Corrected Minutes

University System of Maryland
Council of University System Staff

University of Baltimore 
January 30, 2001

Members Present Alternates
Joyce Bauguess (UB) Art Hanlin (FSU)
Jessica Bird (UMB) Kay Martel (UB)
Jeanette Cartron (UMCP)
Sally Davies (UMUC) Members Absent
Dottie Holland (BSU) John Adams (TU)
Rusty Kinnamon (UMCES) Victoria Adeniran (SSU)
Starrla Levine (UB) Willie Fields (CSC)
Nathan Long (BSU) Tim Ford (UMBC)
Lu Ann Marshall (UMB) Tina Kreamer (UMUC)
Mike McCrea (UMBI) Valerie Lashley (FSU)
Patrick McLane (FSU) Larry Lauer (UMCP)
Craig Newman (UMCP) Janet Magruder (UMBC)
Richard Rose (USM Office) Sharon Perkins (CSC)
Roy Ross (UMB) Carol Prier (UMCP)
Andrianna Stuart (UMCP) Sandy Ratke (USM Office)
Tammy Trivits (SSU) Susann Shoop (TU)
Nelva White (UMES)
Venus Windmiller (UMBI) USM Office Liaison
Fran Younger (UMCES) Rosario I. van Daalen
Donald Tynes
Donald N. Langenberg, Chancellor


I. Call to Order

Roy Ross called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m.

II. Welcome

Starrla Levine introduced Dr. Mebane Turner, President of the University of Baltimore. Dr. Turner talked about fund-raising efforts for the USM. He also spoke about the dramatic changes that have taken place in the area surrounding the University of Baltimore campus. Dr. Turner stated that he believes that CUSS is important as the voice of USM employees. Starrla then introduced Karen Drake, HR Director for UB.

III. Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the December 12, 2000 Council Meeting were unavailable at this time.

IV. Report from the Chair

Roy Ross reported that the Board of Regents Finance Committee meeting held on December 20, 2000 at the USM Office was well-attended. The Regents' Finance Committee endorses the "concept" of collective bargaining. Roy will try to get clarification of the use of the word "concept" used in the Finance Committee's endorsement. The Finance Committee will revisit the collective bargaining issue at the full BOR meeting, scheduled for Friday, February 9 at UMUC. Roy said that, in his experience, when the Finance Committee makes a recommendation the full Board usually votes to approve the recommendation-the only time he could remember the full Board disapproving a Finance Committee recommendation was the time they overruled the increase in UMB parking rates.

Tammy Trivits videotaped the December 20 meeting and has given a copy of the video to Roy Ross. The videotape includes Vice Chancellor Joe Vivona's Power Point presentation of collective bargaining facts relating to the bill.

Kay Martel said that she felt that the presentation was "one-sided" and that the Committee avoided questions regarding finance.

Dottie Holland said that it was obvious to her that the Chair of the Finance Committee was being guided by the Chair of the BOR, who was on the telephone during the meeting. She questions whether there was a quorum present when the Committee voted on the collective bargaining issue, which she believes is largely political. In other words, the Governor has put a lot of money into higher education, and collective bargaining is the "pay-off." There is also some feeling that the Presidents and Vice-Presidents are being told to support the bill under political threat.

Roy Ross believes that the complexities of the bill will allow each institution to have some independence.

Andrianna Stuart said that there was a quorum present at the Finance Committee meeting, as there are 3 active members-2 were present and 1 was on the telephone.

Questions were raised as to how much money the implementation of collective bargaining will cost, and what the source of this money will be. It was pointed out that there is a fiscal note attached to legislative bills. We will need to see the fiscal note when it is finalized to see how much collective bargaining will cost and where the money will come from.

Richard Rose stated that he views collective bargaining as being powerless, not empowering. He does not believe that we will have an impact on any final decisions, especially as the bottom line is monetary. In other words, since we are enjoined from "striking," he sees the collective bargaining concept as being "without teeth," with no recourse if we do not get what we want. Richard suggested that we should come up with a list of pros and cons to share with our institutions.

Art Hanlin said that he believes that collective bargaining is going to happen and that we should focus on how CUSS can become the voice of System employees. CUSS could still exist, particularly as a voice for supervisors, managers, and confidential employees, who do not have a voice under the proposed collective bargaining bill.

There was also a fear that the present sense of "collegiality" will be lost. State employees did not participate in a system of shared governance. We, on the other hand, have ways to communicate with the administration.

Roy reported that UMB has been unsuccessful, thus far, in its attempt to have Bill Neff, UMB consultant, speak at an open forum, which could also be shared via IVN to other USM institutions. Mr. Neff has worked on both sides of the collective bargaining table, and would present a "neutral" perspective on the collective bargaining issue.

V. Report from USM Liaisons

Donald Tynes reported that Roy Ross was unable to attend the January 23rd meeting of the BOR Finance Committee, but that he expected Larry Lauer to attend the meeting.

The contingent employee policy was approved by the Finance Committee of the BOR-special language was added to the policy that strengthens the position of the employee. The policy will go to the full Board of Regents at the February 9 meeting at UMUC.

It was decided to leave the tuition remission policy as it is now written-even though there was discussion about removal of the two year waiting period for family members to receive tuition remission. The tuition remission issue will likely be revisited at a later date (probably summer 2001, or later).

Rosario van Daalen reported that the three USM legislative bills are scheduled for hearings. They are: (1) changing the name of "Salisbury State University" to "Salisbury University"; (2) the "Optional Retirement Plan" change in contribution from 7.25% to 9.25%; and (3) allowing ORP retirees to purchase health insurance at a group rate.

Three pieces of legislation have been tabled for later: (1) Whistle Blower legislation; (2) change in EEO complaint processing-employee with a discrimination complaint can go to the federal, state, or institutional level-but would be required to choose one venue; and (3) the statute of limitations for contracts - a one year time frame for appeal of contracts.

Automatic deposit requirement for new employees took effect on January 1, 2001-students and Contingent I employees are exempt from the bill.

Regarding the BEST program (Building Excellence through Staff Training), there are concerns that will need to go back to the Task Force to be addressed. The program will then be presented again to the Vice-Presidents for Administration. One of the concerns is that we don't reinvent the wheel-we have many good programs already in place. The current time line calls for the BEST program to be presented at the July 13 Board of Regents meeting for approval.

The biennial (every two years) review of Nonexempt salaries is on target-the salary structure is proposed to be increased on July 1. Under the proposed salary structure, anyone falling below the "minimum" will be increased. The System can continue to reward employees who are currently at the "maximum," which will also be lifted to keep the USM competitive. There are approximately 500 employees who will be below the new minimum, which will cost the System approximately $650,000. As of July 1, 2001, the lowest salary in the System will be $17,480-which is considered the "living wage." New salary structure charts will be posted for the period of July 1, 2001 until June 30, 2003.

VI. Committee Reports

Due to the time constraints, committee reports were tabled until the February meeting.

VII. Review of the Council Resolution to the BOR

Many questions were raised during the discussion of the Council Resolution to the Board of Regents concerning the collective bargaining bill.

With respect to a "service fee," there is no service fee in the bill this year. Of course, there may be future bills next year and this is subject to change. If you would choose to join the union, there would be membership dues.

Many members were concerned about our benefits-which are essentially the same as State employees' benefits, although System benefits are better. Will we be pulled back to the State benefit level? We would have separate bargaining from the State and, ideally, we would not go backward, but should move forward. The USM will continue doing business separately from the State.

The initial estimate for costs to the USM for collective bargaining is $2M. In the fiscal note attached to last year's collective bargaining bill, it was estimated that it would cost the USM $209,200 for the first year of collective bargaining. If the General Assembly does not come up with funds, the USM will have to come up with the money.

With respect to unionization-even if the collective bargaining bill is passed, we can vote to "organize" or "not organize." If it is decided to "organize," the union could be "decertified" at the end of the contract, if employees are unhappy with the union's performance.

It was agreed that each of the members will return to his/her institution to get a feel for the institutional opinion on collective bargaining. Roy Ross will send a list of "pros and cons" to each member in order to facilitate this task. Each member was asked to report the institutional opinion to Roy before the February 9 full Board of Regents meeting.

Dottie Holland said that the current climate at Bowie State University is split and that they plan to hold an open forum to educate employees so that they will be able to make an informed decision regarding collective bargaining.

Roy Ross will also approach Dr. Langenberg to see if the USM would be willing to finance a visit by Bill Neff to discuss collective bargaining.

VIII. Old Business

After discussion, it was decided to schedule future CUSS meetings for 10 a.m., with Committees meeting during lunch.

IX. New Business

Andrianna Stuart raised the question of "punch-in times" for employees at the College Park campus. As of July 1, 2001, if the employee punches in early or at the end (more than 10 minutes before his/her shift start), the University is forced to pay overtime. The concern is that when employees are not allowed to punch-in early that they will be delayed in a long line, thereby punching-in late, and will result in severe disciplinary action.

X. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m. The next CUSS meeting will be held at UMBC on February 27, 2001.