Governor Gray Davis' Tentative Agreement

Posted by Paul Sheldon Foote on March 07, 2002 at 22:01:18:

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"This tells me there's some dynamic going on here where companies have had such a hard time finding good people that they're not as willing this time around to let them go. They've let go a lot of the contingent workforce, and that's one reason why our business is down."
---Kim Megonigal, Chief Executive, Kimco Staffing Services, Inc., Irvine, California

This quotation appeared in:

Cziborr, Chris, "Temp Agencies Report Flip-Flop From '90s Downturn", Orange County Business Journal (February 25, 2002): 4.

According to managers of temporary employment agencies in Orange County, corporations attempted in the early 1990's to save money by laying off regular employees and by using temporary employment agencies to find cheaper workers. Nationally, the temporary employment industry appears to be down by 700,000 workers because corporate managements have decided that it is too difficult to find good employees.

Unfortunately, the temporary employment market is growing in California's public sector. Under Governor Gray Davis' administration, the number of temporary faculty workers now exceeds the number of tenured and tenure track faculty workers! Since July 2001, the CSU faculty has worked without a new contract.

Recently, a member of California State University, Fullerton's faculty met Governor Gray Davis at a Democratic Party convention. He asked Governor Davis when there would be a settlement. He reported that Governor Gray Davis said that there would be a settlement within 2 weeks because he would send Marty Morgenstern, Director, Department of Personnel Administration, to ensure a settlement. Where was Governor Gray Davis last July?

At a February 25, 2002 presentation by 3 statewide officers of the CFA on Fullerton's campus, the presenters urged the faculty to vote for a strike in March. They discussed also consideration of a meeting with Republican candidate Richard Riordan to discuss possible CFA support of Riordan for Governor. Obviously, the presenters knew nothing about Republican politics. On March 5, Republicans elected Bill Simon.

So, now the March vote is to approve a hastily made, poorly written tentative agreement. On March 11, CFA President Susan Meisenhelder plans to meet with the CSU to discuss implementation problems.

Unfortunately, some major features are missing from the Tentative Agreement:

1.      Where is the written agreement to cap the use of temporary employees at some reasonable percentage (far less than 50%)?

2.      Where is the written agreement to eliminate the salary gap in a short period of time (say 3 years)? For business school faculty members, discussions of 10% salary gaps are ridiculous. New graduates with doctorates in Accounting receive starting salaries as assistant professors at other universities higher than the salaries of CSU full professors with long lists of publications and decades of teaching experience. Governor Gray Davis has done nothing to solve this problem. Governor Gray Davis cannot use the excuse that the State of California has no money. His electricity blunders took the State of California from billions of dollars of surplus in early 2001 to billions of dollars of deficit in 2002.

3.      Where are the details of the YRO program? Will the CSU be offering 3 full semesters or 4 full quarters per year? Who will decide which professors teach during the additional semester or quarter? Will professors be able to choose which 2 semesters or 3 quarters per year that they teach? If professors teach during the additional semester or quarter, will those salaries be included in the calculations for retirement?

Governor Gray Davis' Tentative Agreement is a disaster. CFA's leaders should provide thorough analyses of the Tentative Agreement before voting starts. Instead, there is a rush to vote for a Tentative Agreement.

Paul Sheldon Foote

California State University, Fullerton