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Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Meeting of the UAF Staff Council

What happened at the September meeting?

Pips Veazey, Staff Council President, explained the most pressing issues for the Staff Council for the 2011 fall semester:
  1. Staff Compensation - The Alaska Staff Alliance Compensation Working Group is proposing a minimum of a 3.5% increase for FY13 given inflation, recent increases in employee health care contributions and the loss of step increases. Juella Sparks will be representing Staff Alliance at the Board of Regents meeting in Juneau this week to address this issue.
  2. Health Care - Another major focus for the first semester will be on proposed changes to our health care benefits, that are still in discussion. One change going into effect July 1, 2012, is the tobacco surcharge. The tobacco surcharge will add $600 a year to an employee's annual cost for health care if the employee or a dependent enrolled in UA’s health plan uses a tobacco product or has used tobacco products within the past six months and has not demonstrated eligibility for a waiver from the surcharge.
  3. Employee Tuition Waiver - The employee tuition waiver is being reviewed and changes have been proposed for the upcoming year. Input is currently being solicited about the proposed changes; the Staff Affairs Committee is drafting a resolution stating staff does not support changes to the employee tuition waiver benefit. Problems with the proposed changes include negative tax ramifications, the punitive approach to paying for failed classes, and details about the connection with the benefit to “satisfactory academic progress”.
For additional business discussed during the meeting see: Healthy Challenge, Emergency Management Policy, United Way Campaign, and Winter Warm-up articles.

Your feedback is always wanted. If you have concerns, comments or questions that you would like us to address at the next Staff Council meeting please contact one of your representatives so your voice can be heard.  If you would like to remain anonymous let us know and we will respect your wishes.

Email Campaign for FY13 Staff Increases

The Staff Alliance Compensation Working Group is calling for an email campaign in support of FY13 staff increases, to be discussed at the BOR meeting September 22-23, 2011.

Our rational supports a 4.6% salary increase, although due to the economic realities we agreed to accept a minimum of 3.5% increase.

Things to consider:
  • In FY12 staff accepted a greater financial risk with the newly designed healthcare plans, regardless of the plan selected.
  • The BOR responds positively to personalized testimony
  • State employees receive grid increases, to address COLA, and an additional est. 3.5% every year for the first seven steps, and an est. 3.75% increase bi-yearly thereafter.
In general we are asking staff to respectfully support our request.
Please have emails sent to

Healthy Challenge (UAF & Fairbanks Memorial Hospital)

Chancellor Rogers explained that we are embarking on a Healthy Challenge between UAF and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. The Healthy Challenge will be in three phases. First, a competition between Fairbanks Memorial Hospital CEO and member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents Mike Powers and Chancellor Rogers. Second, there will be a Healthy Challenge competition between the UAF cabinet members and the FMH administrative team. And finally, there will be a Healthy Challenge competition in early 2012 will be between all UAF employees and all FMH employees. Further details to be announced.

A second healthy initiative will address a frequent request - for university staff to have wider use of the SRC. An announcement will be made on October 1st of expanded staff access, supported by university resources.

Emergency Management Policy

Kris Racina, Human Resources Director, is working on an Emergency Management Policy. This policy is a result of the lesson learned from the Ice Storm last fall and the emergency exercise this summer. The policy will address what action should be taken and how supervisors should work with their employees in regards of missed work hours.

United Way Campaign

Last year 215 employees contributed to the United Way campaign. This year, campaign co-chairs Lael and Mark Oldmixon will work to increase that number to 300. This year UAF Human Resources will be distributing the contribution forms. Your department will be contacted to set up agency presentations for your unit, or you can call Lael Oldmixon at 474-6679, or Mark Oldmixon at 474-6027 to arrange for a brief presentation during the Oct. 11-22 timeframe. Please e-mail or with questions."

Winter Warm-Up

October1, the Wood Center will host the WINTER WARM-UP. This is a great opportunity for students to look and find FREE winter items before the snow falls! Staff and community members (anyone actually) can drop off winter gear, sporting equipment, appliances, clothes... and more... off at the Wood Center between 9am -11am. The pick-up for students will be from 11am -1pm. All remaining items will be donated to organizations in Fairbanks.

Find out more information on the WINTER WARM-UP! Free winter gear for students!