Friday, November 25, 2005

Message to SJSU Folks

Are you unsure of what your rights are as an employee?  Are you angry because inept and/or abusive managers are making you regret showing up for work?  Attend steward training to find out if you can do something about it.
CSUEU is scheduling steward training for SJSU early next year. We have two sets of dates that we are considering.  The training will take place either on January 20 and 21 or on February 3 and 4.  These are Friday/Saturday pairs.  If you elect to attend training, CSUEU will arrange release time for you on the Friday. If you are considering attending, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can confirm your status as a member and get you on the list of employees eligible for release time.
Please consider attending steward training and help us make SJSU a better place to work.
Dennis Fox
CSUEU Chapter 307 Chief Steward/BU9 Rep

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sunday in the south land

We worked on our sunshine proposal
The rest of the weekend went great. For most of Saturday and Sunday we worked on the contract proposal for the new contract coming up next year. This is called the sunshine process where both sides say what they would like to see in the next contract. Negotiations then start from there where both sides work toward a meet in the middle. Saturday evening we had a dinner and a party. Working on the sunshines is very intense work. It takes a lot of input. Not only do we try to improve wages, hours and working conditions for employees, the union strives to improve contract laguage to provide better protections for workers rights. At the dinner CSUEU union president Pat Gantt presented awards to good folks in the union who have made special contributions to our cause. Many of my friends were recipients. I think we have an excellent statewide team!

Pat Gantt and award recipients

Monday, November 07, 2005

San Jose State Union Documents

I am posting this to let folks know about the democratic traditions of our union. These are not the official and current versions. These documents speak about that tradition and what the role of your chapter and state-wide leadership is. These are not the official versions, but they are the best I have and are pretty darn close:

  • CSUEU (San Jose) Chapter By-Laws
    These are the rule under which our chapter functions and describe things like elections, the budget, committees, officer's duties and responsibilities.
  • CSU Division policy file
    Again, this is not the official version. Policy file outlines the policies and procedures of the statewide university employee organization. Outlined in here are many things about how the union operates. Also here are an employee's rights inside the union itself. The division policy file supercedes chapter by-laws in the event of a contradiction between them. The chapter by-laws have to conform to policy file. Items in here include how an employee can file a grievance within the union if he/she feels that either of these two documents are not being adhered to.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Russell Kilday-Hicks

Russell Kilday-Hicks

I cannot say enough great things about Russell. He is from San Francisco State University and the chair of our union's communications committee and is editor of the newsletter, the University Employee. What great words can I associate with Russell. Integrity, commitment, intelligence, passion for a cause, honesty, humility, devotion, drive, ethics, all these are traits I readily associate with him. In short he is my hero. Nobody could find a better role model than him. He is the consummate labor activist. And, I have known a lot of labor activists. I am proud to be associated with him and anything he does.

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CSUEU Division Council in Manhattan Beach

Shannon Staley at DC

SJSU Chapter 307 Highlights
Our great unit seven rep. and statewide vice-chair of unit 7, Vera Acevedo, introduced chapter Vice-President Shannon Staley to the delegates and guests at CSUEU’s division council the weekend of November 5 thru 6 at Manhattan Beach. This is Shannon’s first Division Council. Staley received a warm round of applause! Vera also introduced me.

Gus sings, we sing to Gus!
CSUEU President Pat Gantt introduced Gus Lease and noted his years of service to CSEA. He also told the delegation it was Gus’s birthday. Gus is a music professor at SJSU and a very talented singer. He often sings the Star Spangled Banner at CSEA events. This time the tables were turned for Gus and the university delegates sang happy birthday to Gus. He also received a warm applause and many well wishes.

Gus Lease

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How cool is that!

In my opinion it is important to invite folks to make input to our unions even if we may not want to hear what we have to say or are angry because we feel they are unfairly criticizing our hard work.

Unions are democracies. Democracies are political. Political bodies are made up of folks with differing views of reality and different memories of events. In democracies conflict and some strife happens and is a good sign of a healthy democracy. I think we must tolerate dissent in order to remain democratic. To expect folks in a union to have just one opinion and voice and to attack the expression of opinions we don't agree with, I think, is bad. To listen, debate, tolerate and encourage the healthy expression of differing ideas, rather than attack the speaker; I think that is good.

Union activists may complain because the folks we feel are whiners have not gotten active before, or not run for union office before. There are plenty of reasons why some folks cannot get deeply involved. Some of the folks may have children or partners requiring special attention, sick elder parents or have health issues of their own. Becoming an activist is also very stressful at times and you can't expect everybody to be able to handle that. But, some of the reasons folks may have not gotten involved is perhaps because they did not feel empowered to do so. As folks find road maps to how they can get involved, they gain the capacity to do more. As we learn about them they learn about us. Maybe not, but perhaps thus empowered they will become us!

How cool is that!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Please report this to your union!

The law that guarantees university employees the right to organize collectively, represent each other and/or form unions is called the Higher Education Employee-Employer Relations Act (HEERA). Employees have a right (even across bargaining unit lines) to talk about matters related to representation and unions. It is very important that you report to your union reps and/or stewards any instances of interference with the rights of employees to talk about matters such as unions, representation, grievances and/or the right of employees to file them.

According to Article 3571 of HEERA it is an unfair labor practice (ULP) for the university to interfere:

3571. It shall be unlawful for the higher education employer to do any of the following:

(a) Impose or threaten to impose reprisals on employees, to discriminate or threaten to discriminate against employees, or otherwise to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of their exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter. For purposes of this subdivision, "employee" includes an applicant for employment or reemployment.

(b) Deny to employee organizations rights guaranteed to them by this chapter.

(c) Refuse or fail to engage in meeting and conferring with an exclusive representative.

(d) Dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any employee organization, or contribute financial or other support to it, or in any way encourage employees to join any organization in preference to another. However, subject to rules and regulations adopted by the board pursuant to Section 3563, an employer shall not be prohibited from permitting employees to engage in meeting and conferring or consulting during working hours without loss of pay or benefits.

(e) Refuse to participate in good faith in the impasse procedure set forth in Article 9 (commencing with Section 3590).

(f) Consult with any academic, professional, or staff advisory group on any matter within the scope of representation for employees who are represented by an exclusive representative, or for whom an employee organization has filed a request for recognition or certification as an exclusive representative until such time as the request is withdrawn or an election has been held in which "no representative" received a majority of the votes cast. This subdivision is not intended to diminish the prohibition of unfair practices contained in subdivision (d). For the purposes of this subdivision, the term "academic" shall not be deemed to include the academic senates.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Here's looking at yourself, kid

Me at 50

In the end you have to look at yourself in the mirror
It is written, "what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?" Being committed to doing the right and honorable thing and helping people as much as you can is more important that getting ahead, getting your boss's approval and perhaps getting a promotion. The most important relationship we have is with ourselves, I think. If we can't respect ourself, what else matters? When the time comes to step up to the plate, how can you live with yourself if you do not step up? That is my opinion, anyway.

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