Joseph Dobzynksi, Jr.
View a YouTube video of Russell and Joseph making their comments
Comments to the Collective Bargaining Committee
May 8, 2012
At the last trustee meeting, we concluded our bargaining process with the CSU on a full contract. Today, I do not see the conclusion of any other union contracts, and that bothers me. The state and the CSU have many challenges ahead of us, and the best outcomes will come if the CSU works with all stakeholders, including unions, to meet the challenge together. I urge the trustees to settle the outstanding contracts so we all can focus on revenue and prevent deeper cuts and more problems.
In your finance committee, you will hear about options to save money through consolidation or possibly synergy. Many of those concepts make sense on paper but do not play out as the services drop to a crisis level. If there is something shared between campuses, which campus gets priority, the largest campus or the smallest? Even as you have these discussions, the CSU has avoided including the unions to look at common interests and to have honest discussions. If you want to streamline more, perhaps you should consider having system-level policies on smoking, workplace violence, cell phone use, and return to work. The CSU has allowed each campus to develop policies on these subjects, and that has burdened your system-wide Human Resources to respond to the obligations these polices have with them to the collective bargaining process.
Today and tomorrow, you will also touch on executive compensation. While you have put controls on the state-funded portion, there are no apparent controls on the use of foundation funds for executive compensation. This causes a great concern for many of us, and it may make the next public radio pledge drive interesting, with listeners knowing that some of the funds raised may augment an executive salary--but they might get a tote bag.
If you can do it for the executives, then you can do it for the rank and file, right? Maybe this marks a new beginning to look at compensation in general. After all, aren’t all dollars green?
Thank you for the time and opportunity to speak.
Vice President for Representation, CSUEU
May 9, 2012
This morning I need to respond to something said yesterday regarding one of your cost-saving schemes, the idea of synergy. Vice Chancellor Brooks touted the success of the model synergy program in this building and now rapidly spreading throughout the system. I believe she said something about $400,000 saved. For efficiencies, they transferred work done here over to the Long Beach campus. I believe it was stated that this was “painless.” I must take issue with this statement. How painless was it for Amy Chung? Amy was a Payroll Technician III laid off last year for “lack of work” due to this transfer, and, although Amy was a CSU employee, she had no right to follow her work. She has a right to be hired first if the work she was doing ever comes back to this building, which is unlikely, unfortunately. And if a position in her field opens up at Long Beach State, even though we all work for the CSU, she can apply like anyone else, because each campus is considered a separate employer. Her 10 years of service counts for little in the new, corporate CSU. There is little difference here from some cold-hearted CEO shipping her job overseas, at least to Amy.
Yesterday, we met upstairs to discuss your RFP on the new online university. Not surprisingly, there is no mention of staff in the presentation and no commitment to having your capable, current employees perform that work.
I said yesterday that I am a Luddite in the true, historic sense of the term. The Luddites were not against technology, per se. They smashed machines in protest of the lack of respect the workers were given in the application of new developments.
Even the Sacramento Bee has recognized your arrogance and double standards, but the problem isn’t just the growing gap between executive pay and your custodians; the problem for us is your lack of commitment to the rest of your workforce outside of your executives.
The philosopher Will Durant said civilizations should be judged by the way women and children were treated. I would update that to be the way the least among us are treated. History records the downfall of empires and great institutions. Let history record how the CSU fell. It wasn’t just budget cuts, it was the way the custodians, the Amy Changs, and the students and faculty were treated. You obviously plan to “save” the CSU on our backs by privatization schemes and paying your executives with private funds while keeping your car allowances and housing and entertainment perks for the few.
Just the other day, I was trying to teach my 11-year-old son a life lesson when the new ice skates he was thrilled with suddenly weren’t so great because his friend got a more expensive pair. I said to him there are people in this world who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Your staff members are not sucking the life blood from the CSU--we are the life blood. If anything sucks around here, it’s your lack of commitment to your workforce, and by extension, your lack of respect for the people of California.
Joseph Dobzynski, Jr.
Vice President for Member Engagement, CSUEU
Good morning. I work at CSU Channel Islands as a programmer/analyst. I also serve as Vice President for Member Engagement for the California State University Employees Union, SEIU Local 2579.
I have come to the conclusion the CSU operates with two sets of rules: one set for executives and campus presidents, and another for the rest of us within the system.
You have spent the last year discussing executive compensation, a decision that will ultimately affect ten people, in order to be competitive and attract quality talent. You are supplementing their compensation using “discretionary funds” from folks who most likely didn’t want their donations going to executive compensation or home renovations. By contrast, we heard about the need to make students, staff and faculty pay more for tuition, pension and benefits. We are told about “shared sacrifice” and offered “feel-good” events to boost our morale. I’m here to tell you that morale is not going to pay the bills, especially for our employees who make less in a year than some of you make in a month. You are all high functioning, important people in this system.
The rest of us are just automatons in your machine.
You have talked about the lack of funding, which we acknowledge, but we disagree on the management of the CSU budget. If there is no money for staff and faculty, and more money is needed from the students, then there should certainly be no money for executives. Or the consultants that are paid to help executives make decisions. For your projects or needs, there is money.
The rest of us are just line items in your budget.
You said you opposed efforts to reform the CSU Board of Trustees to include faculty and staff representatives, citing that having “constituents” being represented on the board would not represent the people of California. And yet, looking at the makeup of this board--banker, banker, CEO, public relations, venture capitalist, venture capitalist--I don’t see the people of California represented either. Most of my neighbors and friends--faculty members, custodians, laborers, administrative assistants, schoolteachers--are not represented on this Board. For your preservation, there is a need to be concerned about fair representation.
The rest of us are just greedy peasants.
This entire crowd had to be searched prior to entering the building. Were the trustees or campus presidents subjected to searches? Are the trustees or campus presidents told to not bring food or drink into the auditorium? Do you set limits on the amount of time trustees or campus presidents are allowed to speak, and when? You are all able to walk through without incident and choose which rules apply to you.
The rest of us are just animals you need to keep in line.
Trustees, we are not animals, or peasants, or line items, or automatons. The decisions you make are affecting our lives. Students are forced to take on extreme debt with little hope for meaningful work. Adjunct faculty now have to decide whether to pursue their passion in teaching or leave for the corporate world to make ends meet. And the staff that I and my sister unions represent have not seen a compensation increase for years, while living costs are rising.
How can you wonder why we are so outraged? How can you give more compensation for the wealthiest among us while the rest of us are learning to do more with less? How can you talk about programs aimed at decimating our workforce and wonder why we’re upset? How can you wonder why we’re outraged when students are being forced to choose between two or possibly three tiers within our own system?
I am here to tell you that we’re not going to take it anymore. We’re not going to believe there are no qualified candidates for executive positions who would work for a mere $250,000 per year and pay for their own vehicle and housing costs. We’re not going to let you tell us we need to have “shared sacrifice” to supplement executive salaries and initiatives. We will be here, and where you go, and on your campuses, and in the streets until you finally acknowledge the hypocrisy that continues to pervade the decision-making of this board. We’re no longer going to abide by two sets of rules.
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