The CSUEU Bargaining Team met with Vice Chancellor Evelyn Nazario and Chief Negotiator Steve James following the CSU Trustees board meeting this week. On the agenda was CSU’s proposal to introduce a different way to negotiate a contract known as Interest-Based-Bargaining (IBB). Not on the agenda was Chancellor Timothy White, who unexpectedly “poked” his head into the meeting and sat for a solid half-hour to deliver a clear message to CSUEU members: “We’re in this together.' After decades of less-than-friendly labor-management relations, the Chancellor said that the CSU was sending a “signal we want to press the reset button.” Make no mistake: Just weeks away from the first bargaining session, this outreach from CSU leadership is unprecedented. Our Union’s activism in recent years demanding transparency and accountability from Management has put enormous pressure on the CSU. Both Gov. Gavin Newsom and Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis have publicly called on the CSU to repair a broken pay system that denies merit steps to Support Staff leaving deep and chronic inequities across the system. Watch CSUEU President Neil Jacklin address this issue before the trustees on Jan. 29 here . We know that IBB alone will not solve all problems. Our members suffer from stagnant salary scales, overburdened from increasing managers and decreasing staff, and a general attitude of “We can do what we want” on the part of managers and their enablers in Human Resources. IBB involves training negotiating parties to look at issues on a common basis, looking at how different sides are affected, and seeking compromises that would benefit everyone. Will we try IBB? We will make any effort that will result in pay, classification, benefits, and working condition improvements. The clock is ticking to the expiration of this contract on June 30 and if we don’t have reforms at the bargaining table, we will have to seek reform by taking action on campuses and the streets. Chancellor White shared with us at the recent meeting that he has come to view what matters most in organizations is not the organizational structure, nor even relationships. “What’s important in an organization is partnerships,” he said. As we begin the work of winning a fair contract that justly compensates employees for the valuable services we provide, we look forward to building a genuine partnership with the CSU. We are prepared to do what it takes for real, measurable improvements for students, staff and our community. It is time to Step It Up, CSU! For our membership: Get ready to roll up your sleeves. As our contract campaign kicks into higher gear, we need everyone to join CSUEU . Our future depends on it!