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.



Anonymous said...

How about get rid of the following things to reduce the cost:
- cell phone
- laptop
- rideshare program
- color printer

Anonymous said...

Is Unit 9 reporting the voting results today (or very soon)? I've heard other units have announced their results.

Waiting anxiously!

Editor said...

The votes were conducted by chapter, not by bargaining unit, so there would be no way to tell how each individual unit voted. (This is different from a ratification vote, in which we vote by bargaining unit.)

Chapters were asked to report their ballot results to headquarters by phone.

The plan -- still in effect, to the best of our knowledge -- was for CSUEU to respond to the CSU by noon today regarding whether we are willing to sit down and negotiate over furloughs. The CSUEU Board of Directors has a closed meeting by teleconference scheduled for 2-4 p.m. today.

We hope to have more information later today.