Housekeeper policy issues arise at forum

Thorp to hold a closed meeting

employeeforumCaitlinCantrell

Jackie Overton, chairwoman of the UNC Employee Forum, reacts at the Employee Forum Tuesday. Some will meet with Chancellor Thorp on Monday.

Housekeeping issues dominated the Employee Forum on Tuesday, including news that some forum members will meet with Chancellor Holden Thorp in a closed meeting Monday.

Chairwoman Jackie Overton said the meeting will cover the controversial housekeeping Wage-Hour policy, among other issues.

“This will be a good opportunity for the chancellor to hear first hand about the issues without outside interference,” Overton said.

She and James Holman, a housekeeper and forum representative, also said they think Tonya Sell, assistant director of housekeeping services, should be reassigned to a different position.

The suggestion drew widespread approval from many who attended, most of whom were not housekeepers.

They added that Sell has been intimidating employees, particularly those who have been most vocal in the ongoing controversy.

The forum — composed of staff and non-faculty employees who were elected to represent their departments — voiced its approval of the closed meeting with Thorp.

Housekeepers are prohibited from sitting on the job without permission from their supervisors, a policy that brought controversy after eight housekeepers were disciplined in late July and August for sitting down on the job without notifying their supervisors.

Three of the attendees of the closed meeting will be housekeeping employees who publicly stated their grievances about the policy at a Sept. 8 protest.

Aside from Thorp and Overton, six faculty and staff members will be attending, including Van Dobson, executive director of facilities services, and three housekeepers, including Holman.

Holman said the meeting will be valuable to changing the policies that are detrimental to housekeeping staff.

He added that he hoped Thorp will hold another meeting to invite interested community members to join the conversation.

Overton said she thinks the meeting will be productive, given those who will be in attendance.

“Those people who are in the meeting on Monday are who need to be there,” Overton said.

“We’re interested in getting to the heart of the matter,” she added.

Topics such as campus-issued cell phone policy, temporary employees, furloughs and layoffs were also discussed.

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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