Staff members voice concern for workload increase

Jasmine Demers, News Editor


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The CSUSM Chapter of the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) recently filed a class- action grievance on behalf of all bargaining unit employees who are assigned to support Extended Learning work.

The grievance addresses workload and compensation related to the Extended Learning program, and voices concern for staff members who may be experiencing work overload.

Pete Rauch, the CSUEU President for the San Marcos chapter, explained this grievance in detail and highlighted the alleged inequities that staff members are being exposed to.

“CSUEU filed a class action grievance because I have received the complaint from many employees all over campus (none from within Extended Learning however) that they are ‘buried’ or ‘drowning in’ Extended Learning work,” Rauch said.

The staff union at CSUSM is currently investigating the reasons why these employees might be experiencing increasing workloads and pay inequities.

“It appears that Extended Learning will open more sections of courses that students need than the state has funded the university for. Extended Learning charges a higher rate for students to take these courses. I don’t know where all the money for these courses goes,” Rauch said. “It appears to me that while more and more work is generated for staff through this process, there appears to be little or no related promotional opportunities, stipends, raises, reclassifications and few IRPs (in range progression) based on this increased workload.”

Rauch explained that these issues are putting CSUSM staff under a great deal of pressure because they are expected to take on more work without fair compensation. The increasing workload is also not being balanced by the hiring of additional employees.

“In fact, in the past several years, while student FTE (full- time equivalent) and Faculty hiring have increased, staff positions have increased very little. This lack of workforce increase causes unfunded, institutionalized workload creep,” Rauch said. “The institution cannot expect a finite workforce to continue to handle an ever expanding workload without both increasing the size of the workforce to match the growth of the University, and increasing the wages and positional levels of the workforce to match increasing skills and abilities.”

After the grievance was filed, staff union leaders also put together an Extended Learning Workload Study, which includes a survey that was sent out to all 384 union represented employees at CSUSM. The survey asks that employees provide information such as the extended learning courses that are offered through their department, the amount of work that they contribute to these programs, whether or not this work is included in their job description and the compensation (if any) that they receive for this work.

When the grievance was filed, the CSUEU at San Marcos also filed an RFI or a Request for Information from the CSUSM administration. According to Rauch, with this information, they would be able to “gain a solid understanding of this issue and how it impacts staff.”

These requests, however, have yet to be fulfilled by Employee Relations at CSUSM and the staff union has been unable to gain access to the information that would aid them in their investigation. CSUEU members are now concerned that they are being denied their rights to exercise contractual grievances.

“This uncompensated workload allows the institution to continue to grow on the backs of the staff.  Many employees around campus appear to suffer from unfunded workload creep.  We seek to understand the staff workload dilemma, the money flow to determine potential sources of additional money that could be used to increase the amount of staff as well as increase staff pay to match increased workload and move staff into higher classifications where work has grown increasingly complicated, and not just more work.”

Because the Extended Learning program is offering more courses to students than the university has funding for, it is causing current staff members to take on the additional work without the proper amount of compensation. The staff union at CSUSM will continue to investigate these issues so that they may reach a proper conclusion about how to go about correcting the alleged inequities.