Our faculty are drowning in work during the pandemic. We have all shown extraordinary efforts to move the university system to virtual modalities, but the struggle for working parents and faculty who are caregivers is an additional stress that CSU management and Chancellor Joseph I. Castro do not seem to care about.
How can we say that? Last month, the chancellor’s labor relations team wrote to CFA that the CSU currently “does not find a paid course reduction program to be operationally feasible.” Last week, CFA leaders met with CSU management to further negotiate a leave program.
CFA proposed that faculty in need of COVID-related leave be granted one course off (three or four Weighted Training Units, as appropriate), or up to eight hours/week for coach, counseling, and librarian faculty. The CSU proposed something akin to sick leave that would require discretionary approval by an administrator. At least with normal sick leave, permission is generally not required.
The plan proposed by management would not actually reduce workload, but merely shift when the work is done, showing that the CSU and the new chancellor do not care about faculty issues with respect to COVID. Remember, the CSU system is sitting on $1.7 billion in reserves, and will soon receive nearly $800 million in another round of COVID-19 federal stimulus money.
The CFA team met with management as recently as today – February 10 – about COVID workload relief. They have proposed a program of glorified sick leave that will not work for the vast majority of faculty. Adding insult to injury, the amount of such leave is just half that offered to other employees. While management invited us to make a counter proposal, they also made it abundantly clear that they were not truly empowered to agree to anything.
“Chancellor Castro needs to know our meeting with management today was frustrating. We need his bold leadership to provide COVID Leave Relief to our members now. We hope that he understands that he must show leadership and compassion from the highest level of the CSU,” CFA President Charles Toombs said.
CFA believes that with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, daycare and K-12 schools closed or online, working parents and those with other dependents and caregiving responsibilities should be eligible for a paid workload reduction and course release rather than being forced to take unpaid time off or leave the workforce entirely. It’s time the CSU starts listening.
Next Wednesday, CFA will host a virtual town hall to discuss COVID-19 relief, for our members to tell their stories of childcare and family care. Our virtual town hall takes place Wednesday, February 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. Join the fight to demand COVID-19 relief for all CSU faculty.
And to Chancellor Castro and CSU administrators: have a heart and show some respect and care for your hardworking faculty. Provide real COVID-19 relief now.