Faculty Union Walks Out of Negotiations Again
The post-mediation negotiations between the CSU and CFA began on May 3rd and continued on May 4th but broke down on Saturday May 5th, after the CFA again walked out on the process.
In its April 6th mediation proposal (.pdf), CFA had made an offer to CSU that dealt with a number of previously contentious issues by accepting CSU proposals, proposing status quo, or counter-proposing an alternative acceptable to CSU. These issues, among others, included Salary (Article 31), Benefits (Article 32), Workload (Article 20) and Extension for-Credit Employment (Article 40); Summer Term (Article 21); Contracting Out and Academic Freedom. On Salary, for example, CFA proposed accepting CSU's previous proposal to maintain salaries at their current levels with subsequent re-openers if CSU included an additional provision suspending Article 9 (concerted activities) in the event that the parties did not reach agreement.
On May 3rd, CSU presented CFA with a proposal (4MB, .pdf) accepting CFA's April 6th mediation proposal with five exceptions for further negotiation.
In response to this proposal, CFA agreed to negotiate on CSU's five outstanding issues of Union Rights (Article 6), Appointment (Article 12), Evaluation (Article 15), Disciplinary Action Procedure (Article 19) and Fee Waiver (Article 26). Additionally, CFA requested that CSU agree to a "non-committal" discussion of what they characterized as "low or no cost" items that CFA considered would be "improvements" in the contract. Later, CFA provided CSU with a handwritten list of items (.pdf) that they characterized as a "menu" stating that they wished to discuss them after dealing with the issues in CSU's proposal. CFA's stated rationale for introducing the list of items to be discussed was that CFA would need some positive changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to be able to accept and recommend the successor agreement. CSU indicated that it was willing to discuss in good faith any issue raised by the CFA as part of the continuing process, but observed that most if not all of the items on their list were issues that CSU contends had been taken off the table by virtue of CFA's April 6 proposal.
Returning to the five issues identified as open by the CSU, CFA then acknowledged that Article 19 was no longer an issue in substantive dispute. The parties next agreed to discuss CSU's proposals on Articles 15 and 12. After two days of discussion, the parties reached agreement on language changes to Articles 12 and 15 that would be adopted as part of a global settlement.
On the morning of 05/05/12 CSU orally presented CFA with a global framework settlement proposal that included adopting the negotiated language on Article 12 and 15, and meeting CFA's proposal to extend eligibility for dependent fee waiver to age 25 in Article 26 (Fee Waiver) and to return to status quo on the number of non-reimbursable and reimbursable leave positions in Article 6 (Union Rights). By making this proposal, CSU believed that it had provided the framework for resolving four of the five issues left on the table at the start of the May 3rd meeting, by either proposing agreed language, by agreeing to the union's proposal, or presenting a modified proposal in CFA's favor. The only exception to this was in Article 6 (Union Rights), where the CSU proposed that it would not continue to separately fund the CFA President and Political Action Committee positions above the negotiated Union leave pools.
Additionally, CSU expressed its willingness to try to draft language to meet the union's stated additional request for changes on coach fee waiver; modification of Article 27 (Sabbatical Leaves) to give preference in the following academic year to an individual whose sabbatical was denied for campus budget reasons; reimbursement of counselor professional fees; and "improvements" to parental leave.
At this stage, CFA informed CSU that it had decided to remove from its list academic freedom and its "grossing-up" issue for "off-setting tax penalty for benefits for domestic partners" but rejected CSU's framework package without counter-proposal, and walked out of the meeting stating an intent to "see (CSU) in fact-finding."
Gail Brooks, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources stated "I am very disappointed that we were not able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion. CSU's starting position for these negotiations was to accept a CFA proposal with a limited number of exceptions. Having come to an understanding over how such difficult issues as temporary faculty appointments and evaluations could be resolved as part of a successor agreement, it is a shame that things appear to have broken down the way that they did. Coming into this session both parties acknowledged that they wanted a negotiated agreement. CSU provided CFA with a firm proposal that made significant concessions. CFA provided no counter-proposal; rather they just walk away from the negotiations.
It appears to CSU that the only substantive issue left to be resolved is funding for the CFA President and Political Action position's release time. At some point the parties will have to continue these talks, and the issues on the table will be exactly the same. CSU remains willing to continue the negotiation process at any time in the belief that dialogue is the best way of resolving the differences of the parties."
The next step in the bargaining process is the appointment of a fact-finding panel, headed by an outside neutral party, who will hear arguments from both sides and make findings of fact in order to make an advisory recommendation on terms of settlement.