UNC system President Tom Ross is defending a proposal to remove university workers from the State Personnel Act.
In tomorrow's N&O and Chapel Hill News, the president of the university system, says having one personnel system for workers exempt from and currently subject to the State Personnel Act would benefit everyone.
“We’re not interested in taking away the rights of our SPA employees,” he says. “Unfortunately some outside groups have attempted to create that fear. What we want to do is create flexibility to do more for our employees.”
Senate Bill 575 would put 22,000 workers under the UNC Board of Governors. The bill's dead this session, but its HR change could be inserted in the final budget bill. Among other provisions, the board would adopt policies on compensation, health and disability benefits, and “any other human resource policy the Board deems appropriate to promote the recruitment and retention of capable, diligent, and effective employees.”
Last week, a group sent a letter signed by 130 individuals and organizations to UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp, asking him to publicly state where he stands and to speak at a rally at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday outside South Building on the UNC-CH campus. We'll be at the rally and have a report Thursday in print and online.
Critics fear the legislation could end policies that protect them against unfair treatment and for reporting workplace problems. They worry about putting personnel rules in the hands of an appointed board. The UNC-CH Employee Forum passed a resolution last June against the personnel provisions in SB 575. In an email, forum chair Jackie Overton says for now she has nothing else to say about it.
Ross says he’s disappointed in the response to SB 575. Any new system would have a grievance process and protection for campus whistleblowers, he says, and there is no move to make SPA workers “at-will” employees able to be terminated at any time for any reason.
“Some employees don’t trust the university,” he says. “I don’t know why that is.”
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