furlough and not just a few days over a year. Its not realistic to expect to recoup all the losses suffered over a long time, or any over a short time. But something to help bridge the gap.

    • Margaret

      Very articulate and informative response, Chip. Thank you!

      • Chip- your insight and suggestions are really useful. Would you be interested in being involved in the development of regulations relating to this policy? The president and Chief HR Officer are interested in putting together a group to participate in the process of drafting related regulations. While a open invitation will be made when we get closer to forming this group, I wanted to personally invite you to be involved if you are interested. Thanks! Monique mmusick@alaska.edu

  10. Danielle

    The problem with unpaid furlough is that if it lasts more than a day or two it becomes a perfect time to update the resume and get a new job. If the position is not replaced, wouldn’t it have been better to just lay the person off outright? If the vacant position ends up needing to be refilled, this would prove even more costly for the University:
    1. A PD will have to be updated presumably to be a lower grade;
    2. A search committee will have to commit time to ranking resumes and doing interviews;
    3. As news gets out of this policy less and less qualified individuals will apply;
    4. This will most likely lead to an increase in failed searches;
    5. When someone is finally hired there is down time as they are trained, brought up to date with our systems and software, and so on…

    Cutting budgets is uncomfortable, but it has to be done. I don’t think many staff would take kindly to the amount of house hold budget changes they would have to make to accommodate forced leave without pay. We don’t have the option to furlough our expenses, such as the day care, for a day or week without pay. I suspect whoever finalizes this policy will ensure that their position is not subject to it.

  11. Vince

    It appears the proposed policy change is to offer furlough in lieu of a layoff. The notice as written is to offer employees who are facing layoff the option of a furlough. It is unclear whether all staff would be furloughed regardless of layoff consideration. It wouldn’t seem appropriate to furlough everyone as each campus or college has their own budget and different needs. I’m left curious about how a furlough would be different than changing a 12-month position to 9-month assignment, aside from an extended furlough.

  12. Christine

    I’m afraid I will lack eloquence here. I am deeply hurt that this option is even being considered. I voted against unionizing twice, because I trusted the UA system not to do precisely this kind of thing.

    Yes, we need to tighten our belts. Yes, we need to work together to find a way to accomplish that end. No, we do not put the hammer down on the people who have been working hard every day behind the scenes (in my case 21 years), to keep the university functioning smoothly.

    The next time a union option comes up for a vote, I will be changing mine.

  13. rcbarker

    I had a couple of questions that I sent on to Director Seastedt:
    *P04.07.115 Employee Furlough*
    *Section A questions:
    -I am curious if these prospective, temporary reductions in pay will be meted out at a flat rate to any staff members, or whether they will be graduated by pay scale. As an example, will staff making under $30,000 a year experience temporary reductions in pay at the same rate as those making $75,000?
    -Will the number of dependents an employee claims be a consideration in their potential furlough?
    -I am also curious whether College and University leadership can also expect prospective, temporary reductions in pay. Will these prospective reductions be at the same rate as those employees making $30,000 a year?

    *Section B Questions:
    I have to seek some clarification on the first clause. Does this mean that the president is the final responsible party in regard to the final shape of this policy?

    * Section C Questions
    Does this section mean that the furlough policy supersedes any policies currently in place which may concern similar issues? The clause “subject to review only as may be provided in regulations adopted pursuant to this policy,” – does this mean it can only be changed by newly made regulations? What processes might this entail?
    Thanks again for your help understanding this policy. I really appreciate your efforts.

  14. Jan

    Those who make these plans and decisions are often paid $100,000 annually and much more, and could make a much bigger savings impact by volunteering to take either a temporary cut in pay or a furlough without pay themselves. One 2-week paycheck of a $100,000/yr employee would save UA the same amount as two paychecks (a full month) of a 50,000 annual salary. One 200,000/yr paycheck would save the same as four lower paid paychecks. The salary of hourly wage employees goes directly to the essential health, safety, and well-being of their families and the lost paycheck causes far more serious hardship for that family and extended loss of function to the university at the point of services and processing.
    The salary gap at UA is already so vast it should be considered an institutional embarrassment, and in fact has been noted in several impartial 3rd-party reviews. If UA wants to carve a budget savings from individual salaries, it would be far more effective and less grievous focusing at the top, not the bottom, and encouraging voluntary participation by those with discretionary income who like the idea.

    • Marianne

      I completely agree with these sentiments and certainly hope that management would lead from the top by taking the first, and biggest, cuts. Like another respondent, I, too, voted against unionizing and chose to believe that leadership would treat non-unionized employees with equal fairness. However, if a union contract is the only thing that can ensure equal treatment, I suppose that is the direction I must go. I think it is poor policy to attempt to balance the budget on the backs of those least able to bear the burden.

  15. Tina Holland

    Policy is meant to be general in nature, so there is flexibility in implementation through regulation. I have found areas in the proposed policy that are more prescriptive than should be in a policy. I also believe that it is important to define what may be considered a “furlough” better than what is currently written. I have provided my comments by section below.

    *P04.07.115 Employee Furlough*

    *A. Effective January 1, 2015, to address budgetary shortfalls in any unit
    of the university, employees may be subject to furlough via temporary
    unpaid leaves of absence or prospective, temporary reductions in pay. *
    * “in any unit of the university” – This should be further defined.
    * “temporary reductions in pay” – This should be further defined. A temporary reduction in pay is not a furlough except in the case where mandatory time off is compensated at a reduced rate. A “temporary reduction in pay” is a completely separate issue that should not be addressed in a furlough policy.

    *B. Furloughs shall be implemented in accordance with regulations and
    plans approved by the president pursuant to this policy, provided however
    that employees shall receive written notice of furlough as provided by
    regulation and further provided that employees may not work or use paid
    leave during a period of leave without pay due to furlough.*
    * “and further provided that employees may not work or use paid leave during a period of leave without pay due to furlough” – This statement should not be in the policy. This issued should be addressed in the regulation.

    *C. Furlough plans may be implemented notwithstanding any other regents’
    policy, university regulation or university or campus practice or procedure
    and are subject to review only as may be provided in regulations adopted
    pursuant to this policy.*
    * “notwithstanding any other regents’ policy, university regulation or university or campus practice or procedure” – All furlough plans should be implemented with regard to any other policy, regulation and/or campus practice or procedure implemented at the time to avoid any unnecessary hardship on employees.

    Staff and administration proactively working in partnership to discuss and/or develop initiatives that address potential issues allows for more robust debate and information sharing and more comprehensive and sustainable problem solving. Please be sure to contact your Governance representatives to share your feedback or post it directly to the blog.

  16. Chip

    Something that’s important to remember: nothing has been decided yet, everything is in “discussion” A guy I used to work with in Georgia had a saying: “once all was said and done, more WAS said than done.” I suspect the same will occur here.

    As much as it makes us all twitchy to have this concept being floated, it is a legitimate discussion which needs to take place. I agree the focus should be more on how we got here, and elimination of waste/unnecessary spending first and foremost. But all options need to be weighed to make responsible and effective decisions.

    That said, ii is incumbent on us to watch the watchmen. Sanely. Smartly.

    • Chip

      Sorry: that should be it is incumbent on us to watch the watchmen.

    • Pua Maunu

      Chip, I appreciate all of your comments above. . . to UA’s credit, I think they are informing staff in a timely manner of their intent to begin the discussion of furloughs in 2015 while seeking staff input. The budget crisis is real, I have been hearing about it for at least the past year, maybe longer. I understand the need for the BOR to make difficult decisions that will impact employees lives and budgets. It affects our own personal budget cuts and helps me to prepare for it. I appreciate my employer keeping us informed because I have been in other workplaces where there was no opportunity for discussion or input and where “pink slips” were handed out randomly with no reason other than budget cut. I think your 10 point discussion above is a really good starting point for staff discussions, sanely, smartly…

      • Chip

        Because I have been here before, I’ve seen first hand how this sort of thing can run wild very quickly. What I’m sorta hoping to do is help keep some perspective on this.

        For all the rumors and quasi hysteria I encountered in Georgia, the vast majority of it turned out to be nothing. The main thing it did was aggravate an already touchy situation. Management/staff relations mostly went into the toilet. It was a miserable time.

        Management owes it to us to keep us informed honestly, and to give us as much a seat at the table as the situation allows. We owe it to management – but more to ourselves- to keep our heads on straight. We can’t be part of the solution if we’re jumping at shadows.

        As staff we should pay close attention, request,-demand if necessary- regular updates on the process, keep in touch with our staff reps, and
        offer reasonable ideas. But not get crazy just yet.

  17. Rhonda

    I have one word…Union

  18. Donna

    So who would feed the (lab) animals, water the plants, shovel snow and ice, prepare food for students, jump-start student’s cars, clean and maintain buildings and sports facilities for students, answer emails and phone calls, make sure email, phones, and computers work, give tests, post or send out such pay checks as are allowed, etc.? A one-day furlough might be possible, but prolonged furloughs can get tricky. And hey, what about students? I thought we were all about students….

    • Christine

      …admit the students, advise the students, provide financial aid for the students, provide testing for the students, graduate the students…

  19. Here is a blog post on how to think about furloughs, how to plan for them if they are instituted. It comes from “eXtension: research-based learning networks” from experts at land grant universities. This one happens to be from Rutgers coop extension service. I realize that if approved, this UA policy would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015. But the blog post suggests planning ahead as an important strategy for managing a furlough if it happens to you. It also points out furlough areas staff likely need further clarification on.
    http://www.extension.org/pages/19954/facing-a-furlough-develop-a-plan#.U5DXA15GxD9

    • Donna

      Yes, the blog above had some good ideas. I disagree, however, on cutting back on buying food, Stock up on sales! You can always eat that canned tuna fish or crackers and peanut butter. With the way food prices are rising, a furlough could really impact daily living expenses.

  20. Vince

    I believe the proposed regulation change is simply to provide an alternative to a layoff in instances where a layoff is being considered in specific budget units. It shouldn’t be intended as a system wide furlough. Many budget units are already operating efficiently and are under the 125% (revenue to GF) funding model desired by the legislature. Those budget units shouldn’t be expected to furlough employees.

  21. New faculty - not political but concerned

    1. Who is “essential” and who is “non-essential”? I’m thinking about our department and building on campus and I just can’t figure out who could be “non-essential”. Who decides? I certainly don’t trust the administration or the union to negotiate something that keeps UAA growing.
    2. How can the budget require we furlough people while building new buildings, and bridges connecting buildings? Aren’t employees more important than buildings?
    3. How can the state legislature and government be so shortsighted? Natural resources won’t last forever and markets fluctuate. AK has to join the knowledge economy of the 21st century and the universities are critical. We’re in an amazing geographical position to do this. We have to take a long view and cutting education budgets is a short view. How about a 2% sales tax? Or raise corporate tax 2% more? Or dare I suggest a progressive income tax?

  22. Chip

    Essential vs non essential: a very simple explanation.

    With some adaptations, this is more or less how it was explained to me in Georgia. Obviously this is not Georgia and will not apply et al. But hopefully it will get people’s minds thinking.

    Essential: the guy who keeps the nuclear reactor from exploding.
    Non essential: they guys who cook lunch and stock the bathrooms.
    Explanation: the guy who keeps the reactor from exploding can cook his own meals and open a cabinet to get toilet paper. It doesn’t work in reverse.

    If you apply this to education, it inelegantly translates like so.
    Essential: faculty. they teach, and that’s ultimately why we’re all here.
    Non essential: everybody else.

    Walk it back a bit and you examine it this way. How many faculty are needed to service student load? Knowing most faculty will not empty trash, run fiber connections through buildings, answer phones, ect how many and what kind of staff do you need to perform these functions.

    IMO almost all of us here are essential. Nearly each and every person can build a sold justification for the necessity of their job. But what I’ve outlined above is probably close to the factors which will be employed in making hard decisions if the comes to it.

  23. Cathy Dunham

    Did anyone catch the green & gold article TODAY under student news…Board of Regents approves new structure for Prince William Sound campus….if you read to the end of the article, “In other action, the board:… Approved an extension of the president’s contract through May 2016, at his current annual salary of $320,000. The contract includes a retention bonus of up to one year’s salary if he continues to serve as president”
    This is some news since they are considering furloughing. I found the placement of the ‘news’ very deceptive and puts the proposed furlough notice FROM the president’s office as neither fair nor equatable.

    • Sherry

      I agree with Cathy … the G&G article was very upsetting. President Gamble’s salary may be one thing, but the signing bonus of up to $360,000 is really a slap in the face of all the people who work so hard to keep UA going. Seems like this would have been a good opportunity for President Gamble to lead by example and put his money where his mouth is while he tightens his belt too.

  24. Chip

    I have no idea about UA salary structure at that level, so I’ll not comment on Presidential pay beyond two points: furloughs are still vaporware at present, and the timing of the raise is not ideal. Still, nothing is happening yet. Watch, but don’t panic.

    As to PWS campus improvements: in many cases different pots of money pay for different things. Some are transferable, some are not. There is no guarantee these monies could be moved even if wanted to.

    We need to be very careful not to allow these internal discussions to impact classroom/student support. Its our problem, not the kids. Unless the PWS campus improvements are genuine fluff (say, a dog washing facility for faculty/staff of 10 years or more, it needs to go through. We are obliged to provide a clean, safe, and as technologically advanced place for students as we possibly can.

    Further: an annoying but true fact is personnel expenses are the vast bulk of a company’s expenses. Any monies saved by cancelling the PWS improvements are a drop in the fiscal bucket.

  25. Christine

    The changes at PWS sound like a step in the right direction to me. Moving them to the same status as other satellite campuses of UAA would reduce the need for upper level positions. I understand they might not like losing their autonomy, but if their staff wants to look at as job security, perhaps that can soften the blow a bit. We’ve been on about scraping some of the cream off the top, and this appears to be UA’s answer to that.

    In fact, I don’t think the president’s salary should be that high, particularly at this time in our history.

    Chip, I don’t recall anyone here threatening “the kids'” education. I’m a little troubled to hear you call them that, by the way. Many of our students are still young, but the last time I looked they appeared to be adults. Meaning no offense, but I was in my 40’s when I earned my BS with UAA.

    • Chip

      1-Threatened was your word, not mine. Not by a long shot. The point I was making – and still am- is we need to be careful not to allow our concerns to spill into the classroom. When I went through this in Georgia I saw it happen time and again. Angry faculty spoke of things in class not related to class, and frightened staff spoke loudly out of turn in front of students.

      It’s our problem, if it actually becomes a problem. Not the kids.

      2-I’m sorry if your nose got out of joint over my referring to the students as the kids. I’m not sorry I said it, but I’m sorry it seems to bother you so.
      I’m an old southern guy, and where I come from its a term of affection and respect. It means you give a damn about them enough to consider them extended family and are invested in seeing them succeed.

      One of the nice things about being an old southern guy is being used to people misunderstanding our quaint backwards ways. I hope you can learn to accept it for what it is.

      • Christine

        Knee-jerk reaction actually. In Admissions we seem to spend half our lives telling parents that their kids aren’t kids anymore. As to backwards ways, I can get used to pretty much anything, Love.

  26. Pingback: Furlough policy feedback deadline and an opportunity to provide input to regulation development | UA Staff Alliance

  27. Tami

    I’m not sure who Chip is – but he should be on the committee he was invited to participate on – Chip I hope you accept. There have been many good points brought up on this string and many questions that need to be answered. I agree that its to administrations credit that they are beginning the discussion. I urge administration and staff to be creative. Perhaps there are some who would welcome a minimized contract – 9 or 11 months as was mentioned above. Transparency and clear understanding is key.

  28. Melody

    I would hope that pay freezes would be considered before furloughs.

    • Chip

      It’s an idea that sounds good, but has a major liability: you’ll never get the money back. In fact, you’ll lose take home wages in the process.

      A furlough is kinda like a speeding ticket – a painful,one time hit to your wallet. A wage freeze is like a cut in pay. Unless the system codifies a way to regain lost wages, you’ll always be chasing money you lost or didn’t get a chance to earn. Plus benefits and other expenses will continue to go up, bringing your actual take home wage down.

      Worse IMO, it allows admin to avoid making really hard decisions. In my experience when I endured nearly a decade of wage freezes it was like slowly boiling a frog. By the time you feel it, its really bad. The money I lost due to inflation, benefits increases, ect was enough to make a major
      car payment.

      Again, furloughs hurt, but then they are over (usually). A wage freeze is a gift which never stops “giving”.

  29. I want to share that they decided this afternoon to make this a first reading of the proposed furlough policy. It would likely then be proposed for adoption at a future meeting. This should give governance groups more time to review and comment on the policy and regulations.

  30. curious

    There were more comments on here I’m wondering where they went?

  31. Chip

    I would very much like to see what the recommendations were regarding Proposed Regulation Changes to R04.07.110 – Layoff, Recall and Release.
    When will this be released to the rest of us?

    Also, while I don’t intend to jump at shadows, I would like to get regular English language updates on how Gov. Walker’s austerity plans will affect us regarding staffing, salaries/benefits, and changes in our mission.

    Information is going to come out. I’d prefer to hear it here first.

  32. Margie

    Agreed Chip. How in the world can anyone offer feedback when there is nothing to read regarding the proposed regulation changes in the first place? Anyone with sense would demand no less. The communication from top to bottom is abysmal at the moment.

    • Chip

      I’m willing to give benefit of doubt our people were faster on letting us know about the proposed changes than maybe whoever was tasked with posting them could get to it.

      However….

      In this environment rumors are gonna travel at the speed of light. And maybe 1 in 10 will have a basis in solid fact. The best way to keep the rumor mill in check (and people out of panic mode) is a steady stream of information in the timeliest manner possible.

  33. Chip

    Something worth remembering…..

    Our institutional hands are pretty tied at the moment. Until Gov Walker sends down his budget and the house and senate act on it, UA doesn’t know the real dollars available to it. In a very real sense the UA system is as much in the dark as we are.

    As much as I’d like to know more than I do now, I also want to know solid numbers – not projections which may or may not come true. I’m all for watching the watchmen, but lets be patient (for the moment) about this.

    The other pesky thing is in exchange for our trust and patient, admin needs to reward us with regular, honest information.

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