As the academic year comes to a close, faculty on some campuses are being threatened with layoffs, due to alleged budget and enrollment woes, according to university administrators.

While this is acutely distressing, it is important to know that layoff involves a process detailed in Article 38 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Faculty have the right, for example, to sufficient notification ahead of a layoff, and a right to union involvement in searching for an alternative to layoff.

CFA must be notified immediately, per Article 38.3: “When the CSU determines that there may be a need for implementation of any layoff procedures outlined in this Article, the CSU shall notify CFA. The CSU agrees to immediately meet and confer with the CFA on the bargaining unit impact.”

Moreover, the CSU must provide the union with relevant data – such as current student/faculty ratios, enrollment trends and projections, scheduled curricular and program changes, etc. – justifying the layoff, per Article 38.4: “Upon request of CFA, relevant information regarding the layoff shall be provided by the CSU in a timely manner.”

There is also a correct order of layoff (as well as protocols for tie-breaking and exceptions), as detailed in Articles 38.11 to 38.19. If you are notified that you are being laid off, check where you are in this order, and seek help from your faculty rights representative to make sure the layoff order is being followed correctly.

If you are a faculty member on a three-year contract, you have rights to reemployment following a layoff, per Article 38.48. It is a long and detailed article in the CBA, and we encourage you to take a careful look at it and seek help if you have questions. In particular, you have the right to “be placed on a departmental list maintained for the purpose of establishing re-employment rights” if there is no work available for you.

It is important to know that you do need to notify your department chair of your interest in returning.  Article 38.48 (b) states:

“No later than July 1 of each year during the period the temporary faculty unit employee is on this list, the temporary faculty unit employee must inform their department chair of the temporary faculty unit employee’s interest in and availability for employment. Included in this written notice shall be current, accurate contact information. Failure to notify the chair shall result in removal from this list.”

You have the right to be on a reemployment list for up to three years, and you therefore need to contact your chair and communicate your interest each year you might remain on this reemployment list.

Article 38.48(d) is also really important to carefully review, if you are facing layoff.  This provision affirms that when work is available, the department must abide by Article 12.29, the order of assignment, in offering work. Additionally, you retain the right to the same pay rate, the same status and service credit, Service Salary Increase and range elevation eligibility, and sick leave. The provision also states that, “The period in which the employee was on this department list shall not constitute a break in service regarding rights previously accrued under Article 12.”

While the rights in Article 38 are vital, the union always bemoans the need for any faculty member to have to turn to them. If you are facing layoff, you are not alone. CFA representatives will accompany you, to make sure the process abides by Article 38, as we continue to advocate for a fully funded CSU system in the coming years.

Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.

  • Browse the faculty contract here.
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