UNC spent eight days during the past semester in Condition 2 Suspended Operation status between hurricanes, snowstorms and burst pipes.
During Condition 2 Suspended Operations, non-mandatory employees cannot come to work
— and they are required to use their personal leave time for any time not spent working.
For UNC staff members, those days add up. That is why UNC’s Employee Forum, a group of employees who are elected by their peers to address employee concerns, created a resolution requesting that Condition 2 Suspended Operation status be eliminated from the Operations of the Adverse Weather & Emergency Closing system. UNC Human Resources also collaborated with the Employee Forum on the resolution.
Shayna Hill, chairperson of the forum, said the Condition 2 Suspended Operations is problematic because it applies unfairly to employees depending on the nature of their job.
“Some people can remote in. I can remote in if I choose to, but housekeepers can't remote in. Facilities workers can't remote in. So that's an unfair burden on some of our employees,” Hill said.
She said the resolution is important because many employees use their vacation time but cannot afford missing pay.
“We have employees who routinely use their vacation time as people actually should,” she said. “There are people, say the housekeepers for instance, a lot of them have families, you know, in other countries, and they'd like to take longer vacations to go visit their families.”
Beth Shuster, an adviser in Academic Advising Program, said while her position affords her the opportunity to work remotely during Condition 2, not everyone has that ability.
“You also have people who have small children at home or have other circumstances when they're home and they can't work,” Shuster said.
But using vacation time is not the only concern with this policy. Employees accrue paid vacation over time. Therefore, employees who are newly hired and have not yet built up vacation time reach negative levels in their vacation days, Hill said.
Condition 2 also requires mandatory personnel to report to work.
James Holman, a crew leader in the Housekeeping department and a delegate on the employee forum, raised concerns about the requirement of mandatory personnel reporting to work during Condition 2.
“It is, quite literally, a situation of ‘your money or your life,’” Holman said. “While Jack Benny may have made that a funny line in the early days of television, it's no laughing matter to the employees who have to white-knuckle it to work in hazardous conditions today.”
The current Adverse Weather & Emergency Closing system is dictated at a UNC-systemwide level and would need to be addressed as such.
The resolution passed a first reading among the Employee Forum and will go through a second reading during the forum’s general meeting on Feb. 6, Hill said. If the resolution is finalized, it will be brought to the chancellor, who could bring the concerns up on a systemwide level.
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