The California Faculty Association (CFA) has ratified an agreement with the California State University to implement the equivalent of a two day per month furlough beginning August 1. In addition, the Academic Professionals of California (APC), the union that represents approximately 2,400 student services employees, has also ratified an agreement to begin furloughs, with members voting 72 percent in favor and 28 percent against the furlough agreement. Members of the CFA had previously voted to accept a furlough agreement.
“We appreciate that we were able to come to an agreement with these two unions because 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. “Unprecedented reductions in state funding have left CSU with an enormous budget deficit, and reducing our employee costs is a critical part of CSU’s action plan to address this shortfall.”
Under the CFA furlough agreement, faculty members will work with individual campus administrators so that class schedules for students are minimally disrupted. For example, if a furlough day is taken on a day of instruction, alternative out-of-classroom assignments could be given to students.
Approximately 85 percent of CSU’s budget goes toward salary and benefits, and the CSU has proposed to furlough all of its employees (with the exception of public safety personnel) in all classifications to help close the massive budget cut. However, unlike pay cuts, furloughs are temporary and do not impact health and retirement benefits.
The furlough agreements with CFA and APC mean that almost all of CSU’s 47,000 employees will be subject to furloughs, which represent an approximate 10 percent reduction in compensation. Two employee groups, the Service Employee Trades Council (SETC) with approximately 1,000 employees, and the operating engineers at Cal Maritime with 10 members, have chosen to implement layoffs.
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. Management and non-represented employees, including the chancellor, campus presidents and executives, will also begin the two day per month furlough beginning in August.
The Governor’s budget signed yesterday finalized the CSU budget deficit for 2009-10 at $564 million, and employee furloughs are one element of a plan to address the cuts that also includes enrollment reductions, increased student fees and other cost cutting measures. The employee furloughs will reduce salary expenses annually by $275 million. The CSU had 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.