Biweekly news digest from the California State University Employees Union. UPDATE: THE STATE BUDGET AND THE CSU WILLIE BROWN JR. ON THE CSU BUDGET BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING, JUNE 20-22 Q&A: AUTHOR PAUL CLARK, BOD KEYNOTE SPEAKER SFSU CHAPTER RALLIES FOR MEMBER IN NEED FY2008 PAY RAISES UNCERTAIN ALLIANCE GOES TO BAT AT CSU CHICO UPCOMING EVENTS * * * THE STATE BUDGET AND THE CSU A conference committee of the state Assembly and Senate began meeting last week to hammer out a common budget plan between the two houses of the State Legislature. Funding for the CSU may come up in the conference this week.   So far, both the Assembly and Senate budget plans contain the governor’s CSU funding proposal — which includes the $97.6 million that he added for the CSU in his 'May Revise' after he received 25,000-plus calls and faxes from the Alliance for the CSU .   Despite that partial victory for the Alliance, the two houses’ budget plans still assume a 10 percent student fee hike and leave out about $200 million in funds promised under the terms of the governor’s Compact for Higher Education. Further, the Senate version of the budget includes language that penalizes the CSU for having served more students than were funded. This language creates permanent cuts in the CSU budget in future years, since the CSU has proven it can do more for less. The conference committee has worked out tentative language that preserves the Senate version.   Estimates as to when the budget will be completed vary wildly, from sometime in July to Halloween.  CSUEU will continue to provide updates through the summer and is working with the Alliance for the CSU to organize delegations to visit with legislators in their home districts this summer. At these visits, the Alliance will explain why the $200 million shortfall and fee increases are still bad ideas for California’s future.   To join a delegation this summer, contact the Alliance .  WILLIE BROWN JR. ON THE CSU BUDGET What has the CSU meant to one person and what would the CSU budget cutbacks mean to California's future? A lot! That's the theme of a powerfully written opinion piece by SFSU grad and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Jr. in the June 23 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle . He recounts his student days and outlines the dire future that awaits our state if the proposed CSU budget cuts are enacted. Definitely a worthwhile read! CSUEU encourages you to send a letter to the editor of the Chronicle about Brown’s opinion piece. Your letter can support views expressed in the article or can be personal stories about the need for CSU funding. Learn about sending a letter to the Chronicle. Send your letter . BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING, JUNE 20-22 The Executive Officers and Board of Directors met in Redondo Beach over four days last weekend to discuss current union issues on behalf of represented employees. The Executive Officers conducted a one-day meeting on Thursday, June 19, committees met all day on Friday, and the Board of Directors met in all-day sessions on the weekend. This was one of three Board of Directors meetings this year, the last having been held in April and the next set for November. Meeting at the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach, the Board of Directors had plenty on their agenda, beginning with meetings on Friday of the Representation, Finance, Policy File, Classification, Legislative, Organizing, and Communication committees. Saturday began with Bargaining Unit 2 and 5 meetings over breakfast, followed by the first of two meetings of the full Board of Directors at 10 a.m. A highlight of the day was a workshop by keynote speaker Paul F. Clark, PhD, author of Building More Effective Unions (Cornell University Press, 2000). His thought-provoking talk covered such topics as CSUEU’s values, ways to strengthen important outreach to new CSU employees, and ways to build a strong union culture. Participants resolved to try new ways to reach out to new CSU employees in the weeks and months to come and to engage in discussions about the benefits of unions wherever they found negative stereotypes being perpetuated.  The day’s meeting ended with reports from officers. President Pat Gantt discussed such topics as the successful spring rallies around the state against the CSU budget cuts and his participation in the recent SEIU International Convention, a highlight of which was a live video speech by Barak Obama. From there, it was on to early evening meetings of Bargaining Units 7 and 9 before the final day’s BOD meeting on Sunday morning, which began with a breakfast buffet in the aptly named Seascape Ballroom. The event provided many opportunities for networking, catching up on the latest developments, and breaking bread together.  Q&A: AUTHOR PAUL CLARK, BOD KEYNOTE SPEAKER On Friday afternoon of the Board of Directors meeting, CSUEU E-News sat down with Paul Clark, PhD, author of Building More Effective Unions , for a short Q&A. Clark, a professor and head of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations at Pennsylvania State University, had spent the day sitting in on various committee meetings as a way of getting to know the CSUEU better in preparation for his keynote talk at the BOD the following day. What will you be covering in the workshop tomorrow? The first part will look at a general model that I’ve developed about how to build member commitment and participation. Second, we’ll talk about the broader issues--particularly labor’s public image--that influence member attitudes toward unions, along with strategies for changing those attitudes. Third is new member orientation and socialization. Unions have a real opportunity in each new employee’s first six months to have a significant impact on their attitudes. All organizations that have loyal members focus on socializing those members when they come in. The final section focuses on how to build a strong culture, taking lessons from anthropology. It’s a look at rites, rituals, ceremonies, taboos, hero stories, myths, symbols, language and dress. There’s a value to bringing new members to a meeting, introducing them and giving them a pin or T-shirt--that is, to have some custom that says, “You are now one of us.” Those initiation ceremonies can serve a strong purpose. Is there any one thing that has struck you as unique about CSUEU so far? One thing that has struck me is the high number of Fair Share members, given how small the financial difference is. In the federal environment, the difference is up $60 per month, and here it’s typically far less than a dollar. So what, if anything, is lacking? Perhaps it’s a campus culture that doesn’t value unions. Is it possible to create a kind of culture at these universities in which the union is seen as essential, as important enough, as positive enough that if you don’t belong to it you’re an outlier? One of the reasons that new member programs are so important is that people can go down one road or another about unions, and, once they go down a negative road, it’s hard to change that. I should mention that it isn’t just pay and benefits that drive people’s interest in unions; the most important factor is bringing fairness to the workplace. Justice in the workplace isn’t a given, though in the public sector sometimes there are some protections in place. We can make the case that we can provide fairness on the job. How does that play out? Filing a lot of grievances and having a successful chapter don’t always seem to go hand in hand.   Grievance procedure research finds that it wasn’t the outcomes that led to higher member commitment, but rather it was the degree to which members felt that the process gave them the chance to have their day in court. A sense of procedural justice is far more important in building long-term member commitment, beyond any individual results. You know, a non-union workplace is like a small-time dictatorship. It’s an authoritarian environment where, as a worker, you don’t have your day in court. The union brings the principles that we all treasure as citizens of this country to the workplace, particularly due justice. That’s one of the strongest arguments in favor of unions. What are your suggestions for communicating that to Fair Share employees? Research shows that you probably won’t turn around people who have been non-members of the union for 20 or 30 years, but the new ones coming in are a different story. Twenty years from now, they should be with us, if we can have them thinking positively about unions from the start of their employment. One key is to talk to new employees about the union’s role in supporting not only justice in the workplace but also family values. No organization has contributed more to family values than unions. When dad went to the mill and had a 40 percent chance of dying in 20 years; that certainly worked against the family. It’s the union that creates pensions and health insurance so that families can live reasonable lives, children can go to school, and parents don’t get killed on the job. Unions have contributed to the American family as an institution. What’s your temperature reading on the current union movement? The labor movement in California is very strong. We have as vibrant a movement here as anywhere in the country. In Pennsylvania and other states, we often get discouraged because we’ve lost several hundred thousand jobs, all union jobs. Sometimes you think the movement doesn’t have a future, but, when you come out here, you see a high level of energy and leadership. I sat in on CSUEU committee meetings today, and it’s awfully encouraging to see that high level of commitment and talent. We could be at a watershed moment with the prospect of an Obama win and passage of pro-union legislation that’s in the works. After 30 years of getting your head bashed in, I just get really excited about the prospects in the next few years. There are no guarantees, but everything right now gives the labor movement as good a chance as it’s had in the last 30 or 40 years. SFSU CHAPTER RALLIES FOR MEMBER IN NEED SFSU chapter members and their allies on campus have shown their support of a union brother in need by donating an impressive number of sick leave and vacation hours to him as he recovers from major surgery. Former SFSU chapter chief steward and vice president Carl Baer, an activist who serves as assistant operations coordinator in the SFSU Library Periodicals/Microforms Department, underwent a difficult and complex surgery earlier this month—a follow-up to surgery six months ago—and now needs several weeks to recover. The surgery went well, but he will be out for approximately three months to recover. About 15 employees have contributed nearly 275 hours so far. “It’s been incredibly gratifying to see the outpouring of help on Carl’s behalf,” says Bruce Mueller, a co-worker whom Carl has designated to run a Catastrophic Leave campaign for him. “SFSU employees can donate up to 40 hours per fiscal year, and several employees have donated the full 40 hours to Carl’s cause, which is an extremely generous and loving act.” Through the Catastrophic Leave Donation Program, a benefit of the CSUEU contract (Article 15.8), any CSU employee who accrues vacation or sick leave credits may voluntarily donate either of those credits to any other CSU employee on the same campus, if the recipient employee has exhausted all accrued leave credits (sick leave, vacation and CTO) due to a catastrophic illness or injury. Those are defined as illnesses or injuries that have totally incapacitated the employee from work. The program is meant to supplement Non-disability Insurance (NDI).  “Although NDI is free for CSU employees, most see it as inadequate coverage,” explains SFSU Chapter President Russell Kilday-Hicks. “Recently, other state employees have signed on to the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program, which a change in law under Gov. Davis allowed. SDI involves a low monthly deduction but pays better benefits when needed.” “The volunteer Catastrophic Leave Donation program is a great way for employees to help fellow staffers on their campus who are in need,” says CSUEU President Pat Gantt. “The SFSU chapter’s use of the program to support Carl provides a wonderful example of how well the program can work.” For questions about Carl’s campaign or about Catastrophic Leave campaigns in general, feel free to contact Bruce at (415) 405-0993, or Russell at (415) 338-3008. STATE BUDGET UNRESOLVED; STATUS OF FY 2008 PAY RAISES UNCERTAIN The status of the FY2008 pay raises is uncertain due to the unresolved status of the state budget for the next fiscal year. The background: the 2006/2009 Contract between CSUEU and CSU provided for wage increases in FY 2008 that were predicated on the assumption that the CSU would receive one percent above the compact between the Governor and the Chancellor. In 2006, the CSU publicly proclaimed the goal of reducing faculty and staff salary lags within five years. In order to realize this goal, the CSU pledged to fight for additional funding from the state budget; that is why our agreement provided for one percent above compact funding. As pledged, the Chancellor’s Office requested additional funding in their budget for FY 2008/09. However, due to the economic downturn affecting the state and the nation, the 2008 budget may not even approach compact funding. CSUEU presented a proposal that would be in line with the 4% compact figure for FY 2008/09. Our proposal would provide employees in Bargaining Units 2, 5, 7 and 9 with:  a general salary increase (GSI) of 3.45%, effective July 1, 2008  a service-based salary increase of 1%   the equivalent of .75% GSI for system-funded in-range progressions The CSU has not yet responded to the union’s proposal. CSUEU will continue distributing bargaining updates as more information comes in. ALLIANCE GOES TO BAT AT CSU CHICO The Alliance for the CSU continued its campaign to prevent budget cuts Saturday as more than 1,000 CSUEU members, faculty members, students, alumni, administrators and CSU supporters attended “Alliance for the CSU night” at the Chico Outlaws baseball game. Attendees received Alliance “thunder sticks” and were given the opportunity to sign up to become members of the Alliance. The event also featured Alliance shirts being shot into the crowd by an air cannon and the team mascot, Rascal the Raccoon, wearing the largest Alliance T-shirt ever created—a 6X! The Outlaws, an independent Class-A professional baseball team, are managed by CSU Alumni Trustee Bob Linscheid. Check out his photos and his report on the game. * * * UPCOMING EVENTS  Friday, July 4 Independence Day. CSUEU offices closed. Tuesday, July 15 CSU Board of Trustees meeting. 401 Golden Shore, Long Beach. Saturday-Sunday, August 16-17 Northern regional organizing training. California Maritime Academy, Vallejo. Saturday-Sunday, September 6-7 Southern regional organizing training. Coast Hotel Long Beach (site tentative) * * * See back issues of CSUEU E-News, distributed every other Thursday.