HAYWARD, CA – California State University East Bay is proceeding with plans to return nearly a thousand employees back to campus even as COVID-19 cases rise in the region making Alameda County the eighth highest county in the state.
East Bay was among the last among the 23-campus University system to stop in-person class instruction and allow employees to tele-work from home in March, when the pandemic struck. The announcement in June that employees were to return to campus, in phases, starting July 1, was made without consulting with key labor unions, such as the California State University Employees Union and the Academic Professionals of California.
In a matter of days after launching its petition on June 22, the coalition of students, faculty, staff, and family members had collected aproximately 1,000 signatures, calling on campus President Leroy Morishita to stop the repopulation plan.
“The University’s plan to repopulate reads very well on paper but has not, in fact, been the reality that our front-line workers have experienced,” said Diego Campos, CSUEU President at CSU East Bay. “Furthermore, the plan drafted in June does not reflect the dramatically different facts on the ground as cases are spiking in Alameda County.”
Without systemwide guidance from the CSU, individual campus administrations have been implementing different policies regarding the health and safety of employees as campuses initiate plans to return workers to campuses.
In a June 29 letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, CSUEU President Neil Jacklin criticizes the CSU for lacking systemwide COVID-19 guidelines resulting in inconsistent – or non-existing – employee safety measures. Read the letter here.
“The [CSU] Chancellor’s Office has been reluctant to create systemwide policies to protect the health of employees and students,” wrote Jacklin. “We are seeking your active intervention and assistance, and the engagement of legislative leaders responsible for providing oversight of CSU’s operations.”
The CSUEU Board of Directors will be meeting every other Thursday through the end of August via video conferencing, in compliance with the state’s social-distancing guidelines. The two-hour meetings, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., feature both open and closed sessions. All employees represented by the Union can join and observe Open Sessions, which start at 7 p.m.
To participate, please register here.
The next regular Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 2. Among the agenda items to be discussed in Open Session will be a Union resolution to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
As the state Legislature prepares to vote on a final 2020-21 budget agreement with Gov. Newsom, one line in the state budget stands out and is quite stunning:
“It is the intent of the Legislature that the California State University use its unrestricted reserves to mitigate the impacts of fiscal year-over-fiscal year ongoing General Fund reductions to this item.”
The Legislature has – for the first time – directed the CSU to use its unrestricted surplus of approximately $1.5 billion to alleviate budget cuts. Equally important, the Legislature has now formally acknowledged that the CSU surplus funds can be used for “ongoing” expenditures – something the CSU Chancellor’s Office and campus presidents have fervently denied.
UNION MEETINGS OPEN TO MEMBERSHIP
You must register to attend meetings via video-conference. Click on the Union Calendar to obtain Zoom links for meetings.
Board of Directors: Thursday, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Every two weeks
Communications Committee: 6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. | First and Third Wednesday of Each Month
Click for the full Union Meeting Calendar