Friday, January 29, 2010

CSUEU Defends Education on March 4th.

CSUEU Endorses March 4 as National Day of Action to Defend Education

On January 25, the CSUEU Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to support the March 4 National Day of Action to Defend Education, a grassroots effort to develop actions at campuses across the nation on March 4 in support of public education funding. With this resolution, CSUEU encourages its 24 chapters and 16,000 represented employees to work with local peer organizations to create actions on March 4 at each of their sites.

The text of the resolution follows below. For further details about the March 4 initiative, visit http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com and http://www.defendeducation.org.

CSUEU March 4, 2010 Resolution

Whereas, the deepening economic decline of California and the United States threatens the maintenance of public services, including education, healthcare and all local, regional and state jobs, and,

Whereas, the need for a unified political strategy and action plan for the defense of public education and the users of these services is critical, and,

Whereas, the continued successful efforts by anti-labor forces using this crisis to make structural changes to bring privatization of education and the outsourcing and destruction of our public services through furloughs and lay-offs in education and public services is growing, and,

Whereas, this year the need to have a united mass action that unites all 1.5 million public workers and those threatened with the loss of their public services to act together collectively is vital, and,

Whereas, the California Faculty Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the UTLA, the OEA, UESF, the California Federation of Labor, the San Francisco Labor Council, UPTE, AFSCME 444, AFT 2121, UPWA and many other organizations have called for support to the March 4 actions to defend public services and education

Therefore be it resolved that the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU)/SEIU 2579 endorses and encourages the local chapters to participate in March 4 actions on their campus and communities.

On-Line Job Merging Workshop February 4th

With the current hiring freeze and people retiring and leaving their jobs, campuses are combining job duties in some very strange and unusual combinations. This on-line workshop will help both Union Stewards and members determine at which point the employee should speak up and how to handle these workplace issues.

About the trainer

Nancy Kobata is Chair of the Classification Committee, Chapter President and Chief Steward of Fresno Chapter, and a former Unit 7 representative and Bargaining Unit council member. Nancy has previously offered workshops on Classification, and IRPs to the campuses. All of these workshops were praised highly by the attendees, and empowered our members as well as offering them a chance to interact and obtain a more global view of classification issues.

When: Thursday, February 4th, from noon until 1 pm.
Cost: Free

For more information, and to RSVP, please visit the Registration Link

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CSUEU President Concerned About Governor's Budget

Education union leaders from across the spectrum of California's public education system came together on Tuesday to call for full funding of public education in the 2010/11 budget.

The call went out prior to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's presentation of his proposed budget on Friday that is expected to include yet more cuts across the board from the preschool to university level.

"The public education system in this state is being dismantled, indeed California is sinking compared to other states, and we are expecting to hear what a shame it is to cut education again," said Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association. "So we are saying there needs to be a different approach to solving the state's problems."

The effort on the part of union leaders comes in the aftermath of an eMarch on the governor led by education unions over the holiday break that sent 5,000 messages about the urgent need to fund public education even in tough budget times.

The union leaders' fears are grounded in the fact the nation's most populous state faces a nearly $21 billion shortfall over the next 18 months, a deficit that comes after years of making deep cuts in core state programs.

As a result, California classrooms could swell even more and public colleges may further limit enrollment and raise student fees.

In July, the budget amendment approved by the legislature and the governor cut the University of California system's current
fiscal year budget by $814 million.

The California State University system lost $584 million. The cuts led the CSU to close spring 2010 admission, raise fees and at Cal Poly Pomona, shut down summer classes.

San Bernardino area school districts have also laid off teachers, increased class sizes and asked employees to take furloughs.

At Tuesday's news conference, Taiz was joined by Carl Friedlander, president of the American Federation of Teachers Local 1521, Pat Gantt, president of the California State University Employees Union, Stanton Glantz, vice president of the Council of University of California Faculty Associations and others.

Gantt said he has seen budgets come and go in the 29 years he has worked for the CSU but never before has it been this bad.

"This period may be seen as the death of the master plan for higher education unless something is done," he said.

While Glantz described the University of California system as being beyond the breaking point.

"The restructuring of public higher education that has taken place under the Schwarzenegger administration may take decades to recover from," he said.

Source: SBSUN.COM

Sunday, January 3, 2010

CMS - CSU Official Calls Investigative Reporter "A Twit"

From the Orange County Register - Looks like someone in the CSU really dislikes talking to reporters about the CMS project!

Source: OC Register Jan. 1 2010

THE SETUP: Our intern at OC Watchdog last quarter - Lindsey Ambrose - had made a request under the California Public Records Act to the chancellor’s office at California State University. (This was in the wake of our report on David Ernst, the former CSU official skewered for taking at least $152,441 in improper expense reimbursements for “unnecessary” trips to Shanghai, London, Singapore, Amsterdam,etc.)

Anyway, the state auditor had also produced a scathing investigation of tremendous cost overruns in CSU’s new computer system, and Ernst was head of IT during that exercise. Faculty accused him of having a “serious conflict of interest,” receiving compensation from the software company that ultimately got a $39 million software contract.

This sounded interesting. So Ambrose asked CSU for:

1. All correspondence between Ernst and others concerning the contracts.
2. Change orders, internal documents, and any other documentation related to the increasing cost of the contract.
3. Any written feedback from campuses regarding the new system.

THE REACTION: csu-sealThe response came from Claudia Keith, assistant vice chancellor for public affairs at CSU.

Lindsey,
We do not have any way of pulling or organizing or locating these documents that you have requested. I would suggest, as I did last time, that we send to you the contract, which contains any amendments, change orders, etc., as well as a link to an audit of CMS. That will provide you with an overview of CMS and the associated contract. Let me know how you would like to proceed.

Claudia

Now, we’ll take some responsibility here for the broadness of Ambrose’s request. We journalist-types routinely word our requests generally, so as not to inadvertently exclude documents that might be important. This apparently drives the official types who have to deal with our requests up the wall. It’s something of a cat-and-mouse game, and you can feel the tension in Keiths’ response.

THE BONUS ROUND: Ambrose responded politely.

Hi Claudia,
Thank you. I will take that information for now, but I am not necessarily considering the request fulfilled. Let me know the next step in obtaining those documents.
Best,
Lindsey

Again, we take some responsibility here for advising Ambrose to take what she could get quickly, but to not give up on the rest.

And it is here that CSU’s Keith apparently got angry. Soon a message landed in Ambrose’s inbox, from Keith, saying simply:

What a twit

Moments later, CSU tried to recall the twit message, but it was too late. Ambrose, rather red-faced, responded:

Actually, I’m not a twit. I’m just following the law. I hope you do too.

CODA: We kidded with Keith, saying that we KNOW officials think we’re twits, and it’s refreshing to hear someone actually say it. To which Keith responded:

No Teri I don’t think most reporters are twits. There are lots of good ones who do their homework and are thoughtful.. I told her she would need to narrow the scope of her request and that we could send her the CMS contract and go from there. To date she has not done that. I obviously did not mean to send that comment to Lindsey but it does get very frustrating when reporters abuse the PRA process and really have no idea what or why they are requesting something. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to respond to these and they are often fishing expeditions. Perhaps that would be a more interesting topic for your column.

And she’s right. There is a tension between us reporter-types on our “fishing expeditions,” and the folks who have to herd the fish.

But those fish are public fish, aren’t they? And the public has a right to see them (however slippery and inaccessible and inconvenient they may be), doesn’t it?

We’ll be working with Keith’s office to hone our request and make it manageable. But we still want to know more about Ernst’s cozy relationship with the vendor at CSU.

And in the meantime, the moral of the story may well be: Check the “to” field carefully before hitting the “send” button on that email.