CSU Urges Faculty Union to Bring Furlough Option to a Vote
The California State University administration has urged the leadership of the California Faculty Association (CFA) to bring the concept of a two day per month furlough to a vote of its members. CSU has met with the faculty union three times to discuss the furlough option, but CFA has not yet scheduled a vote of its members. There are approximately 23,000 faculty members in the CSU; only dues-paying members of the CFA would be allowed to participate in a vote.
The concept of furloughs was proposed to all of the CSU's labor unions as a way to address an anticipated $584 million cut, or 13 percent reduction, to CSU's 2009-10 budget. Collective bargaining agreements between the CSU and its employee unions include provisions covering mandated non-retention and layoffs, but not furloughs. Each bargaining unit, therefore, must agree to negotiate furloughs. Two groups — the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) representing 16,000 non-academic employees and the Academic Professionals of California (APC) representing 2,400 student service employees — have agreed to discuss furloughs.
“Time is of the essence, and we need to prepare for the upcoming fall academic year on all of our campuses,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “We have provided answers to the questions posed by the CFA during our last meeting, and are urging them to present the furlough option to their members for a vote. We need to move forward to address the massive budget cuts that the system is facing before the impacts are magnified.
“The CSU is facing an unprecedented crisis and it will take cooperation and shared sacrifice from all of us to get through this next fiscal year and beyond.”
The CFA's questions and the CSU's responses can be found here: www.calstate.edu/PA/News/2009/documents/cfa-furlough-questions.pdf.
Approximately 80 percent of the CSU's costs are salary and benefits payments. The CSU is proposing to furlough all of its employees (with the exception of public safety personnel) in all classifications, including management and executives, to help close the anticipated budget deficit. To date, approximately 21,000 of CSU's overall workforce of 47,000 employees are looking at furloughs.
If adopted by all employees, furloughs would reduce the CSU's salary expenditures by approximately $275 million. Other cost-saving options are being discussed to address the remaining deficit. The guiding principles Chancellor Reed has been working under are to “serve as many students as possible without sacrificing quality, and to preserve as many jobs as possible.”
CSU has also initiated changes to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations for management and executive personnel. The modifications would allow the system to alter provisions related to furlough, salary reductions and unpaid holidays. The change was put into place to meet a 45-day requirement should any action be needed at the July 21 CSU Board of Trustees meeting. The Title 5 revision can be found here.
A furlough is a mandated period of time off without pay. Furloughs differ from salary reductions and pay cuts in that they are temporary and do not affect employment status, health benefit eligibility or pay rate for retirement benefits. Employees are not required to work on furlough days.