Friday, September 30, 2011

More on Faculty Work Action

Misplaced spending priorities on the part of Cal State University leaders has spurred the union representing faculty members to plan work actions, according to a local union leader.

The faculty union plans to conduct "informational picketing" at its 23 campuses and stage a one-day strike at two schools.

The union announcement was made this week in response to CSU administrators' rejection of a union proposal to partially restore canceled faculty pay raises in the 2009-2010 school year.

The retroactive raises - which would be paid from the current budget - are unaffordable amid state funding cuts, said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. The raises would cost $20 million, he said.

"Our position is that there's no money for the raises," Uhlenkamp said.

The California Faculty Association represents 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches. Their membership includes faculty at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino and 21 other Cal State University campuses.

The planned picketing is coupled with a demand for partially restoring scheduled raises that were withheld. But faculty members are also unhappy with negotiations over a new contract, said Gwendolyn Urey, president of the union's Cal Poly Pomona chapter.

"I think if you look at the other things that they're spending money on, it's hard to believe (they can't afford raises)," said Urey, a professor of urban and regional planning. "They're

spending $7 million for consultants to be on their side of the bargaining right now."

The union said it plans to conduct "informational picketing" on Nov. 8 or 9 at all campuses. The picketing will not be coupled with a walkout.

"Concerted actions," which are expected to include a strike, are set for Nov. 17 at Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State East Bay. A one-day systemwide strike could follow if approved by members.

The union's prior contract with CSU took effect on July 1, 2007, and expired June 30, 2010. Faculty members are still working under the contract because a new agreement hasn't been reached.

The contract called for annual raises, but the raises were contingent on projected state funding levels being met, Uhlenkamp said.

Because funding levels were lower than projected, CSU withheld two rounds of faculty raises. Faculty members also agreed to furloughs in the 2009-2010 school year that amounted to a pay cut of nearly 10 percent, Uhlenkamp said.

Faculty members at Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State San Bernardino are scheduled to picket Nov. 9. Some local faculty members are also expected to join picket lines Nov. 17 at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Urey said.

"The actual shape of the event is not known yet," Urey said. "It could be a picket line. It could be much bigger."

Urey said the Cal Poly Pomona chapter of the union is encouraging members to vote in support of a systemwide one-day strike, which would come after the Nov. 17 actions.

The Cal State University system finances its budget through state contributions, and through tuition and fees from students, Uhlenkamp said.

The state's contribution to CSU has fallen from $2.97 billion in 2007-2008 - its highest ever - to the current school year's $2.14 billion, which could be lowered to $2.04 billion if state revenues come up short, Uhlenkamp said.

Since 2007 annual student tuition has more than doubled, going from $2,700 to $5,472. But tuition increases haven't made up for losses in state funding, Uhlenkamp said.

Urey said, "I think there's a budget issue, but there's also a priorities issue."

She said CSU has been spending money developing an online university envisioned as a "24th campus." She said she believes the online program is "mostly about displacing faculty."

Source: SB Sun

Thursday, September 29, 2011

CSEA Retirees Change Name

What's in a name? A state retiree organization hopes it's bigger membership.

CSEA Retirees Inc. is not only changing its name to California State Retirees, but it's redefining its mission to include state retirees from all departments and agencies, not just CSEA-represented bargaining units.

California State Retirees is launching its new branding campaign Friday at 10 a.m. with a news conference at the Robert Carlson Auditorium, 400 P St., Sacramento. Listed speakers include Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, and the organization's president, Roger Marxen.

The group now counts some 31,000 members, most of them from SEIU Local 1000, the California State University Employees Union and the Association of California State Supervisors. Officials now want to make clear that anyone who has retired from state government may become a member.

The name change was made official when the group filed legal papers with the secretary of state. Conference delegates approved the change in August.

Learn more about the organization at www.californiastateretirees.org.


Source: SacBee.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Faculty Calls for Work Action Nov. 17th

The California State University faculty union on Wednesday called for a one-day strike at two CSU campuses to protest the administration's decision to withhold negotiated pay raises.

The California Faculty Association said it plans to hold "concerted actions" at the East Bay and Dominguez Hills campuses on Nov. 17. Those actions could include a strike if union members authorize it.

The faculty union, which represents professors, lecturers, coaches, counselors and librarians, also plans to conduct informational picketing at all 23 Cal State campuses on Nov. 8 or 9, union leaders said.

The faculty association decided to call for the job actions after administrators decided not to pay salary increases negotiated for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years.

The CSU system rescinded the raises after the state cut higher education funding, but a state-appointed fact-finding panel recently recommended that the university provide a small fraction of the negotiated raises.

The faculty union is currently in negotiations for a new contract and isn't satisfied with the administration's proposals, which could lead to pay cuts over the next few years. Faculty members are also upset over the administration's decisions to dramatically raise student tuition and increase the salaries of some executives, Taiz said.

"We have a responsibility to take action to preserve our profession and to protect our students," Taiz said. "It is simply not possible to predict what kind of university this will become if there is not a dramatic change in course."

CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said a strike would be "very disruptive to students." He said it would be inappropriate to give roughly $20 million in salary increases to faculty members when the university is facing a severe financial crisis.

Over the past three years, the cash-strapped state has sharply reduced funding to California's public colleges and universities, which has led to steep tuition hikes, course cutbacks, staff layoffs and reduced student enrollment.

For the current fiscal year, the CSU and University of California systems each lost $650 million in funding, about 20 percent, and could lose another $100 million each if the state takes in less revenue than anticipated. To offset those cuts, Cal State raised tuition by more than 20 percent this academic year.


Source: SacBee.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

CSU Trustees Make Campus Visits Optional

Chico Enterprise-Record

By LARRY MITCHELL - Staff Writer
Posted: 09/22/2011 12:06:01 AM PDT

LONG BEACH -- Finalists vying for the presidency of aCalifornia State University campus won't necessarily have to visit that campusto meet faculty, students and community members.

The CSU Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to make suchvisits optional.

The apparent aim of the new policy is to allow thoseseeking a campus presidency to keep their names confidential. It's felt somewell-qualified people won't apply if their job seeking were to become knownwhere they work.

The trustees' vote disappointed Lillian Taiz, presidentof the California Faculty Association, which represents professors at the CSU's23 campuses.

In a phone interview, she said, "I think we andpretty much every single voice on the campuses were firmly opposed to thisdecision."

She said it's important to people working on the campusand to the wider community to get some idea of who might be coming to makeimportant decisions about the university.

Chico State chemistry professor Jim Postma, who heads theStatewide Academic Senate, which is elected by the CSU faculty, also expresseddispleasure with the board's decision.

Typically, when a search is made for a new campuspresident, the list of applicants is whittled down to perhaps three finalists.The policy has required those finalists to each spend a day at the campus,meeting people and giving a public lecture.

A subcommittee of the board has been studying howpresidents are selected and how much they should be paid. That panel developedand recommended a new policy for selection in which the campus visits would beoptional. The issue of pay still has to be taken up.

Wednesday morning, the trustees voted 15-1 to adopt thenew policy, said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU. He said the onlydissenting vote was cast by trustee Bernadette Cheyne, a professor fromHumboldt State University who represents the CSU faculty on the board.

Uhlenkamp said the board modified the original policy togive people from the campus a voice in whether or not campus visits would berequired in any specific instance.

Under the amendment, in deciding whether to require acampus visit, the chancellor and the trustee in charge of the search wouldconsult a campus advisory committee that's involved in every presidentialsearch. That committee consists of faculty, staff, students and others.

Chico State University President Paul Zingg, who hasspoken of the importance of campus visits, said the amendment to the policy washelpful.

In an email to the E-R Wednesday, he wrote, "Thefinal resolution is a compromise that reflects the input of all those,including myself, who argued for the importance of a campus dialogue for boththe campus and the candidates."