Tuesday, September 8, 2009
As it has been reported, the Univ. of California is requiring its employees to take between 11 to 26 furlough days -- amounting to a salary reduction of 4 to 10 percent. The Faculty Lounge has an excellent September 5, 2009 story about this plan which it correctly describes as a pay cut-plain and simple. It reports that many professors are planning to walk out on the first day of classes-but it is unclear whether this will effect any scheduled courses.
The Univ. of California is, of course, a public institution. In California, public employees have a limited right to strike. Is this a strike? If classes will be canceled-perhaps. More fundamentally, this planned protest may be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement-which in some jurisdictions might provide cause for the job action to be enjoined.
On the other hand, the furlough plan itself may be a violation of the CBA which probably contains set wage rates. Perhaps, the furlough plan itself is subject to being enjoined. One also has to look at some recent case law enjoining pay reductions under the Contract Clause of the Constitution. Adjunct Prof Blog covered a very recent case from Maryland concerning that exact issue here.
Now, in all candor I have not seen the CBA and I do not practice in California. However, it seems to me that these are important issues that have been left out of the equation.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein