What is an unfair labor practice (ULP)?

June 30, 2009

The law that guarantees university employees the right to organize collectively, represent each other and/or form unions is called the Higher Education Employee-Employer Relations Act (HEERA). Employees have a right (even across bargaining unit lines) to talk about matters related to representation and unions. It is very important that you report to your union reps and/or stewards any instances of interference with the rights of employees to talk about matters such as unions, representation, grievances and/or the right of employees to file them.

According to Article 3571 of HEERA it is an unfair labor practice (ULP) for the university to interfere:

3571. It shall be unlawful for the higher education employer to do any of the following:

(a) Impose or threaten to impose reprisals on employees, to discriminate or threaten to discriminate against employees, or otherwise to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of their exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter. For purposes of this subdivision, “employee” includes an applicant for employment or reemployment.

(b) Deny to employee organizations rights guaranteed to them by this chapter.

(c) Refuse or fail to engage in meeting and conferring with an exclusive representative.

(d) Dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any employee organization, or contribute financial or other support to it, or in any way encourage employees to join any organization in preference to another. However, subject to rules and regulations adopted by the board pursuant to Section 3563, an employer shall not be prohibited from permitting employees to engage in meeting and conferring or consulting during working hours without loss of pay or benefits.

(e) Refuse to participate in good faith in the impasse procedure set forth in Article 9 (commencing with Section 3590).

(f) Consult with any academic, professional, or staff advisory group on any matter within the scope of representation for employees who are represented by an exclusive representative, or for whom an employee organization has filed a request for recognition or certification as an exclusive representative until such time as the request is withdrawn or an election has been held in which “no representative” received a majority of the votes cast. This subdivision is not intended to diminish the prohibition of unfair practices contained in subdivision (d). For the purposes of this subdivision, the term “academic” shall not be deemed to include the academic senates.


Budget related tweets

June 30, 2009

These links off Twitter this morning are very interesting:

  • Here’s the Chancellor’s message on CFA/furloughs…
  • CSU Urges Faculty Union to Bring Furlough Option to Members for Vote
  • CSU Trustees to Hold Special Meeting on July 7th
    Budget to be discussed…
  • Future worker supply at risk as cuts squeeze higher education – Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal:

Source: “Calstate” Twitter feed.

For more updates please check out my union Twitter feed.

Is the furlough proposal a red herring?

June 25, 2009


The California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), the union that represents most classified staff employees, surveyed its constituents. Over 82% of those who responded voted for the California State University (CSU) plan to offer furloughs to mitigate layoffs in the CSU system. Still it is hard for me to imagine all the unions that represent California State University employees will go for furloughs.

The plan, which will close CSU campuses two Fridays a month, may offer faculty too little. Most faculty do not teach Fridays. For them the CSU plan is a ten percent pay cut. Classified staff get two extra days off a month in return for their reduced pay. For most faculty it can be seen as a pay cut with no visible workload reduction yet seen.

The California Faculty Association (CFA) may not be that enthusiastic about this option. CFA may turn the furlough proposal down. If the union that represents CSU faculty does not sign off on furloughs, they cannot happen.

What does CSU management have to gain if this happens? Absent furloughs, CSU management has said there will be massive layoffs. Staff will be hit hard. CSU management could do layoffs and have the excuse that they were “forced into it” by the union(s) who turned down furloughs. This could cause bitterness between the staff and faculty that could last for a long time.

Yes, that does sound cynical; I know.

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Staff union vote favors furloughs

June 23, 2009

The CSU Employees Union (CSUEU) represents over 16,000 employees on 23 CSU campuses and in the office of the chancellor. Its bargaining units comprise the majority of non-academic employees in the state university system. Recently the CSUEU announced the results of a survey of its members. According to the union, the members voted overwhelmingly to support furloughs as opposed to layoffs:

In a series of advisory votes over the last week, CSUEU members have clearly indicated their support for the concept of two furlough days per month, as proposed earlier this month by the Chancellor’s Office.

The results of the votes taken at the chapter level are reflected in the chart below. An online survey and a scientific poll came to the same result: CSUEU-represented employees support the concept of furloughs at the rate of approximately 82 percent in favor. [Read More]

This does not mean there will not be layoffs, that all has to be negotiated and is subject to the state budget outcome.

Bikes out of control at SJSU

June 15, 2009

Cyclist riding without hands at SJSU

Many of the people who ride bicycles on the sidewalks at SJSU do so in ways that risk serious injury to themselves and others. Cyclists riding with no hands are unable to take evasive action if a pedestrian, cart or disabled person steps into their path. Usually cyclists who ride like this way are not wearing helmets.

This bike position is especially prone to falling. These cyclists, as well as endangering others, risk head injuries that could kill them or leave them permanently disabled.

[My blog about human powered vehicles at SJSU]

[More photos of human powered vehicles on and around SJSU]