Help Strengthen UPEA by Participating in a Virtual Recruitment Forum

You have another chance to show your support and spread the word about the importance of UPEA membership! We’re hosting our next VIRTUAL RECRUITMENT FORUM on Wednesday, May 12, at 12:00pm. At this meeting, a panel of member ambassadors and staff representatives will discuss the benefits of UPEA membership and the importance of a strong public employee association.

Please SHARE THIS OPPORTUNITY with others in your office!

We are asking our members to attend and invite nonmembers to join these virtual events. For every non-member you bring to a forum, you will get an entry into the raffle for members. A Portable Mini Projector will be awarded to the recruiter raffle winner. Non-members in attendance will be entered into a separate drawing for a $25 Visa gift card.

Use this link or scan the QR code to join via Google Meet.

Contact your employee representative with any questions – We look forward to seeing you there!


Stop By the First UPEA Appreciation Event of the Year on May 6

You’re invited to attend UPEA’s
first Public Employee Appreciation Lunch of the year
on THURSDAY, MAY 6 from 11:00am-1:00pm

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is always looking for ways to show gratitude and support for Utah’s public employees. Due to last year’s success, UPEA has decided to bring back the Public Employee Appreciation Drive-Thru! We will be hosting our first lunch of the year on Thursday, May 6. Swing by the UPEA office in Murray anytime from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to grab a deli lunch and say hello to UPEA staff. If you are working in the office, consider carpooling or coordinating with your coworkers to send one person to pick up lunch for the whole team.

Members and nonmembers are welcome! For now, we’re still asking that all attendees stay in their cars to maintain appropriate physical distance. In order to keep the flow of traffic, please follow the posted signs for directions upon arrival.

Keep an eye out for more lunches and appreciation events coming up later this year!

Participate in a UPEA Standing Committee

The best way to contribute and take an active role in Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is by participating in a standing committee. Each of these committees is a forum where ideas become actions.

UPEA standing committees provide direct input and recommendations from the general membership and districts to the Advisory Council and State Board. UPEA encourages members from all districts to become involved in these committees, share their input, and actively work toward the improvement of public employment. Members who cannot travel to the UPEA headquarters in Murray may participate online.

SIGN UP NOW THROUGH JUNE 1!

Below is a list and brief description of the UPEA standing committees.  If you would like to participate in a standing committee, please call 801-264-8732 or email the UPEA staff member or committee chairperson.


Articles & Bylaws

Reviews the UPEA Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and makes recommended changes, which are then voted on by the Advisory Council and State Board.

Chair: Elaine Bonham, elainegbonham@gmail.com
Staff: Christy Berk

General Council

Coordinates and plans the annual General Council meeting. The committee will meet to discuss speakers, breakout sessions, and the menu. 

Chair: Judy Kearns, judykearns@utah.gov
Staff: Angie Mann

Grievance Appeal & representation

To help better represent our members, this committee reviews and provides recommendations regarding employee grievances and appeals. In the case of a grievance, the committee will meet to review the case, listen to the testimony of the person filing the grievance, and ask questions. The committee will also meet occasionally for training exercises.

Chair: Marsha Bentley, mbentley@utah.gov
Staff: Christy Berk and Hannah Gorski

Insurance & Retirement

The Insurance and Retirement committee tracks heath-care and retirement issues that affect public employees. Throughout the year, guest speakers from URS, PEHP, DHRM and others will present to the committee.

Chair: Max Collotzi, maxcollotzi39@gmail.com
Staff: Christy Berk and Samantha Unruh

Legislative

The UPEA Legislative Standing Committee meets during the summer and fall months each year to review legislative issues that may come up at the next legislative session. The committee ranks issues that are most important and puts them in a legislative package. The legislative package serves as the foundation of UPEA’s lobbying efforts and provides the information that UPEA shares with policymakers to ensure they know which issues are most important to public employees.

Chair: Christie Workman, cworkman@utah.gov
Staff: Todd Losser and Kendle Zdunich

Human Resources Policy & Rules

The Human Resources Policy and Rules Standing Committee is responsible for tracking changes made to Human Resource rules and regulations being proposed by Human Resources or other governing bodies.  This committee also reviews the Human Resource rules pertaining to government agencies.

Chair: Christine Reyes, creyes@utah.gov
Staff: Hannah Gorski and Samantha Unruh

Membership Services & Public Relations

The Membership Services and Public Relations Standing Committee is responsible for researching best practices for communicating with members and nonmembers. It formulates and develops a recruitment plan to enhance public relations and increase membership.

Chair: Alene Stringham, alenest@aol.com
Staff: Kendle Zdunich and Samantha Unruh

Resolutions

This committee gathers resolutions from districts and other standing committees.  The resolutions are compiled for review and voted upon during General Council.  The committee also follows up on approved resolutions. 

Chair: Jackie Pino, jpino@utah.gov
Staff: Hannah Gorski

Discounted Lagoon Passes AVAILABLE NOW for UPEA Members

during the 2021 season, UPEA is offering Single Day Passports to Lagoon for $55.72 – that’s $19.30 off.
These tickets can be used any day this season and include admission to all of the Lagoon attractions including Lagoon-A-Beach, Pioneer Village, and live entertainment.

Tickets can be purchased at the UPEA office Monday through Friday from 9:00am-3:00pm – Payment via check is preferred, but cash will be accepted. Credit cards will not be accepted!

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: Kendle Zdunich
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! 

Lagoon is not requiring reservations to visit the park this year – if you have any questions regarding COVID regulations or visitor safety guidelines, please refer to their website.

Tickets purchased through UPEA can be used anytime throughout the season – even during Frightmares! However, during Frightmares, the price offered through UPEA will most likely increase. Be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time if you plan to go from September 13th-October 30th.

If you have any questions, please call Kendle Zdunich at 801-264-8732 ext. 209 or kendle@upea.net.

2021 Legislative Session – Total Compensation

The Legislature funded a 3% COLA for state employees with additional funding for targeted increases.  The Governor’s office is in the process of finalizing the list for the targeted funding increases. The Legislature also approved funding for the employer’s share of the $6.6 million PEHP increase and funded the 401(k) match (up to $26 per pay period).

At the beginning of the 2021 Legislative Session, lawmakers included a 3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) into the base budget.  The base budget includes budgetary items that the state of Utah is required to fund each year.  It is the foundation that all other appropriation requests are built upon.

When the pandemic began the need to adjust to the uncertainty related to state funding became apparent.  In May 2020, the Legislature pulled back funds in all areas of state government.  When the legislature began the 2021 Session it included the 3% COLA in the base budget, this reinstated the increase for state employees.

During the 2021 legislative session, UPEA staff continued their efforts to educate legislators on the sacrifices state employees made to protect the safety of Utah’s citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.  UPEA also advocated for the savings from the Program II sick leave unfunded liability of $12.9 million be placed in employee compensation.  That funding will be used for the targeted increases in various agencies.

The compensation package for state employees did not include everything UPEA requested.  However, the legislature prioritized necessary funding for targeted increases for positions that are paid below market.

HB 280 Threatened Merit System Protections 

UPEA successfully lobbied to protect the state’s career service system during the 2021 Legislative Session. Utah’s career service system, also known as the merit system, protects the jobs of nearly two-thirds of state employees by guaranteeing rights of due process and equality in the workplace. Dismantling or altering the career service system changes employment status to at-will. At-will status means an agency can dismiss an employee without warning as long as the termination did not violate state or federal law.

House Bill 280, State Employee Amendments, sponsored by Representative Kay Christofferson, would have eliminated the career service status for certain state employees.

In its original form, HB 280 would have changed the status of Schedule B employees who supervise one or more employees. Supervisory employees would choose to either keep their career service status (Schedule B) or convert to career service exempt status (Schedule AX). If the employee was promoted or transferred to a different supervisory position, the employee would become Schedule AX career service exempt, or at-will.

UPEA lobbyists discussed HB 280 with representatives from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and with the governor’s staff. During these meetings, UPEA expressed its opposition to HB 280 and emphasized the importance of merit protections in state employment.

The association also communicated its strong opposition to HB 280 with Rep Christofferson. During discussions, the sponsor agreed to substitute the bill and create a task force of stakeholders to discuss state employee issues, including career service, performance evaluations, merit pay, employee turnover, and employee retention. UPEA was included in this task force along with members of the legislature, the governor’s staff, and other interested parties.

HB 280 2nd Sub died during the last days of the session. Although the task force was not approved, during the interim UPEA will continue its discussions with Rep Christofferson. UPEA will also create an internal task force of members to address the protection of the career service system.

State Agency Consolidation

In accordance with Governor Cox’s vision for greater coordination and state government efficiency, a series of bills dealing with state agency mergers and realignment were passed throughout the 2021 Legislative session.  UPEA’s top priority during agency consolidation discussions is to ensure the protection of jobs, ensure transparency, and provide an open forum for public employee input.

“UPEA met with Governor Cox, and it is our understanding that agency consolidation will not result in a reduction of jobs. Utah’s public employees are considered the most efficient workforce in the country. UPEA will continue to work with the governor’s office and state agencies to ensure a smooth transition for public employees and to continue the gold standard we have established.” -UPEA Executive Director Todd Losser

HB 365, State Agency Realignment – Creation of the Department of Health and Human Services

HB365, State Agency Realignment sponsored by Rep Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, will transition the Utah Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) into a newly created single state agency – the Department of Health and Human Services. All functions of the two departments will be merged, with the exception of the Medicaid eligibility components that will be placed into the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). The bill allocates funding to transfer 10 FTE’s to DWS to perform the Medicaid functions. Rich Saunders, Director of the DOH stated “the purpose of HB365 isn’t to cut jobs, only to improve the services provided by these two departments. [Our goal is] improving the delivery of these critical services, mostly to our underserved and marginalized communities.”

SB 181, Department of Government Operations – Consolidation of the Department of Administrative Services, Department of Technology Services, and the Department of Human Resource Management

SB181, Department of Government Operations sponsored by Sen Ann Millner, R-Ogden, consolidates the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), the Department of Technology Services (DTS), and the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) into one department – the Department of Government Operations. Miller explained that “any changes to positions will not be done through a reduction in force. It would just be done through [attrition].”

HB 346, Natural Resources Entities Amendments – Increases Collaboration between the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality

HB346, Natural Resources Entities Amendments sponsored by Rep Casey Snider, R-Paradise, moves the Office of Energy Development into the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and splits the Division of State Parks from what will be called the Division of Recreation. The bill sets up a coordination council between the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality. The council will have a mandated monthly meeting. The legislation also includes a long-term study to be conducted by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) to look at redundancies and overlap between the departments for possible future consolidation.

All agencies involved with consolidation will have until December 1, 2021, to present a transition plan to the Governor and the Legislature. This timeline gives the Legislature time to review the plans, address any issues during the 2021 Legislative Session, and adjust appropriations before implementation on July 1, 2022.