Of the 120 CSUEU staff members who received the notice, 68 were from technical support services, 34 from administrative support services and 18 from operations support services. (Golden Gate Xpress) (Jun Ueda)
Of the 120 CSUEU staff members who received the notice, 68 were from technical support services, 34 from administrative support services and 18 from operations support services. (Golden Gate Xpress)

Jun Ueda

SF State plans for 131 layoffs, union president says most in CSU history

September 9, 2020

SF State administration notified 131 staff members on Tuesday that they would be laid off Nov. 9.  

The layoff notice is the largest in the history of any campus in the California State University system, according to California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) Chapter 305 President Sandee Noda. Staff members who received the email on Tuesday were told that the decision was “solely based on the significant budget crisis facing the University.”  

Of the 120 CSUEU staff members who received the notice, 68 were from technical support services, 34 from administrative support services and 18 from operations support services. 

“I’m not sure how the university expects to clean bathrooms three times a day, and all these buildings with less people,” said the California State University Employees Union Chapter 305 President Sandee Noda. (Chart courtesy of Sandee Noda)

“Even in the worst of recessions, San Francisco State has managed, but this year because of the pandemic, I’m not sure why they felt like they needed to lay off 120 people,” Noda said. “When you lay off that many people, you’re giving more work to the employees who were left behind, and you’re also giving students less service.” 

During a University Budget Committee meeting on Aug. 27, President Lynn Mahoney said that workforce reductions would amount to $9.1 million, and that SF State would be using $7.8 million — roughly 35% — of its reserve money to lessen the devastation of the pandemic-induced financial fallout. 

Administrative Support Coordinator Kat Alvarado is one of the 120 CSUEU staff members who received a layoff email, and is one of two staff members in the math department.

She worries that once she is gone, her colleague, who was not laid off, will be overwhelmed with work that she isn’t trained or paid to do. Alvarado also voiced concerns over losing her health coverage while dealing with chronic health issues amidst the pandemic.  

“As a former student, it just really makes me feel …  how are students going to feel knowing that this is the treatment that employees get at an institution that’s supposed to be preparing us for the workforce?” Alvarado said. “It really makes you feel like you’re just a number on a page — you’re not an individual that they actually are caring about enough to even take five minutes out of their day to call to let you know that you are laid off.” 

It really makes you feel like you’re just a number on a page — you’re not an individual that they actually are caring about enough to even take five minutes out of their day to call to let you know that you are laid off.”

— Administrative Support Coordinator Kat Alvarado

CSUEU Executive Director Jim Philliou questioned why schools in the CSU system that are struggling with enrollment haven’t received any financial support from the Chancellor’s Office. 

“A number of students are opting to stay in Southern California that come to San Francisco State due to the various things happening outside of the campus,” Philliou said. “We think his office should, you know, make some adjustments to preserve the viability of this campus.” 

Other schools such as San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos and Cal State Fullerton are either showing steady or increased enrollment during this time, according to Phillou. (No official CSU data is publicly available to confirm this at time of publication.) Phillou said he believes one of the issues afflicting SF State is its geography.  

Noda said that prior to today’s notices, CSUEU wrote letters to the Chancellor’s Office with the hope that they would allow the administration to opt for furloughs rather than layoffs. Furloughed employees take a 10% reduction in pay, as well as a reduction in hours, she said. 

“The chancellor said no … and they opted not to negotiate statewide furloughs because some of the campuses were meeting their target enrollment,” Noda said.

Staff members were notified of the option to participate in a voluntary worktime reduction program, which is guaranteed for employees under the CSUEU collective bargaining agreement. The terms of the agreement allow employees to reduce their pay and employment hours voluntarily in order to help reduce layoffs. 

According to an email to all staff members on Tuesday, all requests to participate in voluntary reduction programs “will be evaluated based on operational needs.”

Alvarado said that the details of the program came across as unclear to her and other staff members, and they wonder whether the voluntary reductions would help save jobs.  

“It’s not clear whether they’re saying this is instead of layoffs,” Alvarado said. “We were kind of discussing it earlier … and nobody really knew whether it meant that it would actually save jobs or if they are just asking people to do that on top of the current layoffs to potentially save other people from being laid off.”  

 

SF State’s administration did not respond with comment in time for publication. This is a developing story and will be updated.

 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 120 staff members were laid off.  That number only accounted for those within the California State University Employees Union. 

7 Comments

7 Responses to “SF State plans for 131 layoffs, union president says most in CSU history”

  1. Alesha Sohler on September 9th, 2020 4:35 am

    I am one of the 120 that were notified of the layoff. This lay-off is highly problematic as there were employees laid off whose positions are grant funded or tuition based and separate from the campus budgets. Essentially, they are not state funded. What’s worse is the way in which we were notified. The email regarding voluntary work reduction arrived 30 minutes prior to the layoff notice prompting fall confidence as it stated that the affected had already been notified which was not true.

  2. Chris on September 9th, 2020 2:12 pm

    I’m still confused as to why I got laid off after having worked for the school for 12 years, I’d lived through the last Furlough and understood if it needed to be done to save jobs. We didn’t even get the chance to do that and it feels like punishment for not having high enrollment numbers.

  3. Sanfran on September 9th, 2020 2:24 pm

    I will like to speak with David Sjostedt regarding this unfairness that is going on at SFState! Please contact me!

  4. Ruby Turalba on September 9th, 2020 8:39 pm

    Once again, the global pandemic is exposing the structural inequities of our capitalist economic system – – where those at the top benefit at the expense of everyone else. This is a very sad day and I am ashamed to say that I am part of an institution that does not live up to its touted values of equity and social justice.

  5. Samantha Jo on September 10th, 2020 12:15 am

    Imagine laying off 4 administrators instead of sacrificing 131 low-paying jobs. This is deeply sad. I am sorry to everyone who has lost a job. This was a terrible decision.

  6. SK on September 10th, 2020 9:10 am

    It is ridiculous that the union is being forced to (or is accepting without pushback) negotiate campus by campus over things like furlough for all vs. layoff for some. Are we not ONE CSU? Is that not what UNION means? Is that not what 1% if our gross wages supposed to be funding? Disappointed in management, government, and the union.

  7. Donna on September 10th, 2020 9:11 am

    “Pandemic, BLM, boycotting, rioting, hate, fires, polluted air and now SFSU layoffs” how much more can one take??
    With all of that, DEFINITELY our BENEFITS are NEEDED just as well as we NEED our jobs,.
    Our jobs support our lives and for some their job is their live. We depend on our job to take care of us as we do an take care of our job.
    For those who call themselves our superiors who are head and in charge over the CSU systems layoffs. “I’m sure they’re not sitting on the edge of their seats awaiting to get a no good news letter.
    SFSF, CSU for sure layoffs will create a whole lot more stress, anxiety, homelessness, illnesses, mental illnesses, and more crimes.
    “Every human being is vulnerable of becoming a criminal in desperate times”
    I’ve been at SFSU for 20 plus years I plan to retire and I want to rejoice in that moment when it comes. I want to receive my recognition for my dedication to SFSU and all my hard work throughout the years.
    There’s no differents than the students want their recognition for graduating.
    I will feel stripped of what I know I deserve and that’s rejoicing in my retirement and not to be laid off before I choose to leave the CSU system.

    “MAN always chooses MONEY over HUMAN BEINGS LIVES”
    (But yet the University is still posting jobs)

    Blessings!

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