Monday, June 29, 2009

Bargaining Team Heads to Long Beach

A quick update: Because of the unusually large number of candidates, yesterday's statewide officer and BUC elections ran much later than expected. The last BUC election ended some time around 7:30 p.m. and the bargaining team met immediately after. The bargaining team meeting finished shortly before 9 p.m.

Today therefore is a travel day, and the bargaining team will meet tomorrow in Long Beach. Bargaining team members have been told to be prepared to stay through the end of the week.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

BUC 9 Election Results

Bargaining Unit Council 9 (BUC 9) elections were held today (Sunday, June 28, 2009), at the Westin San Francisco Airport in Millbrae, California. Here are the election results:

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Members
Rich McGeeChair320 – San Bernardino
Alisandra BrewerVice Chair304 – Sonoma
Matthew Blackat-large member315 – Long Beach
Gus Leonardat-large member322 – Monterey Bay
Roy Parkat-large member324 – Channel Islands
Michael Reederat-large member317 – Fullerton
Stephen Tillinghastat-large member301 – Humbdoldt
Christina Valeroat-large member305 – San Francisco

Executive Officer Election Results

Executive officer elections were held today (Sunday, June 28, 2009), at the Westin San Francisco Airport in Millbrae, California. Here are the election results:

PresidentPat Gantt302 – Chico
Vice President for OrganizingRonnie Grant312 – Northridge
Vice President for RepresentationRussell Kilday-Hicks305 – San Francisco
Vice President for FinanceLoretta Sevaaetasi305 – San Francisco

BUC 9 Report for June 27, 2009 Meeting

Here's the report from last night's Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) 9 meeting:

Chair's Report

  • We've had one layoff: at Bakersfield, where management claimed "lack of work," not lack of funds
  • Managers may not use the "L" (Layoff) word. If you hear a manager say anything about layoffs or layoff plans, notify your Bargaining Unit Chair and chapter LRR immediately.
IT Security Policy

Two things are under development:

  • CSU system-wide Acceptable Use Policy – This must be bargained with the unions first. We've had conversations with Chancellor's Office staff about concerns we had with early drafts. We're expecting another draft shortly. If your campus claims to have an IT Acceptable Use Policy, please obtain a copy and notify the Unit 9 Chair
  • Mandatory online security training – Several Unit 9 officers statewide were selected to be beta testers, and found problems. We have contacted the Chancellor's Office with our concerns, and we're awaiting their response.

Our bargaining units have never faced furloughs before, so some things are yet to be determined (and bargained) about how it would work. Based on what we know so far:

  • Effects on exempt employees:
    • Exempt employees will become hourly during furlough weeks, and will work only 32 hours. All overtime or work past that must be approved. Unauthorized overtime work (i.e checking a server from home, without being told to do so by your manager) would be subject to discipline.
    • Only an MPP can call you during your off time.
    • There is a 3-hour minimum for callback pay. Up to 40 hours' work is not paid at the overtime rate; overtime kicks in when you go past 40 hours in a week. It's the administrator's choice whether you get cash or Compensatory Time Off (CTO).
    • Sick and vacation time must be reported that week, and you can be docked for being late, taking too long a lunch, etc.
  • During non-furlough weeks, watch for work overload. Your boss should not assign you extra work that week because the next furlough week will be shorter.
  • You can't use sick or vacation time to cover the furlough days.
  • There is no guarantee of no layoffs. The point of furloughs is to mitigate layoffs, not a guarantee to eliminate them entirely.
  • The Chancellor is estimating we will need 2.5 years of furloughs.
  • The Chancellor's Office came to the unions and asked about furloughs; Civil Service got furloughs by way of governor's executive order.
  • Chancellor's goal is to have 16 hours of furlough per month, with all campuses closed the same 2 days per month to reap additional energy savings.
  • Teven Laxer, Senior Labor Relations Representative (SLRR) assigned to Unit 9, had some further updates:
    • UAPD (Unit 1, physicians and veterinarians) and SETC (Unit 6, skilled trades) have rejected furloughs.
    • SETC is currently at impasse in contract bargaining, and the CSU has now proposed a 10% pay cut.
    • We have 674 new members (so far).

Library Services Specialist (LSS)

Library Assistants (Unit 7) and Lead Library Assistants (Unit 4) are to be moved into a new classification: LSS. Creating this new classification has been a years-long process. We are now negotiating over the LSS pay scale, and the transition of employees to the LSS classification. The bargaining team consists of the Chairs and Vice Chairs of BUC 7 and BUC 9, and several Library Assistants. We expect 1 or more days of further bargaining. CSU has so far agreed to broaden the salary range, but not to increase individual salaries.

Outsourcing and Job Erosion

Please report any instances or discussions of outsourcing to Chair. Examples including all IT outsourcing (email, database, web hosting, web design, etc.). For example, one of the cases the Representation Committee just moved to arbitration involves server administration duties being reassigned to a faculty member.

Labor-Management Committee (LMC) on Compensation Issues

Each BUC will get one committee delegate and alternate.

Adjourned at 6:58 p.m.


Friday, June 26, 2009

July 7 CSU Board of Trustees Meeting on Budget

The CSU Board of Trustees has sent out its notice for the July 7, 2009 Trustees meeting.

At 10:00 a.m., the Committee on Collective Bargaining will meet in closed session. After lunch, the Committee of the Whole will meet to hear a Report on the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 Support Budgets and Possible Measures to Implement the Support Budget.

The summary for that report, provided in the published agenda, states:

The latest information on the support budget will be presented.

Options for operating the California State University system with an unprecedented projected $584 million reduction in the support budget will be presented in order to inform the Board of Trustees and seek input from the members of the board. The guiding principles in discussing mitigation measures with CSU’s labor groups and others are to serve as many students as possible without sacrificing quality and to preserve as many jobs as possible.


New and Improved Traveler Cheat Sheet

We have a new and improved 1-page Millbrae Traveler Cheat Sheet with additions based on feedback from an early tester.

If you're taking BART, you may also want to print either the 2-page folding BART Visitor's Guide, or the 1-page enlarged system map from the same document. The BART map is easiest to use if you can print it in color, but still useful in black and white.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Membership Database Project Update

The update below on CSUEU/CSEA's membership database project was sent recently to the CSUEU Board of Directors.

Background so this makes sense

Our Bylaws state:

The Vice-President for Organizing shall also keep or cause to be kept, at the Corporation's principal office or at a place determined by Board resolution, a record of the Corporation's members, showing each member's name, address, Chapter and class of membership and any changes thereto.

For years, the reliability and availability of membership (and other) data has been… suboptimal. Vice President for Organizing Ronnie Grant has made improving this a priority – on top of the usual VP for Organizing activities like the organizing plans and serving on the CSEA Board, and his newfangled information updates via email and InsideCSUEU.

His information technology background enabled Ronnie to work more directly with CSEA technical staff to assess our existing systems, and identify stumbling blocks and opportunities for improvement, even taking his own vacation time to do so.

As a result CSUEU is making progress on having the accessible, accurate data so crucial for effective chapter and statewide organizing. The update below is about one facet of the improvements to CSEA's information technology systems.

Membership Database Project: Jeeves

Good morning,

I want to provide you with an update on CSEA's membership database project, now code-named "Jeeves." (Suggestions for a permanent name are appreciated.) Everything below is from memory, so some details may be wrong.

As you probably know, a few years CSEA purchased a off-the-shelf application called UnionWare to manage the member/non-member database and dues/fees payroll collection processing for CSEA's four affiliates. With the app, we also purchased substantial integration, customization and consulting services from UnionWare. UnionWare is a Windows app with SQL Server 2007 for the back-end.

Many of you have noticed problems with the member data you receive – duplicate records, members whose member status changes back and forth between member and non-member, duplicate dues/fees deductions, members being omitted from mailings, etc.

Last year, CSEA hired a Chief Information Officer, Thomas Davis, and the CSEA Board created a strategic plan which included a complete overhaul of the membership database. CIO Davis performed some scoping, and it was decided that because of CSEA's unique environment, there is no off the shelf database that will adequately perform the needed functions. CSEA hired a team of programmers and database admins, and is now in the process of developing our own in-house membership system. The app will live on the CSEA Intranet – it's web-based, coded in .NET with SQL Server 2009 Enterprise. Once rolled out, we expect that CSEA staffing will be 1 database admin, 1 programmer and 0.5 CIO/project manager (plus the existing 1 IT Manager and 1 technician for server/operating system/hardware support).

The advantage with creating our own system in-house is that we it can be customized to meet the needs to each affiliate, in CSEA's unique central support/affiliate structure (which does not exist in other labor unions). Among other features, it is envisioned that, upon an affiliate's request, affiliate Chapter Presidents will have real-time online access to view and query their Chapter's members and non-members. Going forward past the initial release, keeping the system in-house will mean we will have flexibility for change and staff expertise we don't have with UnionWare.

Currently, this month a massive clean-up of the existing member/non-member database will be performed. CSEA estimates we have 10,000+ duplicate records across all 4 affiliates. One of the problems with UnionWare is that it does not handle importing the garbage records from the State Controller well; it tends to creates dupes in our database. Once you have dupes, it has trouble figuring out which dupe to post the fees/dues deduction to. The clean-up will be by hand. Once cleaned up, the business process for importing the SCO data will change to account for dupes.

Starting with July 1 processing (June payroll period), monthly data processing will occur in UnionWare and Jeeves in parallel. A beta user interface will be rolled out to CSEA Central Support and SEIU Local 1000 beta-testers. CSUEU is not in the beta-test group.

The 1.0 release is scheduled for September. It is planned that affiliate-specific mods will be made after the 1.0 release in a rapid fashion.

What this means to you: right now, nothing. All business processes will continue as normal. If you see any errors on any member data you receive at the Chapter, please report it to 916-326-4300, 866-763-1452 ext 300, or membership [at]


Ronnie L. Grant, Vice President for Organizing
California State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579


Proposed Changes to CSUEU Bylaws and Policy File

Curious to see what your CSUEU Board of Directors will be voting on? Here's one sample.

This is a series of proposed amendments to CSUEU's Bylaws and Policy File, as proposed by the CSUEU Policy File Committee. The proposals were distributed to the Board of Directors by headquarters in advance of this weekend's Board of Directors meeting.

The Bylaws and the Policy File are our governing documents. They establish the structure and the rules under which we operate, including the officers' duties.

Here are the recommendation and background from the agenda item:

Recommended Action:

That the CSUEU Board of Directors adopt the attached amendments to the Article 5 Corporate Governance section of CSUEU's Bylaws, and Divisions 3, 5, and 12 of the Policy File.


Currently, the executive officers' duties and responsibilities are listed in both the Bylaws and in one or more locations in the Policy File. The recommended amendment does not change any of the officers' duties. Rather, the consolidation of the duties and responsibilities will eliminate redundancy, and simply, the members will no longer have to look in 2, 3, or 4 different locations to ascertain the scope of the Statewide Officers' duties. The Committee recommends that the duties should be consolidated in the Bylaws rather than the policy file because once the duties of the Corporation's Executive Officers are set, such duties and responsibilities should be more permanent, i.e., not subject to change without full notice to the Board.

The documents appear to be PDF image scans. We apologize for the obstacle this creates; they were the only copies distributed, to the best of our knowledge.


Chapter 315 Officers Quoted in Furlough Story

Chapter 315 (Long Beach) President Peggy O'Neil-Rosales, and Vice President Richard Duarte, were quoted by their campus paper in an article about the furlough proposal:

Peggy O'Neil-Rosales, CSULB chapter president of CSUEU, said she thought that most members supported the possibility of furloughs in order to reduce layoffs. Richard Duarte, CSUEU vice president and chief steward at CSULB, described it as choosing between bad and ugly.

O'Neil-Rosales expressed concern about rushing into the option of furloughs, as well as the possibility that it would increase employees' workloads and cause students to pay more to study longer due to lower class availability.

We were given very sketchy information from the chancellor, O'Neil-Rosales said.

Although the CSUEU Web site said the union could begin negotiations next week, We will not reach an agreement until we have a clear understanding as to how the furlough program will impact our members.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One-Page Cheet Sheet for This Weekend's Travel

We've created a one-page PDF cheat sheet for people going to Millbrae this weekend for the CSUEU Board of Directors meeting and elections.

It's short and sweet, with

  • Hotel name, address, and phone number
  • Airport transportation information
  • BART information to get you to a shopping center when you realize you've forgotten to pack socks, etc.

We suggest you print it out and carry it on your trip, if you haven't already made yourself something similar.


Chapter 320 President Quoted in Furlough Story

Chapter 320 (San Bernardino) president Rob Garcia was quoted in a local news story about the furlough proposal:

California State University Employee Union chapter members at Cal State San Bernardino voted 163-73 in favor of the furlough plan over a no furlough/possible layoff option.

Robert Garcia, president of Cal State San Bernardino's chapter and webmaster in the College of Education, said employees are "scared" and "angry" but understand furloughs will likely save jobs.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Members, Directors Vote to Negotiate Furloughs to Mitigate Layoffs

The message below was sent out this evening from headquarters with the subject line FURLOUGH UPDATE: FOR BROAD DISTRIBUTION.
Short version: Members voted 83% in favor of negotiating furloughs to mitigate layoffs, so we will contact the CSU to begin bargaining.

CSUEU Colleagues:

In a series of advisory votes over the last week, CSUEU members have clearly indicated their support for the concept of two furlough days per month, as proposed earlier this month by the Chancellor's Office.

The results of the votes taken at the chapter level are reflected in the chart below. An online survey and a scientific poll came to the same result: CSUEU-represented employees support the concept of furloughs at the rate of approximately 82 percent in favor.

The next step will be for CSUEU leadership to notify the Chancellor's office that the CSUEU has accepted their offer to come to the table to negotiate furloughs. Negotiations for a side letter could begin as early as next week.

We have received an unprecedented number of suggestions and concerns related to a potential furlough program and will convey these messages to the bargaining team. The CSUEU bargaining team is committed to working on an agreement which will reflect these ideas to the fullest extent possible. We will not reach an agreement until we have a clear understanding as to how the furlough program will impact our members.

We are gratified by the level of involvement and activity on the part of all chapter leaders and represented employees. Over 5700 votes were tallied at the chapter level, and over 5800 individuals completed online surveys. Everyone worked hard to get the message out and exhibited an unprecedented willingness to share their opinions and thoughts about this issue.

In a meeting this afternoon, the CSUEU Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept the will of the members and voted to direct the bargaining team to begin negotiations with the Chancellor's Office. We will continue to keep an open dialogue with you and encourage you to continue to dialogue with your campus leaders by sharing your opinions and creative solutions.

No furlough
301 – Humboldt17730 
302 – Chico16845 
303 – Sacramento35969 
304 – Sonoma14334 
305 – San Francisco37446 
306 – East Bay16332 
307 – San Jose26337 
308 – Stanislaus20020 
309 – Fresno883 
310 – Bakersfield10224 
311 – Los Angeles146523
312 – Northridge318821
313 – Chancellor's Office12810 
314 – Dominguez Hills12820 
315 – Long Beach288122 
316 – San Luis Obispo331891
317 – Fullerton32539 
318 – San Diego28588 
319 – Pomona29141 
320 – San Bernardino167738
321 – San Marcos16419 
322 – Monterey Bay101151
323 – California Maritime Academy395 
324 – Channel Islands12810 

In union,

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

Try the LA Times Budget Balancer

Pat Gantt, CSUEU President, alerted the Board of Directors to an interesting tool this afternoon:

Dear CSUEU Board,

I am forwarding you an article from the LA Times that allows you to construct the state budget. Please take the opportunity to try it and see how you. In the process you will see that revenue does help mitigate some cuts, but there is no factor to measure the political resistance to some taxes.


LA Times Budget Balancer (Los Angeles Times)

Survey Deadline Extended to Noon Today

The survey on whether to accept temporary furloughs to reduce layoffs, originally scheduled to end at 5 p.m. Friday, has been extended until noon today.

If anynone in your chapter still hasn't taken it, please encourage them to do so:
CSUEU Survey: Furloughs or Layoffs?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Traveler Information for Next Weekend

We've pulled together some handy information for attendees of next weekend's CSUEU Board of Directors meeting:
 Millbrae area information for CSUEU travelers

Information includes:

  • Maps
  • Weather (bring a jacket)
  • Transportation
  • Hotel
  • Nearby grocery, drug, and all-around stores
  • Local activities


Getting Large Numbers of Applications to Headquarters Quickly

Sent to the Board of Directors on Friday evening:

If you have a large amount of applications to be submitted to HQ, and would like a free prepaid overnight pack to send them in, please email me your address (home or work). Email me by 1 pm tomorrow and I will ship the pack to you for delivery to you by 10 am Monday. Email me by 3 pm Monday and I'll ship the pack to you for delivery by 10 am Tuesday.

Just remove the pack from the outer envelope, place your applications inside, and place it in a FedEx drop box, or hand to a FedEx driver. The return label is prepaid and your applications will be delivered to HQ by 10 am the next day.

I want to rush the apps in so CSEA can enter them and we can get a revised member count for the Board meeting.


Ronnie L. Grant, Vice President for Organizing
State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579
Email: // Direct: 818-519-5117


Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't Lose Your Chapter's Membership Applications

Ronnie Grant, CSUEU Vice President for Organizing, sent this to the Board of Directors today:

Hi everyone,

I want to take a moment and thank each of you and your E-Boards and Chapter activists for setting up these vote meetings on short notice. Your hard work is making a difference in the outreach and impact CSUEU has on our represented employees, and your recruiting members in these tough times makes CSUEU stronger.

I have been working to battle lost member applications for two years. They are getting lost somewhere between the Chapter and CSUEU, or between CSUEU and CSEA; I can't yet tell where or how to fix it.

If you have collected any member applications at your meetings, please take these steps to help ensure they are not lost:

  1. FAX your member applications to CSUEU's office at 916-319-4808 or toll-free FAX 1-866-977-7838 - we can accept large quantities for immediate processing, and sending a FAX ensures we receive them and allows us to key the data in the database right away.
  2. Make a local copy of the applications in case HQ loses them.
  3. Mail the originals:
    CSU Employees Union
    1108 O St., Suite 500
    Sacramento, CA 95814

**OR** hand deliver them at the Board meeting next weekend to bypass the US Postal Service.


Ronnie L. Grant, Vice President for Organizing
California State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579
Email: // Direct: 818-519-5117

Lost membership applications have been plagued CSUEU for many years, since we were CSEA/CSU Division. We heartily recommend option 3 (Make a local copy of the applications in case HQ loses them), regardless of how you submit your chapter membership forms. And we profoundly appreciate Ronnie's openness about the lost membership forms after years of being told by others that the problem didn't exist.

Update: Pat Gantt, CSUEU President, added this helpful idea:

Dear BOD members,

I have a suggestion to aid the process. If you are sending in a bunch of cards at once, please include a list and keep a copy of it. The list will allow headquarters and the chapter to cross check on the membership process. We do hope that in the future we can have something in place that generates an email to the new member and chapter president when the process is complete.



Thursday, June 18, 2009

About Furloughs, Layoffs, and the Decision We Face

Here are some more questions and answers, based on questions we're getting.

Why the rush?
Because the new fiscal year starts July 1, and the CSU has to be ready for the decreased funding. The CSU will need to get to work on the layoff process if we won't be reaching an agreement on furloughs.
Why don't we know every detail of how furloughs would work?
Because we haven't negotiated that yet, and it hasn't been done before. Like other bargaining, we can't know the exact outcome at the beginning of the process. This is new territory for us and the CSU.
Why can't the CSU cut something else?
The CSU is making other cuts. The CSU spends 80% of its budget on personnel. It's unrealistic to expect that the CSU can absorb a roughly 14% cut without cutting personnel costs. It's unrealistic to expect that the CSU go into the new fiscal year on July 1 spending as if funding levels were unchanged from last year.
I'm sure I'd be immune from layoffs, so why should I worry?
For one thing, you're almost certainly fooling yourself about being immune. Read how the layoff process works (Contract Article 24), and then try to convince yourself you're safe. It is not a quick, clean process, and seniority doesn't offer the kind of protection some people seem to think. Bear in mind:
  • Campus presidents will decide which skill levels and classifications will be laid off. Instead of the cuts being shared as equally as possible, the damage done and jobs lost will be up to each president.
  • One skill level or classification can be wiped out while another is completely spared.
  • A campus president could keep temporary and probationary employees in one classification while laying off long-term permanent employees in another.
  • Seniority only counts within a classification or skill level. You can have 25 years' seniority, and be laid off while a temporary or probationary employee hired a few months ago stays.
  • Only unbroken seniority counts. You may have 20 years' service, but if you had a break in service, only your new seniority counts. Example: you worked at the CSU for 10 years, then took non-CSU job, then came back to the CSU. Those first 10 years aren't included in your seniority points.
  • Laid-off employees may have retreat rights to prior classifications. That means if you have 10 years' seniority, you can be bumped by someone with 10.5 years' seniority who used to be in your current classification.
  • Chancellor's Office employees may have retreat rights to their former campuses. You can be bumped by someone who hasn't worked on your campus in years.
  • There are ways to exempt an employee from the normal order of layoff. Someone with a year on the job could be kept while someone with 20 years in the same classification is laid off.
  • Campuses tend to overshoot the budget goals when deciding on layoffs, as noted by Pat Gantt.
But they'll have to fire all the temporary and probationary employees first, right?
No. Only temporary and probationary employees within the specific skill level or classification targeted for layoffs have to go. Temporary and probationary employees in other skill levels and classifications can be kept.
But once layoffs hit, I'd know right away if I were safe, right?
No. Many laid-off employees have retreat rights, and when a laid-off employee exercises those retreat rights, someone in another classification (or campus, under some circumstances) then needs to be laid off. That person may have retreat rights of their own, which can lead to another person being laid off, and so on. The process can go on for some time.


Furloughs FAQ Highlights

It can take a while to get through the entire Furloughs FAQ. For your convenience, and inspired by Chapter 320 (San Bernardino) president Rob Garcia's response to a member's questions, we're spotlighting some FAQ excerpts:

Q5: Would two furlough days per month save enough money to avoid layoffs?
A5: Furloughs would save the CSU $275 million. There are other cost-saving options under discussion as well. Because the state budget crisis is still unresolved, the CSU can’t guarantee that furloughs would eliminate the need for layoffs. Their expressed intent, however, is to save as many jobs as possible. They do not want to lose trained, dedicated employees.
Q6: What happens if some unions agree to furlough days and some don’t?
A6: The CSU will go through the layoff process with unions that do not agree to furloughs.
Q7: How many layoffs would be anticipated if CSUEU did not agree to the furlough plan?
A7: The numbers are staggering: approximately 2,000 FTE permanent employee layoffs, as well as the non-reappointment of over 3,000 temporary employees.
Q9: Why does the Chancellor's Office prefer furloughs to layoffs?
A9: The CSU's expressed goal is to share the pain. In a furlough, everyone suffers equally. Layoffs, on the other hand, create a good deal of stress in the workplace. Because of contractual notice requirements and the fact that the fiscal year starts in a few weeks, layoffs would affect proportionally more people than even the high numbers with which we were presented.
Q19; Will furloughs have any impact on retirement?
A19: No. They don't affect retirement. We checked with CalPERS. Furloughs are treated the same as pay docks. The base pay remains the same.
Q21: Is the CSU considering offering golden handshakes to faculty and staff?
A21: No. The CSU points out that golden handshake retirement options are too expensive, especially in the first year, when CSU is trying to save money.
Q37: How does this budget crisis compare to the ones we had in the early 1990s or in 2003/2004?
A37: This is far greater in magnitude. We have seen layoffs in the hundreds before, but never the potential for layoffs in the thousands.
Q38: What are the next steps?
A38: CSU presidents are meeting from June 22 to 24. The Chancellor will be submitting a plan to the presidents at that meeting. He doesn’t want to submit two plans to the presidents (layoffs and furloughs). So, if we don't have a plan for furloughs, we have to go layoff scenarios. CSUEU is polling its members about furloughs and other options. If there is support for furloughs, CSUEU will bargain a side letter agreement with the CSU in the near future.
Q39: If the furloughs only address $275 million, and the cut is ~$584 million, won’t there still be layoffs? How will the remaining $308 million be handled?
A39: The CSU cannot provide any guarantees that even with a furlough agreement in place, there would not still be a need for other measures to be taken in order to address the projected funding deficit. In addition to various measures that the University is considering at the systemwide level, all campus’s will continue with the normal process of reviewing campus staffing levels against actual campus needs during the period of any furlough. The University cannot discount that this ongoing process of review will result in some non-renewals of temporary appointments and/or layoffs. However, the University believes that a systemwide furlough remains by far and away the best mitigation strategy available to save as many jobs as possible while providing the highest quality of education to our students. Absent any furlough agreement, reductions in staffing levels necessary to achieve the projected level of cost savings will have to be made (1) almost immediately and (2) at a level that is unprecedented in the CSU’s history to date.

And from a later email from CSUEU Chief of Staff Phillip Coonley, who took members' questions to the CSU and came back with the University's answers:

Q6. How soon would furloughs take effect?
A6. The soonest we could make it happen is probably August, and then only if everything aligned. We will have to play catch-up for July, because we are basing our cost-savings estimates on 24 furlough days for the year.
Q7. What about converting staff to 11/12 and taking an entire month off?
A7. This is subject to bargaining, but we believe we can capture more savings through campus closures twice per month, while still being able to manage most of our operations.


Mitigate = "make less severe"

To clear up a point of confusion we keep seeing in furlough discussions:
  Mitigate means make less severe, serious, or painful.
It does not mean completely eliminate.

Chapter 304 (Sonoma) made a point of defining the term mitigate at their meetings, to reduce the chance of misinterpretation. We suggest other chapters do the same.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Overview of the Upcoming Elections

A new Bargining Unit Council (BUC) 9 will be elected at the next CSUEU Board of Directors meeting, at the Westin San Francisco Airport hotel in Millbrae.

This a completely unofficial, informal explanation based on what we've seen at past elections. While we expect the elections will probably follow the pattern below, it's not up to us and we make no guarantees whatsoever that anything will be the same this time. Please consult the Bylaws and Policy File for the official requirements.


Statewide Committee meetings are on Friday, June 26. Friday evening there's a closed Board of Directors meeting. The regular BUC meetings and Board of Directors meeting are on Saturday, June 27. Elections for statewide offices – statewide executive officers and BUC members – take place on Sunday, June 28.

Who Votes

The electorate consists of current members of the Board of Directors and these chapter officers: President (as a member of the Board of Directors), Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Bargaining Unit Representatives (Bylaws Section 5.6).


There is no requirement to declare your candidacy in advance, but many do, particularly for the executive officer positions. If you're part of the electorate, you may already have started hearing from candidates. Andrew Coile, from Chapter 322 (Monterey Bay), has put up a web site where candidates can post their own information.

Candidates sometimes host small gatherings for voters at the hotel on Saturday evening. You can attend some, all, or none of these, as you wish. These can be an additional chance to learn about the people you'll be voting for or against.

Some candidates will press for a commitment that you'll vote for them. You never have to say ahead of time whom you're voting for. Don't let anyone pressure you into declaring your voting intentions if you'd rather not.

The Elections Themselves

Statewide executive officers are typically elected by secret ballot, one position at a time: first the President, then the Vice President for Organizing, and so on. In each of these elections, if no one wins a majority in the first round, the candidate with the fewest votes is dropped from the list and we vote again, and the process is repeated until someone wins a majority. Only when there is an outright winner for one position do we move on to the next office.

Nominations can be made ahead of time using the official candidate form from CSUEU (the deadline was June 12), or from the floor at the meeting. Any active member in good standing can run.

After all 4 statewide executive officers have been elected, the Bargaining Unit Representatives (BURs) split off for the BUC elections. Each unit gathers in a smaller side conference room. The Chair is elected first, then the Vice Chair, then the 6 at-large members of the BUC. If there are no more than 6 candidates for the at-large seats, no vote is necessary.

The elected statewide officers take office at the close of the meeting. The term of office is 2 years, and officially ends when their successors are installed into office. Depending on the meeting schedule for the Board of Directors 2 years later, this can result in terms that are a little more or less than exactly 2 years. For example, the last statewide elections were held in August 2007, and those terms of office will end on Sunday, June 28, 2009 when the new elected officers are sworn in.

Your Travel Plans

CSUEU funds voting chapter officers for the Sunday elections. For most, this means coming in the night before and spending Saturday night at the hotel. We suggest arranging your travel schedule so that you arrive early enough to observe some of Saturday's Board of Directors meeting and a BUC meeting. Depending on your situation, this might mean covering your own meal cost for one or two meals. It's well worth it to see how things work at the statewide level, especially if you haven't attended statewide meetings in the past.

Chapters can choose to cover the expense of an additional day or two for people who are already attending Sunday's elections. It can be helpful for chapters to have an extra observer available to attend Committee meetings on Friday, and any of Saturday's meetings.

BUC Election Notice

Want to see a real, live election notice? Of course you do! This is the BUC election notice sent out by the Vice President for Organizing on May 29, 2009:


You are receiving this email because the records of CSEA Membership Services indicate you are a Campus Bargaining Unit Representative (CBUR). As a CBUR, you are eligible to attend, vote, and be nominated for the positions of Bargaining Unit Council Chairs, Vice Chairs and Members.

Please find attached the notice and nomination form for the Bargaining Unit Councils.


Ronnie L. Grant, Vice President for Organizing
California State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579

All Bargaining Unit Representatives Attend Election Meeting

All chapter BURs are expected to attend the statewide election meeting, and should have received the meeting notice and election notice from headquarters weeks ago. If you are a chapter Bargaining Unit Representative and you did not receive the notices, please contact headquarters right away.


Furloughs Will Mitigate Layoffs

Some of the material that has gone out states that furloughs won't mitigate layoffs. This is in error.

From CSUEU's Chief of Staff, this morning (emphasis ours):

Both the CO and the union believe furloughs would mitigate layoffs.

In Union,

Phillip Coonley, Chief of Staff
CSUEU, Local 2579

CO in this context refers to the CSU Chancellor's Office.

The whole purpose of furloughs is to mitigate layoffs. No one can guarantee there will be no layoffs at all, or that there won't be further CSU budget cuts down the line.

If furloughs don't completely prevent layoffs, the roughly 10% salary savings from furloughs will at least mean far fewer layoffs are needed to reach the savings goal. That will make the layoffs less severe, which is the very definition of mitigate.

AB 656: Proposed Funding for Higher Education

From the California Faculty Association (CFA), via this week's CFA Headlines:


As California continues to slash the budgets of its public higher education institutions, new legislation will go before committee next week in a historic first step towards creating a dedicated funding source for the state’s public colleges and universities.

Assembly Bill 656 – sponsored by CFA and authored by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico – would generate funding for all three segments of public higher education in California by enacting a new tax on oil and natural gas severed from California land or water.

California, the third-largest oil producing state in the country, is the only such state where oil is extracted without a tax. A similar fund in Texas has successfully endowed public colleges and universities in that state since the 1800s.

This new funding would supplement – and not replace – existing state funding.

The bill will go before the Assembly higher education committee next Tuesday, June 23.

For those interested in attending, the hearing will take place in the State Capitol room 437 at 1:30 p.m.

You can also support AB 656 by joining the Facebook cause at:

As far as we know, CSUEU has not taken a position on AB 656.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Members from Hudson Notice

Ronnie Grant, CSUEU Vice President for Organizing, sent out some membership news to the Board of Directors email list this morning:

So far, we have received 92 new members who joined by returning the membership application bound into the center of the Hudson report, including one unit 4 employee who received and returned the Hudson membership application.

We don't mail the Hudson reports, we give them to the SCO and they mail them. I have no idea why the unit 4 employee got it; maybe he got it from a coworker? Anyway, we will hold that membership app in the system; it's possible he now holds a 2/5/7/9 position and we won't know until next month when we receive an updated roster tape. Note the lack of a chapter assignment. If he appears on the next tape (yes, it's a tape from a mainframe!) then when the roster import works we auto magically assign him to the appropriate chapter.

You might receive inquiries about how to object or file arbitration against the calculation of the fair share fees. Please direct the fee-payer to call 916-326-4300, as CSEA Membership staff are the subject-matter experts on fair share fees.



Ronnie L. Grant, Vice President for Organizing
California State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579

A list of the new members was attached; 36 of the new members are from Unit 9.

The Hudson Notice is the fair share fee notice sent to non-members in bargaining units represented by CSUEU. We don't have a copy of the current Hudson notice handy, but you can read a previous Hudson notice if you're curious.

More Furlough Questions and Answers

Phillip Coonley, CSUEU Chief of Staff, sent this out yesterday evening:


During today's Board of Directors meeting, some additional questions about the proposed furlough program were raised. I contacted the Chancellor's office to get answers to those questions:

Q1. Will retired annuitants and/or foundation employees be furloughed?
A1. Our intention is that everyone on the CSU payroll be furloughed. For instance, the furloughs would apply to FERP (CFA annuitants).
A1. CUS does not bargain for the foundations; further, there is no general fund money in foundations.

Q2. What about housing employees? Students who live in dorms won't be furloughed.
A2. We are starting off assuming we are including everyone; we will re-think inclusion of those that impact student services, like RAs.

Q3. What about CMA – they have staff who are on cruise ships. How can you furlough folks on cruise?
A3.There is probably no way to furlough employees on cruise.

Q4. What about Community Services Specialists? At CMA, CSSs are the only law enforcement on campus.
A4. We are still considering this – we have not come to a final conclusion about public safety; we will have to look at these situations more closely.

Q5. What about Grant employees?
A5. If they are on our payroll, they will get furloughed. We are looking at it from an equity standpoint. Our system can't separate folks out based on funding.

Q6. How soon would furloughs take effect?
A6. The soonest we could make it happen is probably August, and then only if everything aligned. We will have to play catch-up for July, because we are basing our cost-savings estimates on 24 furlough days for the year.

Q7. What about converting staff to 11/12 and taking an entire month off?
A7. This is subject to bargaining, but we believe we can capture more savings through campus closures twice per month, while still being able to manage most of our operations.

Thank-you for submitting these questions. One question for which I still have not received a complete answer is how the CUSP will fill the gap between the $275 million they will be saving through the furlough program and the $583 million that represents the total amount of cuts currently being anticipated. We do know that they anticipate savings by virtue of closing campuses on the furlough days. I do anticipate receiving a more comprehensive answer within the next day, and will pass it on as soon as I do.

Please be sure to forward any additional questions to me and I will follow up. Please also continue to monitor our budget update page: and specifically the furlough FAQ page:

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

Take the Furlough Survey

Please take the online survey on furloughs:
CSUEU Furlough Survey. The survey closes Friday at 5 p.m. Please note that on question 3, the question is how you feel about furloughs as an alternative to thousands of layoffs, not whether you like furloughs in general (no one does).

Chapters will be holding meetings this week to discuss and vote on whether people prefer furloughs or laying off thousands of CSUEU-represented employees. Only members can vote. If you are not a member and would like to join, you can print out and fill out the CSUEU membership form, and take it to the meeting with you. Your chapter should also have membership forms available at the meeting for you to use. Chapters have received current membership rosters, and ballot forms to be used in this week's meetings.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Furlough FAQ Posted

If you haven't seen it, CSUEU has posted a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list about the CSU furlough proposal. The FAQ list is based on the notes from last week's meeting with the Chancellor's Office, augmented with additional questions from the bargaining team, chapter officers, and rank-and-file employees.

We highly recommend that you read the whole thing. If you have questions which aren't answered there, please send those questions to your chapter officers and/or bargaining unit chair (Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee's email address is Your questions will be forwarded to headquarters for inclusion or clarification in the FAQ.

Some key points:

  • Furloughs would mitigate layoffs. Without furloughs we are facing thousands of layoffs of CSUEU-represented employees.
  • This is a much greater number of layoffs than we have ever faced.
  • Layoffs would mean the campus presidents pick and choose which departments, classifications and skill levels are affected. Furloughs spread the impact evenly, without the opportunity for anyone to play favorites.
  • Within a classification or skill level, layoffs are by seniority, combined with the potential bumping rights of people who previously worked in that classification and certain exemptions to the normal order of layoff. You can have 10 or 20 years' seniority, and still be laid off. A long and praise-worthy career with the CSU does not automatically protect you from layoff.
  • The CSU can't guarantee their future budget situation – neither approach can guarantee we won't face more cuts down the road.


If these links don't work for you – items do tend to move around on the CSUEU web site – go to the main CSUEU page and look under the Bargaining pull-down menu for contract information, under State and CSU Budget Central for the latest budget information including the Furlough FAQ, and under the On the Job pull-down menu or Library link for Know Your Rights fliers.

Check Your Pre-Printed CSUEU Envelopes

If you've recently gotten pre-printed envelopes for sending in travel claim forms, check that you have the right ones.

At least one chapter has received the wrong envelopes. In this case it was a set of envelopes addressed to the R Street address of the CSEA print shop, directed to the attention of DLC/Finance.

That is not the correct address for submitting CSUEU claim forms or anything else.

Pre-printed envelopes for CSUEU should bear an address something like:
California State University Employees Union
1108 O St   FL 5
Sacramento CA   95814-9956

We don't know whether this was an isolated incident, or a larger batch mailing gone wrong. To be on the safe side, check the envelopes you're using to mail things to headquarters.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Report Any Mention of Programs to Avoid Layoff

We are hearing that some managers are encouraging employees to take some sort of voluntary cutback to try to prevent layoffs.

If this is happening on your campus, we need specifics: which campus and which department(s)? Please send the information to Teven Laxer, Senior Labor Relations Representative at headquarters. If you'd rather email Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee at, he'll forward the information.

As a reminder, always let your chapter officers and your bargaining unit chair know if you hear a manager say anything about layoffs, including voluntary programs to avoid them.


If these links don't work for you – items do tend to move around on the CSUEU web site – go to the main CSUEU page and look under the Bargaining pull-down menu for contract information, and under the On the Job pull-down menu or Library link for Know Your Rights fliers.

CSUEU Budget Central

CSUEU has established a State and CSU Budget Central page to give you one-stop shopping for the latest budget information. If you share this site with your members, they can look up the most current budget information at their convenience.

Here's the announcement from headquarters, describing what's available:

Cc: Staff

Good afternoon,

We’ve just created a Budget Central page on the web site, designed to provide the latest information about the state and CSU budget crises. It includes a budget/layoff FAQ, English and Spanish-language versions of the layoff KYR, and news updates as we find out about them. The page is accessible from a box on the right side of the CSUEU home page as well as the Home pull-down menu.

Thanks to Rich McGee for suggesting the idea and to Teven Laxer for helping to pull together the key materials. Please feel free to forward this information at your chapter as you deem appropriate.

In union,


John Watson
Communications Officer

Unit 9 Editor's note: KYR refers to a Know Your Rights flier.

And here's yesterday's update on the budget and the Board of Directors conference call:

June 10: Information-Gathering Session with CSU Yesterday

CSUEU's Pat Gantt, Dennis Dillon and Teven Laxer met with representatives of CSU management at the Office of the Chancellor yesterday on an information-gathering basis.

The context was a projected cut to the CSU budget of $583,816,000, the amount proposed by the governor in the May Revise and expected to be recommended by the Budget Conference Committee within the next week. This represents a staggering 13.5 percent cut to the budget.

The team was told that the Chancellor is abiding by two key principles in dealing with this crisis: maintaining the best quality of education possible and saving as many jobs as possible. The conversation focused on different ways to deal with the budget shortfall, including the possibility of furloughs as a potential alternative to layoffs (the topic of furloughs is broached in the budget FAQ posted to this site).

The Board of Directors met by teleconference at noon today and voted to commission a scientific telephone poll of a representative number of members for feedback on furloughs and related topics, scheduled to be completed within the next 10 days. Check Budget Central for the latest updates.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Final General Council Delegate Election Results

CSUEU Vice President for Organizing Ronnie Grant has posted the official General Council (GC) delegate vote results:

General Council takes place September 5-7, 2009, in Los Angeles. Each chapter has its own delegates. The number of delegates is determined by the number of members in each chapter.


Budget Polling Data from CSUEU/SEIU

This message was sent by headquarters last week:


Attached please find three documents:

  • Reasons Prop1AFailed slides.pdf is a printout of a slide show presenting the results of a scientific poll commissioned by SEIU and conducted by David Binder Research. The results belie the Governor’s assertion that the defeat of Proposition 1A was a message from the general public that the legislature and the governor must continue to carve up service provided to the people of California. Rather, the poll results clearly show that Californians are willing to pay the shared cost of supporting public universities and schools. According to the Binder poll, 73% were opposed to higher education budget cuts.
  • SurveyReasonsProp1Afailed is an overview of the David Binder Poll in memo form, prepared by David Binder Research.
  • GarinHartYangsurvey results CA budget solutions 2009-05.pdf is another scientific poll of California voters; this one was commissioned by the Fair Budget Coalition. The poll reveals sentiments much like those indicated in the Binder poll: California voters find cuts to education unacceptable, while they believe that voters are not asked to carry their fair share of the burden during these difficult times and are willing to support tax/revenue increases. According to the this poll, 65% stated that further cuts to CSU and UC were unacceptable.

In union,

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

In related news, CSU Sacramento has released a survey showing support for tax increases to sustain higher education:

Almost three of every five Sacramento-area residents are willing to pay additional taxes to fund college education, according to a just-released report by California State University Sacramento.


June 2 Budget Update from Pat Gantt

Here's the June 2 budget update from CSUEU President Pat Gantt. The CSUEU Board of Directors is having a closed meeting via conference call today regarding the California/CSU budget.

I would like to give you an update on the CSU budget Yesterday, I waited three hours to testify before the Joint Legislative Budget Conference Committee. The majority of the testimony was by students explaining how the cuts would affect them. Most of the students were from the community college system.

Chancellor Reed testified and requested that any cuts be unallocated so that the CSU can balance its budget needs internally. One of the driving forces behind this request is the Governor’s proposal to eliminate outreach programs in the CSU. The outreach efforts in the CSU have been very successful in improving enrollment on some campuses, especially for underrepresented students.

He wanted to have enrollment targets removed, if the CSU were to absorb cuts amounting to a reduction of at least $481 million. He reiterated that his first goals were to protect service and access to students and faculty and staff positions.

Earlier today, the CSU’s Statewide Budget Advisory Committee met. Numbers from the May revise(s) are still fluid. So far, the best-case scenario is a net reduction of $481 million. This number is based on the Governor’s proposal and on an assumption that more federal stimulus funds will be forthcoming. An upper number cited was $689 million, based on no additional federal stimulus funding; this would represent about a 16% budget cut to the CSU.

We still are not clear on the impacts on positions. The budget numbers could change, as the legislature can adopt a different budget than what the governor has proposed, and the governor still may add more details to his May revisions. The governor and legislature have both stated that they want the budget issues resolved before the end of June and the start of the next fiscal year.

We are starting a FAQ section on the budget to try to answer members’ questions on the budget, budget impacts and the processes. If you have questions or are presented with a question you cannot answer, please send it to John, Teven and/or Phillip.

In Union,

Pat Gantt

And in case you didn't see it, here's Pat's previous budget update from May 26:

TO: CSUEU Board of Directors

We continue to monitor developments for direct impacts on the CSU and CSUEU represented positions. Please understand that references to state worker cuts or layoffs in the press are not directed at the CSU. Most of the cuts that would impact us refer to the CSU and Higher Education specifically. There are proposed cuts that could trigger layoffs, but there has been no mention or notice of layoffs yet in the CSU. Many of these reports are merely proposals at this point in time. In addition, the concept of IOU’s has also not come up and may not affect the CSU at all. Please let me know what your campus budget committees may be planning for the budget impacts.

Budget Update

May 26, 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger has incorrectly interpreted the May 19 election results to mean that voters want no new taxes. In fact, our ears to the ground, supported by recent statewide polls, indicate quite the opposite: voters want legislators to solve the budget puzzle successfully, and they know that new revenues are part of the solution.

At this point, it will take more than polls to shift the slash-and-burn mindset of the Governor and Republican legislators. They are intent on downsizing our way to solvency, even though common sense should tell them that you can’t get out of accumulated debt simply by spending less—at some point, you need to get your hands on the cold, hard cash to pay off those debts.

On May 21, the Legislative Analyst’s Office rolled out recommendations for closing the budget gap that included a five percent reduction in non-instructional support at CSU (yes, that means CSUEU-represented staff). This is only a recommendation and can’t be implemented without sign-off by a joint legislative budget subcommittee that has already been convened and that is meeting over the next two weeks (yes, we will be there!).

Far from supporting any and all budget cuts, the public wants education to be spared. In those recent polls, fully 70 percent of those surveyed opposed cuts to higher education.

The Chancellor is set to unveil a budget allocation plan to campus presidents on June 1 that will provide complete details on budget cut impacts from the CSU perspective. Until then, we’ll continue gathering information and conducting analysis of the potential impacts on staff.

In Union,
Pat Gantt

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 2009 BUC 9 Agenda

Here is the agenda for the Bargaining Unit Council 9 (BUC 9) meeting to be held on Saturday evening of the next CSUEU Board of Directors meeting:

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Meeting

June 27, 2009       5:30–7:00 p.m.
  1. Chair Report
  2. Library Services Specialist (LSS) series update
  3. Exempt, workload, and on-call issues
  4. Outsourcing
  5. Staff Report
  6. Additional items as requested and as time permits