August 12, 2009
Furlough Agreement 2.0
This is a work in progress. Here is the furlough agreement between CSU and CSUEU for 2009/10. I was out of the country when that agreement was made and I did not vote either for or against that agreement.
If there is another furlough agreement for non-faculty CSUEU represented employees proposed for 2010/11, these are some of the things I would like to see added to it.
This is my shopping list:
- Campuses will be closed on furlough days.
- All provisions of this agreement, will be subject to the grievance procedure, Article 7 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- All calendars must be ready 45 days before implementation of a new furlough agreement.
- Rescheduling of furlough days to alternate days will only be allowed for real and documented operational need.
- Furlough CTO is Compensatory Time Off earned through the rescheduling of furlough days. It functions just like normal CTO, as defined by Article 19 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, except that it must be used within the budget year or the term of the furlough agreement that it was acquired under, whichever is less. Toward the end of that term, if an employee has not requested it, the university will mandate that Furlough CTO will be used within 30 working days of the expiration of this period.
- Rescheduling of furlough days requires 14 days advance notice. If 14 day notice is not received, employee(s) receive Furlough CTO at a rate of 1.5x the hours rescheduled.
- For exempt employees, Furlough CTO amounts less than 8 hours must be taken on a week they are on non-exempt status. Furlough CTO amounts more than 8 hours may be taken in 8 hour blocks, as a day off, on a week they are on exempt status or on a week they are on non-exempt status; at the employee’s discretion.
- Where an exempt employee believes he/she has been assigned an excessive or unreasonable workload during a week in which he/she maintains his/her exempt status, the employee may file a complaint using a similar process contained in Article 8 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This process shall include a Chancellor’s Office Level of Review. The parties shall execute a MOU fully outlining the mutually agreeable process to be followed within twenty-one (21) days of the execution of this agreement. If this is not able to be done in a way that is mutually agreeable, the employee may file a grievance using Article 7 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Opportunities to switch furlough days will always be offered first to the employee in an organizational unit with the most seniority able to accomplish the task(s) requiring the reschedule.
- If nobody volunteers, or not enough staff volunteers, to switch furlough days; alternate furlough days will be assigned to employee(s) in an organizational unit able to accomplish the task(s) requiring the reschedule in reverse seniority order.
- Since the desire is to achieve savings, employees may request more furlough time and that request can only be denied due to operational needs.
This is my way of preparing for the possibility that the university might want to ask for furloughs again next year. Note, as I said before, this is a work in progress. This list will be added to as ideas or issues present themselves. I would love to hear your ideas. I want to have this list ready in case their is a proposal to negotiate another agreement; then I will present it when our union’s negotiating team solicits input.
Of course, whatever ends up happening is subject to the collective bargaining process and I know you don’t always get what you want. But, if you try; sometimes you get what you need!
August 7, 2009
The California State University system is a union shop. Most non-manager employees in the CSU system are covered by one of several collective bargaining agreements. When CSU wanted to make cuts in its overall employee compensation it only had one option under the agreements, that option was layoffs.
When CSU decided instead that it wanted to furlough university employees it had to go to the unions and negotiate a side agreement to do so. Employees who were in their unions then had an opportunity to vote to ratify that agreement and almost all the CSU unions voted to accept furloughs for one year.
At this time it appears the budget problems may go on beyond a year. You may see the unions and CSU negotiating again on this topic. Any tentative agreement that may come out of a future agreement would most likely have to again go through a ratification process.
Under the agreement currently in place, management is apparently being given a great deal of discretion in how they are dealing with furlough days. For example, at SJSU, President Whitmore has decided to not close the campus on at least some furlough days. Some university employees are being asked to work on some furlough days and to take other non-furlough days off instead.
This is not the understanding some employees had who voted for furloughs of how furloughs would be implemented. Many employees expected the campus to be closed on furlough days. These employees made other plans on these days (for example for daycare) and some resent that it is not being closed and resent the possibility that they could possibly be asked to work and to take other days off instead. These employees are sometimes feeling taken advantage of.
If employees do not feel that the university is respecting the spirit of the furlough agreement it may be a lot harder for CSU to get a second agreement ratified, if that becomes necessary. It is important for the universities to remember that university employees have made a sacrifice here and if that sacrifice is not respected, it may not ever be repeated.
August 6, 2009
The following was sent to union employees from Dennis Fox, the chief union steward for the California State University Employees Union, at SJSU:
The first furlough day for most SJSU employees is coming up on Monday, 10 August 2009. Unfortunately, President Whitmore has not declared the furlough days to coincide with campus closure days so there is going to be a lot of confusion at the outset of this experiment. It is very important for all of us to have a clear understanding of what happens or does not happen on a furlough day. First and foremost, you don’t do any work on a furlough day. Don’t check your email or your voice mail or work on a project at home.
Since a number of people will still be at work on our furlough day, there are going to be a number of you who will receive calls from those at work who need to know something that only you know. I strongly encourage you to NOT ANSWER that call. Only a manager/supervisor has the authority to call you back to work. Any call to you from work, even if it is just a question, constitutes a “call back”. In the academic areas there is a lot of confusion about who is a manager/supervisor. Many employees do not realize that only the Dean and, in the larger colleges, one of the Associate Deans are manager/supervisors. Department chairs, directors, confidential employees, and CSUEU represented employees are not manager/supervisors and are not authorized to call you back to work. I want to hear from anyone who gets a work-related call on a furlough day — even if you don’t answer it. I will forward the information to HR in an attempt to get the problem resolved. If it is a legitimate “call back” from a manager we need to be sure you get full credit as outlined in the contract.
The furlough transition is going to be especially confusing for exempt employees. Hopefully, all exempt employees know by now that, during a week that includes a furlough day, they are non-exempt. If you have any questions that have not been answered in the FAQs that have been distributed let me know. If necessary, perhaps we will have a Q&A meeting over the lunch period to address some of these issues.