Public Affairs

Labor Relations Update

May 14, 2010
Comments by Gail Brooks
CSU Vice Chancellor of Human Resources

Comments delivered in open session during the CSU Board of Trustees Collective Bargaining Committee on May 11, 2010.

Thank you, Trustee Monville, and good morning Chair Carter and the members of the Board of Trustees.  Today we are sun-shining the proposals, as required by law, that the CSU is making as we enter into negotiations with the California Faculty Association (CFA) that represents  nearly 23,000 instructional faculty, coaches, counselors and librarians for a new contract.  You have copies of the proposals in front of you. Equally important, I want to present to the Board the guiding principles surrounding our proposals.

As we all know, the State of California has been under tremendous financial pressure for the past two years, and as an institution we have all felt the effects.  Our faculty, along with other employees, has made a significant contribution in assisting this institution for the past year.  While these are difficult times, we hope they won’t always be so and it’s important, as we enter these negotiations, to think about what will assist us going forward.

Some may ask why, in these tough and challenging times, we don’t delay bargaining until things get better.  Why not simply wait?  Our answer is twofold, one, it’s not legally necessary.  By law while we are bargaining for a new contract, the current contract terms continue even after June 30, the end of this contract period, and second,  the principles we plan to use to guide us through the collective bargaining process are too important to simply set aside for another year.

What exactly are the principles behind our collective bargaining goals?  In a broad sense, they boil down to two:  instructional quality and procedural clarity. 

  • For instructional quality, we want to ensure that a new contract supports the CSU’s mission of providing a quality education to students.
  • And, we want “procedural clarity” within the collective bargaining agreement.  That means a contract that makes sense to implement from an operational standpoint and that supports a foundation of financial stability.

As you review the articles that are proposed for change by both the CSU and the CFA, you’ll see some commonality and some major differences.  This is no more than a reflection of the nature of collective bargaining which is an inherently conflictive process.  We recognize that, but hope we can conclude this process in a timely manner with professionalism and respect for all parties.

These are tough times, no doubt about it.  Yet it is important that we recognize the value in rethinking ways of the past, and evaluate what is best for all of us – our employees, our campuses and the CSU in its entirety – to ensure that we are upholding the critical mission of our institution – to the best of our abilities.

Based on the above, staff recommends that the Board adopt the CSU’s initial proposals for full contract negotiations with the California Faculty Association (CFA).