Thursday, November 29, 2007

New "Know Your Rights" Flyers Online

Did you know we have nifty new Know Your Rights flyers online now? Recently-updated topics include:

  • Reclassification and In-Range Progression
  • Layoffs
  • A Practical Guide to In-Range Progression
  • Probation Guide
Several are in PDF format for ease of printing.

CSU Outsources to Australia

The CSU has contracted with an Australian firm named HarvestRoad to provide parts of the California State University (CSU) Digital Marketplace. The CRN article describes the work as:

  • "the design and development of prototypes that are informed and tested by the needs and requirements of students, faculty, librarians, and disabled students services throughout the CSU system." and
  • "expanding the range and reach of digital collections accessed through a federated search service to provide users greater choice of content; integrating the federated search service into a variety of application environments that deliver content into the user’s environment of choice; systematically collecting end user requirements through use case development and focus groups with faculty, students, librarians and disability student services officers; and extending requirements gathering outside the CSU system"
That sounds like marketing-speak for:
  • doing end user requirement analysis and testing
  • expanding online/digital material and making it easier to find and use

California University goes with Aussie developer (CRN Australia)
HarvestRoad press release
CSU Digital Marketplace page at Chancellor's Office

Was sending California taxpayer dollars to Utah insufficiently exotic?

Bargaining... Happened. Mustn't Say More.

The CSU and CSUEU bargaining teams met yesterday, November 28, at Dominguez Hills over the remaining 0.25%. Our lips are sealed (team discipline, speaking with one voice, and all that), but expect an announcement soon from headquarters.

Meanwhile, you can read about how the December 14 checks will be for the 3.457% GSI's only; the SSI's take longer and can be expected in January.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tentative Agreement Reached With CSU

The California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) and California State University (CSU) have reached a tentative agreement on wages and benefits for fiscal year 2007-08.

The CSUEU announcement [PDF]:

The CSU Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579, is pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with the CSU on wages and benefits for fiscal year 2007/08. On November 17, the Union bargaining team voted unanimously to accept the CSU’s November 8th conceptual proposal, which was substantially similar to proposals the union has been discussing with the CSU for several weeks. CSUEU and CSU will now draft final language, which will be submitted to the CSU Board of Trustees for ratification in early December. Reopener agreements are not subject to ratification by the union’s membership. Assuming there are no delays in processing the raises, employees should see their new pay rates reflected in December, and should receive retroactive checks in January.

“The bargaining team and board of directors believe this is an acceptable agreement,” said CSUEU President Pat Gantt. “We now intend to focus our energy on fighting for adequate funding for the CSU in FY 2008.”

Highlights of the Tentative Agreement between CSUEU and CSU are as follows:

  • General Salary Increase (GSI) of 3.457%, retroactive to July 1, 2007.
  • Service Salary Increase (SSI) of 1% for eligible employees, to be paid on an employee’s anniversary date in FY 2007/08.
  • Retroactive to July 1, 2007, the SSI Maximum Rate will be increased by another 5%, which will make more employees eligible for SSIs during FY 2007/08.
  • Rural healthcare subsidy for eligible employees in PERS-designated zip codes without access to HMOs will increase from $750 per year to $1000 per year.
  • Pursuant to a side letter negotiated in May 2007, parking fees will be increased by 3.457%, retroactive to July 1, 2007, only on those campuses where students are currently paying more than staff.
  • CSUEU and CSU will continue to participate in mediation over the disputed .25%. The Union’s goal is to maximize the GSI. The CSU wants to dedicate these funds to market salary adjustments.
Your CSUEU Bargaining Team
  • Pat Gantt (Chico), CSUEU President
  • Dennis Dillon (Northridge), Vice President for Representation
  • Pam Robertson (Sacramento), Chair, BU 2 Council
  • Lynn Barba (Fullerton), Vice Chair, BU 2 Council
  • Sharon Cunningham (San Diego), Chair, BU 5 Council
  • Donna Dodrill (Northridge), Vice Chair, BU 5 Council
  • Annel Martin (San Bernardino), Chair, BU 7 Council
  • Jennifer O’Neal-Watts (Sacramento), Vice Chair, BU 7 Council
  • Rich McGee (San Bernardino), Chair, BU 9 Council
  • Rocky Waters (Humboldt), Vice Chair, BU 9 Council
  • Teven Laxer, Chief Negotiator

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Report: November 17, 2007

Bargaining Unit Council 9 met Saturday, November 17, 2007, in Redondo Beach. Here is the report from the Chair, Rich McGee:

In-Range Progression:
We're urging every employee to formally apply for an in-range progression. Not every employee will receive one, but a written record of the attempt will show the Chancellor's Office that, as CSUEU Pat Gantt told Chancellor Reed, we don't have a market equity issue. We have an issue with employees failing to move through their salary ranges.

Exempt issues:
We get a lot of questions about the implications of exempt status, and people often get different answers from different people. Unit 9 is putting together a small working group, to research exempt issues and put together a central, consistent source of information. We will publish this information on the Unit 9 site, so everyone can use it.

Outsourcing:
Outsourcing appears to be increasing. Because we're often not aware of new external contracts, Teven Laxer has suggested that each chapter have their LRR do an information request, requesting a copy of all contracts currently in place. If a contract was written for more than 180 days, then we need to look more closely at it, and file if necessary.

Job postings:
Just a reminder: Check the job announcements on your campus to make sure they're correctly classified and consistent with the Classification and Qualification Standards. If they aren't consistent, file a grievance.

LSS series:
The PERB decision about the LSS series is due soon, and we look forward to welcoming 500 new members to Unit 9.

Unit 9 Information online:
The Unit 9 web site has links to:
Unit 9 News, an online newsletter for Unit 9. Most content turns out to be of general interest. Unit 9 News is updated frequently, and has a newsfeed and an archive. This Bargaining Unit Council report will be posted there.
Union Resources, a one-stop source for all kinds of useful information for activists and members. If you're looking for something and we don't have it there, tell us and we will add it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chapter 318 Action: IRP Workshops, Fires, Union Clothing

Chapter 318 (San Diego) has been busy:

  • They just had the first of several chapter meetings with a focus on Reclassifications and In-Range Progressions.
  • They are scheduling IRP workshops for each bargaining unit and are hoping for a big turn out.
  • They just got a new union meeting area, in an office which used to be a copy center for the university.
  • The chapter has ordered new shirts and jackets for all of the stewards.
  • They are designing new t-shirts for chapter members in connection with a big chapter event planned for after the holidays.
  • The chapter has published a Frequently Asked Questions list regarding the fires and campus closure on their rather smart-looking web site.
Browsing the chapter web site, you'll also find a discussion forum, and a mailing list with online archives and unusually sensible settings and security warnings.

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Meets Saturday 5:15 p.m.

This week we received confirmation of the day and time of the Bargaining Unit Council 9 meeting. As suspected, it will be this Saturday evening from 5:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. That's after the daytime CSUEU Board of Directors meeting and before the evening dinner/reception. For the room location, please check the hotel meeting room board when you arrive, or look for an updated printed schedule at the Board of Directors meeting.

Please email Rich McGee, Unit 9 Chair, about any
- questions
- comments
- demands
- remarks
- complaints
- compliments
- campus issues
- anecdotes
- data points
related to the agenda items. After all, if you don't tell the Bargaining Unit Chair what's happening on your campus, or what you think is important, how will he know?

As a reminder, we have a collection of Redondo Beach area travel information for people headed to the Board of Directors meeting.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chapter 308 Action: IRP Workshops, 35 New Stewards, Joint Labor Picnic

Chapter 308 (Stanislaus) has been busy, busy, busy. After claiming thinking gave him a headache, chapter president Frank Borelli gave in and told us:

Rita Long and Dawn McCulley did an IRP workshop for the academic staff in the departments. We just had a Labor Picnic on campus sponsored by CFA and CSUEU. We recently had steward training and trained 35 new stewards over two days. We are planning a quarterly meeting on December 14, 2007 for the membership.

We approached the President and his cabinet recently about staff workload issues. All VP's met with their areas and are assessing staff workloads and asking for ideas for process improvement from staff. Staff are also involved with process reengineering of their work. We have also asked to have managers communicate better and help set work priorities. The President had us meet with the MPP's and give a presentation on staff workload. We in the labor business are really proud of how well we are working with management. That sounds weird but it is true. Sure we all know that things could change quickly but really welcome the current relationship. We are all appreciative of our new President and how he has set the stage for cooperation between labor and management. We will see where this project goes.......
A few more tidbits:
  • Another IRP workshop is planned for January, to be taught by their chapter LRR Roni Jennings.
  • The stewards will collect the IRP requests and turn in them in to HR, and the chapter will track the responses.
  • More than 300 people, including families and children, attended the joint labor picnic co-hosted with CFA. CSUEU president Pat Gantt attended, as did statewide CFA leadership. This was their 7th annual union picnic.
What has your chapter been up to? Email us and share!

Sacramento State President "Feels Like a Target"

Sacramento State campus president Alexander Gonzales feels unappreciated, according to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee:

His bosses at California State University system headquarters love him. His own faculty, not so much.
Turning his back on the "California State University, Sacramento" name, the disappearance of the trademark campus chickens, a $265,000 president's office remodel while older classrooms, labs, and offices decay, $27,000 to remodel his kitchen, a questionable $233,000 loan, a no-confidence vote from faculty, one of the lowest five-year graduation rates in the system, missed enrollment targets... all rewarded by the CSU:
Last summer, CSU trustees rewarded Gonzalez with an 11 percent raise, bringing his compensation to $295,000 in annual salary and another $72,000 in housing and car stipends.

Last week, a state audit questioned perks given to Gonzalez to help cover his move to Sacramento, including $27,000 to remodel his kitchen and a short-term home loan for $233,000 at 1.697 percent interest.
The $233,000 loan mentioned was from the campus foundation, and was given to Gonzalez when he moved from the San Marcos campus to Sacramento in 2003. University Enterprises, the campus foundation at Sacramento State, has rebuffed the Sacramento Bee's efforts to get a closer look at its activities, on the grounds that University Enterprises is not part of the university. The paper's editorial page editor, in a separate opinion piece, thought that failed the straight-face test:

It's obvious that University Enterprises wouldn't exist without Sac State. Sac State is a creation of the people of California. So it seems reasonable to think that the people of California have an intrinsic interest in how this foundation spends its money – money it got solely because of its affiliation with a public university – in support of the university the public created.

If state law doesn't enable the public – not just journalists but students, faculty and interested citizens – to find that out, then the Legislature needs to change the law.

This is the the taxpayer-funded public university system that the Governor feels should not have too much oversight because mandating public disclosure would be "micromanaging."

CSUS boss feels like a target (Sacramento Bee)
A peek inside a Sac State Foundation (Sacramento Bee editorial)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chapter 314 Action: IRP Workshop

Hosted by chapter president Mary Granger, and featuring Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee, Chapter 314 (Dominguez Hills) is presenting two one-hour workshops today on getting an In-Range Progression (IRP). Rich McGee will discuss the different ways to get compensation increases, and then focus on the IRP process at Dominguez Hills.

The workshops are open to members of all represented bargaining units and will be held in Small Classroom 102, at noon and one.

The Dominguez Hills chapter has also published a slew of interesting documents on its chapter web site, including the "$100k Club" list, a list of MPP's making more than $100,000 per year, and a selection of short documents for employees on topics such as "Performance evaluations," "What's in your personnel file?" and "Surviving the workplace."

"Clueless Trustees" Blasted

The San Diego Union-Tribune published an editorial headlined "Clueless trustees," blasting the California State University Board of Trustees' oblivious response to the recent state audit of CSU executive compensation practices. In response to Trustee Achtenberg and Chancellor Reed crowing over the audit finding "no violations of policy or law" the editorial says:

Gracious. No policy violations occurred because the pay policies are too vague and elastic to violate. Set by the CSU Board of Trustees, those policies are the problem.

And later:
CSU administration has been as devious as beneficent. In pursuing raises to meet the salaries of their peers elsewhere, executives deliberately counted only their salaries, not their hefty perks and benefits.
The editorial takes the trustees to task for not bothering to do their jobs:
Yet the board [Achtenberg] chairs, the overseer of CSU's budget, apparently has preferred the “don't ask, don't tell” approach to benefits and perks, which add so much to total executive compensation. With student fees doubling, such credulousness is, well, incredible. Trustees should not forget they are entrusted to spend public money to provide students a good education.
Clueless trustees: Time to close down CSU's get-rich factory (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Tuesday Trustee Meeting Report

The California State University Board of Trustees met yesterday in the form of various committees, including the Committee on Collective Bargaining and the Committee on Finance.

California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) speakers addressing the Committee on Collective Bargaining were:

  • Pat Gantt, President
  • Dennis Dillon, Vice President for Representation
  • Sharon Cunningham, Chair of Bargaining Unit 5
  • Annel Martin, Chair of Bargaining Unit 7
  • Rich McGee, Chair of Bargaining Unit 9
The CSUEU speakers were united in their theme that the big problem with staff compensation is not so much a market equity issue, which the CSU bargaining team has been pushing at the table as a distraction, but a matter of employees advancing through the ranges. For most employees, the only "raise" they see after they are hired is the General Salary Increase (GSI), which is just a partial Cost of Living increase, which is often is smaller than the inflation rate. Few employees (on the order of 10% or fewer) ever get an In-Range Progression (IRP). Most are discouraged from even asking for one.

Of the 16,401 CSU employees represented by CSUEU in bargaining units 2, 5, 7, and 9, only 67 (0.41%) are at the top of their service range. 2032 employees, or 12.39%, are at the very bottom of their salary range. Teven Laxer, Senior Labor Relations Representative at headquarters, reports that fully 60% of CSUEU-represented employees are in the lower quarter of their salary range.

In unit 9, the picture is not much brighter: of 7349 employees in bargaining unit 9, 43 (0.59%) are at the maximum of their salary range. 634 (8.63%) employees in unit 9 are at the bottom of their salary range.

Cal State fees could climb 10% (Los Angeles Times)
Trustee consider 2008-09 budget; CSU fees may be going up (San Francisco Chronicle)

The full Board of Trustees meets today.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chapter 304 Action: Information Table November 13

Leeanne Bowes, Vice President of Chapter 304 (Sonoma), reports on her chapter's plans for Tuesday:

Chapter 304 will have a table set up on Tuesday, November 13th to show our support. Our new LRR will be there, we will also hand out info on a letter writing, phone calling campaign to the CO's office. At the same time we will also be recruiting new members as many fee payers believe they are members. We will be handing out contracts, new employee packets, RRR buttons, and a flyer with info on how to contact the Chancellor with an example of a letter they can send.

Some members of Chapter 304 have formed a Staff Action Coalition. They are the ones who should get credit for this table. Members of the Board will also be taking times at the table on Tuesday.

What's your chapter doing? Email us and we'll post it here!

Labor Relations Representative Reassignments

This email was sent out Friday by Philip Coonley:

CSUEU Board of Directors, Chief Stewards and Staff:

After consulting with impacted staff and Chapter Presidents, as well as Pat Gantt, CSUEU president and Dennis Dillon, CSUEU Vice President of Representation, I am making additional staffing changes, effective November 12.

Staff will work together and with chapter leadership to ensure a smooth transition; I expect all representation issues, organizing plans and meeting commitments to be met during this transition.

With that, here are the assignments (those not listed remain unchanged):
Gil Rojo - San Luis Obispo and Long Beach
Brenda Brown - Pomona, Northridge and Channel Islands
Hubert Lloyd - Chancellor's Office, Dominguez Hills and Los Angeles.

I want to thank all of you for your input and cooperation. If any of you have questions or comments, please feel free to call or e-mail me.


Phillip S. O. Coonley, Chief of Staff
California State University Employees Union (CSUEU)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday Rally at Chancellor's Office

CSUEU will be holding a rally at the Chancellor's Office next Tuesday, November 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., during the Board of Trustees meeting. If you can take vacation or other time off work to join in the rally, CSUEU will provide lunch. The rally link above has directions, RSVP instructions, and parking information.

While the CSU executives enjoy their fat raises, we are still at impasse. We must continue to send the CSU the message that it's time to pay staff fairly.

Fresno State "Hackers" Facing Federal Charges

According to news reports and a federal indictment, a Fresno State student assistant who worked at the IT help desk obtained his supervisor's password and used it to access a file containing the PeopleSoft usernames and passwords for university employees, including the registrar, extension academic program registrar, and the academic records coordinator. He then used the account information to change his own grades and those of a friend. A federal grand jury has returned indictments against the pair with charges including conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, unauthorized access of computer and identity theft.

The incidents happened in 2004, and were discovered during an audit intended to check the PeopleSoft data conversion process. The campus apparently still does not know whether personal information belonging to anyone else was accessed.

Two Charged with Hacking PeopleSoft to Fix Grades (PC World)
Grand jury indicts 2 ex-CSUF students (Fresno Bee)
Federal charges for cheating, hacking at Fresno State (KSEE 24 News)
Hack database, change school grades, go to jail for 20 years (The Register)
University grade hackers face twenty year sentence (Tech Blorge)
Indictment [PDF]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Board of Trustees Meeting November 13-14

The CSU Board of Trustees meets Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, November 13 and 14. The complete meeting schedule and agendas are available on the Board of Trustees web page.

Tidbits from the agendas and schedule:

  • Tuesday 11:35 a.m. - Committee on Collective Bargaining (open session)
  • Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - full Board of Trustees meeting
  • The chair (Roberta Achtenberg) is asking the Board to form an ad-hoc committee to come up with recommendations regarding the recent audit and report back to the Board at the January 2008 meeting.
  • The current version of the proposed minutes from the September 2007 Committee on Collective Bargaining misidentify most of the CSUEU speakers from that meeting as "chapter chairs," whatever those may be. These minutes are proposed for adoption at next week's meeting, so the CSU still has time to correct the error if they care to have an accurate public record of the meeting. [See the Committee on Collective Bargaining agenda.]
  • The Board will be approving some of its 2008-2009 budget requests to the Legislature. [See the Committee on Finance agenda.]
  • The Board will look at raising the master plan enrollment ceiling from 20,000 full-time equivalent students (FTE) to 25,000 FTE for San Francisco State, and from 25,000 FTE to 35,000 FTE for San Diego State. [See the Committee on Campus Planning, Building, and Grounds agenda.]
  • The Board will consider a motion to oppose Proposition 92, an initiative on the February 2008 ballot. Proposition 92 stabilizes community college funding while leaving the CSU vulnerable as one of the few places left in the state budget where cuts could be made. [See the Committee on Governmental Relations agenda.]
You can address the Board of Trustees yourself, or write to them. To write, use the mailing address on the second page of the current meeting schedule, or the email address list compiled by Ronnie Grant.

CSU Compensation Audit Released

The Bureau of State Audits has released its report number on compensation in the CSU, titled California State University: It Needs to Strengthen Its Oversight and Establish Stricter Policies for Compensating Current and Former Employees. The audit examines compensation policy and practice at the CSU for the period from July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2007. Even in the mild language of an auditor's report, the findings are not flattering for the CSU or the Board of Trustees.

Among the audit findings:

  • "From July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2007, the university payroll has increased by $225.8 million, or 9.6 percent, but increases varied significantly by employment classification. Average executive compensation increased by 25.1 percent over this time period, with salary increases contributing the most to the growth."
  • Over and over, the Board of Trustees cited spurious studies as justification for extravagant executive raises.
  • The CSU has ignored years of recommendations from CPEC and the legislative analyst that a more accurate and reasonable method of comparing executive compensation be used.
  • The auditors asked the CSU why it relied on questionable methodology to justify executive compensation increases. "The vice chancellor of human resources responded that the university did not believe it appropriate to deviate from a methodology that had been agreed upon years ago..." In other words: the CSU got away with it in the past, and sees no reason to change.
  • Only after media criticism of CSU executive transition programs did the Board of Trustees require the Chancellor to provide a copy of transition agreements and submit an annual report of existing transition agreements. The Chancellor apparently does not believe the Trustees need to know whether the executives in question have to actually do anything for the money they get: "... the annual report presented by the chancellor in March 2007 does not include information on the status of accomplishments or deliverables that former executives may have agreed to provide the university as part of their transition agreements."
  • "... the university has not developed a central system enabling it to adequately monitor adherence to its compensation policies or measure their impact on university finances." This failure "impairs the ability of the chancellor's office to provide effective oversight of its compensation policies."
Executive summary of CSU Compensation Audit
CSU Compensation Audit fact sheet [PDF]
CSU Compensation Audit full report [PDF]

Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - added links for news reports:

Charlie Reed claims in the San Francisco Chronicle story that "No one received any preferential treatment." Hmmm. How many of you received a loan of over $230,000 from your campus foundation, at 1.697% interest? Alexander Gonzalez, president at Sacramento State, did (page 87 of the report). Reed admitted the deal had not been publicly disclosed.
Additional coverage links, added November 12: