Monday, June 27, 2005

Statewide CSUEU Update

CSU Employees Union Update
June 22, 2005


Bargaining moves forward, though at a snail's pace. We submitted a written proposal to the CSU in February, and four months later they gave us theirs. Rallies in support of our bargaining team have made a real impact. At CSUN, where the team was bargaining on June 13, 14 and 15, well over 100 people from as far away as San Diego participated with whistles, chants, and posters. CFA members joined in as well. See the following link:

[Click Here]

Future bargaining dates are as follows:

  • June 28-30, Chancellor's Office - Observers welcome. Contact your local LRR for information.
  • July 12 -14, Dominguez Hills - Rally planned for July 13. Contact your local LRR for information.
  • July 26-27, San Luis Obispo - Rally details to be announced.

ULP filed alleging that the CSU bypassed the union when it promised a 3.5% raise to all employees

CSUEU has filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that the CSU bypassed the union when they announced a 3.5% pay increase to employees, failing to state that this is a matter for collective bargaining and not something that the Chancellor can decide unilaterally.

Bargaining proposals from both the union and management are now being posted on our website. Here is the link:
[Click Here]

Steps vs. Open Ranges: Then and Now

CSUEU has also posted a chart comparing the distribution of salaries in 1992, when we still had steps, to 2005, when we have open ranges. You can find this comparison at: [Click Here]

CalPERS adopts new rates for 2006

At a recent meeting of the CalPERS Board they adopted new premiums. Employees will see these new rates during the fall open enrollment period. The basic HMO premium increased to 8.7 percent, the lowest gain since 1999. More info at:
[Click Here]

Governor's supporters lay out plan to attack workers.

In a conference call of the Governor's supporters, the attitude toward public employees and their unions became clear. The corporate interests supporting the Governor wish to demonize public servants.
Special Election news at: [Click Here]

CSUEU Update sent to you by
Pat Gantt, CSU Employees Union President, SEIU Local 2579
SEIU Local 2579, AFL-CIO, CLC
 an affiliate of the California State Employees Association
 1129 10th Street
 Sacramento, CA 95814
 voice (916) 319-4800, ext. 104
 FAX (916) 319-4808

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Back from the journey

Me on the golden gate bridge

I have returned from my bike tour!
Sierra to the Sea 2005 was a great bike tour. It was a bit cooler than past years and that was to the better. I had some great ride and saw many old friends and made new ones. I just returned yesterday so I have not yet processed a lot of the memories. On the last day many of the riders talked about their journeys. It impressed me that the experiences everybody shared were so different that at times they could have been talking about different trips. I guess life, and bicycle tours, is like that.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I am going off the grids

I will be a short turn drop out
For the next nine days I will be off the Internet grid and off the power grid. I will be on a bicycle touring the middle of California. If you want more information I will be on a bicycle tour called the Sierra to the Sea. I am really looking forward to the adventure and will blog about it after I return.

Blog full disclosure statement
Every now and then I like to post a link to each of my six blogs. This link gives a more honest view of my Internet identity than does reading one or two of the blogs alone.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Who is who at the statewide level of CSUEU

This information is from the cover of the University Employee Newsletter of CSUEU. So, it is public information and can be shared. If you wish to contact any officers in the statewide organization, here is how! Note this information will possibly change later this month when the union holds elections:

statewide officers

Local Union News

Join teachers, nurses, janitors, firefighters, police, and community members to protest the Governor's attacks on working families. At yet another fundraiser, the Governor is raising money from his corporate sponsors. Despite public opposition, the Governor has declared a special election on November 8, with initiatives that would result in cuts to education, cuts to social services to the elderly and poor, and would stifle the voice of police, firefighters, nurses, teachers, and other working people.

Wednesday, June 22, 4:00 pm
Stanford Park Hotel
100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA
Ample parking across the street at the Stanford Shopping Mall
For more information call CJ Wilson at 408-266-3790 x578.

Rental car workers at Avis car rental company (Cendant Car Rental Group d.b.a. AVIS) have been out on strike for over a week. The company wants to eliminate the union's health care plan and replace it with an inferior one. Rental car workers, the people who clean, service, and drive the rental cars, have united to fight for a better contract. Join workers at the picket line to show your solidarity in their fight!

Ways to show your support:
1. Come to the rally on Monday, June 20, 12:00 Noon, 2103 N 1st St., San Jose.
2. Join us at the picket line, next Friday, June 24, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, 2103 N. 1st St., San Jose
Please RSVP to CJ Wilson at 408-266-3790 x578.

Support workers at San Jose Medical Group
Join workers at the San Jose Medical Group in informational picketing. SEIU UHW workers have been negotiating with the company for better working conditions. Despite the fact that the workers are what makes the company what it is, San Jose Medical Group has rejected their latest offer. Show your support for these workers who are fighting for a better contract.

Wednesday, June 22 12:00 Noon 400 Race St, San Jose

Support Workers at El Camino Hospital
Join workers at El Camino Hospital in protecting fully paid health care beneftis, safe staffing, and competitive wages.
Tuesday, June 28 2:00 pm El Camino Hospital, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View
For more information email

Iraqi Worker Delegation
Learn from two officers of the General Union of Oil Workers in Basrah what the occupation has meant for working people and the labor movement. Hassan Juma'a Awad Al Asada, union president and father, and Faleh Abbood Umara, union general secretary and father, will both speak and answer questions on how the labor movement has dealt with the occupation. Learn what you can do to support these courageous workers.

Sunday, June 19 1:30 pm Offices of SEIU Local 715 2302 Zanker Rd, San Jose
For more information call CJ Wilson at 408.266.3790 x578

Two Years is Too Long! Help United Airlines Engineers win their first contract
The first group of airline engineers to organize have been fighting for their first contract for two years. Last month UAL terminated all of their pensions. The engineers wages have slipped to 20% below market and the engineers' attrition rate is exceptionally high. We are rallying to say Two Years is Too Long! This group will not be ignored any longer. Show your support by being at this informational picket.

Wednesday, June 15th 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: McDonnell Road and San Bruno Avenue Sidewalk in front of United's Maintenance Base San Francisco, 94128-3800

Workshop on the new Paid Family Leave Law
Do you know that most working Californians are eligible for 6 weeks of partial pay when taking leave from work to bond with a new baby or care for a seriously ill family member? 78% of Californians have never heard of the new paid family leave law. Join us for a workshop conducted by the Labor Project for Working Families at UC Berkeley about the new law for union leaders, union reps, and shop stewards.

Thursday, July 14 6:00pm 2102 Almaden Rd, San Jose
For more information and to sign up please call CJ Wilson at 408.266.3790 x578.

A matter of ethics

One again, in my opinion:
In the private sector a company sells a product or service to a client in exchange for money. The money the company gets can be considered the company's at that point. In the public sector the money comes from the citizens and the government is entrusted by the public to wisely administer these funds. If the private company makes bad decisions and squanders its own money it has violated a trust to its share holders. If the public sector agency makes bad decisions and squanders money entrusted to it, it has violated a trust to its citizens. If the private share holders let such a situation continue the company will go out of business. In the public sector there is little threat of bankruptcy and we call the coverup of such incompetency corruption. In the private sector there are legitimate trade secrets about mistakes that may sometimes need to be kept secret from the public, as long as SEC rules are followed, in order to protect a company's image. In the public sector keeping such secrets may be a violation of the public trust. I believe it is unethical to coverup such bad management practices.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Performance review info

If you get a bad performance review, in my opinion you need to call a union steward. This is really important! If you got a bad rating, even if you feel as though you deserve a poor rating, this is very important. No matter how good or bad your rating was, if you feel any information in your evaluation is unfair, questionable or wrong, in my opinion you should call your union. You always have rights and in my opinion you need to be sure that your rights are being respected. That is why we have a union! If you have any questions, concerns or other issues regarding your performance review in my opinion you should call your union rep. At SJSU the chief steward is Dennis Fox. He is in the campus directory. The union is on our side.

Camera phones can copy documents

Copied Document

The shadow is my hand holding the phone. Just to see what it would look like I took a quick snap of this document using my camera phone. It was so easy and fast that I could have easily acted like I was answering an unexpected phone call when I was doing it. Imagine a person saying, "Oh, it is my baby sitter!" The person may not even have a child, but without any knowledge the document could have been photographed and pix mailed to a whole group of other people in the time it takes to say, "the cough medicine is in the medicine cabinet."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Performance Evaluations

Performance evaluation advice
It is time for that annual spanking of employees at our university. Yes, it is performance evaluation season. There is nothing that can be more damaging to morale or hurt productivity more, in my opinion, than a poorly conducted evaluation. The most appropriate advice I can give to supervisors who have evaluation responsibility is, don't do evil:

Do not lie
This is obvious. Be accurate and fair. Inaccurate information costs a manager respect! Have backbone and be the kind of manager employees respect. Tell the truth. Even if the truth is negative, how can an employee improve if he/she is not given an opportunity to know the honest and fair truth?
Do not blindside the employee
There should be no surprises in an evaluation. Anything that is marked down as a negative in an evaluation, that was not discussed with an employee well prior to evaluation, should not be presented as a negative. Instead this should be presented to the employee as a goal over the next evaluation period. Negatives always have to have a clear history of previous discussion. Never blindside employees if you want their loyalty.
Provide guidance
Give the employee a path to improve and set clear goals. Every person has things he or she is good at, and we all have weaknesses. It is your job as a supervisor to provide your employees with a path to improvement and to set measurable goals so the employee knows if he/she has improved. How can an employee improve if he/she is not given direction on how to improve and is given a way of telling if he/she has achieved the desireable performance level?
Follow the process
Don't just do what you are told in HR. As a manager you have to know the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). For CSUEU employees, evaluations are covered in article ten. You need to know it and follow it. If HR will not give you a copy ask a union rep. Employees, you too need to know article ten of the CBA.
Do your job, get help if you need it!
Poorly done evaluations cannot be tolerated! It costs productivity, morale and wastes the taxpayers money. Poor evaluations can also lead to needless grievances. If you are an employee and receive a poor evaluation I believe you should contact your union rep ASAP! If you are a manager and want to do your job well, attend HR training (but don't trust them to tell you the whole story,) read the appropriate CBAs for the employees you supervise and for God's sake, don't be evil.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Cell cameras to improve safety

Filthy sink
Using devices like cell phone cameras; employees and students have a powerful tool to literally expose unsafe work and learning environments. Everything from chemical handling methods to trip hazards can be visually documented and reported. If institutions do not make changes to create safer work and learning conditions the images can be posted, anonymously if necessary, to the Internet on weblogs and the process of either cleaning up the hazard, or not, can be reported.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Rental car workers at Avis car rental company (Cendant Car Rental Group d.b.a. AVIS) have voted to reject the company's last best and final offer. The company wants to eliminate the union's health care plan and replace it with an inferior one. Rental car workers, the people who clean, service, and drive the rental cars, have united to fight for a better contract. Join workers at the picket line to show your solidarity in their fight!

6 AM - 12 Midnight
2103 N. 1st St., San Jose
For more information please call 408-266-3790 x578.

Susie buys a new dress (and changes the world)

Susie buys a new dress
When I am riding my bicycle I keep my cell phone in my back pocket. I was riding my bicycle through Los Gatos yesterday when my cell phone rang. It was my wife Sue who asked where I was. I told her I was in downtown Los Gatos. She said good, she was there too and was trying on a new dress and she wanted me to see it. I said, okay, I will be there in five minutes. I arrived, we looked at the dress and liked it. I said, wait a minute and I took her picture. Then I blogged her picture so the whole world can potentially see her new dress.

Susie buys a new dress, is hardly big news. But, this information transaction is illustrative of the huge changes happening in our society. In the 90's ubiquitous portable phones came into reality. Now 50% of those phones have cameras. According to a story I read in this morning's paper those in-phone cameras will soon be as good as regular cameras. What will this mean for news coverage? What will this mean for politics? What will this mean for labor or education? What will this mean for the world?

Imagine if folks on the top of the world trade center on 9/11 had such phones and could send out pictures using them? I remember the chant during the 1968 democratic convention in Chicago. The crowd chanted, "the whole world is watching." Soon it will be, "the whole world is broadcasting." When that happens there will be no keeping secrets anywhere.

The implications for the labor movement are huge! Every employee will be armed with the technology to reveal safety violations or harsh working conditions. This technology will empower employees to take on evil employers who lie and cover-up the truth about how they treat employees. It will be as easy as telling folks about a new dress, and just as quick. Everybody will soon have the power to do this right at their fingertips.

Friday, June 03, 2005

On taking back the university

The Internet allows, in fact someday will force, us to do what we do not do well, listen to our students. It amazes me that at the same time student fees are going through the roof we are spending university resources installing wireless networks and installing Tivo-like digital video recorders in the university president's house. Our university is a confusing maze of little fiefdoms where students as well as employees struggle to get through their academic day and yet they are seldom consulted about how to improve it. We waste the taxpayers dollars on redundant resources and our customers are virtually powerless to do anything about it.

All that is changing and changing thanks to the Internet. By empowering students, faculty, staff and the public through emerging technology tools like weblogs, podcasts and RSS; the students, faculty and staff are taking back the university. The old top-down principles of handing down decrees from the ivory towers are changing. This vertical method of controlling the message where the administration is on top and the students and employees are on bottom and the information flow from the campus community to the world is tightly controlled is gone. Now everybody has an equal voice on the Internet and we can all participate in how to make the university, and all the universities of the world, better places to learn, collaborate and exchange ideas. This is the global conversation for academia and it is very, very long overdue!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Legislative Counsel Opinion on Public Employees Retirement System

Senator Perata has requested and received a Legislative Counsel Opinion on whether the rate of contribution of current state employees to the Public Employees Retirement System is a vested right, and to what extent, if any, may an increased rate of contribution be bargained by a representative of employee members or imposed on unrepresented management members and exempt employee members.

The Legislative Counsel opinion states the following.

  1. The courts would apply an independent analysis to any modification in the employee contribution rate, and for it to stand, the change would be required to have a material relation to the theory and successful operation of the pension system, and changes that disadvantage vested employees would have to be accompanied by comparable new advantages.
  2. Even if the increase in the employee rate were to be negotiated, the courts would still apply the above analysis. Therefore, a collectively bargained increase in the employee contribution rate could be ruled illegal and unconstitutional if it did not have a material relation to the theory and successful operation of the pension system, and the increase in rate was not accompanied by comparable advantages to the affected employees.
 The same applies to unrepresented and exempt employees.

Dave Low of the California School Employees Association wrote that "This is a very good opinion for workers. Essentially, it opines that neither the Governor (through collective bargaining), nor the Legislature (through legislation), can impose an increased contribution rate on state employees unless a comparable new advantage is also provided."

Teven Laxer
Senior Labor Relations Representative
California State University Employees Union