PEP Squad: UPEA Endorsements & Elections

Join the PEP Squad as they discuss the upcoming elections and how the Citizen Action by Public Employees Committee makes endorsements for UPEA. The CAPE Committee is made up UPEA members who volunteer their time to interview and endorse public employee-friendly candidates. CAPE Committee members ensure that public employees have a voice and are represented in the political process.

Click here to see the full 2020 endorsement tracker.

Flu Shot Clinics Will Proceed with Pandemic-Related Precautions

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) will once again host flu shot clinics in partnership with Community Nursing Services (CNS). If you are insured by PEHP, there will be no cost or co-pay required. If you have a different provider, please bring your health insurance card and photo identification. CNS will bill any of its accepted insurance providers. The health and safety of employees and their families is our priority; therefore, certain precautions must be taken for you to attend:

  • All employees must reserve a five-minute time slot in advance in order to get a shot. If you’re bringing family members, each individual needs a time slot.
    • If you arrive early, please wait outside or in your car until your reserved time.
  • Everyone in attendance must wear a mask and maintain social distance.
  • If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, have a fever of 100.3 or above, or have been in contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19, we ask that you follow CDC guidelines and cancel your appointment.

To reserve a 5-minute time slot for any of the following clinics, please call Kendle at 801-264-8732 ext. 209.

Date & Time

Clinic Location & Address

Mon. October 5
11:00am – 2:00pm

UPEA – Corporate Office
1000 W. Bellwood Lane, Murray – Conference Room

Tues. October 6
11:00am-3:00pm

Olene Walker Building
140 E. 300 S., SLC – North & South Conference Rooms

Weds. October 7
9:00am-12:00pm

Dept. of Natural Resources
1594 W. North Temple St., SLC – Room 1005

Thurs. October 8
10:00am-1:00pm

Tax Commission
210 N. 1950 W., Salt Lake City – Room 1026

Thurs. October 8
8:00-10:00am

Ogden Regional Center
2540 Washington Blvd., Ogden – 1st Floor Conference Rm

Tues. October 13
10:00am-1:00pm

Cannon Health Department
288 N. 1460 W., Salt Lake City – Room 125

Weds. October 14
10:00am-12:00pm

DOC – Fred House Academy
14727 S. Minuteman Drive, Draper – Conference room

Thurs. October 15
9:00am-12:00pm

Highland Health
3760 S. Highland Dr., Salt Lake City – Auditorium

Thurs. October 15
5:00-7:30pm

UPEA – Corporate Office
1000 W. Bellwood Lane, Murray – Conference room

Tues. October 20
11:00am-1:00pm

Public Health Lab
4431 S. 2700 W., Taylorsville – 1st Floor Conference Rm

Weds. October 21
9:00am-12:00pm

Provo Regional Center
150 E. Center Street, Provo – Room 1800

Thurs. October 22
1:00-3:00pm

UDOT Region 4 – Richfield
210 W. 800 S., Richfield – Conference room

Tues. October 27
11:00am-1:00pm

Dept. of Workforce Services – Logan
180 N. 100 W., Logan – Conference Room

Tues. October 27
11:00am-1:00pm

Dept. of Workforce Services – Cedar City
176 E. 200 N., Cedar City – Conference room C

Weds. October 28
9:00-11:00am

Dept. of Child & Family Services – St. George
178 N. 200 E., St. George – Conference Room C

Thurs. October 29
3:00-6:00pm

Central Utah Correctional Facility
255 E. 300 N., Gunnison – Computer Lab

 

UPEA Hosts Public Employee Appreciation Events Throughout Utah

UPEA Holds First-Ever Drive-Through Appreciation Event
The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) held its first drive-through lunch on July 14 to show appreciation for the hard work of Utah’s public employees. State and local government employees stopped by the UPEA offices for lunch and staff had the opportunity to thank members for their continued support for the Association. More Than 100 employees from many different agencies were able to stop by the first socially distanced luncheon. This event was a great way to kick off the 2020 Public Employee Appreciation Days.

Ogden Valley District Hosts Drive-Through Lunch at Clearfield DWS
On Aug. 11, UPEA hosted a drive-through Public Employee Appreciation Day at the Clearfield Department of Workforce Services (DWS). Employees from the Law Enforcement District were also invited to participate in this event. All attendees were given sign-up information in the hopes that they will join UPEA and spread the word about the Association to their coworkers. It was a successful event with more than 60 employees attending.


Upcoming Public Employee Appreciation Events

Salt Lake Valley Districts
There will be three Wasatch Front appreciation events for all public employees in the area. UPEA districts included in these events are North Temple, Downtown, SL Southeast, SL Southwest, Law Enforcement, and Salt Lake Valley Local Government. The events are being held where most members reside because so many employees are working remotely. Please RSVP to Sam@upea.net with the specific event you plan to attend.

  • Thursday, Sept. 10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Cannon Department of Health, 288 N. 1460 West, Main Parking Lot.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. -1 p.m,: Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 S. State St., South Parking Lot.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Veteran’s Memorial Park, 1985 W. 7800 South, West Jordan.

All public employees (state, city, or county) are invited to attend any of the four events.

Transportation District
The Transportation District will hold Public Employee Appreciation Breakfasts for employees in Region 1, Region 2, and Region 3. Members and nonmembers are welcome to come by to grab a breakfast burrito. Please contact Hannah@upea.net for more information.

  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7:30-8:30 a.m.: UDOT Region 1 Office, 166 Southwell St., Ogden
  • Thursday, Sept. 17, 7:30-8:30a.m.: UDOT Region 2 Office, 2010 S. 2760 West, Salt Lake City
  • Monday, Sept. 21, 7:30-8:30 a.m.: UDOT Region 3 Office, 658 N. 1500 West, Orem

Mountainlands District
The Mountainlands District will hold a drive-through appreciation lunch at the Riverside Park in Provo. All public employees in the area are welcome to attend! We ask that everyone stays in their car and UPEA staff will bring a boxed lunch and UPEA information safely to the car window. Signs will be posted to direct traffic through the parking lot.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Riverside Park, 1260 W. 600 N., Provo

Bear River District
The Bear River District will host a Public Employee Appreciation Day in Brigham City and Logan on Sept. 1. All members and nonmembers are welcome to drive through and pick up lunch. Please see the information for times and locations of the events. If you plan to attend either event, please contact Hannah@upea.net.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 1, 11 a.m.-noon: Logan Department of Workforce Services, 180 N. 100 West.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1, 1-2 p.m.: Lindsey Park, 301-349 Fishburn Drive, Brigham City

Uintah Basin District
The Uintah Basin district will host two appreciation events in September. UPEA is serving boxed lunches for public employees in Vernal. The following day, members and nonmembers in the district are also invited to attend a social at the Echo Drive-in with tickets provided by the district for those who RSVP.  Please contact Sam@upea.net for more information or to RSVP.

  • Thursday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Vernal Department of Workforce Services, 1050 Market Drive.
  • Friday, Sept. 25, time TBA: Echo Drive-in, 250 W. Highway 40, Roosevelt

Southeastern District
The Southeastern District has scheduled a Public Employee Appreciation Day in Price. Come drive through the parking lot of the Price Department of Workforce Services to pick up lunch and meet your employee representative and district leadership. All members and nonmembers are welcome. Please contact Hannah@upea.net for more information or to RSVP. The district will also host drive-through events in Moab and Blanding with dates and locations TBA.

  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Price Department of Workforce Services, 475 W. Price River Drive.

Panoramaland District
District leadership has decided the best way to gather safely and to appreciate public employees for their hard work and dedication during the pandemic is to offer free admittance to the Richfield Drive-In and the Mt. Pleasant Drive-In Theaters. Public employees and their families will receive free admittance to the drive-in for one car. Exact dates and times TBA. Please contact Christy Berk at cberk@upea.net for more information.

Color Country District
The Color Country District will hold two appreciation events in October, one in St. George in the parking lot of the Division of Child & Family Services building and another in Cedar City. Both of these will be drive-through lunches with exact dates and locations TBA. Please contact Kendle Zdunich at Kendle@upea.net for more information.

UPEA Offers Assistance to Members Facing Disciplinary Action

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is a valuable resource when an employee encounters any workplace issues. UPEA staffers hope that their members never experience disciplinary action; however, representatives are available for our members if workplace issues arise. From written warnings to terminations, UPEA can represent its members throughout the grievance process and use UPEA resources to help employees navigate the procedure. UPEA staff is knowledgeable about DHRM policy and can help employees understand their grievance rights, prepare statements and responses, provide physical representation at hearings, and coordinate with our employment attorney at Kirton & McConkie to address legal questions that may arise. All of these services are included in membership in UPEA, no further costs are associated.

Here is what members say about their experience with UPEA during the grievance process:

“I am so grateful for getting the opportunity to work with [my UPEA representative]. She was patient and understanding. She helped me look at my situation from different angles and make it better. UPEA is here to help; take the chance, even if you don’t feel like it will help, it’s so worth it!”
Salt Lake County employee

“I know I can call [my UPEA representative] and ask questions, or just ask for her opinion and it is provided without judgment or hesitation.  I mentor new employees and always encourage them to join; I provide firsthand testimony of how UPEA helps us to grow personally and professionally. I am UPEA’s biggest supporter. Thank you to the UPEA team for all you do.”
— Department of Workforce Services employee

All UPEA members have access to grievance representation after six months of membership. If you have any questions or concerns about your employment or you’ve been given a disciplinary action, please don’t hesitate to contact your UPEA representative.

August Legislative Interim Summary

Business, Economic Development, & Labor Appropriations Subcommittee

Utah’s 5.1% unemployment rate is the second lowest in the nation, but the state still has 71,000 fewer jobs than it did in February, when the unemployment rate was at its lowest, Andrea Wilko, PhD, told the Legislature’s Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee on Aug. 17.

Wilko, chief economist in the Legislative Fiscal Analysts’ Office, said new unemployment claims have fallen by 28% in the past two weeks. Before the pandemic, Utah had an unemployment rate of about 3% and the goal is to return to that rate within the year.

Wilko also discussed tax revenue, telling lawmakers that both income taxes, which feed the Education Fund, and sales taxes, which feed the General Fund, are projected to meet their revenue estimate goals for FY21.

Extra unemployment benefits and other federal stimulus payments, as well as online sales tax revenue that has increased during the pandemic, likely bolstered sales tax revenue. She warned that sales tax collections could experience volatility as the year goes on if the pandemic worsens or if economic shutdowns occur.  Additionally, the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit expired on July 31, and the uncertainty of further federal stimulus actions may affect FY21 sales tax collections.

However, as of now, revenue projections coupled with legislative budget cuts are keeping the General Fund stable.

Infrastructure & General Government Appropriations Subcommittee

The director of the Department of Administrative Services on Aug. 17 thanked members of the Infrastructure & General Government Appropriations Subcommittee for allowing the agencies to decide how best to implement budget cuts imposed during a legislative special session.

Tani Pack Downing told lawmakers agencies are grateful that the cuts did not require them to terminate any employees, but, “all of the agencies felt the impact of the removal of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and the pain of the pandemic,” she said.

These actions meant agencies were unable to use incentive awards and salary increases to retain high-performing employees. “Growing compensation imbalances have caused high turnover and near impossible recruiting options,” she said, creating challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified employees.

Retirement & Independent Entities Interim Subcommittee

Dan Anderson of Utah Retirement Systems (URS), had mixed news for the Retirement & Independent Entities Subcommittee when he presented to the group on Aug. 14.

“The good news is that the calculated actuarial rate is basically the same as it was, which means that we are not worried about the actual retirement funds,” Anderson said. “However, the bad news is that [URS] will likely not reach the 6.95% return on investment”.

While a lower rate of return raises some concern, Anderson reminded lawmakers that URS sets its return on investment lower than the national average each year in case there is a period of market volatility. Experts predict that returns on investment will only be about 1.5% lower, which “is not great, but not as bad as it could be thanks to the smart investing of URS and the fiscal guidance of the Legislature,” he said.

Sen. Gene Davis, D-South Salt Lake, asked about the status of URS’s unfunded liability and questioned whether the pandemic has slowed the time it will take for URS to reach fully funded status. Anderson explained that any decrease in return on investment will ultimately delay the achievement of full funding. However, Utah is still about a decade away the date it targeted to reach full funding.

Dee Larsen of URS told lawmakers it would cost the state $20 million to move all public safety officers and firefighters under the Tier 1 retirement system, a goal discussed during previous meetings.  Over 15 years, the cost would exceed $677 million, he said.

“We would prefer that everyone be treated the same retirement-wise, but it does pose significant cost to make the playing field entirely equal, said Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville”

Larsen added that employees also would be affected because they also would pay more toward Tier 1 retirement.

Davis suggested that the issue should be addressed at a future meeting with all stakeholders, and colleagues agreed.

Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, 20% of Department of Health (DOH) employees had been approved for telework through a pilot program, officials told the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee on Aug. 17. However, , 80% of DOH employees switched to telework as a result of the pandemic.

A preliminary survey of employees showed that 52% of employees expressed interest in continuing to telework after the state moves to the “green” risk phase, but executive management believes that up to 70% of employees may continue to telework even after some return to the office.

The telework savings analysis showed that there is potential for cost saving with the implementation of teleworking on a larger scale indefinitely. Quantifying the savings at this stage of the process is difficult due to all of the one-time costs associated with a large conversion of employees to teleworking. It is anticipated that the greatest cost savings from teleworking would be from the reduction of leased building space.

For the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), 344 employees, or 17% of the department’s full-time equivalent workforce, were working remotely on a regular basis before March 12. Since then, the department has been able to temporarily expand routine telework opportunities to approximately 1,059 additional employees.  This action was taken to safeguard the health and well‐being of the workforce and to support Gov. Gary Herbert’s directive “to enable employees to work from home as a first option.”

The total number of employees currently working remotely represents approximately 69% of the department’s full‐time equivalent workforce. The department is still evaluating the extent to which these teleworking opportunities will become permanent after the pandemic and they anticipate the estimate will change over time.

DWS also found the potential for ongoing savings by permanently vacating facility space; however, the savings will be offset by related one‐time and ongoing expenses including remodeling, relocation expenses, internet and phone reimbursement for employees who work remotely, and information security costs.

URS and PEHP Report Financial Stability Despite the Current Economic Downtown

The Legislature’s Retirement and Independent Entities (R&EI) Interim Committee held its first virtual meeting on June 22. This committee oversees institutions that include Utah Retirement Systems (URS) and the Public Employees’ Health Plan (PEHP). During this meeting, representatives of these entities summarized their end-of-year reports, shared initial impacts of COVID-19, and offered long-term projections.

Utah has once again greatly benefited from the fiscal responsibility URS – demonstrates year after year. Last year was a successful year for URS participants and the entity’s stakeholders.

Dee Larson, URS general counsel, listed a few record achievements for URS. First, the member account balances (401(k), 457, and Roth and traditional IRAs) reached $6.7 billion. Second, the net increase in all balances was more than $1.08 billion. Third, employee and employer contributions reached $428.6 million. And finally, benefit payments from accounts totaled $376.9 million.

“While 2019 was a good year for the fund, we know that the COVID‐19 pandemic presents challenges in 2020,” Larson said.  “The Retirement Board continues to monitor, analyze, and manage the fund’s investments. We don’t expect, nor do we need, lofty returns year after year. Our fund is built to maximize long‐term returns throughout all types of market cycles, with an emphasis on downside protection.”

URS attributes its strong, well-funded retirement system to the many participating employers and elected officials who share the same long-term goals and remain committed to responsible funding.

On March 30, Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order allowing the temporary, limited suspension of some provisions of the Utah Post-retirement Reemployment Restrictions Act during the COVID‐19 state of emergency. This allowed some retirees without a one‐year break in service to be temporarily re‐employed in positions performing critical government functions while continuing to receive their monthly pension benefits. Larson said that seven employees have taken advantage of this so far.

PEHP maintains funding in a “medical risk pool” to cover any unexpected increases in health insurance claims. The PEHP statute limits the amount of reserves that can be in this fund at any given time. In the event the funding risk pool exceeds that cap, PEHP will return the excess to its members in a rebate.

PEHP Executive Director Chet Loftus reported that the impact of COVID-19 on the medical risk pool has been fairly minor. PEHP has been able to give back more than $40 million in excess reserves in the past 30 days, with $30.7 million of that going directly to state employees.

While PEHP has seen a drop in medical and dental claims, pharmaceutical claims initially increased due to concern over the availability of medication during the pandemic.

Loftus informed the committee PEHP will cover any costs associated with testing and treatment of COVID-19. As of April 30, 64 PEHP policyholders have tested positive for Coronavirus, 6 of whom required hospitalization with costs ranging from $6,000 to $192,000.

UPEA will continue to update members through the interim on the Utah Retirement Systems and Public Employee Health Plan. If you have questions on URS or PEHP legislation please reach out to your employee representative.

Take Advantage of Discounted Lagoon Passes for UPEA Members

This year, UPEA is offering Single Day Passports for $55.00that’s $18.00 off. These tickets include admission to all of the Lagoon attractions including Lagoon-A-Beach, Pioneer Village, and live entertainment.

If you’d like to purchase tickets please come to the UPEA office on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 10:00am-2:00pm with cash or a check. Credit cards will not be accepted!

-or-

If you cannot make it to the office, please mail a check for the amount of tickets you’d like to purchase, including a mailing address where you’d like the tickets sent.

Utah Public Employees’ Association
Attn: Angie Mann
1000 W. Bellwood Ln.
Murray, UT. 84123

Once you arrive or your check is received, we will confirm that you are a member of UPEA. If you’re sending someone else to pick up the tickets for you, please let us know! 

IMPORTANT: ALL guests wishing to visit the Park will need to make a reservation for their preferred date and entry time online at https://www.lagoonpark.com/make-reservation/. Once on that screen, they will need to click “Single Day Pass Reservation” and enter in their information. After they have entered in their information, they will need to click on the green “Add Single Day Pass” button and input their Single Day Passport barcode number (located under the barcode on their passport) then click “Complete Reservation”. Guests should receive a confirmation email of their reservation, they will be required to show that and their ticket upon entering the park.

Guest Expectations: All guests will be required to abide by the Guest Expectations when visiting the Park, they can be found at http://www.lagoonpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Guest-Expectations-for-Opening-5.22.pdf.

If you have any questions, please call Kendle Zdunich at 801-264-8732 ext. 209.

2020 Candidate Endorsement Tracker

SEAT ENDORSED CANDIDATE
Governor Lt. Governor Spencer Cox
Senate Seats
District 1 Sen. Luz Escamilla
District 6 Sen. Wayne Harper
District 8 Sen. Kathleen Riebe
District 23 Sen. Todd Weiler
District 24 Derrin Owens
District 27 Sen. David Hinkins
District 29 Sen. Don Ipson
House Seats
District 4 Rep. Dan Johnson
District 5 Rep. Casey Snider
District 8 Rep. Steve Waldrip
District 10 Rep. Lawanna Shurtliff
District 11 Rep. Kelly Miles
District 12 Rep. Mike Schultz
District 13 Rep. Paul Ray
District 15 Speaker Brad Wilson
District 16 Rep. Steve Handy
District 19 Rep. Raymond Ward
District 20 Rep. Melissa Ballard
District 21 Rep. Douglas Sagers
District 22 Clare Collard
District 23 Rep. Sandra Hollins
District 24 Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost
District 25 Rep. Joel Briscoe
District 28 Rep. Brian King
District 29 Matt Gwynn
District 30 Rep. Mike Winder
District 31 Rep. Elizabeth Weight
District 32 Rep. Suzanne Harrison
District 33 Rep. Craig Hall
District 34 Rep. Karen Kwan
District 35 Rep. Mark Wheatley
District 36 Doug Owens
District 37 Rep. Carol Spackman Moss
District 38 Rep. Eric Hutchings
District 39 Rep. Jim Dunnigan
District 40 Rep. Stephanie Pitcher
District 43 Diane Lewis
District 44 Rep. Andrew Stoddard
District 46 Bennion Gay
District 48 Rep. Keven Stratton
District 49 Rep. Robert Spendlove
District 51 Rep. Jeff Stenquist
District 55 Rep. Scott Chew
District 56 Rep. Kay Christofferson
District 61 Rep. Marsha Judkins
District 65 Rep. Francis Gibson
District 66 General Jefferson Burton
District 68 Rep. Merrill Nelson
District 69 Rep. Christine Watkins
District 70 Rep. Carl Albrecht
District 72 Rep. Rex Shipp
District 74 Rep. Lowry Snow
District 75 Rep. Walt Brooks
Salt Lake County Elections
Mayor Mayor Jenny Wilson