Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2009 Contract Campaign

CSUEU Vice President for Organizing Ronnie Grant has sent out a copy of the 2009 Contract Campaign plan. The campaign was adopted by the Board of Directors on Sunday.

The focus of the campaign is Members mobilizing members' strength to achieve a better contract. The campaign begins with a membership drive this summer, since increasing our membership helps us accomplish the other elements of the contract campaign.


Willie Brown: Support the CSU

CSUEU President Pat Gantt alerts us to a piece by Willie Brown in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle:

TO:CSUEU Board, Legislative committee, Communications committee and CSUEU Assigned staff

Please check our the CSUEU homepage and read the article we have posted from former speaker Willie Brown. There are not many more prominent political in California figures than Willie Brown. In the article he echoes the values we have presented through the Alliance for the CSU. Please share this article with your members.

In Union,
Pat Gantt, President

Brown writes:

In our haste to seize on solutions to the budget crisis, we could jeopardize our long-term economic future.


Consider the cost for just one California business to recruit and relocate one entry-level staff accountant from outside the region: a minimum of $100,000.

Consider the cost of recruiting from a well-educated local talent pool: close to zero.

It doesn't take a college graduate to do the math: businesses are going to move to where the talent pool is, and California will continue to suffer.

The California Faculty Association (CFA) is encouraging the CSU community to add their voices to Brown's:

CFA encourages faculty members and CSU supporters to send a letter to the editor of the Chronicle about Brown’s opinion piece. These letters can opine on views expressed in the article or be personal stories about the need for CSU funding.

Send your letter to


Monday, June 23, 2008

BUC 9 Report for June 21, 2008 Meeting

The Bargaining Unit Council 9 (BUC 9) met on June 21, 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach and Marina Hotel in Redondo Beach. Here is the Chair's report, with supplemental links at the end:

Library Services Specialist (LSS) Series

Some campuses are using LSS as job title already. LSS bargaining resumes August 19-21. The LSS bargaining report from May is online.

In-Range Progression (IRP) Update

Please advise employees who receive IRPs to check the amount in their paychecks. We're aware of a case where the employee was told she would receive a 3% IRP, and when she did the math the increase in her paycheck was actually only 2%. Human Resources at first insisted this was correct, and that she was only supposed to get a 2% increase because of the 1% SSI increase the employee received In February. This was corrected by a conversation with HR.

The funding for system-wide IRP's was enough for about 1,000 IRP's, at 3% each. We're just starting to get information back on IRP's, and who received them. Teven Laxer, the Senior Labor Relations Representative assigned to Unit 9, has been promised the data from the Chancellor's Office sometime in August. He will then prepare a report detailing the campus IRP awards, amounts and distribution.

Campus Cell Phone Policies

If your campus tries to impose a cell phone policy without bargaining, please notify your assigned LRR as well as the Chair.

Legislation is now before Congress (H.R. 5450 and S. 2668) which may make this irrelevant, by removing cell phones from the list of taxable benefits (the source of the problem). H.R. 5450 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. S. 2668 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

Please remind employees who carry CSU-provided cell phones not to use them for commercial transactions. Personal use as allowed by the campus is one thing; commercial use of state equipment is quite another. One state employee recently included his state-issued cell phone number in a classified ad for something he was selling, and was reprimanded for misuse of state equipment.

Exempt, Workload, and On-Call Issues

The Representation Committee discussed hiring outside legal expertise to give us some clear, consistent answers we can act on regarding exempt status. We need specific examples of exempt issues from all chapters. There is no need to be quiet about collecting this data.

As a reminder, call-back is by an administrator only. Employees who get call-backs in any form need to keep a log. If they're having trouble receiving and using informal CTO (adjusted time in their schedule), talk to a rep.


Several campuses have outsourced student email, or are in the process of doing so. Northridge is currently outsourcing identity management. CSUEU will be doing an information request to the Chancellor’s Office about outsourcing, and chapter Labor Relations Representatives should be checking all external campus contracts as discussed last fall.

As an aside, I recommend you not install the Google toolbar on a state machine. One of its features is arguably spyware which is on by default, and could compromise CSU data.

By popular demand of the BUC 9 attendees, we're posting information on disabling the "awesome bar" in Firefox 3.

Information distribution

Unit 9 News is now at The old URL that you've been using will continue to work; there will be no broken links.

Unit 9 News is how I get information out to the chapters. It's self-serve union information, with a regular web site, RSS feed, and email subscriptions. Read it on your own schedule, and no one imagines you'll read every detail of every story – but I do expect that Unit 9 Reps and anyone interested in Unit 9 has seen the headline and read it if you're interested.

If you have a chapter mailing list or newsletter, I'd appreciate a note about Unit 9 News, so your members know it's available to them.

Classification Misuse

The Associate, Academic, and Institutional Studies (AAIS) classification is being misused; we don't know how widely. Teven Laxer ran across a case of an X-Ray Technician classified as an AAIS. That's a clear abuse of the classification standard. Coincidentally, the AAIS classification is exempt, while X-Ray Technician is not.

Please check:

  1. Whether you have any employees classified as AAIS on your campus
  2. What jobs they actually are doing

Please report anything questionable.

Environmental Health and Safety Officer Classification

We've formally requested that CSU study the creation of an Environmental Health and Safety Officer classification. Employees performing EH&S duties are in a variety of classifications right now, and need an appropriate classification.

Legislation Information Items

Thanks to Vicky McLeod, the Legislative Committee, and Sherrie Golden for assisting Unit 9 with investigating the following proposed legislation:

SB 1696 (Yee) - Disclosure
This is now before the Assembly. Basically, it would keep state agencies from evading disclosure laws by writing a secrecy clause into a contract with an outside firm. It amends the Government Code, and covers state agencies and the University of California. It's not clear that the CSU is covered, though that's certainly the author's intent. We're working with the author's office to ensure the CSU is covered by this.

AB 2603 (Eng) - Reporting of Contracting Out
This applies to state agencies. CSU is not currently included, and we should be. It's currently in the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization and has been read 2 times, with the next hearing June 24 (Tuesday). Local 1000 is supporting this, and Teven distributed some good literature from them about the costs of contracting out and the need for this legislation.

If you have questions or comments about anything in this report, please contact the Chair at (You will need to remove the TakeThisPartOut part for your email to reach him.)

Additional information

Disabling Firefox 3's Awesome Bar

By popular demand: Firefox 3 changes how the location bar works when you start typing in a URL. The auto-complete behavior you're probably used to is based on the URLs of sites you've visited. The modestly-renamed awesome bar adds suggestions based on the name and content of previously-visited pages and your bookmarks, as well as partial matches from the middle of URLs and titles. The results can be bizarre and annoying, and it breaks the behavior most users are accustomed to.

At Saturday's BUC 9 meeting, we promised links on how to disable this new feature:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Legislative Committee Agenda for Today's Meeting

Here's the agenda for the Legislative Committee meeting going on right this very minute (it's scheduled for 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.):

  1. Approval of 3/14/08 Minutes
  2. John Watson – Communications (PowerPoint Presentation)
    • Capwiz website:
    • Communication with Chapters
  3. PAC (Political Action fund) – Vicky & Finance Committee
    • COPE
  4. Primary Election Update – Sherrie
    • CSUEU endorsements
    • Ballot measures – discuss
  5. Budget & Alliance – Vicky
    • Protect the $97.6 million allocated in the May revise
    • Remove the restrictive language on future enrollment/budget
    • Full funding of the original $386 million in proposed cuts
    • CSUEU members' salaries are dependent on adequate budgeting for the CSU
  6. Lobby Day 2009 – Vicky
  7. Bill Update – Sherrie
    • [Bill specifics redacted by Editor]
  8. Next Meeting:

Editor's Note: Discussion of our legislative activities can sometimes fall under the closed meeting rule, for obvious reasons. Since we're not sure how sensitive this particular information is, we erred on the side of caution and removed information identifying bill(s) the committee would be discussing.

About COPE

Editor's note about agenda item #3: COPE is one of SEIU's political efforts, the Committee On Political Education. The SEIU COPE web site requires a login and doesn't appear to offer any information to the general public. The main SEIU homepage at currently displays this statement: This web page is paid for by SEIU COPE ( with voluntary contributions from SEIU members and their families and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

An SEIU COPE membership form we found said: SEIU COPE uses the money it receives for political purposes, including but not limited to addressing political issues of public importance and contributing to and spending money in connection with federal, state and local elections.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Board of Directors Agenda for June 20-22 Meeting

Here's the agenda for the CSUEU Board of Directors meeting this weekend:

June 20-22, 2008

Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach
300 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Friday – June 20, 2008

CSUEU CLOSED – Peninsula/Pacific Room 1st Floor
50608.CLOSED Session – CSUEU BOD Members Only
7 to 9 p.m.

Saturday – June 21, 2008

BUC 2 Meeting – Esplanade Room8 to 9:30 a.m.
BUC 5 Meeting – Ocean Room8 to 9:30 a.m.
CSUEU Board of Directors Meeting – Peninsula/Pacific Room 1st Floor10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1. Pledge of AllegianceRonnie Grant
2. Roll CallDayna Ramos
3. Announcements and IntroductionsPat Gantt
4. Approval of Previous Meeting’s MinutesPat Gantt
5. Building Effective Unions WorkshopPaul F. Clark
1. President’s ReportPat Gantt
2. CSUEU Chief of StaffPhillip Coonley
3. Bargaining ReportDennis Dillon
4. CSUEU Committee on the Future ReportLori Williams
5. Finance Committee ReportLori Williams
BUC 7 Meeting – Esplanade Room5:45 to 7:30 p.m.
BUC 9 Meeting – Ocean Room5:45 to 7:30 p.m.

Sunday – June 22, 2008

CSUEU Breakfast Buffet – Seascape Ballroom8 to 9 a.m. (or until food is gone-arrive early)
CSUEU Council Reconvenes in Peninsula/Pacific Room 1st Floor Room9 a.m. to 5 p.m.*
New Business:
1. Auditor’s ReportCSEA Auditors
1. Classification Committee ReportNancy Kobata
2. Policy File Committee ReportJay Jimenez
3. Communication Committee ReportRussell Kilday-Hicks
4. Representation Committee ReportDennis Dillon
5. Organizing Committee ReportRonnie Grant
6. Legislative Committee ReportVicky McLeod
7. Chapter Reports (Limit 2 Minutes Per Chapter)
8. BUC 2 ReportPam Robertson
9. BUC 5 ReportSharon Cunningham
10. BUC 7 ReportAnnel Martin
11. BUC 9 ReportRich McGee
* Could end earlier if all business is concluded


Executive Officer Committee Agenda for Today's Meeting

Here's the agenda for today's Executive Committee Meeting:

CSUEU Officer Meeting

June 19, 2008
Redondo Beach, CA


12 Noon- 6 pm
Lunch @ 12:30 pm

1) Review of Agenda
2) Review of Board Agenda
3) Review of Committee Agendas
4) Communications Update & Presentation – John Watson 3 pm time certain
5) CSUEU Headquarters/ Chief of Staff report
Master Calendar 2008 & 2009
6) Chapters
7) SEIU Convention report – Pat and Dennis
8) COPE report – Lori
9) Organizing Grants – Ronnie
10) Closed Session Agenda items
11) Other
12) Adjourn

Dinner 7 PM

About COPE

Editor's note about agenda item #8: COPE is the Committee On Political Education, one of SEIU's political efforts. The SEIU COPE web site requires a login and doesn't appear to have any information available to the general public. The main SEIU homepage at currently displays this statement: This web page is paid for by SEIU COPE ( with voluntary contributions from SEIU members and their families and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

An SEIU COPE membership form we found carried this statement: SEIU COPE uses the money it receives for political purposes, including but not limited to addressing political issues of public importance and contributing to and spending money in connection with federal, state and local elections.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Communications Committee Agenda for June 20 Meeting

The Communications Committee is scheduled to meet from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. this Friday, June 20, 2008. This list of proposed agenda items was sent out by Committee Chair Russell Kilday-Hicks. Ray Finnell will chair the meeting in Russell's absence.

  1. Introductions, review of agenda (additions under item #8)
  2. E-mail distribution (support for CSUEU e-news weekly; every Thursday)
  3. UE: review for next issue (July, see detail note list); schedule, stories, assignments
  4. Policy File/Bylaws charge
  5. Chapter newsletters/websites/e-mail lists (surveys)
  6. Web ([staff name redacted by Editor] redesign, process issues)
  7. Business: budget, meeting schedule and places (July/August, September? October BOD)
  8. Additional agenda items:


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fliers: Airport ID Rule Change

Anyone flying to the CSUEU Board of Directors meeting this weekend: If you need to fly without showing ID, state very clearly to the security folk that you lost it or otherwise accidentally don't have it with you.

TSA describes the new rules in this press release:

Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.

This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers.

We wish we were making this up. As Bruce Schneier commented, I don't think any further proof is needed that the ID requirement has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with control.


Budget Action Needed: Contact Legislators Today

Headquarters sent this out yesterday evening:

TO: CSUEU Board of Directors and Staff:

The link below will direct the employees we represent to a site where they can quickly and easily send an urgent letter to their legislator. The conference subcommittee is meeting and the CSU budget and your salaries are in the balance.

Chapter Presidents:
Please forward the following link to your Chapter (more information is available on the site):

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

About the CapWiz Political Action Site

  • The page in the link contains a pre-written message for your legislators, which you can modify.
  • The form on the page collects your personal information, including physical street address, to determine your legislative districts. This information is not encrypted when it's sent.
  • The page does not contain a privacy policy or a link to one.
  • The site is run by Capitol Advantage, whose posted privacy policy, at this writing, is ambiguous for users of client sites.
  • You can also contact your legislators and the governor through their individual web sites.


Organizing Committee Agenda for June 20 Meeting

Here are the agenda items for the Organizing Committee meeting scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. this Friday, June 20, 2008:

  1. Call to Order Ronnie L. Grant
  2. Announcements and Introductions Committee members
  3. Approval of minutes Ronnie L. Grant
  4. Development of a 2009 contract campaign plan Committee members

    Notice: Pursuant to CSUEU Policy File §401.03(a), the Committee may recess into closed session at 1:30 p.m. to discuss 2009 bargaining strategy options and their impact on the contract campaign plan.

  5. New Business

Organizing Committee Members and Staff

  • Ronnie L. Grant, Vice President for Organizing, Chair
  • Olga Camarillo, Organizing Committee Chair, Chapter 308
  • Linda Nunez, President, Chapter 311
  • Vera Vasquez, Organizing Committee Chair, Chapter 316
  • Deborah Campbell, President, Chapter 319
  • Charles Constantine, President, Chapter 323
  • Patrick N. Gantt, President, Ex-Officio
  • Brenda C. Brown, Labor Relations Representative, Staff Assigned
  • Michael Hejazi, Labor Relations Representative, Staff Assigned


Monday, June 16, 2008

Classification Committee Agenda for June 20 Meeting

Here are the agenda items for Friday's Classification Committee meeting:

TopicPresenterTime allotted
Welcome and IntroductionsNancy10 min
IRP workshop update 60 min
Inventory Control clerk 15 min
Accounting series 15 min
Contract Language for sunshine proposal 60 min
Problems 60 min
Other items 

The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. this Friday, June 20, 2008. Nancy Kobata, President of Chapter 309 (Fresno), is the Chair.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Staffing Update

A staffing update from headquarters:

To: CSUEU Board of Directors and Staff:

I am writing to inform you that Gil Rojo is no longer employed with CSUEU.

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

Gil Rojo had been a Labor Relations Representative (LRR) with CSUEU.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LSS Bargaining Scheduled: August 19-21

CSUEU and the CSU have scheduled LSS bargaining for August 19-21 at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach. At this point the CSU has not responded with a counter-proposal; they are surveying library deans and directors.

The LSS bargaining team

  • Pat Gantt – CSUEU President
  • Dennis Dillion – CSUEU Vice President for Representation
  • Annel Martin – Chair, Bargaining Unit Council 7
  • Jennifer O’Neal-Watts – Vice Chair, Bargaining Unit Council 7, Library Assistant III
  • Rich McGee – Chair, Bargaining Unit Council 9
  • Rocky Waters – Vice Chair, Bargaining Unit Council 9
  • Joan Kennedy – Library Assistant III
  • Christine Thomas – Library Assistant IV
  • Joseph Corica – Library Assistant III
  • Teven Laxer – Chief Negotiator


Contract: One Evaluation Per Year for Permanent Employees

There's been some confusion floating around about the frequency of employee performance evaluations. For permanent employees, evaluations are annual, as in once per year. There is no provision in the contract for more frequent evaluations of permanent employees.

Like many things in our contract, the frequency of evaluations is given with a general rule, followed by more specific language for exceptions.

The General Rule

10.1 Permanent employees shall be subject to annual performance evaluations.

Some managers seem to be proceeding on the language in a previous contract, which arguably permitted more frequent evaluations. Our current contract language is clear: the 2007-2009 contract specifies annual evaluations – not at least annual or annual or more frequent or any variation thereof.

Merriam-Webster Online defines annual as occurring or happening every year or once a year.

Exceptions to Annual Evaluations

The exceptions are probationary and temporary employees.

10.5 A probationary employee shall be evaluated by the end of the third (3rd), sixth (6th), and eleventh (11th) month of the probationary period, unless the employee has earlier been rejected during probation.

10.6 A temporary employee shall be evaluated at periodic intervals.

CSUEU Contract Links

CSU Contract Links

These are probably more stable, alas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

CSUEU News Launches June 12

John Watson, our new Communications Specialist at CSUEU headquarters, has announced he will launch CSUEU News as a biweekly electronic publication on June 12. Some details are still fuzzy, like how the email distribution will be handled, but the current plan is for CSUEU News to go out every other Thursday, on the web and via email.

He's invited suggestions for a better title, and offers a $5 Starbucks gift card and bragging rights for the winning proposal. Send your suggestions for a catchier name to him at (after you take out the TakeThisOut part, that is).

While you're thinking up names, suggestions for catchier names for Unit 9 publications, such as Unit 9 News and the main Unit 9 web site, are invited at We'll see John's Starbucks card and raise it with a bottle of fine Cucamonga Valley wine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Finance Committee Agenda for June 20 Meeting

Here's the Finance Committee agenda sent out this afternoon for the June 20, 2008 meeting. Finance Committee Meetings are open. Questions should be directed to CSUEU Vice President for Finance Lori Williams, whose contact information appears on the Finance Committee's web page.


Friday, June 20, 2008
Redondo Beach, CA

March 2008 Financials

Chapter Finances:



Chapter Grants

Review of grant requests since March 2008

Organizing grants

Chapter grant guidelines

Annual Audit/Hudson Notice

Expense claims reporting:

Review grant request form (template)

Aged Payables

Treasurers Training:

Independent vs. Central Accounting

Political Action Fund
New Business


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The CSU Exemption: Why You Can't Work at the Polls

The California Secretary of State's office states on its web site that Government Code 19844.7 allows state employees to take time off, without loss of pay, to serve as Poll workers on Election Day. Well, not quite. CSU employees work for the state, but we don't count as state employees under this law.

The CSU Exemption

The California Education Code and Government Code both say, in effect, that (newish) laws which apply to state agencies or state employees do not apply to the CSU unless the CSU is specifically included. That's why it took a special law for CSU retirees to be offered the vision care benefits already enjoyed by civil service retirees.

Here's the relevant section of the Government Code:

11000. (a) As used in this title, "state agency" includes every state office, officer, department, division, bureau, board, and commission. As used in any section of this title that is added or amended effective on or after January 1, 1997, "state agency" does not include the California State University unless the section explicitly provides that it applies to the university.

And here's the relevant section of the Education Code:

66606.2. Recognizing the unique mission and functions of the California State University among the departments, agencies, and boards of the state, it is the intent of the Legislature that both of the following occur:


(b) The California State University not be governed by any statute enacted after January 1, 1997, that does not amend a previously applicable act and that applies generally to the state or to state agencies, departments, or boards, unless the statute expressly provides that the California State University is to be governed by that statute.

Sometimes the CSU is left out by accident. One element of our legislative program is simply watching for bills which are intended to apply to all state agencies, but forget to mention the CSU.

Poll Workers

So when the California Government Code 19844.7 says a state employee who has been appointed as a member of a precinct board and takes time off from state employment to serve as a member of that precinct board on election day shall receive payment of his or her regular wages or salary for that election day, without forfeiting any compensation received for his or her service as a precinct board member, that doesn't apply to CSU employees, because the CSU is not specifically listed.

Poll workers typically work at least a 15-hour day, and may have to attend separate training lasting 2 to 6 hours. The stipend varies depending on the county and duties, but seems to run between $80 and $165. The higher stipends are for the more demanding and time-consuming positions which involve supervision of other volunteers, transporting supplies, and delivering ballots.


Reminder: Time Off To Vote

Our Contract

A quick reminder: 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.

Elections Code: Leave to Vote

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 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 our 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 they live), 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 the technical letter.