In October, the forum addressed Follett’s proposal to lease Student Stores, saying it did not support how the University had handled a decision that could jeopardize many of its longtime employees’ benefits and jobs.
Employee Forum delegate Matthew McKirahan said much of the discussion Wednesday revolved around making sure the forum holds the University to standards that will protect staff interests.
“The main things that we were talking about was making sure that going forward that it’s an open process and ... that we’re a part of the process and that staff is going to be represented and that as we go forward, we have policies and procedures we’ll follow,” McKirahan said.
Forum chairperson Charles Streeter said a proposal by the Employee Forum 20 years ago, which was reaffirmed in a vote in the October meeting, laid down how the forum would approach outsourcing.
This proposal reflects the reality that outsourcing is a question many universities face, but it does not necessarily guarantee the forum supports any sort of outsourcing whatsoever, he said.
“However, the proclamation and the thing that was said 20 years ago is that if you are going to have a discussion about outsourcing, then these are the things that need to be considered,” he said.
At the meeting, Streeter said it’s important to keep talking about the issue of privatization so that it stays at the forefront of public discussion and consideration.
“We don’t want to lose any kind of traction or momentum that we have internally in terms of being advocates for the Student Stores,” he said. “And it’s not just being an advocate for the Student Stores; it’s also making sure that the administration, if they’re making a decision — we’re just asking them to make sure that it is a logical and sound decision.”
Chrissie Greenberg, Employee Forum Personnel Issues Committee chairperson, said it’s important the forum consider all aspects of the debate but that it also stand its ground, not conceding more than it believes is necessary to protect the interests of UNC employees.
“I think that doesn’t mean that we can’t be reasonable and logical and look at both sides and review the facts, and then should the administration decide if they’re going to outsource, I think then it is absolutely reasonable that then we have a secondary set of parameters that we request,” she said.
Streeter said if the administration had been more transparent with the forum and with the public since the initial proposal of privatization, there would have been less pushback from the Employee Forum.
“If we can understand the reasoning behind it, the logic and the soundness of it, at least we can say that they made the best decision possible,” Streeter said. “Right now we cannot say that as an organization.”