UPEA Whirlwind Tour – Upcoming Event Schedule

After a long year full of heavy workloads and very little face-to-face contact, UPEA staff is setting off on a state-wide recruitment tour to spread the word about the importance of UPEA membership! In true whirlwind fashion, UPEA staff aim to visit over 50 agencies and recruit at least 100 new members over the course of this two-part recruitment tour.

All public employees in each area are invited to attend for food, swag giveaways, prize drawings, and to learn more about the benefits of UPEA membership! At each recruitment event, staff will give retro WHIRLWIND TOUR TEES to all new and existing members!

The first week of the tour took place August 9-12 and was a huge success! Staff visited 33 agencies throughout central and southern Utah, drove 1,039 miles, and recruited 70 new members! The following week on Tuesday, August 17, staff visited 6 SLCo agencies, drove over 50 miles, and recruited 18 new members for the Salt Lake Valley Local Government District – Bringing the Whirlwind Tour recruitment total up to 88 NEW MEMBERS!

Since we are so close to reaching out “ROAD to 100” goal after only one week, we are DOUBLING it and hope to recruit 112 more members during weeks two and three of the Whirlwind Tour. WE NEED YOUR HELP on the ROAD TO 200! See the detailed schedules for WEEK TWO and WEEK THREE below and stop by the event nearest you! Be sure to bring your coworkers, especially those who need to join UPEA – You’ll receive a $50 recruiter bonus for each member you recruit during the Whirlwind Tour!


Monday, September 27: Roosevelt, Vernal, & Midway

8:00-8:45am: Breakfast at the UDOT in Roosevelt
9:00-9:45am: Breakfast at the DWS in Roosevelt
9:00-9:30am: Breakfast at the DCFS in Roosevelt
11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch at the DWS in Vernal
11:30am-12pm: Lunch at the Split Mountain JJS
12-12:30pm: Lunch at the Northeast Region DWR
4-4:30pm: Treats at the Midway Fish Hatchery

Tuesday, September 28: American Fork, Provo, Spanish Fork, & Orem

7:00-7:30am: Breakfast Region 3 UDOT in Orem
8:00-8:45am: Breakfast at the DWS in Spanish Fork
9:00-9:30am: Breakfast at the Slate Canyon Youth Center
9:45-10:30am: Breakfast at the DWS in Provo
11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch at the Provo Regional Center & Utah County Admin Building
1:00-2:00pm: Treats at the Utah State Developmental Center
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Driver’s License Division & Highway Patrol in Orem
3:15-4:00pm: Treats at the Human Services Administration in Orem

Wednesday, September 29: Ogden, Logan, Brigham City, & Clearfield

7:00-8:00am: Breakfast at the Region 1 UDOT in Ogden
8:30-9:00am: Breakfast at the Dept. of Human Services in Ogden
9:30-10:30am: Breakfast at the Ogden Regional Center
11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch at the DWS in Logan
11:45am-12:15pm: Lunch at the Dept. of Human Services in Logan
2:00-2:30pm: Treats at the DWS in Brigham City
3:15-4:00pm: Treats at the DWS in Clearfield


monday, October 4: Salt Lake City & West Valley City

7:00-8:00am: Breakfast at the Region 2 UDOT
8:30-9:30am: Breakfast at the SLEC Workforce Services
10:00-11:00am: Breakfast at the Department of Natural Resources
11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch at the Cannon Health Building
11:30am-12pm: Lunch at the Split Mountain JJS
1:00-2:00pm: Lunch at the Tax Commission and Multi-Agency State Office Building
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Buffmire Voc. Rehab Building

TUESDAY, October 5: Salt Lake City & Tooele

8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at the Metro Workforce Services
9:30-10:30am: Breakfast at the State Office of Education
11:00-11:30am: Treats at the Metro Human Services
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch at the Heber Wells Building & Olene Walker DWS
1:30-2:00pm: Treats at the DABC Warehouse
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Tooele DWS & DHS
3:30-4:00pm: Treats at the Tooele County Building

WEDNESDAY, October 6: Taylorsville & West Valley City

7:00-8:00am: Breakfast at the Calvin Rampton Complex
8:30-9:30am: Breakfast at the Public Health Lab
10:00-11:00am: Breakfast at the Taylorsville State Office Building
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch at the Region 3 AP&P
1:30-2:00pm: Treats at the Taylorville Voc. Rehab
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Tooele DWS & DHS
3:00-3:30pm: Treats at the Decker Lack Youth Center

thursDAY, October 7: Draper, Sandy, & Taylorsville

8:00-9:00am: Tabling at the DOC Fred House Training Academy
9:30-10:00am: Tabling at the DMV/DLD in Draper
10:30-11:30am: Treats at the Sandy DCFS
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch at the South Valley DWS
1:30-2:00pm: Treats at the Sanderson Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the South Valley Voc. Rehab

FOLLOW UPEA on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of the Whirlwind Tour details, find out how you can get involved, and follow along with staff throughout their state-wide journey!

Whirlwind Tour Originator Wishes UPEA Luck on Their Revival

In March 1985, the Utah Public Employees’ Association launched the “Whirlwind Tour,” with the aim to publicize UPEA goals and show appreciation for public employees. Beginning at the Utah State Capitol Building, members set out to visit 25 different agency locations over 4 months.

Mark Mickelsen, UPEA membership coordinator, said: “Our purpose is to acquaint all public employees with the goals and objectives of the Association and to pay tribute to those who have supported our efforts for the past 25 years.”

The four-month tour was geared for employees who did not know about the services and benefits offered by the Association, but it strived to include all public employees, including current members.

In May of 1985, the Whirlwind Tour continued with many trips from Salt Lake County to the southern and eastern worksites in St. George, Cedar City, Price, Ephraim, and Vernal. In August of 1985, after 45 days of the Whirlwind Tour, UPEA had held 82 presentations and traveled more than 4,000 miles. UPEA staffers signed up 252 new members at the presentations, recruiting an average of 5.6 new members per day!

Flash-forward to today, UPEA representatives will embark on the 2021 Whirlwind Tour this August! Staff members are excited at the prospects of sharing 60+ years of UPEA’s services and benefits of membership with public employees in a big way. More details to come!

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.