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Employees, CSU reach tentative agreement

The Cal State University Employees’ Union and the Cal State University successfully concluded negotiations for a new contract on Jan. 13. 

CSUEU is composed of more than 15,000 employees in the health care, operations, clerical and technical support functions. 

Bargaining teams for the groups reached a tentative agreement that will only be formalized once it’s voted on by CSUEU members and the CSU Board of Trustees. The teams have been in negotiations for nine months.

“We felt we could agree to it with the union and that it’s something that will work given the realities we’re in right now,” CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis said.

The union’s bargaining team successfully settled on parking fee increases and attacks to seniority rights, according to the CSUEU website.

“This is a good contract, fought for and arrived at despite the current miserable times for public employees and higher education,” CSUEU President Pat Gantt said in a bargaining update.

Under the tentative agreement, parking fee increases are now frozen through July 2012 and in any year when there is no general salary increase. If there is a salary increase, it will be capped at $3 per month in any fiscal year. 

The first CSU proposal stated that parking permit providers could charge whatever they wanted, according to Cal State Long Beach CSUEU President Peggy O’Neil-Rosales.

“It’s a backdoor way to have a pay cut,” O’Neil-Rosales said. “It’s a lot when there are no raises.”

She said the union also aimed to gain “a means for employees to move up their salary ranges,” which was not successful. 

Employees haven’t received a pay raise in five years.

According to the tentative agreement, each individual university president chooses the layoff order of employees. O’Neil-Rosales said the union was concerned with how permanent employees were once laid off. 

The old contract stated that employees would be laid off in reverse order of seniority, meaning “those who have been working the longest get laid off first,” O’Neil-Rosales said.

Under the tentative agreement, employees will now be laid off according to skill level within a classification in reverse order of seniority. 

The three-year tentative agreement allows for wage and benefit reopeners in the second and third year if either CSUEU or the CSU wishes to bring up issues they are still concerned about, according to the CSUEU website.

The California Faculty Association, another union on campus, has also been in successor contract negotiations with the CSU, for nearly twice as long as the CSUEU

O’Neil-Rosales said it’s a relief that an agreement has been reached.

“It was difficult, but we’re happy we got a contract,” she said.

She also said CSUEU hopes the same will soon happen for CFA.

According to a bargaining update, the CSUEU bargaining team plans to utilize the reopeners “to confront CSU over its broken compensation and classification system.”

“We will continue to fight every instance where CSU is using wasteful, inefficient contracting out,” Gantt said in the update.


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