If you have been following CFA’s bargaining updates on www.CFAbargaining.org, you may have noticed references to “HEERA,” one of the many acronyms that appear in labor organizing, state law, and in university life.
HEERA is the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act. It was passed by the California Legislature in 1978 and enacted in 1979.
It covers employer-employee labor relations for the California State University and the University of California systems. (Different acts provide for community colleges, K-12, and other state employees.) HEERA is similar to the National Labor Relations Act, but it is tailored to public employees in the CSU and UC.
HEERA provides a number of employee and union rights, including our right to collective bargaining. Additionally, HEERA sets out the steps in our bargaining process – including factfinding, the stage of the process we are currently moving through.
When we complete factfinding (the stage of the bargaining process we are currently in), we can take job actions up to and including a strike. If you are wondering why we cannot hit the picket lines today, or what declaring impasse (as we did on August 7) and what mediation (which ended without a resolution on September 14) means with regard to winning a fair contract, you can read all about the statutory processes that govern our fight for a just collective bargaining agreement in HEERA.
HEERA is also the act protecting the union from unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment. When the CSU issues new policies (like vaccine mandates or other rules in the workplace), it must notify CFA and meet with the union before implementing the changes. CFA members file unfair practice charges when the CSU implements new policies without first meeting and conferring with the union.
Finally, it’s important to know that while HEERA governs the statutory process involved in bargaining, our organizing efforts on our campuses are necessary and complementary to our campaign to win a fair contract. As the bargaining process under HEERA unfolds as required by law, our work talking with colleagues, signing the commitment card, further strengthens our prospects for winning rights, respect, and justice in the People’s University.
See the complete text of HEERA here.
Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.