Employee Relations Advisory Board June Meeting

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To: UT System-wide Faculty and Staff
From: Interim President Jan Simek
Subject: Employee Relations Advisory Board Meeting

Quarterly, I meet with the UT Employee Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) to address concerns from UT employees. As you know, the ERAB is a statewide group of employees elected to represent you by voicing your concerns during these meetings.

The following comments are based on specific questions raised in today’s ERAB meeting. I am sure your representatives will share this information with you. Because of the important nature of some of these questions, I also want to bring this information to your attention.

There has been much discussion surrounding bonuses. The state budget includes a provision for a one-time bonus this fall only if state revenues improve sufficiently. If state revenues do not improve sufficiently by September, bonuses likely will be off the table.

If funded, bonuses would be paid much like UT’s current longevity program. A one-time bonus payment of $50 per year of service for each employee, up to a maximum of 25 years or $1,250, would be issued as a lump sum in Oct. 2010. A minimum bonus payment of $150 would be paid to employees with one to three years of service as of Oct. 1. All UT employees with at least one year or more of service on Oct. 1, 2010 will be eligible.

There was a question about a 5 percent across-the-board salary reduction. No such measure is being discussed at this time.

UT will propose an 8.5 percent tuition increase. We are forced to increase tuition to cover annual fixed costs and to address other critical needs.

Some are concerned that every employee placed on stimulus funds will be part of a reduction-in-force. The fact an employee is moved to stimulus does not mean that employee is automatically targeted for elimination. Some employees on stimulus are retirees in term positions or regular employees on limited duration appointments. Final decisions on employee status have not been made, but please know we are making every possible effort to save jobs.

Once decisions are made, employees will be notified and given as much notice as possible. Those on stimulus funds have been notified already.

Changes to UT’s health insurance plans are under way. One of these changes will result in only two medical plans being offered: a standard PPO and a partnership PPO. We are told the State Insurance Committee will not make final decisions until after it meets in July 2010. As decisions are made, our benefits office will relay information as soon as possible.

An email distributed in the past week addressed the state’s pharmacy network changes. CVS Caremark will become the pharmacy benefits manager for all UT employees participating in the State of Tennessee Group Health Insurance Program.

Further, since that email was distributed, CVS Caremark and Walgreens have reached an understanding, and Walgreens now will be part of the Caremark pharmacy 30-day network. Our benefits staff will relay additional information within a few days.

It is important to me that I hear employee concerns, and your ERAB representatives have been charged with bringing your feedback to these meetings. I encourage you to share your comments and concerns with them. A list of all ERAB representatives is below.

Our employees are our single greatest asset, and I thank each of you for all you do for the University of Tennessee.

ERAB Representatives:

Debi Adcock-Martin (Student Affairs)

Tom Cervone-Knoxville (Clarence Brown Theatre)

Jean Dake-Chattanooga (Placement)

Mary Evans-Knoxville (Student Affairs)

Kelly Griffin-Chattanooga (Dean- Arts and Sciences)

Valeria Hodge-Knoxville (Academic Affairs)

Rebecca Layman- Tullahoma (Research)

Jacquelyne McClarin- Health Science Center (VC-Finance and Operations)

Roger McDonald-Knoxville (University Operations)

Leann McElhaney-Institute of Agriculture (College of Ag Sciences & Natural Resources)

Gloria Tipton-Knoxville (Telephone Services)

Glenda Walker-Knoxville, Medical Center (Human Resources)

Karen Weatherly-Health Science Center (Human Resources)

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