CSU Union Approves Furloughs, Pay Cuts

SACRAMENTO, CA Members of the California Faculty Association voted for the furloughs, which amount to a 10 percent pay cut. The vote involved CSU professors, lecturers, coaches and librarians over the coming academic year.

The move was approved by 54 percent of the 8,800 CFA members who voted.

"It was an agonizing decision," said Lillian Taiz, a history professor at CSU Los Angeles who heads the union. Many faculty members "made this sacrifice for the good of their colleagues and the good of the university."

The faculty union also overwhelmingly approved a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Charles B. Reed's leadership of CSU, the nation's largest four-year university system with 450,000 students.

Faculty union officials are still in negotiations with CSU officials about how to implement the furloughs, which will likely result in fewer teaching days or administrative duties for faculty members, said John Travis, a CSU professor who chairs the CFA bargaining committee.

The chancellor has called for nearly all of CSU's 47,000 employees to take unpaid leave two days a month as part of a plan to address a $584 million budget deficit caused by a 20 percent reduction in state funding. The furloughs could save up to $275 million.

Security personnel would be exempted from taking the days off. The California State University Employees Union, which represents 16,000 nonacademic employees, approved a furlough agreement earlier this week.

CSU officials welcomed news that faculty members will participate in the furlough plan.

"Furloughs will help us maintain as many jobs as we can and also help preserve employee benefits," CSU spokesman Claudia Keith said.

The no-confidence vote, approved by 79 percent of CFA members who voted, does not call for any action against Reed, but "it does send a very strong signal that the faculty is really fed up with his leadership," Taiz said.

The union president said many faculty members feel the chancellor has not worked hard enough to preserve state funding to CSU or find new sources of revenue.

CSU officials said faculty members' frustrations should be directed toward state policy-makers who have voted to cut funding to California's colleges and universities.

To address its budget deficit, the CSU system is also reducing enrollment by 40,000 students and raising fees. On Tuesday, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a 20 percent fee increase -- on top of a 10 percent hike approved in May.

Even with the furloughs, CSU campuses are still expected to lay off hundreds of employees, eliminate academic programs, expand class sizes and reduce course offerings.

Last week, the University of California's Board of Regents approved a furlough plan that will require most of its 180,000 employees to take 11 to 26 days of unpaid leave over the coming academic year.

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