Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2010 Budget Getting Worse?

The Governor held a press conference today where he announced that the current California budget is now almost $20 billion in the red, a larger deficit than the one he dealt with during the 2009 budget. Translation: Next year's budget could be even worse than this year.

No one yet knows what this means for the CSU system. Chancellor Reed has asked the Governor to restore $845 million dollars to fully fund the CSU's mission, but no answer to that proposal has yet been received.

Meanwhile, the Governor also said today that he would seek to extend the furloughs of all state workers who are currently on a three furlough day per month schedule for additional . Again, no mention of extending furloughs for CSU employees has yet been mentioned.

The first preliminary budget projections for 2010 should be released sometime in mid-January.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No additional Furlough Cuts in December Paychecks

During this past week, I've received a large number of telephone calls from CSUEU member concerned about the amount of their December paychecks. They are worried that the state will reduce their take-home pay even more due to many campuses adding additional furlough days this month.

No, you don't have to worry.

The Chancellor's Office and the CSUEU both agreed to 24 furlough days over 11 months. It was originally supposed to be 2 furlough days per month for an entire year, but the time necessary to conduct member surveys on each campus, and then actually bargain over the furlough agreement itself took several weeks longer than anticipated.

As a result, the CSU needed some way for everyone to "make up" the additional two furlough days. That's why many campuses are using four furlough days this month.

But this won't change your take-home pay. When furloughs started in August, the pay for all CSUEU employees was reduced by 10.04% per month for 11 months It doesn't matter if you take two furlough days this month, or took four of them, the same 10.04% pay reduction still applies.

And, as of this moment, the Chancellor's Office has not indicated if furloughs would be extended for another year, starting with the next fiscal year in July, 2010.

Three weeks ago, at the Board of Trustees meeting, the Chancellor said furloughs would not be offered next year, but that could change at any time.

Two weeks ago, the Chancellor asked the Governor for an additional $845 million dollars to close the gap in CSU funding. The Governor's answer is expected to be announced in early January.

Monday, December 14, 2009

No Layoffs within CSUEU - Yet

As of today, December 14th, 2009, there have been no announced layoffs within any CSUEU-represented bargaining unit. The three campuses that had invoked layoffs have now rescinded them.

Please remain alert for any management talk of pending layoffs. If you hear of a manager discussing layoffs with their staff, notify your Chief Steward, immediately.

If your campus does formally announce staff layoffs, call HQ, then call your LRR and Chief Steward at once, so CSUEU can begin to invoke all of the contract provisions contained within Article 24.

Also, now would be a good time for every steward to read and review the contents of Article 24. Take the time to read and study Article 24 now, so you will be better able to answer employee questions if layoffs do become real. Article 24 is rather complex, and it takes time to fully understand all of the employee rights and employer responsibilities contained within it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

LSS Negotiations In Abeyance Until 2011

In case you haven't seen it:


Update on LSS negotiations: implementation of the LSS series will be held in abeyance.

Despite  the CSUEU LSS bargaining team's best efforts, the CSU remains unwilling to recognize that Library Assistants and Lead Library Assistants moving into the new Library Services Specialist (LSS) classification series should be compensated for their enhanced technological skills, duties and responsibilities. CSUEU therefore proposed, and the CSU agreed, to place the implementation of the LSS series in abeyance until July 1, 2011, in mutual recognition of the current state budget situation.

CSUEU hopes that the budget situation will have improved by then, making it possible at that point to negotiate appropriate compensation  for LSSs.

The LSS bargaining team could not in good faith sign an agreement that offered no additional compensation for the additional technological skills, duties and responsibilities that are incorporated into the new classification. CSU has agreed that this classification involves additional technological skills, duties and responsibilities, but they have taken the position that there is simply no money at this time.

What does this mean? For the time being, all Library Assistants stay in Bargaining Unit 7, and all Lead Library Assistants stay in Bargaining Unit 4 (represented by APC). New employees will continue to be hired into one of the existing Library Assistant or Lead Library Assistant classifications.

The bargaining team encourages all Library Assistants to update your position descriptions and, if you believe that you are incorrectly classified, to seek reclassifications. If you are denied, we encourage you to file an appeal within ten days.  If you need assistance with the appeal, please contact your campus steward.

What will CSUEU be doing until July, 2011?
  • CSUEU shall create a guide to assist Library Assistants who are seeking reclassifications
  • We will monitor the progress of all CSU Library Assistants with regard to In Range Progressions, Reclassifications and Bonuses
Bargaining Team Members:
  • Russell Kilday-Hicks, Vice President for Representation, CSUEU (San Francisco)
  • Joan Kennedy, Library Assistant III, SLO
  • Christine Thomas, Library Assistant IV, Pomona
  • Joseph Corica, Library Assistant IV, East Bay
  • Jennifer O'Neal-Watts, Library Assistant III, Sacramento
  • Michael Brandt, Chair, BU 7 Council (San Luis Obispo)
  • Rich McGee, Chair, BU 9 Council (San Bernardino)
  • Alisandra Brewer, Vice-Chair, BU 9 Council (Sonoma)
  • Teven Laxer, Chief Negotiator, CSUEU

Links

J.J. Jelincic Wins CalPERS Runoff Election

The raw vote totals have been released for the CalPERS runoff election:

J.J. Jelincic - 109,088 votes
Kathy Hackett - 104,656 votes

The election results still must be certified, and this is not expected until early January.

JJ and Kathy were engaged in a runoff election since neither candidate received the majority of votes cast in the previous election.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

LRR Job Posted

CSUEU is recruiting for a Labor Relations Representative (LRR) position. Here's the job posting from the Union Jobs Clearinghouse:


CSUEU (SEIU Local 2579, headquartered in Sacramento, CA, has a vacancy for Labor Relations Representative. The CSUEU represents approximately 3,000 California State University Employees throughout the State of California. This position is responsible for representing CSUEU members and the CSUEU Affiliate in employer/employee relations and training university employees in labor relations functions. This position will likely handle cases for the CSU in Sacramento, Turlock and Vallejo, though chapter assignments are subject to change.

The minimum qualifications for this classification are:

Education:

For all persons employed in the classification of Labor Relations Representative prior to April 25, 1994, equivalent to graduation from the 12th grade.

For all employees hired in the class of Labor Relations Representative subsequent to April 25, 1994, either: (1) a certificate of successful completion of the University of California's Extension Program in Labor-Management Relations; or (2) a four (4) year college degree.

Experience: For those persons who do not have a four (4) year college degree, at least three (3) years of professional experience in employer/employee relations providing representation at a level equivalent to that required of a CSEA Labor Relations Representative.

For those persons who do possess a four (4) year college degree, at least one (1) year of professional experience in employer/employee relations providing representation at a level equivalent to that required of a CSEA Labor Relations Representative.

Other: Possession of a valid California driver's license and automobile.

Selection for this position will be based on the following criteria:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated ability to perform the duties of a LRR.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Experience in arbitrations and other administrative hearings.

We're not sure why the posting says we represent 3,000 employees. It's closer to 16,000.

Links

Master Plan Hearings

Yesterday the legislature's Joint Committee for Review of the Master Plan of Higher Education held its first hearing. Testimony centered on the damage done to California's higher education systems by the state's erratic budget process, and the risk to California's economic future if the problem isn't addressed.

CSUEU President Pat Gantt testified, as did CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, UC President Mark Yudof, and California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott. Gantt told legislators:

You can neither cut your way to profitability in the private sector nor slash your way to a balanced budget in the public sector. At some point, you must find new revenue streams to get into the black or to balance a state budget.

Gantt also urged the legislature to scrutinize CSU budget allocations such as the expansion of Management Personnel Plan (MPP) employees, stating:

In the last three years, the number of managers has grown to its highest levels ever, even as CSU leaders call for cutbacks on every other front. Transparency in both budget allocations and decisions is in the best interest for all General Fund agencies. Taxpayers have entrusted us with that charge, and the CSU must do everything possible to honor that trust.

The San Jose Mercury News wrote:

California's 50-year-old "Master Plan for Higher Education" is not broken — in fact, nations such as China and Singapore are trying to replicate it. But it is in peril because of inadequate funding, college administrators testified Monday morning in Sacramento.

The Los Angeles Times summed things up:

Of all the damage that has been done in recent years by Sacramento's habitual flight from fiscal responsibility — particularly during the disastrous Schwarzenegger years — none has been more injurious or perverse than the budgetary mistreatment of the state's universities and community colleges. Starved for adequate funds, what was once California's greatest guarantor of social mobility based on merit has become, in fact, a force for the growing inequality that threatens this state's future.

Links

LSS Bargaining Resumes Today

CSUEU and CSU meet today to continue bargaining on the implementation of the Library Services Specialist (LSS) series.

In previous bargaining sessions, the CSU has consistently proposed putting these employees in a more technical, more demanding classification series without a higher pay scale. In other words: the CSU wants us to abandon the idea that pay should be related to a job's skills and responsibilities. This would betray not only the Library Assistants, but all employees we represent now or may represent in the future.

Higher pay for higher skills and more demanding work is fundamental to our pay scales — it's the reason, for example, that the salary schedule for the Expert-level Analyst/Programmer is higher than that of a Foundation-level Analyst/Programmer, and that both are higher than the salary schedule for, say, Accounting Clerks.

Abandoning this principle — that there's a connection between a job's duties and skills and the appropriate pay for that job — would make it difficult to argue in future that anyone should get higher pay because of the nature of their work. Separating duties and skills from compensation would also eliminate the usual reasons for bonuses and stipends, or an In-Range Progression (IRP) for higher skills or responsibilities. So far the CSU has not offered any reason that the LSS series should be a special case (not wanting to pay for the work employees do is not a justification — if it were, we'd all be working for minimum wage).

Strangely enough, the CSU managers pushing this have not volunteered to have their own pay scale reduced to that of a less demanding classification.