Across this state and across the nation public employee unions have been made into scapegoats by conservative leaders and those who passively defer to them. By blaming unions who are fighting to sustain middle-class jobs, they hope to distract public attention from those who are really responsible for driving our economy to the brink of disaster, Wall Street and big banks.
Taking advantage of the miserable state of the economy, these forces have applied “shock therapy” in order to roll back generations of workers’ rights. In Wisconsin, for example, politicians have used the legislative system to cut taxes for the wealthiest and then used the ensuing budget pressure to demand broad and deep cuts into workers rights.
Here in the CSU, this same impulse of using a state budget crisis to undermine workers’ rights is unfolding. Instead of agreeing to extend our contracts so that we could have labor peace and work shoulder to shoulder for new revenue, the administration has insisted that its “operational needs” must take priority. As those “operational needs” have played out at the bargaining table so far, they translate into surgically applied “take backs” that would undermine hard-won job security and our ability to protect CSU employees’ rights on the job and in the classroom.
We are here today to make it clear to the Board of Trustees that the CSU Labor Council intends to follow the example of our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin. We will stand together to fight for fair and equitable contracts for all employees of the CSU so that we can fulfill our mission to help our students succeed both as highly educated professionals and good citizens.
It is also our intention to stand shoulder to shoulder with the students we serve so that we can, as the students from Fullerton so beautifully articulated, “create learning environments that inspire creativity and self-discovery, and that encourage students to become persons of character, strength and integrity.”
It is not too late for all of us to stand together against forces that would starve or privatize the great public good that is the California State University system and to fight together for a better future for our students and for our state. To join that fight, however, you must--at the bargaining table and in public--respect the deep and painful sacrifices that CSU staff and faculty have made to ensure the best possible education for our students in these savage times. Using the current political and fiscal climate as an excuse for an attack on CSU faculty and staff — and on our contracts and our unions — will not lead the university forward.
We look forward to the administration’s response and productive bargaining sessions that recognize and respect all employees and the unions that represent them.
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Categories: Budget Central, General News, State Budget, Union News |
Posted: 5/17/2011 |