Members of the CFA Bargaining Team believe after more than 18 months of bargaining with CSU management, meeting 23 times, and unable to agree to over 19 articles, it is time for impasse and mediation.
Some of our members may be unfamiliar with the next steps, so the Bargaining Team wanted to take the time to explain what impasse means and what comes next. As a note, this is an evergreen document and will be updated over the coming weeks and months:
According to the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) of 1979, impasse means that “the parties have reached a point in meeting and conferring at which their differences in positions are such that further meetings would be futile.” (Govt. Code sec. 3562(j)) Because CFA acknowledges that we and the CSU cannot reach an agreement after bargaining in good faith, HEERA allows one or both sides to declare impasse and request to go to the next statutory stage of bargaining, which is mediation. To determine if an impasse exists, PERB will take into account several factors: (1) the number and length of negotiating sessions and the period of time over which these sessions occurred; (2) the extent to which the parties presented and discussed counter proposals; (3) the extent to which the parties reached tentative agreements on negotiated issues; and (4) the extent of issues that remain unresolved.
Once PERB determines impasse, both CFA and the CSU are obligated to participate in good faith mediation, and, if ordered by the mediator, to proceed through fact-finding. The State Mediation and Conciliation Service assigns a mediator to assist both parties to reach a voluntary resolution on their disagreements. The mediator will meet individually and collectively with CFA and CSU representatives. If or when the mediator concludes that mediation cannot produce a settlement, they then certify the dispute for the next step, which is fact-finding.
In fact-finding, a three-person panel (made up of one person from the union, one person from the employer, and a neutral third party to which both sides agree) listens to both sides’ presentations.
The panel issues a majority report (written by one side and the neutral third party). The report states findings and recommends a resolution. After a 10-day cooling off period, the report is shared publicly. The report is non-binding; rather it is meant to exert the power of public opinion on the sides to reach agreement.
At that point, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, management can impose its “last, best, and final offer” on the faculty. At the same time, our “no-strike” clause is suspended, and the faculty can engage in work actions up to and including the withholding of our labor—in other words, a strike.
At any point in this process, the sides could reach an agreement. If the process goes all the way to “imposition” by management, it could be a good number of months.
Currently, we are asking for three things: (1) please go to our website and sign up for Headlines (our weekly newsletter) to continue to stay informed about impasse and our contract process; (2) if you are not a member of CFA yet, please join us now. There is no time like the present and we are stronger when we are united against management; (3) and finally, please be in contact with your CFA chapter faculty representatives and sign a commit card so you can get involved on the chapter level. Your chapters will have meetings and actions upcoming, and this will provide you with a direct line for engagement.
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