Monday, December 24, 2007

You're not really here Christmas Eve, are you?

You aren't really looking at Unit 9 News on Christmas Eve, are you?

Go check NORAD's Santa tracking instead. Sheesh.

Looks like the state veterinarian, and at least one press person, were also at work Christmas Eve:

California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer has granted a 24-hour permit waiving all brand inspection and health requirements for nine reindeer slated to visit California on the evening of December 24 and the in early morning hours of December 25.
Whew. Some of us never even thought about the health and regulatory implications of those reindeer flitting hither and yon on Christmas Eve. Thank goodness Dr. Breitmeyer is on top of things.

Health Requirements for Santa's Reindeer Waived by State Veterinarian (press release from the California Department of Food and Agriculture)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Chicago PeopleSoft Implementation Shorts Teacher's Retirement Checks

No surprise here: Chicago Public Schools implemented PeopleSoft and promptly began shorting teacher's retirement checks. After six months or so, the problem is still not fixed, and PeopleSoft is still sending bad information to the pension fund:

About 1,700 recently retired teachers, principals and administrators have had pension paycheck problems since the Chicago Public Schools converted to a PeopleSoft payroll system, which has been giving inaccurate salary and pension contribution information to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund for months, Pension Fund officials say.
Retirees report their checks are short anywhere from $300 to $1000 per month.

Pay shortage 'a cheap shot': CPS retirees [Chicago Sun-Times]

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another Discrimination Lawsuit Against Fresno State

Fresno State University is facing yet another lawsuit over sexual harassment in its athletics program. Iris Levesque worked in the men's basketball office from 2000-2005, and contends she was let go in retaliation for her complaints of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, and violation of campus and NCAA rules.

She says in the complaint that she and Lopes “had a contentious working relationship due to her regular complaints of inappropriate behavior by Coach Lopes, his staff, and his student athletes. This inappropriate behavior took the form of gender and age discrimination as well as potential violations of NCAA rules and CSU, Fresno policies.”
Fresno State hit with another lawsuit - Ex-secretary says complaints about Lopes got her fired. [Fresno Bee]
Another discrimination suit against Fresno State [Indybay]

Good thing Chancellor Reed has been "working with" campus president John Welty for years to fix all this:
"All Fresno State has is its integrity. When bad things happen, you have to take decisive action to make the corrections." [...]

Reed made the statement in the tumultuous spring of 2003, after it was revealed that a former adviser conspired to improperly provide academic help to three former Fresno State basketball players.

Reed also said during the 2003 interview that he had been working closely with Welty to fix Fresno State's athletic problems for the "last three years or longer."
Welty and Reed are joined at the hip [Fresno Bee]

State Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter, has called for Welty's resignation, and wrote to Chancellor Reed regarding his support of Welty:
“Your continued support of President John Welty, who allowed this climate of discrimination to exist during his tenure, raises serious questions regarding both your leadership abilities as well as the values your Chancellorship instills in the California State University.”
Florez has urged the California State University Board of Trustees to take action:
On Thursday Florez pledged that, short of immediate action by Reed, he would urge the CSU Board of Trustees to convene an emergency meeting to consider the future leadership of CSU Fresno. On Friday he wrote to the Board, calling on the Trustees to remove Welty as CSUF president and revoke Reed’s authority to determine the future course of legal action regarding allegations of gender discrimination against the university.

“It is clear to me that Chancellor Reed has become too invested in the outcome of these matters and has not made decisions in the best interest of the California State University as a whole,” Florez wrote.
Florez chairs the California State Senate Select Committee on Gender Discrimination and Title IX Implementation, and has scheduled a committee hearing on "gender discrimination at Fresno State" for Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 10:30.

Senator Dean Florez Calls for Welty's Resignation from CSUF [Press Release from Senator's Office]
Select Committee on Gender Discrimination and Title IX Implementation Agenda

The recent state auditor's report showed the CSU paid out $2.82 million in 41 employment discrimination cases over five years. This year's discrimination cases against Fresno State have resulted in $27 million in awards and settlements.

Governor to Declare Fiscal Emergency

The Governor has announced he will declare a fiscal emergency and call a special session of the Legislature because of the state budget.

Schwarzenegger announces fiscal emergency to cut budget [Associated Press]
Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Special Session to Address Fiscal Emergency [Press Release from Governor's Office]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Quick Rundown of CSUEU and SEIU Meetings

Ronnie Grant, CSUEU Vice President for Organizing, sent out this information on recent and upcoming meetings for CSUEU leadership:

Past meetings:

The CSEA Board of Directors held a special meeting via telephone call last night. On the call, the Board approved the restatement of the CSEA retirement plan (every 5 years the plan must be "restated" and the IRS approves it again - CSEA submitted the restarted plan to theIRS in 2006, and the IRS issued its approval in October 2007).

The Board also approved an amendment to the plan required by the Article 15 of the 2006-2009 collective bargaining agreement with UAW Local 2350. The plan was amended to make some changes to post-retirement health benefits, and to separate the text of the post-retirement health benefits from the retirement plan document into a separate document.

Last week, SEIU held a meeting of the State Council in San Diego. The agenda is attached [below].

And finally, today [Tuesday, December 11], Pat, Dennis, Phil, Brenda Brown and I met with Keith Willis and Kim Evon of SEIU at SEIU's Western Region office in Los Angeles. We discussed what resources SEIU can provide to CSUEU for our upcoming 2009 Contract Campaign. The meeting was very productive, and even though I was late, Phil took good notes. I will provide the Board and Statewide Organizing Committee with some more details once I write everything up.

Future meetings:

The Executive Officer committee will be meeting at the 10th St. facility in Sacramento this December 19-20. Topics will include the transition of SFSU Head Start employees from SEIU Local 1021 to CSUEU, updated info on our facility move from 10th St. to the 5th floor of CSEA's O St. building.

I have been noticed that CSEA will hold a Board of Directors meeting on Sunday, January 27 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento. The deadline for submission of an agenda item by a member of the CSEA Board is January 7. With the changes of resolution B&P 8/07 at General Council, CSUEU now has three elected representatives to the CSEA Board, and only one alternate. If you have an item for the CSEA Board, please let me, Pat, or Lori know ASAP.

The format has changed slightly:
- the Board Agenda Committee will meet 8:30-8:45 am
- the closed session is 9-10 am
- the open session is 10:15-4 pm

Here is the text of the SEIU meeting agenda forwarded by Ronnie:

October 3, 2007
Oakland Airport Hilton


10:00 a.m. Call to Order and Introductions

10:10 a.m. Adoption of Minutes

10:15 a.m. President's Report

10:20a.m. Executive Director’s Report

10:30 a.m. California Area Director’s Report

10:40 a.m. End of Session Legislative Report

11:00 a.m. Restructuring Committee Report on Proposed Constitution and Bylaws

12:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. Preparation for the 2008 State Council Planning Process

1:20 p.m. Health Care Campaign & Special Session

2:00 p.m. February Primary Ballot Measures
[a] Transportation Funding
[2] Community College Funding
[3] Legislative Term Limits
[4] Indian Gaming Referenda

2:45 p.m. Preparations for the February, 2008 Election

3:00 p.m. Board Adjourns

Technical Letter on GSI and SSI Implementation

The CSU Chancellor's Office has issued technical letter HR/Salary 2007-28. The letter covers implementation of the salary increases recently negotiated between the CSU and CSUEU, including the General Salary Increase (GSI) and Service Salary Increase (SSI) for fiscal year 2007-2008. The letter defers details of implementing the rural health care stipend and parking fee increase to future technical letters.

CSU Technical Letter HR/Salary 2007-28 [PDF]

CSUEU President Gantt and State Budget

This email was sent out by CSUEU President Pat Gantt this afternoon:


Dear CSUEU Board Members, Legislative Committee and Activists,

The holiday season is upon us, but the Grinch is looming in the shadows. The Grinch I speak of is the 2008/09 State budget. Last month there were indications that the budget deficit was at $8 billion and growing in the LAO fiscal outlook:
California's Fiscal Outlook: LAO Projections 2007-08 Through 2012-13

Now there are two articles that indicate that the state is now in same bad place it was in 1991 when there were huge cuts in the state budget. The deficit projections keep changing because the revenue side of the equation is not meeting targets and the costs are also going up. The only good news is that there is talk of tax increases to solve part of the problem, but conservatives still resist using the “T’ word.
Tax boost predicted in face of state's largest deficit since '91

Just at 12 Noon today the below article was posted where the Governor is now seeking across the board cuts. It action appears to be more of a drill or trial balloon. The Governor will reveal his budget plans on January 10th.
Governor planning across-the-board budget cuts

The true budget problem has been there for a while and the state has wrestled with a variety of fixes and solutions, but the options seem to be limited with a deficit as large as predicted. I attended a presentation last week by Jean Ross, Director of the California Budget Project. In that presentation she identified that since 1993 there has been reductions equal to $11 billion in tax cuts by the state. These cuts became even more painful as there was a bust in the industry and now we have the impacts of the housing industry on the state economy.

It is too early to tell what the direct impact may be on the CSU, but there will be an impact. We will be analyzing the budget situation and will meet with the Chancellor's Office budget staff early in January to identify any impacts. I would like each chapter to make sure that either they have someone on the campus budget committee or that someone attends to observe the discussions. Your presence will help identify impacts and the reactions of the campuses. Past experience has taught us that each campus may react to budget shortfalls differently and we need to know potential impacts to our represented employees as early as possible.

I will keep you posted any developments through email or posts on the CSUEU website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Please share this information with your members.

In Union,
Pat Gantt, President

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

State Audit of Diversity in CSU Hiring Practices

The Bureau of State Audits has released its audit on diversity in the CSU's hiring practices. Report 2007-102.2, titled "California State University: It Is Inconsistent in Considering Diversity When Hiring Professors, Management Personnel, Presidents, and System Executives" summarizes its findings as:

Our review of California State University's (university) hiring processes and employment discrimination lawsuits revealed the following:

  • The university has issued little systemwide guidance to the campuses regarding the hiring process.
  • Campuses are inconsistent in their consideration of gender and ethnicity when hiring assistant, associate, and full professors.
  • Campuses use differing levels of detail when estimating the percentage of qualified women and minorities available for employment, decreasing the university's ability to effectively compare data among campuses.
  • Campuses have hiring policies that vary in terms of the amount of guidance they provide search committees for Management Personnel Plan employees, and one campus has developed no policies for these positions that relate to nonacademic areas.
  • While the hiring process for presidents requires input from many stakeholders, the hiring of system executives is largely at the discretion of the chancellor in consultation with the board of trustees.
  • As of June 30, 2007, the university spent $2.3 million on settlements resulting from employment discrimination lawsuits filed during the five-year period we reviewed, and $5.3 million for outside counsel in defending itself against such lawsuits.

Report links:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Parking Fee Increase Table

CSUEU has prepared a table of parking fee increases. Here's the description from the spreadsheet:

This Parking Fee Increase Table has been updated to reflect the General Salary Increase of 3.457%, which is retroactive to July 1, 2007. It is based on a Side Letter negotiated between CSUEU and CSU, dated May 10, 2007, which linked any parking fee increases to general salary increases. This Side Letter also provides that under no circumstances can parking fees on any campus exceed those paid by CSU students in any given fiscal year. It supersedes provisions 21.16 and 21.17, as well as a previous Side Letter on parking fees. All rates below are monthly.
The only copy we've found of the May 10 side letter is unfortunately a scanned image; we apologize for this and will try to find a more readable version with actual words in it.

Wondering why the 2006/07 and 2007/08 increases have the same effective date? Teven Laxer, Senior Labor Relations Representative and our chief negotiator on the contract, explains:
"Parking fee increases that accrued based on FY 2006/07 compensation were effective on 7/1/07.

Increases for FY 2007/08 are technically retroactive to July 1, 2007, but campuses may implement them at the same time the raises are implemented. That remains to be seen."
Side Letter - Parking Fees and General Salary Increase - May 2007 [image PDF]
Parking fee increases table
Parking fee increases spreadsheet [Excel spreadsheet]

Fire Leave Agreement

CSUEU has posted images of the agreement reached with the CSU regarding leave during the October fires. Because the document is currently a bit difficult to find on the main web site, we've put a copy on the Unit 9 server for your convenience:

Memorandum of Understanding - Administrative Leave - Fires - October 2007 [image PDF]

This copy appears to be a scanned image; we are trying to get a proper copy and will post as soon as we can get one. In the meantime we abjectly apologize for the obstacle.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

SEIU Scholarship Applications Available Now

CSUEU members and their children are eligible for several SEIU scholarships. The criteria and selection process vary; one is even done by lottery among applicants who have correctly answered a series of questions about an SEIU report. Applications can be downloaded or filed online. The application deadline is March 1, 2008.

CSUEU members are SEIU members as well; we are SEIU Local 2579.

SEIU Scholarship list
Eligibility information

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Agreement on Leave for October Fires, Progress for Unit 13

CSUEU has reached an agreement with the CSU on leave related to the October fires, and reports progress toward a contract for Unit 13. A "conceptual agreement" means basically that the CSU and the CSUEU agreed on a list of bullet points and will flesh out the exact language, in proper sentences and format for signing, later.

From Bargaining News #7:

Agreement Reached on ATO [Administrative Time Off] for employees affected by Fires of October 2007

  • Employees who were required to return to or remain at work during the campus closures, regardless of whether they performed their regular assignment, shall be eligible for emergency pay, pursuant to Article 20, Section 20.52. Pursuant to that section, non-exempt employees earn an additional one-half hour pay for each hour worked. Exempt employees receive informal time off, as agreed to by their appropriate administrator.
  • In addition to Section 20.52, the agreement we just reached provides non-exempt employees with one-half hour informal time off for each hour worked during the campus closure. This informal time off must be mutually scheduled by the employee and his/her administrator with 180 days. If an agreement to use the time is not reached, the employee may suggest three alternative times to use the leave, no later than September 30, 2008, and the administrator must select one of them. If the employee fails to submit three choices, the administrator can direct the use of the informal time off.
  • The period of full or partial campus closure shall not count toward the five-day automatic resignation period for any employee who may have been absent with authorized leave.
  • Employees required to report to work during the closure, but were unable because of the emergency
    conditions to do so, shall be placed on administrative leave.
  • Other provisions of the Side Letter are consistent with the Technical Letter issued by the Chancellor’s Office on October 23, 2007. The full text of the Side Letter is posted on the CSUEU website.

CSU indicates that we are closer to a Conceptual Agreement for BU 13 ELP Instructors at CSULA

  • After nearly one and one-half years of negotiations and discussions, CSUEU and CSU appear to be closer to a conceptual agreement to cover the employees in recently organized Bargaining Unit 13.
  • BU 13 is comprised of English Language Program Instructors at CSU Los Angeles.
  • The parties meet again in mid-December and hope to announce progress after that bargaining session.

November 28 Mediation Results

CSUEU has announced that the November 28 mediation session with the CSU resulted in a conceptual agreement. Essentially that means the CSU and the CSUEU agreed on a list of bullet points and will flesh out the exact language, in proper sentences and format, later.

From Bargaining News #7:

Conceptual Agreement on IRP funding for FY 2007/08

  • $1.6 million (the equivalent of .25% General Salary Increase) shall be used for In-Range Progressions (IRPs).
  • IRP funds will be allocated to campuses on a pro rata basis.
  • The $1.6 million IRP allocation is not intended to supplant funds campuses have already spent or have committed to spend for IRPs in FY 2007.
  • The Chancellor’s Office will not direct campuses to target specific classifications for IRPs.
  • Any funds unspent at the end of FY 2007 shall roll over into FY 2008.
  • Implementation language still needs to be developed.