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+ Cocal IX: Unemployment rights  As noted in Joe Berry, et al “Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty: a manual for applicants.

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Presentation on theme: "+ Cocal IX: Unemployment rights  As noted in Joe Berry, et al “Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty: a manual for applicants."— Presentation transcript:

1 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights  As noted in Joe Berry, et al “Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty: a manual for applicants and a strategy to gain full rights to benefits” 2008, Chicago COCAL, California is currently the leader in providing UI benefits for contingent faculty

2 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights

3 + What made this possible?

4 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights  Education of rights by faculty activists  High levels of unionization in California  Helped by lower levels of unemployment than currently

5 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights  The Cervisi Decision (1989)

6 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Plaintiffs: Gisele Cervisi, Muriel Bartholomew, and other part- time, hourly employees in SF Community College district Fall 1983 and Fall 1984: some received unemployment insurance (UI) benefits between Fall and Spring terms, while others did not EDD denied claims, arguing “reasonable assurance” of work Higher levels of appeal within EDD upheld denial of claims Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) upheld EDD denial of claims Lecturers petitioned Superior Court for Writ of Mandate

7 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Legal and financial resources provided by American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 2121 and California Federation of Teachers (CFT) Lead attorney for plaintiffs: Robert Bezemek Chief researcher & paralegal: union leader Rodger Scott Counsel for defendants (EDD): Attorney General and 2 AAGs Superior Court used the independent judgment test to determine whether EDD’s decision was proper. Superior Court decision overturned EDD agency decision.

8 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights EDD appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals of California, First Appellate District, Division Four on 2/1/89 Appellate Court reviewed the Superior Court findings, rather than the Agency’s decision and upheld it: Found that the statute defined “reasonable assurance” to include “an offer of employment made by the educational institution, provided that the offer or assignment is not contingent on enrollment, funding, or program changes”

9 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights EDD incorporated the Cervisi decision into practice via Directive No UI on 7/20/89. Major points:

10 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Prior to Cervisi: when determining whether a non-tenured, hourly instructor had “reasonable assurance”, they applied principles in Russ decision: reasonable assurance found to exist even in case of inadequate funding as long as there was a history of individuals in that classification working under the same conditions. These individuals who are employed by the schools have generally attained permanent civil service status and are assured of employment if they have not been given appropriate notice of termination.

11 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Effect of Cervisi: Such individuals are not subject to disqualification under the provisions of statute if the offer of employment (whether made orally or in writing) contains the proviso that the employment is contingent on class enrollment or funding. EDD (g): For purposes of this section, “reasonable assurance” includes but is not limited to, an offer of employment or assignment made by the educational institution, provided that the offer or assignment is not contingent on enrollment, funding, or program changes.

12 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights For these reasons, it is important that collective bargaining agreement and/or term appointment letter contain language on contingent nature of appointment Having a multi-year appointment (eg., in the California State University (CSU) a revolving, contingent 3-year appointment) does not establish reasonable assurance of future work A verbal assurance from your Chair is not reasonable assurance Seeing your name in the class schedule for next term is not reasonable assurance

13 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Further strengthening UI rights through legislative action

14 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Then CA Assemblyman Leland Yee (San Francisco) AB 2412: Unemployment insurance false information penalty Amended Section 1142(b) of the state Unemployment Insurance Code to read: “If the director finds that any employer, officer, or agent of any employer, in submitting a written statement concerning reasonable assurance, as defined in…1253.3(g)… willfully makes a false statement or representation or willfully fails to report a material fact concerning the reasonable assurance of that reemployment,…assess a penalty… not less than two nor more than 10 times the weekly benefit amount of that claimant.”

15 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights In response to AB 2412, the CSU Chancellor’s office issued Technical Letter HR/Benefits : It reiterates EDD statute (g) for all AVPs, Deans, Human Resource Directors, and Benefits Officers, and further states: “Part-time temporary faculty with conditional appointments do not meet the definition of “reasonable assurance.” Therefore, these employees would be eligible for UI benefits between academic terms, even if they have multi-year contracts” (emphasis added)

16 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Continuing threats to UI benefits for faculty on contingent appointments in California: 1) a 12.5% unemployment rate; highest since Great Depression 2) Payroll tax of employer which supports UI benefits goes up with increase in claims: “normal” CSU cost = $2 million/year; 1 st quarter in 2010, UI costs had risen to $5.2 million 3) CSU contracts with TALX 4) https://www.talx.com/Solutions/Compliance/UnemploymentTa x/ https://www.talx.com/Solutions/Compliance/UnemploymentTa x/

17 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights

18 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights How do you gain and defend UI rights for faculty of contingent appointments? 1) Educate your colleagues, via workshops, meetings, listserves 2) CFA web site: 3) 4) Engage the expertise of others, more experienced than you 5) If available, marshall the resources of educational unions and seek judicial remedy

19 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Even with the support infrastructure we have set up, there’s always the danger of a bad ALJ decision; this can be minimized by not going it alone (Cal-Poly Pomona example)

20 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Conclusions UI benefits are a labor issue Applying for UI benefits asks the institution to acknowledge the contingent nature of your appointment Applying for UI benefits faces the institution with a fundamental decision: keep paying increasing UI costs or provide non- tenured faculty with a contract worth the paper it’s printed on – one with structural job security

21 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights And through smart, thoughtful, grass- roots organizing and collective action, it is possible to achieve UI benefits eligibility for Lecturers, Adjuncts, Sessionals, Non-tenured faculty – whatever you call yourself – in a state or province near you!

22 + Cocal IX: Unemployment rights Jonathan Karpf: San Jose State University CFA Lecturer Representative and Faculty Rights specialist CFA statewide Associate Vice-President for Lecturers – North CFA statewide bargaining team member CFA statewide Representation Committee member CFA Statewide Pension and Health Benefits Committee member


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