UPEA Blog

Desmond Lomax and Christie Workman Advance to General Election for Second Vice President

The primary election for the 2020-2021 second vice president began Dec. 15 and ran through Jan.15. Out of the 868 votes cast, the top two candidates moving forward to the general election are Desmond Lomax and Christie Workman.

Within UPEA, the second vice president’s responsibilities include:

  • Serving as chairman of the Resolutions Committee, which reviews resolutions and makes recommendations to the General Council and proposes a platform for the coming year
  • Representing the State Board as a voting member of the Citizen Action by Public Employees’ (CAPE) Committee.

General election ballots will be accepted from February 1 – March 1, 2020. Please become familiar with the remaining candidates and cast your vote online via ballot survey, or by mail via certified ballot. An electronic ballot will be sent to all members by default; if there is no email attached to the membership, a certified ballot and return envelope will be sent to the address on file.

All votes must be cast or postmarked by March 1, 2020.

Desmond Lomax

Hi, my name is Desmond Lomax. I have been employed by state of Utah and Utah for the past 20 years, and I’ve been a member of the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) for five years. I have spent the past several years as an active member of UPEA in the Law Enforcement District. I am currently on the Advisory Council and I love it! I hope to expand my role with UPEA by helping to support the following initiatives:

I want to reach out to all facets of government to encourage UPEA membership. I believe in using technology and providing future members with a better understanding of the benefits UPEA offers. I believe sharing our personal stories of the benefits of UPEA on our online newsletter for current and incoming members would be a powerful start.

I have a degree in political science with an emphasis in American government. I believe I have the tools to add new ideals to our representation at the Capitol. We need to be seen as a whole body or collective of people with a desire to change and improve our government for the benefits of our membership. We can and will do this!

With enhanced representation, I believe better compensation and benefits will be accomplished.  We need to improve the benefits for our retired people. (I soon will be one of you.) We also need to improve the day-to-day salaries of all employees. While the growth of the state is evident, the state has fewer employees. We are doing more with less and we need to be compensated for this.

I invite you to vote for me. I can be reached via email, desmondlomax@gmail.com. I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have.

Christie Workman

My name is Christie Workman and I am thrilled to be running for UPEA second vice president. I have worked for the state of Utah with the Office of Rehabilitation for 23 years. I joined UPEA during my first year with the state and I’ve been participating and supporting ever since. Currently, I serve on the UPEA State Board of Directors and am chairwoman of the General Council Committee. I truly believe in the Association and its ability to enact positive changes for public employees, and I feel proud to be involved.

If elected as second vice president, I would prioritize educating employees about UPEA’s importance. There are several employees who are unaware of what UPEA does to protect the workforce and enhance all aspects of our jobs. We are stronger in numbers and I want all individuals to know that their membership is important to UPEA’s success. I will work to increase awareness and support for the Association.

Additionally, I will support the legislative goals of the Association, especially increasing total compensation. In my 23 years with the state, I’ve seen a lot of changes when it comes to employee compensation. During the recession and all of the benefit changes that followed, employees were promised increased compensation when the state recovered. Now is the time to make good on that promise. Compensation should not take a back seat during the legislative session and I intend do everything I can to increase legislators’ awareness.

I’m humbled to be a candidate for UPEA second vice president. Thank you.

Estate Planning Package – New Benefit for UPEA Members

UPEA has a new member benefit! 

Adrienne Jack, an attorney with Kirton & McConkie, will offer a basic estate planning package consisting of a will, trust, power of attorney, and healthcare directive to an individual for $700 or a married couple for $1,000. Complicated estate plans could have additional costs – Adrienne is typically able to assess the full cost during the initial planning meeting.

Learn more by listening to the PEP Squad episode featuring Adrienne Jack. The squad and Adrienne discuss why estate planning is important, when you should start thinking about it, and how to take advantage of this great offer.

UPEA membership will be confirmed before the initial planning meeting.

To speak with Adrienne directly, please call 801-350-7644 or email ajack@kmclaw.com.

 

A Moment in History: The 1985 Whirlwind Recruitment Tour

In March 1985, the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) 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 is in the process of planning a 2020 Whirlwind Tour. While the Association is still months away from beginning the tour, staff members are excited at the prospects of sharing 50 years of UPEA’s services and benefits with public employees in a big way in the new decade. UPEA will keep members updated on its plans as they get finalized over the coming months of the new year.

Best Wishes for the New Year from UPEA President, Deb McBride

Can you believe it is 2020 already?  It’s a new year with many changes coming up! Soon we’ll be switching to daylight savings time again. In a couple of months, it will be time for General Council. It will be time for a new Second Vice-President for the Association. I hope everyone took the opportunity to submit their ballot. There may be new District Officers, Advisory Council members and Board members. Who knows what changes will come from the Legislative session!  Rest assured, UPEA will be on the Hill and keep us posted about any issues. Do your best to stay informed and involved!

Spring is just around the corner and, shortly thereafter, summer!  And vacations!

I think 2020 promises to be a busy and exciting for UPEA. I hope you all have fun and enjoy the coming year.

Here’s to a Happy New Year and all that comes with it!

Citizen Referendum Suspends Tax Reform, Resulting in General Fund Uncertainties

Utah Legislators passed Senate Bill 2001, Tax Restructuring Revisions on December 12, 2019, to address decreasing sales tax revenue. Over the past several weeks, a referendum campaign sought to collect citizen signatures to express dissatisfaction over the proposed structure, specifically the increased grocery tax. These efforts culminated in roughly 152,000 signatures in support of the referendum. If the signatures are certified, the referendum will suspend any changes until the General Election in November 2020.

House and Senate leaders aimed to address Utah’s changing economy and bolster General Fund revenue prior to the 2020 General Session. For many years, Utah’s economy has been transitioning from a goods economy to a services economy, leading to a depletion of the general fund. Dramatic alterations to the state’s tax structure were discussed during the 2019 Legislative Session, but failed to pass before the session adjourned. Due to House and Senate disagreement, lawmakers formed a task force to research and draft a bill. Throughout 2019, the task force held 17 hearings totaling 60 hours of public comment.

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) released an official position statement on the tax bill on Dec. 9, 2019, with Executive Director Todd Losser speaking on behalf of public employees that evening at the final task force committee meeting before the vote. Losser urged legislators to keep state employee compensation in mind as they give credit to public employees for their money-saving efficiency, which has allowed for a large income tax cut. State employees have not received a pay increase above 2.5% since 2008. The Association advocated for a supported general fund, and for that money to be used to give appropriate compensation increases and benefits to public employees whose compensation is currently far below market.

What the proposed tax bill includes

The most noteworthy aspects of the bill are:

  • A $630 million income tax cut
  • A $475 million sales tax increase, most of which will come from increasing the grocery sales tax from 1.75 percent to 4.85 percent.
  • Increasing taxes on some service-based businesses, such as buses, ride-sharing apps, streaming services, and shipping and handling for online purchases.

In addition, the bill includes tax credits for low- and middle-income households to offset the sales tax increases on groceries.

As a result of the changes, tax revenue will shift from income taxes to the unrestricted general fund, which funds government services, including employee compensation.

Referendum Impacts

During the upcoming General Session, decisions regarding funding allocation will rely heavily on Utah’s tax structure. The referendum causes fiscal uncertainty regarding General Fund disbursement, including employee compensation increases.

Whether or not the proposed changes are implemented, UPEA must convince legislators to fund compensation increases for state employees. Achieving a significant increase will require the hard work of UPEA’s staff, leadership, current members, and all public employees. There is no better time to contact your legislators and boost UPEA membership!

Salt Lake County Budget Includes a Pay Increase

The Salt Lake County budget season is now officially over, and changes have already taken effect. Below is a list of budget items that affect Salt Lake County employees that the Salt Lake County Council approved in December for the 2020 fiscal year.

  • No change in health insurance benefits or premiums
  • Indexation of both General Structure and Trades/Technical Structure, 2% and 3%, respectively
  • A 2.75% market adjustment for merit employees with a 2020 performance evaluation rating of at least 3 (Meets Expectations)
  • A minimum living wage of $12 per hour
  • A midyear budget review to determine whether there is enough money for a compression adjustment in 2020

During the budgeting process, the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) advocated for county employees by lobbying the County Council for a serious commitment to addressing the compression formula if there is enough money for a compression adjustment come April 2020. Compression is a complex issue that is important to employees. It deserves proper attention by the County Council, Human Resources and Mayor Jenny Wilson. UPEA also encouraged Human Resources to include a compensation increase for “red-lined” employees. “Red-lined” employees are those who have reached the top of the salary range for their position; consequently, they’ve been left out of budget discussions in previous years. Human Resources obliged, and red-lined employees can expect to see a 1% lump-sum increase.

If you have any questions or concerns about the budget process or other employment issues, contact the Salt Lake County employee representative, Christy Berk, at 801-264-8732 ext. 212, or at cberk@upea.net.

 

Rules Corner—Position Classification Review and Grievance

Most state employees are classified under an appropriate job description. A job description includes the employee’s job title, distinguishing characteristics, tasks associated with the job, and required skills and knowledge. The assignment of duties per each job is subject to change to enable the agency to reorganize, improve practices, or for other reasons deemed necessary. Management is able to assign, modify, or remove position tasks and responsibility depending on the needs of the agency.

If a position experiences significant changes to assigned duties, a position classification review may be done as outlined in R477-3-4. A classification review may be performed as part of a classification study, at the request of agency management with approval, or as part of a classification grievance review.

Employee s can file reclassification requests and then grievances based on the belief they are performing responsibilities outside of their job descriptions. A request/grievance cannot be filed based on the belief an employee should be receiving a different salary.

  • An employee can ask a supervisor for a reclassification analysis.
  • Human Resources (HR) will perform an analysis on the employee’s job after a request is made by someone in the chain of command.
    • A supervisor will first contact the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) to review. Reclassification requests often don’t go to the grievance level.
  • When an analysis is complete, HR sends an official letter with findings to the agency.
  • Once the analysis is complete, the employee can file a reclassification grievance if he or she doesn’t agree with the results.
    • The grievance is sent directly to the DHRM executive director.
    • Reclassification Grievance process:
      • The HR team looks into the HR analyst’s findings.
      • A panel is organized, and makes a recommendation to the executive director.
    • If the employee does not agree with the results, the reclassification grievance can be reviewed one more time.
    • Reclassification doesn’t go to the grievance level until an HR analysis is sent out.

Reclassification grievance forms can be found in the employee gateway.

If you have any questions about classification review or the reclassification process, please reach out to your UPEA employee representative.