December 1, 2015 at 5:12 pm #9058
Chen Yin NoahMember
Dear NRS Job Classification Working Group (Sue, Cris, Jim, Tasha, Becca, Beth, Kate, Sean, Lynn, Mike, and Al):
Yesterday, I met with Karen Berardi, who’s the OP point person for Career Tracks. She provided me with the attached job standards that have been developed with reserve managers and stewards in mind. Here’s an overview of the job progression:
Field Researcher 1 – (PSS) Non-Exempt
Field Researcher 2 – (PSS) Non-Exempt
Field Researcher 3 – (PSS) Exempt
Field Researcher 4 – (PSS) Exempt
Field Researcher 5 – (MSP) Exempt
Field Research Supervisor 1 – (PSS) Exempt
Field Research Supervisor 2 – (PSS) Exempt
Field Research Manager 1 – (MSP) Exempt
Field Research Manager 2 – (MSP) Exempt
Field Research Manager 3 – (MSP) Exempt
Field Research Manager 4 – (MSP) Exempt
Facilities Management Specialist 1 – (PSS) Non-Exempt
Facilities Management Specialist 2 – (PSS) Non-Exempt
Facilities Management Specialist 3 – (PSS) Exempt
Facilities Management Specialist 4 – (PSS) Exempt
Facilities Management Specialist 5 – (MSP) Exempt
Please refer to the attached job standards for details.
According to Karen, these job standards are still open for input, and she’ll let us know when the comment period ends.
We discussed the following points that were raised at the Management Workshop:
1) Where did these job standards come from? Career Tracks was originally developed by the Berkeley campus. In creating our particular “Field Research” job function, the campus worked with subject matter experts, including Berkeley NRS reserve managers. (This confirms what Jeff reported at the Management Workshop.) As Career Tracks is rolled out to each campus, further additions/refinements are being made to suit each campus’ particular needs. For example, OP and ANR had functions that weren’t represented among UCB’s job classes, and UCSF is adding medical classifications.
2) What classifications do ANR agricultural field stations use? ANR research and extension centers (RECs) have a different system based on their distinct agricultural functions. They don’t use the Field Research job function. Before Career Tracks, the RECs used titles like “Ag Superintendent.” The new Career Tracks titles are more like “Farm Manager.” Karen is sending me the ANR titles, and I can forward to you all if you’re interested.
3) Reserve Managers Job Title. I asked about changing the job titles to eliminate the term “Field,” due to people’s concern that the term is associated with a lower rung classification. I suggested “Reserve Director” or “Research Station Director.”
(a) Director – I found out that the titling conventions for Career Tracks are already established, and the convention is that we don’t use the title “Director” for payroll titles. In fact, there’s no title of “Director” in all of Career Tracks. However, that doesn’t limit your ability to have a working title of “Reserve Director.” (For example, under Career Tracks, my job title is “Project Policy Analyst 5,” but my working title is “Associate Director.”)
(b) “Reserve” or “Research Station” – The Field Research title is used by units other than the NRS, so it needs to be generic and broad. Limiting the title to reserves or research stations would narrow the applicability of this job function and defeat the purpose of Career Tracks, which is to create broad, general categories that can be applied across the UC system. It’s at the level of the individual Job Description that you can tailor it to the specific needs of the job, such as a working title of Reserve Director.
(c) “Field” – The term “Field” does not indicate a lower rung classification, and has nothing to do with how the salary ranges are assigned. As for public perception, our payroll job titles are not generally known; rather, we’re known by our working titles. Each campus is free to adopt appropriate working titles, as they see fit.
4) Academic Positions. I asked whether academic positions would still be an option for those campuses, like Davis, that wanted to keep academic coordinator positions. Karen said that Career Tracks involves only staff positions and does not impact academic positions. When a campus adopts Career Tracks, it moves its staff positions into the corresponding staff positions in Career Tracks. But it still has the option of using academic positions outside of Career Tracks. For the NRS, reserve managers who were previously Academic Coordinators can remain unchanged. People are not being forced from academic positions into Career Tracks. If a campus NRS actually wants to shift their academic coordinators into staff appointments under Career Tracks, you’ll need to follow your campus’ process for making such a shift. But this process was required before Career Tracks existed.
5) Represented Positions and Exempt/Non-Exempt. I explained about the NRS’ need to have staff (Stewards and others) be “Exempt” from the comp time/hourly reporting requirement, and asked if it was possible to create a Represented position that was Exempt. The answer is heavily influenced by two factors: (a) the bargaining units; and (b) federal law under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
(a) Bargaining Unit – First, it’s important to note that any position that’s covered by a bargaining unit is not included in Career Tracks. The attached “Facilities Mgt Specialist” classification was designed for what was previously known as “Building Maintenance Worker” positions. These are apparently not represented positions, and therefore are included in Career Tracks. Note that the Facilities Mgt Specialist 3, 4, and 5 are Exempt positions. So for NRS Stewards who are Building Maintenance Workers (and not represented), it looks like Facilities Mgt Specialist 3 – 5 would work for this particular circumstance in the NRS.
For NRS reserve staff who are currently represented by a bargaining unit, I conveyed the group’s view (taken from my notes) that this was not a bargaining issue, but a classification issue. To the contrary, I discovered that the classification of jobs is indeed a bargaining issue. It’s simply not an option to create in Career Tracks a position that covers represented employees. This falls under the purview of the labor unions, and we don’t have the power to unilaterally create a job classification that covers represented employees.
(b) Federal Law FLSA – UC must follow strict federal standards/guidelines to determine whether a position can be Exempt from FLSA. The criteria include the kind of work, types of duties, level of independent decision-making, scope of responsibilities, etc. In order to turn a Non-Exempt position into an Exempt position, you have to demonstrate that the nature of the job has changed so substantially that the job no longer meets the criteria for protection under FLSA. Since FLSA is intended for the protection of workers, this is a very high bar to meet, in order to take away that protection.
Further, we’d have a challenge making the case that ALL reserve staff across the board on every NRS reserve should be Exempt from FLSA.
Instead, I think the more feasible route may be a case-by-case approach–to change an individual Non-Exempt position to an existing Exempt position under Career Tracks, such as Facilities Mgt Specialist 3.
6) Other Possible Solutions for the Exempt/Non-Exempt Problem. I explained about the requirement on the UCR campus, that Jim has to get prior approval from campus HR before his Non-Exempt staff can work overtime/comp time. Karen said the standard practice is that the prior approval must be obtained from the employee’s supervisor, but not from HR. As far as she knows, this UCR practice is not required by federal law, but rather is a local business practice. She suggests working with campus HR to negotiate a more reasonable business practice that works for NRS conditions.
Karen has offered to meet with our working group via teleconference, if that would help. In addition, Mike has been working with the OP labor attorney, and we could try to set up a separate phone call just on this Exempt/Non-Exempt issue, if that’s desired.
Next steps: Please review the attached job standards and share with the whole group any feedback you may have. I’ll compile all the comments and submit to Karen.
Please also let me know if you’d like me to set up a group phone call with Karen, and I’ll send out a Doodle poll.
Although I’ve written a lot to digest, please know that this is not intended to close the conversation. I’m just reporting what I learned and looking to next steps for including the working group’s input.
Thanks for your patience!
All the best,
– Chen Yin
P.S. I’ll post this discussion on Campfire as well.
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