Members of the California Faculty Association (CFA) have voted to negotiate a two day per month furlough for all faculty employees that is part of the California State University’s overall plan to address a $584 million budget deficit for the 2009-10 academic year.
CFA represents approximately 23,000 faculty employees; however, only, the labor union’s 13,000 dues-paying members were eligible to vote for or against the furloughs. A total of 68 percent (8,800) of those eligible to vote did so, with 54 percent voting in favor of furloughs and 46 percent voting against the furlough option. Collective bargaining agreements between the CSU and its employee unions include provisions covering non-retention and layoffs, but not furloughs.
“The faculty vote to negotiate furloughs will help to save jobs, preserve employee health and retirement benefits, and ultimately, allow us to better serve students,” said CSU Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Gail Brooks. “We are facing a financial crisis, and need to move forward to reduce our employee costs.”
CSU Chancellor Reed previously announced a July 28, 5 p.m. deadline for all furlough agreements to be finalized in order to plan for the beginning of the academic year. Many CSU semester campuses begin during the latter part of August.
“The CSU is prepared to work continuously with the leadership of the CFA to finalize a furlough agreement in order to meet the deadline,” said Brooks.
Approximately 85 percent of CSU’s budget goes toward salary and benefits, and the CSU is proposing to furlough all of its employees (with the exception of public safety personnel) in all classifications to help close the massive budget cut. The furloughs will reduce $275 million in expenditure, and are one element of a plan to address the $584 million budget deficit that also includes enrollment cuts, increased student fees and other cost cutting measures. The CSU has previously announced it plans to reduce enrollment by 40,000 students over the next two years, and the CSU Board of Trustees adopted an increase in student fees at its July 21 meeting.
Several CSU labor groups, including the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), that represents 16,000 non-academic employees, have already accepted the furlough option and will begin furloughing August 1. In addition, management and non-represented employees, including the chancellor, campus presidents and executives, will also begin the two day per month furlough beginning in August.