PPM employees could see raise as part of new CSEA negotiations

Daily Sundial

Negotiations between the California State Employees Association and the California State University will likely be finalized in the next two weeks, and Physical Plant Management workers in the CSEA could receive salary increases retroactive to July 1.

“They haven’t come to the agreement or signed the contract yet,” said Tom Brown, director of PPM. “Hopefully, the end of the month. That’s what we’re hearing.”

The CSEA and the Chancellor’s Office are still in discussions about the details of the increases, Brown said.

“We (administrators and workers) are in the same boat. We’re going to get the raise (at) the same time,” he said.

“We can’t change the established contracts. We have no control over that at all,” Brown said. “Unions have to negotiate with people in the CSU Chancellor’s Office to come up with what is fair and agreeable to all.”

PPM has a staff of about 300, including administrators, workers and students. Approximately 250 PPM employees are in either the CSEA or the State Employees Trades Council.

“(SETC) has an agreement with managers in the Chancellor’s Office,” said Joan O’Brien, manager of administrative services for PPM.

She also said that the university is waiting to hear from the CSU about when a final decision will be reached.

Administrators for PPM said they heard that the CSEA’s new contract is almost completed, and that as soon as it is settled, members of the CSEA will receive their pay increases.

Employees will get the pay raises retroactively back to July 1, Brown said, adding that the raises are definite, and that what is still being determined by negotiators are the deal’s fine details.

“It’s very, very close to settling,” said Lynn Wiegers, associate director for PPM, adding that union leadership must agree with the CSU on the contract’s conditions before taking it to union membership for approval.

“They all deserve the increases,” she said.

Brown said PPM administrators do not know how large the raise will be if and when they receive it.

The CSU recently reached an agreement with the California Faculty Association to provide retroactive general salary increases of 3.5 percent for professors, an amount that Brown said is “very meager.”

“Housing, food – everything is so expensive,” Brown said. “We know how hard people work, and we know how hard it is to survive in this economic environment in California. It’s a great place to live, except (it) costs so darn much.”

PPM administrators said employees did not get a raise last year because of state-mandated budget cuts, and three years ago they got a raise of just 1.6 percent.

Brown said that in the 1980s, the employees sometimes would have a year or two between each raise because of uncertain economic times.

“It’s an IOU,” Brown said. “So they didn’t get real money. An IOU credit union honors those vouchers. I’ve seen much worse times, to be honest, but it always tugs a little bit (on) our heart strings.”

David Veitch, a grounds employee who starts work every weekday at 6 a.m., said he understands that the union’s negotiations take time to work out, but he thinks there should be a certain system in place for raises, and that there should also be merit-based raises.

“I think we should get paid higher,” Veitch said. “The best way to do that is to probably look at other organizations and school districts, even high school districts, and compare it to that.”

Aya Oikawa can be reached at aya.oikawa.73@csun.edu.