Monday, May 16, 2011

Speech Regarding 9 Layoffs at Channel Islands

The following speech was presented to the CSU's Board of Trustees by Joseph Dobzynski, CSUEU's Vice-President of Member Engagement.

CSUEU will be meeting at Channel Islands in late May to bargain over these pending layoffs.

Good afternoon.

My name is Joseph Dobzynski, Jr. I work at CSU Channel Islands as a programmer/analyst supporting the Oracle Campus Solutions system, which is thankfully no longer called PeopleSoft. I also serve as Vice-President for Member Engagement for the California State University Employees Union, and previously served as both Chief Steward and Chapter President for Chapter 324, representing CSU Channel Islands.

Recently, we received layoff notices for all nine (9) of our lab and equipment technicians. It has been messaged to the media as "workload reductions", since within the layoff notices is the magnanimous offer to keep their positions if they choose to take an 11 month appointment. It is a love it or leave it offer, and two (2) of these individuals have already stated they will need to find positions elsewhere to make ends meet. We have heard quite clearly that both their program chairs and their administrator opposed this decision, so we're not exactly sure how this decision was made or who will own up to it.

The layoff notices are ambiguously cited for both lack of work and lack of funds. Lack of work, as far as we can tell, is anecdotal, which emphasizes the slow time in the summer and completely ignores the extra, unpaid overtime they put in during the busiest parts of the semester because they, like me, care (in the present tense) about the mission of CSU Channel Islands and the mission of the CSU.

Lack of funds, when it is totaled up, amounts to roughly $35,000. Small potatoes in the budget of CSU Channel Islands, but a huge impact to the livelihood of these nine (9) individuals. Compare that to the $3 million dollars spent in previous years on having a new logo designed, or the $1.1 million dollars in external contracts signed by the campus in 2011 alone, or however much money was dumped into the iPads that are carried by managers around campus, in addition to their iPhones. Even Governor Brown has had cell phone use limited, while we have seen it accelerated.

This is an outrage, and not just for the fiscal side of the equation. Many of us came to work at CSU Channel Islands for the opportunity to be a part of something. I spent my tenure as chapter president praising our management up and down for their fair approach, their stewardship during the lean economic times, and their willingness to work together. Now we see nine (9) lab and equipment technicians being extorted for a month's pay. This is a permanent change for a temporary fiscal crisis.

We've also seen all our labor-management meetings cancelled, across-the-board denials of release time, and warnings being delivered by managers to our union officers that release time doesn't have to be approved, as if WE didn't understand the contract. Combine all of this with the small potatoes extortion of $35,000 from the nine (9) employees, and we should ask ourselves, in the words of Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On?"

Thank you.

You can hear my speech on my YouTube feed here: Speech to BOT

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