SF State News {University Communications}

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

Employee update from the Chancellor's Office: CSU urges faculty union to bring furlough option to a vote

Note: the following e-mail was sent on 6/30/09 to all faculty and staff.


Dear faculty and staff:


Following is a revised copy of the message from the Chancellor's Office regarding furlough options that was sent to you earlier today. The final two questions in the Q&A had been inadvertently left off. This Q&A is complete.


-- Robert A. Corrigan, president


CSU Urges Faculty Union to Bring Furlough Option to a Vote

The California State University administration today 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: http://www.calstate.edu/PA/News/2009/documents/cfa-furlough-questions.pdf and are copied below as well.

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 at this Chancellor's Office Web page: http://www.calstate.edu/title5/index.shtml

A furlough (http://www.calstate.edu/PA/News/2009/documents/furlough-factsheet.pdf) 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.  For a furlough fact sheet, visit this URL, http://www.calstate.edu/PA/News/2009/csueu-furloughs.shtml under the heading "Related Links and Information."


California Faculty Association Questions Regarding Furlough Background

The California Faculty Association (CFA) and the California State University have met several times to discuss the university's proposal to implement a two day a month furlough for Unit 3 employees. At their meeting on June 25, the CFA asked the CSU to respond to eight specific questions they had on the furlough proposal. The CSU was ready to respond to those questions on June 26, but at CFA's request, the discussion was delayed until June 29.


The following is a summary of the questions posed by the CFA, and the responses provided by the CSU:


Q1: Would the CSU be willing to allow faculty to choose their own furlough days in order to best maintain the quality of student instruction?

A: The CSU would be willing to work with the CFA on a system that would allow faculty to nominate their own furlough days through consultation with their Chair and/or Dean.


Q2:  Can the CSU provide some guarantee, or propose some other measurable means, to ensure that the salary cost savings generated by a furlough are applied towards maintaining Unit 3 positions over the next 12 months, and that the savings generated will not be used to fund "pet projects" on individual campuses?

A: It is inaccurate and misleading to consider the effect of a furlough as a "salary savings" that can be used to fund one thing over another.  A furlough works to reduce campus compensation expenses.  The general funds available to campuses remain the same, but a furlough means that this fixed amount of money can be stretched to fund more positions than would otherwise be the case if there was no furlough.  A furlough would not create a pool of additional income.  If adopted by all employees, furloughs would reduce the CSU’s salary expenditures by approximately $275 million. But, the total budget cut for 2009-10 is $584 million,  and other cost saving options are being discussed to address the remaining deficit.  The Chancellor has said repeatedly that one of the main advantages of the furlough is that it will allow the campuses to maintain more jobs with the reduced General Fund allocations that they will now receive.  His guiding principles in managing the budget deficit have been to "serve as many students as possible without sacrificing quality, and to preserve as many jobs as possible." However, and in response to the specific question posed by the CFA, the CSU is prepared to say that it cannot provide any guarantees as to the precise number of Unit 3 positions that would be saved by a furlough, but it can guarantee that with the furlough in place, there would be more Unit 3 positions in 2009-10 than there would otherwise be without one.     


Q3:  Would CSU agree to meet with CalPERS to look at what support may be available to impacted faculty?

A: Yes. The CSU would be willing to send a representative to meet with CalPERS as requested.


Q4: Would the CSU be willing to discuss proposals in relation to (1) allowing faculty to take a year off from FERP without affecting their FERP eligibility; (2) leaves of absence with health benefits; (3) leaves of absence; and (4) the contractual pre-retirement reduction in timebase program?

A: Yes.  The CSU would be willing to discuss all of these proposals subject to the constraints of the law and/or CalPERS regulations.


Q5: Would the CSU be willing to work with the Academic Senates to amend the RTP process so as to provide junior faculty with the option to elect to have an extra year inserted into the RTP cycle where they believe that their professional development has been adversely affected by budgetary  constraints and/or reductions?

A: The CSU would be willing to consider these options in cases where we determine that faculty have been adversely affected.


Q6: Would the CSU consider relaxing the 125 percent rule given that a 1.0 timebase will only reflect 90 percent of regular salary?

A: Yes, the CSU would be willing to look at amending the current limitation to allow a faculty member to engage in additional employment that is equivalent to 125 percent of their base salary, or 125 percent of their timebase, whichever is the greater.


Q7: When will the finalized plan to deal with the budget be made public?

A: A plan will be announced on or about July 21 after the Board of Trustees meets and regardless of whether or not there is a state budget in place.


Q8: Will MPPs face the same type of reductions as the faculty?

A: The Chancellor has said that all groups will be equally affected by a systemwide furlough and that equity between employee groups is one of the benefits of the systemwide furlough option.  However, the reality is that the CSU will have to go through a process of adapting itself to fit the level of funding that has been appropriated to it by the state. Within this process there can be no guarantees that all employee groups will be equally impacted at precisely the same time, or in

precisely the same way, as the CSU goes about this difficult, but essential, process of adaptation.


For related budget news, visit http://www.sfsu.edu/~news/2009/summer/15.html

SF State Home