After more than a year of advocating for our counselor faculty, CFA members successfully fought off CSU management’s efforts to contract out mental health counseling.
“This settlement is a huge win for our counselors and students! Our union fought back against CSU management’s illegal outsourcing of counselor work. Outsourcing mental health services is outsourcing a crucial responsibility we have to our students. We hope this costly episode reinforces the need for CSU management to invest in CSU counselors in the forms of permanent positions, fair pay, and adequate staffing.” said Loren Cannon, CFA Humboldt faculty rights chair and CFA bargaining team member.
CSU administrators entered into contract with TimelyMD to perform telehealth counseling sessions for students who would otherwise be seen in campus counseling centers. CSU management entered into these contracts at Cal Poly Humboldt and Sacramento State without notifying CFA and giving us a chance to bargain over the outsourcing of work – a violation of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA).
We filed unfair practice charges for both campuses with the California Public Employees Relations Board, which agreed with us that CSU management violated HEERA by failing to notify CFA of its intention to contract out counselor work, failing to bargain in good faith over the decision to contract out, and interfering with members’ rights to CFA representation. As we approached a hearing date, CFA and CSU management entered into a settlement agreement for both charges.
The CSU agreed that it would not implement TimelyMD counseling sessions at Sacramento State. In exchange for allowing TimelyMD to remain in place through June 30, 2024, at Cal Poly Humboldt, CSU management will be providing 5-percent salary increases to counselors retroactive to the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year. Additionally, all counselors who are re-appointed for 2023-24 shall be offered three-year appointments. The counseling center is also required to maintain at least 10 counselors for the duration of the TimelyMD contract.
Despite the growing and immense need for mental health services, many CSU campuses have spent years disinvesting from permanent, tenure-track counselors. This ill-conceived management decision has led to perpetual turnover and difficulty for students who seek ongoing counseling services.