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California State University Urges Faculty Union to Bring Furlough Option to Members for Vote

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(June 29, 2009) – In an effort to address a projected $584 million budget deficit for 2009-10, the California State University administration today urged the leadership of the California Faculty Association to bring the concept of a two day per month furlough to a vote of its members.  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.

CSU has met with the faculty union three separate times to discuss the furlough option, but to date, no vote of its members has been scheduled.  There are approximately 23,000 faculty personnel, but only dues-paying members of the faculty union are allowed to participate in a vote. 

“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 eight specific questions posed by the labor union 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.  This is an unprecedented fiscal crisis and it will take cooperation and shared sacrifice from all of us to get through this next year and beyond.”  The questions and answers discussed are found here

Approximately 80 percent of CSU’s budget goes toward employee salary and benefits, and 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 committed to looking at furloughs as a way to address the budget deficit.

Although the state budget has not been finalized, the Governor’s budget proposal would mean a $584 million cut to the CSU’s general fund support for 2009-10.  This represents a 13 percent reduction from 2007-08 in state support of the CSU.  The furloughs, if accepted by all employees, would save approximately $275 million, and other cost-saving options are under discussion to address the remaining budget deficit.  CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed has indicated that the guiding principles of any action plan would be 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.  This change was put into place in order 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, or health benefit eligibility or pay rate for retirement benefits. Also, employees are not required to work on furlough days.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.