Thursday, June 18, 2009

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.


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