Monday, July 6, 2009

CSU, CFA Trade Press Releases on Furloughs; State Budget Resolution Elusive

On June 29, the CSU issued a press release urging the California Faculty Association (CFA) to let members vote on the CSU's furlough concept. The CSU also published its responses to a list of 8 questions from CFA.

Two statements from that question list stand out:

Q2: Can the CSU provide some guarantee, or propose some other measurable means, to ensure that the salary cost savings generated by a furlough are applied towards maintaining Unit 3 positions over the next 12 months, and that the savings generated will not be used to fund pet projects on individual campuses?

A: It is inaccurate and misleading to consider the effect of a furlough as a salary savings that can be used to fund one thing over another. A furlough works to reduce campus compensation expenses. The general funds available to campuses remain the same, but a furlough means that this fixed amount of money can be stretched to fund more positions than would otherwise be the case if there was no furlough. A furlough would not create a pool of additional income. If adopted by all employees, furloughs would reduce the CSU's salary expenditures by approximately $275 million. But, the total budget cut for 2009-10 is $584 million, and other cost saving options are being discussed to address the remaining deficit.

The Chancellor has said repeatedly that one of the main advantages of the furlough is that it will allow the campuses to maintain more jobs with the reduced General Fund allocations that they will now receive. His guiding principles in managing the budget deficit have been to serve as many students as possible without sacrificing quality, and to preserve as many jobs as possible.

However, and in response to the specific question posed by the CFA, the CSU is prepared to say that it cannot provide any guarantees as to the precise number of Unit 3 positions that would be saved by a furlough, but it can guarantee that with the furlough in place, there would be more Unit 3 positions in 2009-10 than there would otherwise be without one.

Q8: Will MPP's face the same type of reductions as the faculty?

A: The Chancellor has said that all groups will be equally affected by a systemwide furlough and that equity between employee groups is one of the benefits of the systemwide furlough option. However, the reality is that the CSU will have to go through a process of adapting itself to fit the level of funding that has been appropriated to it by the state. Within this process there can be no guarantees that all employee groups will be equally impacted at precisely the same time, or in in precisely the same way, as the CSU goes about this difficult, but essential, process of adaptation.

CFA responded with a press release of their own, titled California State University Faculty Question Chancellor's Leadership, Half-Baked Budget Plan and beginning:

CSU Chancellor Reed & his administration have focused for years on their own perks, spent millions on labor consultants and done little to advocate for adequate CSU funding; now their incomplete CSU budget proposal would address less than half the projected shortfall, leaving a $300 million deficit with no plan to close it; tens of thousands of students are at risk of losing out on a college education.

On June 1, CFA leadership published an open letter, calling the CSU's message profoundly disrespectful. Regarding workload issues, CFA said:

As part of our discussions about the need for a reduction in faculty workload commensurate with the pay reduction proposed, we managed to convince administrative representatives that their original Friday closure furlough plan was poorly conceived and academically unworkable. We recommended instead that the choice of furlough days be left to each individual faculty member since he/she knew best which days would address both workload and educational goals.

The administration's response to our proposal was at once patronizing and insulting.

They initially suggested that they could agree in principle to allow faculty to choose their furlough days; when pressed it emerged that they envisioned oversight of this choice by administrators who would vet the selected days for their programmatic impact. Given what we know from years of bargaining with the Chancellor, in principle agreements simply cannot be trusted.

The letter describes the CSU as suffering a lack of leadership, and cites concerns about job security, where savings from furloughs would be used (saving faculty jobs, or elsewhere?), and states CFA representatives have been told over and over, 'The Chancellor has no plan' (other than a furlough program) to close the CSU budget gap.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports legislative leaders and the governor met again Sunday without reaching a budget solution.

Chapter 309 (Fresno) President Nancy Kobata was mentioned in the Fresno Bee's story on possible furloughs:

Nancy Kobata, president of the Fresno State chapter, said an advisory vote showed employees are overwhelmingly open to the idea. Kobata said she's proud that members agreed to consider furloughs as a way to save jobs.

Updated Monday afternoon: more news stories added. Also, the CSU states in its press release on the July 7 Board of Trustees meeting that:

To date, approximately 21,000 of CSU’s overall workforce of 47,000 employees are committed to looking at furloughs as a way to address the budget deficit. If all employees furlough it would save approximately $275 million, and an estimated 22,000 course sections or approximately 15 percent of all classes, that would otherwise need to be eliminated for the academic year.

Collective bargaining agreements between the CSU and its employee unions include provisions covering non-renewal of contracts and layoffs, but not furloughs. Each bargaining unit, therefore, must agree to negotiate furloughs. To date, the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), that represents more than 16,000 non-academic employees, and the Academic Professionals of California, that represents approximately 2,400 student services employees, have voted to negotiate two day per month furloughs.

CSU is expected to begin furloughing management, non-represented, presidents and executives beginning in August following changes to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations that are anticipated to be modified at the July 21 regular board meeting.

Sonoma State University's Foundation looks to be on the hook for $1.25 million in loans it guaranteed for a former Board member, and expects to reduce scholarship awards as a result:

The Sonoma State University Academic Foundation stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on a $1.25 million loan it made to Clem Carinalli, a former SSU foundation board member who announced in May he is unable to pay some of his creditors.

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