Thursday, December 5, 2013

October Unit 9 Council Report

Bargaining Unit 9 Council Report

Overview of topics discussed: Current status of full-contract bargaining, Board of Trustees Meetings now on the Internet, Loss-prevention software to be installed, state-wide, on December 1st, exempt employee work hours, classification issues and meet-and-confer updates.

Unit 9 Council Members attending: Rich McGee, Chair, Susan Smith, , Vice-Chair, , Rose Greeff. Ken Jones, Rocky Waters, Ricardo Uc, Gus Leonard, Christina Valero, Matthew Black
Guest: Matthew Kay

Introduction from the Chair

Our terms on the Unit 9 council are more than half completed, with elections coming next year. How do we develop the next generation of activists? The majority of the council are “Long Term” CSU employees, we all must consider how to develop interest in the Union, and mentor those activists who will come after us.

Due to a recent vacancy, Matthew Kay from Sac State has been appointed as the Unit 9 representative on the classification committee. Thanks, Matt, for agreeing to take on this important role!


Full contract bargaining is now in the planning stages. If anyone has suggestions, additions or changes to contract language, please get this back to the chair within the next few weeks, as the time remaining for this is very short.

All bargaining sessions, except for the caucuses, are open to the membership, and each of you are encouraged to attend. Even if you spend only a lunch hour observing bargaining, it really helps when you see the “give and take” which is such a part of full-contract bargaining. Since this is a full-contract bargaining cycle, we don’t yet know what articles we will want to bargain over, and we haven’t yet seen any information from the CSU about their choice of articles, either. Our “sunshine proposal” will be due early next year, and will be posted and distributed as we are legally required to do.

Once bargaining begins, we will be actively seeking employees willing to speak on key topics. The bargaining team can discuss the articles, but the CSU really does appear to pay more attention when they hear the voices of campus employees explaining why a particular article is important to them.

Board of Trustees Meetings

The monthly CSU Board of Trustees meeting is now being broadcast live on the Internet, plus recorded and saved for later viewing. The website and monthly schedule can be found at the CO’s website Watching these meetings on-line is actually better than attending them at the Chancellor’s Office – the audio is clearer, and the camera zooms in close enough to allow you to identify the speaker. It’s worthwhile to listen to in the background while you perform other tasks, as the information you learn from these meetings can be extremely useful.

Data Loss-Prevention Software

The CSU has spent over $400,000 to purchase 40,000 copies of a data-loss prevention software package. This software, called “IdentityFinder” (Vendor:, will be installed state-wide on most computer workstations starting December 1st.

Several members of the bargaining team held a meet-and-confer about this software in late October. The following is a summary of what was discussed and agreed upon. The process of codifying this agreement, in writing, is currently underway.
  • The CSU has the right to install this software on any workstation/server which is owned by the state.
  • Each campus ISO office will determine which workstations/file servers this software is to be installed on. The focus will be on those machines which potentially could contain “sensitive data” (Social security numbers, driver license information, birthdates and credit card information only)
  • This software shall only be used to identify what is called “Level 1” data, as defined by the State Administrative Data Processing Manual. It will not be used to search for any other data, files, keywords, etc.
  • The campuses will notify and train users prior to this software being installed on their workstations.
  • This software will not scan e-mail messages, or capture any live data.
  • If a campus wishes to purchase modules to enhance the capabilities of the IdentityFinder software (Such as SQL database or e-mail scanning), the Union shall be notified and given an opportunity to meet and confer over the effects of that module.
  • The end-user will be allowed to initiate a private scan, and deal with the results (Delete, edit, encrypt or leave the data intact) prior to the campus performing a centralized scan. This provides a grace period for all users to remove un-necessary sensitive data on their system remaining from prior work tasks.
  • Only the end-user or the ISO can initiate a software scan. No inventory of files, documents, etc. is created, and any sensitive data discovered will be “masked off” in the reports produced by this software. This means an ISO manager may see only the last few digits of a SSN, not the entire number.
  • Each campus ISO will, on an annual basis, maintain an inventory of all systems containing sensitive data, in response to audit requirements.
Exempt employees – Work hours vs. core hours

According to the law, and our contract, “For exempt classifications, there are no fixed, minimum or maximum hours in a workday or workweek.” (Article 18.7). However, due to a state arbitration decision, the courts have ruled that an employer can set “core hours” for exempt employees. Some CSU managers are misinterpreting the meaning of this, and are telling their employees that “our core hours are 8 am to 5 pm, and you must be here during those hours”. If you hear of this occurring on your campus, please notify the Unit 9 Council, and file a grievance on it. Core hours are just that – core, the essential part. Telling an exempt employee to be here for the entire day at a pre-assigned time equals fixed hours. An example which has been successfully used at some campuses is to ask the manager “If you take a core body conditioning class, does it exercise all your muscles?” Our contract is only good when it is properly enforced, and enforcement is up to each one of us.


The October 2013 Bargaining Unit 9 Council meeting concluded with a brief discussion of career vs. expert classifications, the status of the Unit 9 classification clean-up project, which is nearly completed, and a review of some of the technical meet-and-confers we’ve had over the past few months including campus cellular telephone polices, as well as video surveillance on the campuses. Remember: An arbitrator has ruled that video surveillance is now a mandatory subject of bargaining, so we have a right to both request information about campus video surveillance systems, as well as to request a meet-and-confer when such a meeting is warranted.

Respectfully submitted,
Rich McGee
Chair, CSUEU Bargaining Unit 9

Sunday, October 13, 2013

BUC Agenda for October 2013 Meeting

Unit 9 BUC Agenda – October 13th 2013

  1. Introductions - Group

  2. Chair’s remarks – Rich McGee

  3. Vice-Chair’s remarks – Susan Smith

  4. Officer assigned remarks – Alisandra Brewer

  5. The CSU’s data loss prevention software project

  6. Exempt employees – Work hours vs. core hours

  7. Career vs. expert classifications –What is the difference?

  8. The CSU’s Unit 9 classification cleanup project

  9. Video Surveillance and the meet/confer process

  10. New Business – Group – Classification standard proposal for EOP Special Assistant and Space Utilization

Sunday, June 30, 2013

BUC 9 Report for June 2013 Meeting

Bargaining Unit Council 9 (BUC 9) met in Sacramento on June 9, 2013, after the all-BUC meeting on June 8. Here is the report of the Chair, Rich McGee, prepared for this weekend's Board of Directors meeting:

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Meeting
June 9, 2013

Classification Cleanup

CSU has provided a set of proposed changes to various Unit 9 Classification and Qualification Standards (CQS). The stated goal of the changes is to standardize the "look and feel" of all classifications, rather than making substantive changes to duties or qualifications. This involves dozens of classifications, some of which are being combined into series as well. Reviewing the proposed changes requires comparing the proposed CQS with the existing CQS line by line. The BUC split into smaller workgroups, each taking a stack of CQS proposals to go over. This task consumed most of the 4 hours scheduled for the meeting, but saved us from having to hold a separate meeting to tackle this.

Additional items discussed included:

Monitoring position postings
Campuses continue to post positions which are incorrectly classified or have other problems. Please monitor your campus's job postings and contact Rich McGee if you find something questionable.
Data Centers

Very little information has been released regarding the CSU's mandate that all but two campus data centers be shut down by June 2015. We've been told that several campus presidents are openly disagreeing with this mandate, insisting that their own multi-million dollar data centers continue to function. Please share any information you have about plans for your campus data center with Rich McGee.

Exempt Employees

We are increasingly hearing of exempt employees being told to "stay until the work gets done, because you are exempt!", yet the next day, these same employees are being told "You came in at 8:15 today. You're late!" Per our contract, exempt employees do not have fixed hours:

18.7 For exempt classifications, there are no fixed, minimum or maximum hours in a work day or work week.

Some campuses attempt to bypass this by stating that an exempt employee can be assigned "core hours". When asked to define those core hours, the response tends to be "Our core hours are 8 am to 5:30 pm." Sorry, no. If you encounter this, challenge it.

Annual Performance Reviews

Remember that there should be no surprises in an employee's review. If there is a valid concern about the employee's work, the manager should have informed the employee about it at the time so it could be corrected, rather than withholding the information so as to ambush the employee on the evaluation.

Student Assistants

Sonoma has a grievance presently at level 3 on student assistants improperly performing bargaining unit work. We need grievances filed from other campuses where this is occurring.

Video Surveillance

A recent ruling confirms that video surveillance of employees can be an issue employers must bargain with the union. In general, if the camera is used only for physical security, that use is allowable. But if there is the possibility of an employee being disciplined for anything which might appear on a video, that merits a meet and confer. If your campus is conducting video surveillance of areas where employees work, gather, or enter or exit a building, please contact Rich McGee so we can draft an information request to check for problems.

Meet and Confers
Cell Phones

We've met with several campuses in order to discuss employee cell phone policies. Some campuses, like Long Beach, have well designed policies which include fair reimbursement for use of employee-provided cell phones. Other campuses appear reluctant to offer their employees fair reimbursement, and the difference can be several hundred dollars per year. In general, a campus may issue you a cell phone limited to work-related purposes only. However if you're asked to provide your personal cell phone number to your campus for any reason, that may merit a meet and confer. Please contact Rich McGee if your campus asks employees for their personal cell phone numbers, or issues cell phones, with having negotiated with the union over the effects of this practice.


The policy for IT staff to wear uniform shirts at Fullerton now appears to be voluntary, with some staff wearing them, while others do not. If you hear of any new requirements to wear a uniform while on campus, please let the Unit 9 chair know.

Background Checks

We have a Meet and Confer scheduled in July for a systemwide policy covering employee background checks.


Chancellor Tim White has indicated he wants to eliminate smoking on CSU campuses, and expects it could take several years to phase out smoking, system-wide. Fullerton's president is keen to move ahead on her own, and has a proposed policy which would ban all smoking anywhere on campus, including in private vehicles. We held a meet and confer recently to discuss Fullerton's planned implementation, and the campus agreed that employees will not face discipline over anything in the campus smoking policy. If you hear of plans to make your campus smoke-free, please let someone from the bargaining team know, as this really should be a state-wide policy, rather than an individual policy at all 23 campuses plus the Chancellor's Office.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

VP Rep Quoted In Article On Chancellor White

Southern California Public Radio has done a piece on new CSU Chancellor Tim White, the challenges facing him after years of budget cuts, and his approach to getting to know the university. Our own Vice President for Representation Alisandra Brewer was quoted:

"He's really out there listening to the people, the little guys not just the upper management," Alisandra Brewer, a vice president with the California State University Employees Union.

The article mentions Chancellor White ditching his suit jacket and spiffy shoes to learn a break dance move at Dominguez Hills. We have links to that and some other White clips below (titles taken from the videos at the time of posting).


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Former MPP Charged in SFSU Bribery Case

A former San Francisco State University (SFSU) manager is facing 128 felony charges in an alleged bribery scheme involving waste management contracts for the campus. Robert Shearer, who was the Director in charge of Environmental Health and Occupational Safety, was arrested April 18.

Shearer allegedly took bribes totaling over $180,000 from 2002 to 2009, in exchange for approving payments and renewing contracts.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Several companies offered to take the contracts for less money, but Shearer told his bosses that Cheung's firm was the only bidder, said District Attorney George Gascón. Cheung collected a total of $4 million from San Francisco State over the years, far more than the university should have paid, prosecutors said.

The charges against Shearer consist of:

  • 59 felony counts of commercial bribery
  • 59 felony counts of accepting a bribe
  • 5 felony counts of making a contract in an official capacity by a financially interested person
  • 5 felony counts of perjury

The perjury charges stem from repeatedly failing to report the income he received from Cheung on his annual Statement of Economic Interests filed with SFSU.

Shearer is in custody on $5,000,000 bail. The District Attorney says he faces more than 100 years in prison.

Management Personnel Plan (MPP) salary lists from 2008 and 2009 show that Shearer was making $8,063 per month ($96,756 annually).


Friday, March 15, 2013

BUC 9 Report for February 17, 2013 Meeting

Bargaining Unit Council 9 (BUC 9) met last month as part of the all-BUC meeting weekend in Sacramento, February 16-17. Here is the report of the Chair, Rich McGee, prepared for this weekend's Board of Directors meeting:

Bargaining Unit Council 9 Meeting
February 17th, 2012

On February 16, 2013, Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) 9 met with BUCs 2, 5, and 7 to begin planning for full contract bargaining, which gets underway early next year. Now is the time to start collecting ideas for our next contract. If you have a comment or suggestion for improvements, please send them to Unit 9 Chair Rich McGee.
BUC 9 met separately on February 17th. We welcomed Matt Kay, the new Bargaining Unit Representative (BUR) 9 at Sacramento State. A request for all BURs: If there is any turnover in chapter officers, please let the BU Chair and headquarters know, so we can update the appropriate contact lists.
Here's what we discussed:
SLRR Support
Teven Laxer, the Senior Labor Relations Representative (SLRR) who was assigned to Unit 9, has retired. He is now a part-time consultant to CSUEU. As a cost-saving measure, his position will remain vacant for now. This means that SLRR Lois Kugelmass has been reassigned to cover all bargaining units. If you have a problem or issue that you believe requires the services of a SLRR, please work through your local Labor Relations Representative (LRR) first, or contact Chair Rich McGee for assistance.
Job Merging
Job merging continues to increase within the CSU, as duties from different classifications get blended into that vague other duties as required portion of the position description. Continue to formally challenge these wherever you find them. Doing so helps create record of the problem even when there is no immediate change.
In-Range Progressions (IRP's)
The 2012-2014 contract includes new language allowing an employee denied an IRP for lack of funds to request that their IRP application be re-evaluated the following fiscal year. Each chapter should educate employees about this, and urge affected employees to request the re-evaluation.
Outsourcing/Contracting Out
Contracting out continues to be one of the largest issues facing Unit 9. For many new IT projects, we're discovering that outside contractors appear to be the CSU's employee of choice — even though study after study has shown that outside contractors can cost far more than performing the work in-house, and usually results in an inferior product. Please notify Chair Rich McGee whenever you become aware of outsourcing, to make sure we know about it and can bargain over it if necessary.
Data Center Initiative & Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC)
CSU's data center initiative, the move to consolidate all CSU data centers into two regional locations, may be fracturing. Unit 9 employees report that some campus administrators are saying We're not going to let our data center be closed, or We're going to become one of the regional centers when no decision has yet been made as to their locations. CSUEU has been assured by the Chancellor's Office that all current employees will be retained despite any data center re-alignment. If you hear any talk of layoffs, please immediately notify your Bargaining Unit Chair directly.
Meet and Confer Updates
There have been a number of Meet and Confer sessions on Unit 9 issues over the past several months. Among them are:
SFSU Health Center
The campus Health Center at San Francisco State is determined to pay more than $10,000 per month for Information Technology (IT) support — to a vendor who is only on-site one day a week. They claim this is cheaper than using a staff member. Yet they also are using a Unit 7 staff member to assemble computer equipment, erase confidential data, and other Unit 9 tasks which are not in that employee's classification.
CSULB Cell Phone Policy
After several months of effort, CSU Long Beach finally has an acceptable cell phone policy in place. If your campus decides to adopt any type of policy regulating the use of cell phones, whether campus-owned or employee-provided, please let the Chair know, since it may require a Meet and Confer.
Note: Whether something requires bargaining is not decided at the chapter/campus, since there may be factors which chapter officers or assigned staff not aware of. Send the information you have to your Chair, and let the bargaining team figure it out.
Data Security
Many campuses are requesting that employees sign and agree to data security policies. There is no centralized CSU data security policy, so each campus appears to be creating their own. Some, such as CSULA, are perfectly fine, and acceptable to the Union, while others appear to go far beyond the provisions of the contract, and a Meet and Confer may be necessary to discuss them.
Distance Learning and Unit 9
The Unit 9 Council has been asked by the CSU Labor Council to monitor and track the CSU's online learning programs CSU Online and CalState Online. If you know or hear of any issues with either of those two programs, please send that information to the Chair.
IT Career Growth and Training
The council had a short discussion regarding IT career paths and training. When asked who in attendance had received training within the past year, the group laughed. In past layoff negotiations, one of the CSU's favorite questions has been What has this employee done to improve their skill set? Every employee should work with their manager on a career development plan, and request whatever specialized training may be necessary. Even if the request is denied, it puts the CSU on record for having denied training. That record can be useful during bargaining.
Classification and Qualification Standards (CQS) Revisions
The final discussion item was an overview of the re-working of the CQS for certain Unit 9 classifications, as requested by the Chancellor's Office. This will be a tremendous amount of work, and is expected to involve all members of the Council, both in participating in the revision of the descriptions as well as finding members who are willing to testify about their spectific job duties and skills.

Respectfully submitted,
Rich McGee
Chair, CSUEU Bargaining Unit Council 9