Monday, November 24, 2008

Staffing Update

This was sent out last night by CSUEU Chief of Staff Phillip Coonley:

CSUEU Board of Directors and Staff:

We have just changed one of our temporary vacancies to a permanent vacancy. Michael Hejazi is no longer on a leave of absence from CSEA and is no longer a CSEA employee. We will be recruiting in-house for fourteen days, per the UAW contract. We will be advertising for outside applicants so we are prepared if we are unable to find anyone in-house.

We are advertising for a ½ time temporary position to cover the Long Beach campus. Thank-you Peggy Oneil-Rosales, Dennis Dillon and the southern California staff – and especially Brian Young – for stepping in and keeping the needs of the campus front and center. All of our staff have been working very hard to make up for the vacancies in San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Jose, Sonoma, Chico and Long Beach, and it is time to provide some relief.

Please feel free to give me a call if you have any comments, concerns or questions.

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


Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 19 Budget Update from Pat Gantt

CSUEU President Pat Gantt's November 19 budget update was sent out yesterday evening and is available on the CSUEU web site.

An excerpt:

The special session proposals by Governor Schwarzenegger take the CSU system back to his January budget proposal and have the cumulative effect of cutting $97 million out of the current year budget. … The proposed cuts require both adoption by the legislature and signature by the Governor to go into effect. We will be asking each CSUEU member to contact their legislature with a message to stop the cuts, seek new revenues, and invest in the CSU for the future of California.

Read the entire update for an overview of the state situation and information on the 2009-2010 CSU budget request.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bakersfield Layoff: Chair and Employee Address Trustees, Rally

Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee addressed the Trustees Committee on Collective Bargaining yesterday concerning the recent layoff at California State University, Bakersfield:

Three weeks ago, CSUEU received a formal layoff notice, claiming lack of work for a Unit 9 Equipment Technician at CSU Bakersfield.

That employee is here with us outside, right now, getting ready to address the crowd assembled right outside these doors. That employee is a decorated Vietnam veteran, who also is 50% disabled. He has been a hard-working, loyal employee at CSU Bakersfield for 24 years now. He is able to work, he wants to work, and he can work!

Members of the Board, and President Mitchell, please remember that it isn't always just about cutbacks and cost savings. You must always remember that employees are people, people with families, hopes and dreams. The cuts you are making do have consequences. If you doubt that, I invite all of you to go outside and listen to the words of the individual who is scheduled to speak next, Gary T. Ivey, the laid-off Equipment Technician from CSU Bakersfield.

Yesterday's Cuts Have Consequences rally at the Chancellor's Office featured a series of CSU faculty, staff, and students addressing the crowd with one-minute descriptions of the impact of CSU budget cuts. The California Faculty Association (CFA) reports a crowd of 500 CSU faculty, staff, students, and community supporters.

Here's the CFA Headlines writeup of Gary Ivey's appearance:

Gary Ivey, a scientific equipment technician who was recently laid off from his position at CSU Bakersfield, said that aside from losing his job, these cuts mean that students do not have access to current scientific equipment for science lab classes. Ivey stated, California needs more scientists and nurses and other health professionals who are well trained and up to date. Cutting back in the sciences is bad for our students, bad for Bakersfield where I live, and bad for California.


Pat Gantt Calls CSU Executive Raises "Bad Form"

CSUEU President Pat Gantt criticizes recent CSU executive pay raises in today's San Francisco Chronicle:

"Paying managers and executives more at a time when everyone else is sacrificing is bad form," said Pat Gantt, president of the CSU Employees Union, which represents about 16,000 staff members. "It's like the executives at Enron taking bonuses while the company goes down ... .

"In this kind of budget crunch, it's really a question of leadership," Gantt added.

Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, a Trustees, is quoted as saying the CSU may need to freeze CSU executive pay raises and hiring to repair its credibility:

"We need a better image to gain the public's trust. Unless we get the public's support, we won't get the funding we need."

The Chronicle notes that the position of Vice Chancellor, University Relations and Advancement had been vacant for more than 5 years. Yesterday the Board of Trustees approved filling that position at an annual salary of $240,000, plus a monthly vehicle allowance of $1,000, and standard CSU executive perks including an annual physical and the executive transition program.

Jeffrey Bleich, Chair of the Board of Trustees, described an executive salary freeze, hiring freeze or layoffs as a last resort and said the Trustees had not considered it.


Report Building Maintenance and Safety Issues

Skilled trades employees in Unit 6, represented by State Employees Trades Council (SETC), are in the midst of contract negotiations with CSU.

Please report any building safety or maintenance issues you notice on your campus, through your usual campus channels.

Help show the CSU that it isn't just high-paid executives who matter – staff on the ground, who actually keep the university functioning, make a difference too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Inside CSUEU

Ronnie Grant, CSUEU Vice President for Organizing, has created a new information source for activists: Inside CSUEU. It offers News and tips for leaders, stewards and staff of CSUEU.

Recent topics include the CSU Board of Trustees meeting, the CSU Labor Council, the CSUEU Board of Directors meeting, and CSUEU membership rosters and application processing.

Ronnie says he expects to post information once or twice a week. The site offers RSS feed and archives by date.

Trustees Update: Skilled Trades Already Picketing

In addition to the planned Alliance for the CSU event outside the Board of Trustees meeting later today, the skilled trades employees were already picketing by 10 this morning. Skilled trades employees are in bargaining unit 6, represented by State Employees Trades Council (SETC).

If you missed it, the Alliance for the CSU's event was described in last week's CSUEU News:

On the Chancellor's Office patio, staff, faculty, and students will testify with examples of how Cuts Have Consequences. The CSU Trustees are invited to listen during their lunch break.

Trustees Meeting November 18-19, 2008

The CSU Board of Trustees meets today and tomorrow. Yesterday the chancellor and three trustees spoke with the media about how the budget cuts affect the CSU.

The 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 budgets are the big items on the agenda right now. From the CSU's summary in the press release:

The Board will receive the CSU proposed 2009-10 budget, which requests an augmentation of $611.4 million from the state. This request includes $341.2 million from the state’s General Fund that is the minimum needed to fully fund the CSU under the provisions of the compact. This amount includes $86.9 million in revenue to avoid a 10 percent student fee increase. In addition, the CSU will propose a $116.7 million compact recovery for revenues that were not received from the state in the 2008-09 fiscal year, and that are needed to avoid losing ground in closing salary lags and reaching competitive salary levels for faculty and staff. The budget also recognizes $153. 4 million to cover needs above the compact that will pay for CSU academic and administrative priorities.

Regarding cuts to the already-trimmed 2008-2009 budget, the CSU says:

As a result of the state’s poor financial condition, the Governor has proposed further mid-year budget cuts of $66.3 million to the CSU 2008-09 budget. This cut comes on top of a recent one-time $31.3 million reduction and in addition to $215 million in unfunded CSU operational needs in the 2008-09 Budget signed in September. The Board will hear updated information on the impact of the reduced funding on the CSU budget.

Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee will address the Committee on Collective bargaining this morning, focusing on the layoff at CSU Bakersfield of a long-term employee.

Tidbits from the agendas:

  • Vice presidential compensation report, listing appointments and salary changes since January 22, 2008, and Supplemental and/or Other Compensation approved on/or after 1/22/08. Salaries on this list range from $140,004 for an Interim Vice President at CSU Monterey Bay to $225,000 for a Vice President, Administration & CFO at CSU Los Angeles. (Committee on University and Faculty Personnel)
  • Relocation expenses report: $71,732.97 for new San José State University president Jon S. Whitmore. (Committee on University and Faculty Personnel)
  • Vice Chancellor, Human Resources: Appointment of Gail E. Brooks at a salary of $255,200, plus a monthly vehicle allowance of $1,000, Standard benefit provisions afforded CSU executive classification employees regarding retirement program coverages from CalPERS, an annual medical physical examination, health plan programs, insurance programs, and vacation and sick leave accruals, and the executive transition program. Brooks has been the interim appointee in this position since August 2007. (Committee on University and Faculty Personnel)
  • Vice Chancellor, University Relations and Advancement: Set annual salary for Garrett P. Ashley at $240,000, plus a monthly vehicle allowance of $1,000, the Standard benefit provisions afforded CSU executive classification employees… as above for Brooks, and the executive transition program. Ashley will also receive moving expenses of up to $48,775, or more if authorized by the chancellor, plus up to 90 days of temporary housing and storage of household good and furnishings. (Committee on University and Faculty Personnel)
  • Systemwide impaction: The chancellor is expected to declare the entire CSU system impacted. This allows for more restricted admissions criteria, in order to align funded and actual enrollment. Previously only specific campuses or majors had been declared impacted. (Committee on Educational Policy)
  • CSU Bakersfield: $1,245,000 for design and construction of a baseball practice field, to be funded by local community donations. $46,773,000 for design and construction of Student Housing Northeast, Phase I, to be financed with systemwide bonds which will be repaid from housing and parking reserves. (Committee on Campus Planning, Buildings and Grounds)
  • CSU East Bay: $31,997,000 for design and construction of a Recreation and Wellness Center, financed by systemwide bonds which will be repaid by an approved student fee increase. (Committee on Campus Planning, Buildings and Grounds)
  • CSU Northridge: $2,446,000 for renovation of food service and dining space in the Satellite Student Union Building, financed by systemwide bonds. The bonds auxiliary will be repaid from student meal plan revenues
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: $71,128,000 for design and construction of a Recreation Center Expansion, funded by systemwide bonds which will be repaid by a student fee increase passed in February 2008. (Committee on Campus Planning, Buildings and Grounds)
  • Approval of CSU's initial proposals for the 2008-2009 salary and benefits reopener bargaining with the International Union of Operating Engineers at Californa Maritime Academy (Committee on Collective Bargaining)
  • See the Committee on Finance agenda [PDF] for a more detailed discussion of the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 budgets by Richard P. West, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer.

A tidbit pulled from the minutes of the September Board of Trustees meeting:

  • Christine Helwick, CSU General Counsel, gave a report on CSU ligitation and stated that employment cases are the largest volume area and continues to constitute CSU's greatest exposure. [Editor's note: The quote is from the minutes, which typically paraphrase people's remarks.]


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Californians Want Higher Ed Made Higher Budget Priority

Natalia Bremer from Chapter 305 (San Francisco) and new Chair of the CSUEU Legislative Committee shared an interesting find about Californian's views on higher education costs:

According to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), Californians approve of the job California's higher education systems are doing. A majority think higher education spending should be a higher priority, and prefer shifting funds from other state programs to raising taxes or fees.

Californians give high grades to all three branches of the higher education system: community college (51% good, 15% excellent), California State University (52% good, 10% excellent), University of California (50% good, 15% excellent).

Funding is trickier:

Today, most Californians (83%) are concerned that the budget crisis will lead to significant cuts in funding for higher education, and more than half (54%) say spending for public colleges and universities should be a high or very high priority. Yet more than half (52%) are unwilling to pay higher taxes or to increase student fees (62%) in order to avoid such cuts. However, about half (53%) favor spending more state government money to avoid increasing tuition and fees – even if it means less money for other state programs.

PPIC describes itself as a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Tidbits from November 2008 CSUEU Board of Directors Meeting

Here's a quick update on this past weekend's Board of Directors meeting. This is not a complete report, but just some highlights which may be of interest.

Friday Evening Closed Session

The Friday night closed session consisted of 2 things:

  1. A presentation on corporate duties and responsibilities
  2. Bargaining strategy discussion

The session was scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and finished around 10:15 p.m.

An Aside: Send In Your Own Bargaining Ideas

All represented employees are invited to send their suggestions for contract improvements. Please email your ideas/suggestion/comments from off campus, using your off-campus email account to Rich McGee, BUC 9 Chair, at (Note: this email address is temporary, but will work at least until the end of December.)

  • If some part of the contract has affected you because it didn't cover your situation, or wasn't clear, please speak up.
  • Is there a section that reads one way to you, and another way to someone else? Let us know.
  • If you think something is missing, or doesn't make sense, please say so.

The more specific you can be, the better. Examples always help. If you've figured out something is a problem, but aren't sure what solution would work, at least tell us about the problem. It's easy to suppose that the people putting together these proposals are magically aware of every issue on every campus, but the truth is some things never filter up. It's up to you to speak up, and now is the best time.

Please don't think it's someone else's job to mention a contract problem, or assume that someone else has thought of the issue you're aware of. Even if you know the idea has been brought up, please write anyway. Hearing from 20 people that Problem X has affected them is different from hearing from only 2.

BUC Vice Chairs Stay On Board of Directors

There was a proposal to amend the Policy File to reduce your unit-based representation on the Board of Directors, by removing the Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) Vice Chairs from the Board. The Board of Directors voted to keep the Vice Chairs on the Board.

Lobby Day 2009: April 27-29

Lobby Day 2009 will take place Monday, April 27, 2009 through Wednesday, April 29, 2009, and will be held at the Citizen's Hotel in Sacramento. Here's the schedule passed out at the Board of Directors meeting:

TuesdayLegislative Appointments
Evening Social With Legislators
District Office Training

It was announced that Lobby Day attendees will have to sign in and out, and attend the full three days, to be reimbursed for travel costs. It was also announced that there will be no funding, period, for participants to come in Sunday night for the Monday morning start time, regardless of the travel involved. This was described as a cost-saving measure. Look for additional information to be posted on the CSUEU web site.

New MPP Salary List

A new list of Management Personnel Plan (MPP) salaries was distributed, with data as of October 31, 2008. The list is organized by campus, with MPPs listed alphabetically for each campus. The MPP salary list was distributed as a printed copy in the meeting binder, and electronically on CD.

Some chapters like to post these on chapter bulletin boards, and requests for copies from campus MPPs are not unusual.

Women's Conference 2009

The 11th California State Employees Association (CSEA) Women's Conference will be held March 27-29, 2009, at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza. The theme is Reaching New Heights Together and topics include financial planning for women, technology today, and work/life balance. Sponsorships, advertising space in the conference program, and vendor tables are available at costs ranging from $25 to $500.

New Claim Forms and Postage-Paid Envelopes

CSUEU has printed up spiffy new postage-paid envelopes to use for sending travel claims, reports, etc. These show CSUEU's new address as 1108 O ST FL 5.

We also have new expense claim forms. These have a medium-dark blue cover sheet with a revision date at the bottom of 09/08.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Supplemental Information for BUC 9 Report (November 2008 Meeting)

Some supplemental information and links to go with the Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) 9 report for the November 8, 2008 meeting:

Layoff Links

LSS Links


Here's the distribution by bargaining unit for campus-funded IRPs for fiscal year 2008-2009, through October 2008:

Bargaining UnitNumber of IRPs Systemwide
[95 of these were at the Chancellor's Office]
  • For the current fiscal year, a total of 236 IRPs have been approved for all bargaining units, at a cost to the campuses of $785,500 for the year.
  • An average of 6.59% of employees in all bargaining units received IRPs for fiscal year 2007-2008.

IRP Links

Exempt Employees

Here's the language of section 18.6 of the contract:

18.6   Exempt employees are expected to accomplish assigned work without regard for the number of hours worked. If exempt employees need to work extra hours in the business day or week, they do not receive overtime or CTO. When it is necessary for exempt employees to work extended hours, managers may authorize informal adjustments in work hours.

CTO stands for Compensatory Time Off.

Note also that 18.10 specifies that a five (5) day workweek is the norm. Section 15.3 states in part that Each full-time employee shall be considered to work not more than forty (40) hours each week.

Remember too that working from home as part of your work assignment – checking on systems, responding to calls, etc. – is time worked, and should be considered when requesting a schedule adjustment.

Exempt, Workload and Contract Links

Classification Issues

CSUEU requested on April 18, 2008, that the CSU study the creation of an Environmental Health and Safety Officer classification. So far we have received no response from the CSU. Right now, these employees are spread out in a variety of classifications.

BUC 9 Links

BUC 9 Report for November 8, 2008 Meeting

Here's the report for the November 8, 2008 Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) 9 meeting, which took place in Sacramento. This report will be presented to the CSUEU Board of Directors today. We'll post some additional information and supplemental links separately.

Layoff Update

  • We have received official notice of layoff at CSU Bakersfield, citing lack of work. We're talking to the affected employee and beginning the information request and negotiation process. A meet and confer date has already been set for December. If you're curious about the process, Article 24 is a good place to start.
  • Everyone should know: If you hear talk of a layoff from a manager, inform Rich McGee, BUC 9 Chair, and Teven Laxer, Senior Labor Relations Representative for Unit 9, immediately so we can stay on top of the situation.
  • There are indications that the CSU is targeting long-term employees who are activists. If you see anything like this on your campus, including reassignment to dead-end positions, placing them on administrative leave, and/or offering inducements to retire earlier than planned, please notify the Chair.

Information Technology

  • Draft systemwide policies from the Chancellor's Office on IT Security and Acceptable Use have been sent to campuses for comment. Comments are due back to the Chancellor's Office on December 10. If you haven't seen a copy of these, please request them from your campus IT manager or the Chair.
  • Reminder: Do not use campus email systems for anything confidential, including discussion of cases and bargaining.

Library Services Specialist (LSS) Series Update

  • Negotiations for the Library Services Specialist (LSS) transition are continuing, with the CSU claiming there's no money to pay for the additional duties of the LSS classification. This affects over 470 people in a process that began more than 10 years ago.

In-Range Progression (IRP) Update

  • IRP data was distributed, including a chart showing IRP counts by campus.
  • So far for fiscal year 2008-2009, 162 Unit 9 IRP requests have granted statewide. Of those, 95 were for Chancellor's Office employees.
  • In Unit 9, for fiscal year 2007-2008, there were:
    • 535 IRPs granted which were funded by the campuses
    • 316 IRPs granted which were funded with the systemwide IRP funds
    • 851 IRPs granted in total

Exempt, Workload, and On-Call Issues

  • We need to file Level 1 grievances on 18.6 (informal adjustments in work hours for exempt employees who have worked extra hours). Have the employee request the adjustment, and file a grievance if the manager denies the request. File these at Level 1, not as informals, so that they are committed to paper and are on record, no matter how the grievance may be resolved.
  • Chair Rich McGee met with staff and senior officers at headquarters and discussed a list of issues affecting exempt employees for which we need a single, consistent, set of answers. At this point we are awaiting an analysis from CSEA legal staff.


  • Headquarters received official notice that the CSU has contracted with 6 temp agencies for short-term IT work. We have submitted an information request on this and are awaiting the response.

Staff Report

  • A new Know Your Rights flier about exempt issues was distributed. The flier consists of a list of contract articles related to exempt employees.
  • We received a list of Unit 9 classification issues before the Classification Committee, identifying where each one is in the queue.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Sheets for Meetings

CSUEU Vice President for Organizing Ronnie Grant has shared electronic copies of official new sign-in sheets for use at chapter and statewide meetings. His description:

  • Form CSUEU-155A is intended for Chapter Meetings.
  • Form CSUEU-155B is intended for Chapter E-Committee, Stewards Council or statewide committee meetings.

These are being printed up and will be available in pads of 50 at this weekend's Board of Directors meeting. You can also print single copies from the electronic versions and use those.

With Ronnie's permission, we are providing backups copies of both the Word and Portable Document Format (PDF) versions, as well as linking to the PDF copies available now on the Forms section of the CSUEU web site.


Form 155-A
sheet for larger meetings, such as chapter meetings
Form 155-B
Sign-in sheet for smaller meetings, such as chapter executive boards, steward councils, and committee meetings

CSUEU Message On Budget Cuts

CSUEU Chief of Staff Phillip Coonley sent this out yesterday afternoon:


Governor Announces Statewide Cutbacks

In this November 6 letter, Governor Schwarzenegger announces cutbacks that include once-per-month furloughs for the next 18 months, elimination of two holidays, and changes in overtime. The CSU Chancellor's Office informs CSUEU that these measures do not apply to CSU employees, adding, however, that the unions should recognize that the state has a significant budget problem. CSUEU President Pat Gantt says, The Governor's letter is certainly an opening salvo in what is sure to be a coming onslaught of proposed measures designed to chip away at workers' salaries and benefits as a way of dealing with the state's budget crisis. The Governor's letter opens with the following ominous greeting: During the six weeks since I signed our state budget, the mortgage crisis has deepened, unemployment has increased and the stock market has dropped significantly. As a result, we are facing a projected $11 billion revenue shortfall this fiscal year.

In Solidarity,


Phillip Coonley, Chief of Staff
California State University Employees Union (CSUEU)
916-319-4800 TEL
866-763-1452 Toll Free
916-319-4808 FAX

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.

A news release from the Chancellor's Office states the proposed $66.3 million cut is in addition to a previous one-time $31.3 million reduction:

The Governor's plan proposed further budget cuts of $66.3 million to the California State University for the current 2008-09 budget.

The proposed mid-year cut would come on top of the final 2008-09 budget that was $215 million below CSU's operational needs for the fiscal year, and in addition to a previous one-time $31.3 million reduction.

The California Faculty Association (CFA) has charged that the Chancellor made the previous $31.3 million cut to the CSU budget voluntarily, while misrepresenting it as a requirement imposed by the state.

An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle states:

The latest estimate of the revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is nearly four times larger than what the state Department of Finance estimated a month ago.

and lists $132 million in funding for the University of California and California State University systems among the proposed cuts.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Activist Honored at Board of Directors Dinner

More good information about this weekend's CSUEU Board of Directors meeting, from CSUEU President Pat Gantt:

TO:CSUEU Board Members, CSUEU Standing Committee Members and CSUEU Assigned staff

The Agenda and schedule for the meetings this coming weekend can be found on the CSUSU website:
We are posting the committee agendas on this website as they come in and you can click on the committee name to view the agenda. There will be more of them posted today. The Executive Officer meeting is on Thursday from 10-5 and we will be reviewing all the agendas to make adjustments as needed for the board meeting to make sure we can get through everything we need to this next weekend.

On Saturday evening we will be having a dinner to honor Jay Jimenez who is retiring at the end of this year. This is his final CSUEU board meeting and we will have a "polite roast" of Jay and his tenure with CSUEU and CSEA. The length of his tenure mirrors our history and evolution as an organization. It will be an evening that will be educational, entertaining and emotional. There are several surprise guests planned. We will also honor a few others that are leaving us.

If any of you have any questions, ideas, stories or pictures please let me know:pgantt[ at the domain ]

In Union,
Pat Gantt, President
CSUEU/SEIU Local 2579

[We've obscured the email address slightly to obstruct spammers a bit without making it unreadable for humans.]

CSUEU meetings are open by default. There are a few exceptions, most commonly involving bargaining or representation. Don't wait for an invitation – just come and watch, and speak up if the spirit moves you.


News: Budget, California Has Relatively Few State Workers, Possible Unit 11 Strike

A roundup of recent news tidbits for you...

Budget News Worsens (As Usual)

From a column on California's financial situation in today's Sacramento Bee:

This year, if the projections are accurate, revenues will fall by 11 percent compared with last year. This drop of more than $10 billion would be the single largest decline in state revenues, ever. As a share of the budget, it would be more than twice as large as the next-biggest drop the state has suffered in the past half-century.

In other words, modern California has never seen anything quite like this. The anticipated decline is more than the state spends on its entire prison system, and almost as much as the taxpayers contribute to the University of California, California State University and the community colleges combined.

California 2nd Lowest Ratio of State Workers

The Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy says we have the 2nd-lowest proportion of state workers in the US. From their October 2008 Numbers in the News Report State and Local Government Employees: Where Does California Rank?:

In 2007 California had the 2nd lowest number of full-time equivalent state government employees relative to population among all states. California had 103 state employees for every 10,000 residents while Illinois had the lowest ratio at 97. The U.S. average was 143 state employees per 10,000 residents. California’s ratio of state government employees relative to population was 28% below the national average.

The full report (3 short pages, including graphs) is worth reading.

Academic Student Employees May Strike

Meanwhile, UAW Local 4123, representing academic student employees in the CSU, has announced it may strike against the CSU. Fee waivers seem to be the main sticking point in negotiations. UAW Local 4123 says Progress on this issue is being blocked by CSU’s continuing unfair labor practices.

Academic student employees are in CSU Bargaining Unit 11, and signed their first contract in 2005.


CSUEU Board of Directors Agenda Online

From an email sent out by CSUEU President Pat Gantt earlier this week:

TO: CSUEU Board of Directors and CSUEU Assigned Staff

We have placed on the website the upcoming CSUEU Board Agenda and have some links to the proposed Policy File changes. Please review the agenda and the Policy File documents in advance in preparation for the meeting. Each document has the motion form in front of it with a brief synopsis or the recommended changes.

We will try to also post the committee agendas once they are submitted by the committee chairs this week. We will have hard copies of the agenda materials for you at the meeting.

Editor's note: As of this writing, the listing for BUC 9 does not link to the BUC 9 agenda. We hope this will be changed soon, but in the meantime you can read the copy previously published on Unit 9 News.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reminder: Paid Time Off to Vote

Two quick reminders:

  1. You have the right to take paid time off to vote if you need to. You must request it 2 working days in advance (see below).
  2. If you get to your polling place and the poll workers say you're not on their list of voters, insist on casting a provisional ballot.
    This is your right, and poll workers cannot legally say no. A provisional ballot means your registration will be double-checked, and if you're a registered voter your vote will be counted.

Time Off to Vote (Contract)

Article 15 of the contract provides for paid leave to vote, if that's the only way you can get to the polls:

Leave to Vote

15.22 An employee who would otherwise be unable to vote outside of his/her regular working hours may be granted up to two (2) hours of work time without loss of pay to vote at a general, direct primary, special, or presidential primary election.

An employee shall be required to request such leave time in writing from the appropriate administrator at least two (2) working days prior to the election.

Time Off to Vote (State Law)

Our contract largely echoes the California Elections Code:

14000. (a) If a voter does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without loss of pay, take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable the voter to vote.

Elections Code: Notice Requirement

California law also requires employers to post notice of this right at least 10 days before a statewide election. CSU Technical Letter 2004-21 confirms that the posting requirement applies to the CSU, stating California Election Code Section 14001 requires that employers, including the California State University (CSU), post a notice informing employees of the right to take up to two hours of paid time off to vote in a statewide election if the employee does not have sufficient time during non-work hours to vote.

Interestingly, we have never seen such a notice on a campus, and spot checks found no campus where this notice is posted. One HR director has actually said the law doesn't apply to his campus, and refuses to post the notices, on the grounds that every employee has a lunch break. He argues that 30 minutes is enough time for anyone to drive home (whether the employee drives or not, apparently, and no matter where he/she lives), stand in line at the polling place, vote (however many pages the ballot may be), and get back to work. We were unable to find the phrase unless employees have lunch breaks in either the law or CSU's own technical letter.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CFA Says Reed Made CSU Budget Cuts Voluntarily

The California Faculty Association (CFA) reports that the recent $31.3 million CSU budget cut was made voluntarily by Chancellor Reed:

Dear Colleagues & Friends,

We are deeply disappointed to tell you that the sudden funding cut of $31.3 million to the CSU announced last week turns out to be, not a requirement, but rather a voluntary give back to the governor by CSU Chancellor Charles Reed.

Correspondence between Chancellor Reed and the governor's Dept. of Finance reveals that the Chancellor understands that he is making a voluntary cut.


The California Faculty Association's officers are troubled by the Chancellor's unilateral decision to give up this funding, especially in light of the good work done by the entire CSU community and its supporters through the Alliance for the CSU this year.

We worked hard to mitigate as much damage to the university as possible in this difficult economic period and we met with some success. The Alliance won $97.6 million for the CSU.

The Chancellor's action gives back one third of that money.

He did so without even a word of public protest on behalf of the state university system, of which he is the chief executive.

In a communication to All CSU Employees last week, the Chancellor misled the campus community by incorrectly reporting the CSU is among the agencies that need to cut a total of $390 million from the current budget.

As the attached documents show, the CSU is not covered by the order requiring this cut.  Do not be deceived by misinformation: The Chancellor's give-back of $31.3 million is voluntary — and he knows it.

You can read the entire CFA message in the October 27 CFA Headlines [PDF]. CFA offers supporting documents:

At you will find these documents that support the facts:

  • Executive Order S-09-08: This was the governor's executive order last July 31, 2008, addressing spending during the state budget stalemate.  In it, the governor acknowledged he does not have direct authority over the CSU.
  • CSU News Release CSU works to ensure employees receive paychecks, July 25, 2008: In this news release, Chancellor Reed was referenced saying, CSU is not under direct executive authority and subject to the requirement to enact the governor's order.
  • Office of the Governor (Dept. of Finance) Memo, October 9, 2008: Extends the above Executive Order S-09-08 to achieve another $50 million in savings from agencies that receive money from the state's general fund.
  • AB 88 (Budget) Chapter 269, Statutes of 2008: This is the section of the budget bill, known as control language, in which the legislature explains its intent regarding implementation of the adopted budget. It gives the governor authority to cut another $50 million without getting additional approval from the legislature.
  • Dept. of Finance letter to Chancellor Reed, October 20, 2008: Notes an ongoing conversation with the Chancellor over the new additional cut of $31.3 million to the CSU.
  • Office of the CSU Chancellor letter to governor's Dept. of Finance, October 21, 2008: The Chancellor chooses the 'alternative compliance' approach to the cut, meaning he knows that executive order cannot force him to make the cut. He states, We are committed and able to attain $31,314,000 of savings requested by the (governor's) Administration and that the cut can be made without directly affecting instructional programs and educational services.
  • Chancellor's Communication – October 23, 2008: Email to all CSU employees stating that we have been informed by the state Department of Finance that state agencies and departments receiving General Funds need to cut a total of an additional 390 million from the current budget. For the CSU, this amounts to $31.3 million… The email fails to indicate this is a voluntary cut on the part of the Chancellor and overstates the size of the governor's cut.

CFA represents CSU Bargaining Unit 3, which includes professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors, and coaches who teach in the CSU.


Monday, October 27, 2008

CSUEU Voted Exclusive Representative for University Enterprises, Inc. at CSU Sacramento

From Ronnie Grant, CSUEU Vice President for Organizing:

A quick update on the transition of University Enterprises, Inc. (CSU Sacramento aux corporation) employees:

A secret ballot election was held, and the employees of University Enterprises voted unanimously to elect the California State University Employees union as their exclusive representative.

The next phase in the process is bargaining to replace the existing expired contract.

I'd like to recognize and thank Richard Perry, Joseph Small, Chapter 303's Executive Committee and Stewards, and SLRR Lois Kugelmass for their hard work.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

BUC 9 Agenda for November 8 Meeting

Here's the agenda for the next BUC 9 meeting:

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Meeting

November 8, 2008     5:15 – 6:45 p.m.
Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza


  1. Roll call (BUC members)
  2. Chair Report
  3. Library Services Specialist (LSS) series update
  4. In-Range Progressions (IRP) update
  5. Exempt, workload, and on-call issues
  6. Outsourcing
  7. Staff Report
  8. Additional items as requested and as time permits

Board of Directors Meeting November 7-9, 2008

Reminder: The next CSUEU Board of Directors meeting is in Sacramento on November 7-9, 2008.

Members of the Board or a BUC, or a committee which meets at the Board of Directors, should have received an email message last week with the registration link. If you're in one of those groups, and didn't get the registration email, contact headquarters for instructions.

From the registration page:

CSUEU 3rd Board of Directors Meeting

Friday, November 07, 2008 9:00 am – Sunday, November 09, 2008 5:00 pm

Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza
300 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Do not contact hotel for reservations. All reservations are made by CSUEU Staff.

Costs for CSUEU Statewide Officers, Chapter Presidents, Bargaining Unit Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are already covered. All members are encouraged to attend, but costs MUST be funded by the Chapter.

  • Room: $84 Single & $134 Double – plus 12% tax & $1.50 Tourism Fee
  • Parking: Self: $11.00 a day & Valet: $16.00 a day
  • Transportation: Holiday Inn DOES NOT provide shuttle service, please use the Super Shuttle service at the airport

To qualify for overnight stay in hotel, you MUST live a minimum of 40 miles or 40 minutes away from meeting site. Per diem rates: Breakfast $10. Lunch $11. Dinner $19. Overnight Incidental $10. Mileage calculated at IRS rates as of July 2008: 58.5 cents per mile.

We will post or link to a meeting schedule when we have it. Typically the executive committee meets the Thursday before, the statewide committees meet on Friday, and the full board meets all day Saturday and part or all of Sunday. Bargaining Unit Councils normally meet on Saturday morning or evening. BUC 9 usually meets Saturday evening.

New Headquarters Address

CSUEU headquarters has a spiffy new official address:

CSU Employees Union
1108 O Street, Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95814

Discard Old Postage-Paid Envelopes

Please don't use the postage-paid envelopes showing the old 10th Street address. Per an announcement at the BUC meeting last week, they are not being forwarded by the post office. (Sorry, crossing out the old address and writing in the new one won't work.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bargaining Process Information from Pat Gantt

CSUEU President Pat Gantt sent out some information about the bargaining process this morning:

Dear CSUEU Board Members and CSUEU Assigned Staff,

The Bargaining Unit Council meetings this week are just the beginning of the process to identify issues and potential changes in the contract. The full board will have input as per our practice at the Board meeting in November. The drafting of proposals will also include a comprehensive bargaining survey this fall that will help us refine the proposals and make sure that we are capturing all the interests from the membership.

On a related note, now that the state budget is signed, we anticipate that the CSU Chancellor’s office will give us some formal notice that the funding for the CSU fell below the compact and the level of needed to fully fund our contract for this year. When we get this notice we will share it with you.

In Union,

Pat Gantt


Monday, September 29, 2008

Reminder: Send Contract Ideas Now

Reminder: Full contract bargaining is approaching, and now is the time to send in your bargaining ideas.

All of the Bargaining Unit Councils (BUCs) will be meeting October 1-2 to work on our next full contract bargaining proposal. If you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions about the contract, please send them in now.

You don't need to have a perfectly-worded proposal – just try to explain what's missing or what the problem is, as specifically as you're able. If you can include examples of a specific situation or case, that's helpful too, but not required.

Please don't assume someone else will send in your idea, or will see the same aspect of the problem that you do. The more feedback we get from the chapters, the better our proposal will be. We'd rather hear a half-formed idea (X is a problem because of Y, but I'm not sure how to fix it because the only solutions/language I thought of would just make the problem worse…) than nothing at all. And we'd certainly rather hear the same suggestion multiple times than miss out.

  • What's wrong with the contract?
  • What language is ambiguous?
  • What section is hard to understand or interpret consistently?
  • What assumptions are made which shouldn't be?
  • What language is keeping you from filing grievances you should be able to file?
  • What language is making it hard for you to win grievances?
  • What's missing?
  • What's in there and shouldn't be anymore?

Please email your suggestions from off campus, using your off campus email account to Rich McGee, BUC 9 Chair, at (Note: this email address is temporary, and will go away at the end of November.) If you'd like to copy your chapter officers (at their off-campus email accounts), please do so.

Agenda for BUC 9 Meeting October 1-2

Here is the agenda for the upcoming Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) 9 meeting. All BUC's are meeting in Sacramento on the same dates to discuss bargaining.

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Meeting

October 1-2, 2008
Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza


  1. Roll call
  2. At-large vacancy
  3. Bargaining proposals and strategy (closed session)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

IRP Information Request Side Letter: Text Available

The text of the side letter on In-Range Progression (IRP) information requests, signed September 17, 2008, is now available. This was converted from the image PDF originally distributed.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Side Letter on IRP Information Requests

This morning Teven Laxer, Senior Labor Relations Representative at CSUEU headquarters, announced an agreement on the information requests for the FY 2007 In-Range Progression (IRP) requests:

I am happy to announce that we have an agreement on the IRP information requests for FY 2007.

Please see attached. If you have any questions, let me know.

We expect to receive data on systemwide funded IRPs soon, and then on campus-funded IRPs.

Eventually, we will receive logs on those IRPs denied.

(This email was sent to state-wide officers, chapter presidents and vice-presidents, chief stewards, organizing chairs, bargaining unit councils and staff)

The only copy we have of the final agreement is the image PDF linked below. We hope to have text available within a day or so.

Though the announcement was made on Talk Like a Pirate Day, the agreement itself is dated 2 days ago, and has no holiday-inspired language in it. But that's no reason you yourself can't infuse your everyday conversations with romance and danger, as Dave Barry put it.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Updates: BUC Meetings, CSEA Board, CSU Technical Letters

Excerpts from a recent update by Ronnie Grant, CSUEU Vice President for Organizing:

All-BUC meeting October 1 and 2

All bargaining unit councils are meeting starting at 10 a.m. on October 1 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento until 3 p.m. on October 2. I have not seen an agenda yet, but I suspect that this all-BUC meeting will discuss and formulate some initial strategy and potential bargaining proposals.

Only BUC members and statewide officers are funded. Because bargaining strategy is likely to be discussed, portions of the meeting may be closed to the general membership.

CSEA Board meetings

The CSEA Board will be meeting at 10 a.m. on 9/27 at the Marriott in downtown Los Angeles. An executive session will be held at 4 p.m. on 9/26 and a closed planning retreat will be held earlier on Friday.

I have been advised that agenda packets have been sent to Printing Services late last week. Each Chapter President should receive one at your home address in CSEA's records.

CSEA has scheduled a special closed CSEA Board meeting via conference call on 9/17 at 11 a.m. to discuss a personnel matter.

Look for an upcoming CSUEU Board conference call

A special meeting of the CSUEU Board of Directors will likely take place via conference call within the next 4-6 weeks. Our Board needs to adopt positions on candidates and ballot measures before the November election. When a date is set, Board members will be notified.

Recent CSU technical memorandums

The Chancellor's office has released several new systemwide memorandums to campuses:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SEIU Resources Diverted by Corruption, Fighting Dissent

Internal SEIU Problems Distracting from Election Work

The San Francisco Bay Guardian reports that SEIU's efforts in the November election are hampered by corruption and internal struggles:

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its 2 million members helped Obama defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Its ground operation and bulging political war chest are crucial to Democratic Party hopes in November, both in the presidential election and congressional races. But a recent corruption scandal and an ongoing internal dispute that threatens to blow up in the coming weeks could undermine the union's political influence at the worst possible time.

"If SEIU didn't have to deal with this distraction, it would be able to do more to influence the election," Dan Clawson, a labor scholar and professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told the Guardian.

CSUEU is SEIU local 2579.

Compressed Background: Corruption and Disputes?

These are very abbreviated summaries of the corruption (ULTCW, SEIU 6434) and internal disputes (UHW) mentioned in the Guardian article:

SEIU Local 6434, also known as United Long-Term Care Workers (ULTCW), made hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable expenditures of union funds, including payments to relatives and friends of its president. The Los Angeles-based local has been placed into trusteeship and all officers removed. Federal investigations are underway.

SEIU 6434 represents caregivers who tend to the elderly and infirm, typically making around $9 an hour. Local 6434 is one of the SEIU mega-locals created when previously independent locals were merged by SEIU President Andy Stern, who then appointed new officers.

SEIU United Healthcare Workers - West (UHW) has filed charges against Stern and SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger, alleging a campaign of retaliation against UHW that is designed to silence the voices of members and elected union leaders who have opposed Stern and Burger's policies, and intimidate those who might also speak out.

Stern wants to move 65,000 workers currently represented by Oakland-based UHW out of UHW and into Local 6434, despite objections from affected members and UHW leadership. UHW says this is punishment for its objection to a concessionary 'Alliance' deal with nursing home operators that is favored by SEIU and Local 6434. SEIU has moved to place UHW into trusteeship, which would allow Stern to remove the elected officers and appoint his own replacements.

United Long-Term Care Workers, SEIU 6434: Spending, Elections, Intimidation

The article which began the Los Angeles Times series on SEIU Local 6434 (Union, charity paid thousands to firms owned by official's relatives) laid out the local's spending habits:

California's largest union local and a related charity have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to firms owned by the wife and mother-in-law of the labor organization's president, documents and interviews show.

The Los Angeles-based union, which represents low-wage caregivers, also spent nearly $300,000 last year on a Four Seasons Resorts golf tournament, a Beverly Hills cigar club, restaurants such as Morton's steakhouse and a consulting contract with the William Morris Agency, the Hollywood talent shop, records show.

[…] In its Labor Department filings, the local, headed by Tyrone Freeman, has reported more liabilities than assets for each of the last three years.

Freeman, who leads the United Long-Term Care Workers, said he and his union have done nothing wrong. "Every expenditure has been in the context of fighting poverty," he said.

Later articles in the series put a face on the membership whose dues funded Local 6434's spending, detailed a growing collection of federal investigations into the union local's conduct, and reported that SEIU finally put the local into trusteeship and removed some staff:

Update added 4:30 p.m.: SEIU accuses local union leader of misusing funds
The Los Angeles Times reports this afternoon that SEIU is accusing SEIU Local 6434 president Tyrone Freeman of misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in an alleged corruption scheme and is firing Freeman's top aide and other local staffers. The article says the internal investigation turned up new allegations that Freeman spent union funds on his Hawaiian wedding and improperly paid himself stipends through an affiliated local and a housing corporation. The internal review was headed by former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp.

SEIU President Andy Stern Seeks Ethics Advice

SEIU President Andy Stern said he would contact 2 outside groups, the Association for Union Democracy and Teamsters for a Democratic Union, for advice on an ethics code. The leaders of those groups were skeptical of Andy Stern's proposals and said the SEIU had not advised them that they would be recruited for such a role.

"Why does he need a new code of ethics?" said Herman Benson, founder of the Assn. for Union Democracy. "People didn't know that what they were doing was wrong? It's preposterous."

In SEIU needs more democracy not more codes, Benson writes:

We are confronted here essentially by the outright misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars of union money to enrich union leaders and their friends and family. Does a bank need an ethical practices code to inform tellers that it's wrong to steal money from the till? Is it necessary now to remind SEIU officers that they must not steal, and that we really, really mean it?

Benson founded the Association for Union Democracy, a pro-labor, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the principles and practices of democratic trade unionism in the North American labor movement.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Staff Contract Available

United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2350 represents staff who work for CSEA and its affiliates, including CSUEU. CSUEU Chief of Staff Phillip Coonley has provided a PDF copy of the CSEA/UAW agreement to the CSUEU Board of Directors.


Governor Vetoes Legislature's Budget Bill

After warning the legislature yesterday their budget proposal was without meaningful budget reform, Governor Schwarzenegger announced this afternoon he would veto the legislature's proposal. Legislative leaders have said they'd attempt to override if the governor didn't sign. An override of the governor's veto requires a two-thirds majority, the same needed to pass a budget.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

"People aren't getting paid, hospitals are in danger of closing, but I will not sign a get out of town budget...that punishes taxpayers," Schwarzenegger said.

If lawmakers vote to override the veto, Schwarzenegger said, he will veto all the bills awaiting action on his desk.

The Sacramento Bee described the weekend budget deal as being rushed to a vote with little or no opportunity for the public to obtain and analyze the hundreds of pages containing the budget proposal and about two dozen trailer bills to implement it and said it addresses the state's $15.2 billion deficit largely by advancing revenues to be collected in future years, employing accounting maneuvers, and shifting or borrowing money from other state funds. The Los Angeles Times reports that among the add-ons to the budget package were a bill exempting high-tech companies from some labor rules, which both houses approved.

Reaction from outside the legislature to the proposal had been largely negative. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said the legislature's budget proposal gives gimmicks a bad name. In an editorial the Sacramento Bee wrote: If this is the best the Legislature could do, California voters should be wondering what their lawmakers have been up to all summer.

Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters called the proposal easily the worst budget in memory. Last month a business group called the Bay Area Council called for a state constitutional convention, arguing it's the only realistic way to address the state's perennial budget mess because so much of the problem is in the state constitution itself:

California's system of taxation and spending is almost entirely hardwired into the Constitution. It produces wildly fluctuating revenue booms and busts that put state services on a cruel feast-or-famine roller coaster that drags the poor, the elderly, children and even the business community along for the painful ride. Similarly, local funding is hogtied to the state's, forcing our cities and counties to suffer as well from outdated laws in the Constitution. California's bureaucratic red tape is legendary, reflecting nothing of our 21st century economy, culture and society.

That is because so many state agencies, boards and commissions have been placed forever in our Constitution. Texas actually has a Sunset Commission in which nearly all of its 150 agencies are automatically abolished after 12 years, unless legislation is enacted to continue them. Alas, our state Constitution prevents this, too. California's Constitution was always meant to be a living document that could adjust to the times. The time has come to make serious adjustments. As Jefferson would remind us, this is not just a right, it is a patriot's solemn duty.

In a separate news story in today's San Francisco Chronicle, Bill Lockyer was quoted as saying We need radical reform of the state Constitution. I hope this tragedy will provide that.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Job Posting for Temporary LRR Position

Here is the job posting for the temporary Labor Relations Representative (LRR) to backfill for Michael Hejazi, who will be going on leave:


The California State University Employees Union, a CSEA Affiliate, has a one year temporary opening for a Labor Relations Representative ($56,000 - $75,000). This position is responsible for organizing university employees, representing CSU members and the Association in employer/employee relations and training university employees in labor relations functions. This position will require frequent travel within California and evening/weekend work.

The successful candidate will be an energetic individual with a four year degree, a minimum of one year of experience in representation for employer/employee relations, excellent interpersonal skills, and a strong belief in labor. Possession of valid California driver's license and automobile is required. Relocation assistance will be considered.

Please submit your résumé with salary requirements to for consideration. Due to the volume of responses, only the top candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Excellent medical dental, vision, and pension benefits are offered with this position!


Staff Update: Temp Job Posted, Work Assigned

A staffing update from Phillip Coonley, CSUEU Chief of Staff:

TO: CSUEU Board of Directors and Staff:

As you know, Michael Hejazi will be returning to Canada at the end of next week (September 19, 2008). He has been granted a one year Leave of Absence to go back to Canada; we anticipate his return to CSUEU in 9-12 months.

In the meantime, we have advertised his position (as a temporary position) and are currently vetting applications. Until we have secured a full-time employee to fill his slot, we are happy to announce that Russel Kilday-Hicks has agreed to fill in. Some cases (Arbitration, PERB, SPB) will be distributed amongst current staff as well.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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

Russell Kilday-Hicks is president of CSUEU Chapter 305 (San Francisco).